OpenPro’s Open Source Payroll Software: A Vendor Solution Brief
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By Dave Foxall
An Initial Review of OpenPro’s Open Source Payroll Solution
OpenPro’s Company Overview
Founded in 1998 as something of a family endeavor (i.e. Jim, Shannon and Hal Clark form three-quarters of the management team), California-based OpenPro offers licensed enterprise resource planning (ERP) software using open source technology. With stated company values of leadership, customer focus, innovation, integrity, and passion, the claim is that with OpenPro, clients receive more function and more value than alternative ERP offerings. The company prides itself on its track record of innovation by laying claim to being: the first fully web-based ERP software package; the first solution with integrated Document Imaging embedded into ERP Software; and the first software offering with integrated work flow as part of the business processes. These milestones have situated the company as a vendor with a customer base in over 200 locations around the world—giving the solution a truly global flavor. That said, the finer features of OpenPro’s open source payroll solution appear to be best aligned to paying employees in the US.
OpenPro’s Open Source Payroll Application Purpose
OpenPro’s open source software comes in two versions: Easy ERP and OpenPro Enterprise. Easy ERP is intended for companies with 20 users or less; designed to meet the needs of those organizations seeking pre-packaged application modules. While ample however, it should be noted that Easy ERP does not include payroll functionality. On the other hand, OpenPro’s Enterprise version is designed for larger companies (i.e. 20+ users); offers more options in terms of database, operating systems, and functional components; and includes the open source payroll solution as part of its Financials module.
Within this Financials module, payroll features run the gamut from calculating payroll checks with individual deductions to maintaining mandatory information required for state and federal reporting. Tax management and filing across multiple states is also handled by the system and the number of employees that can be processed is in principle, limited only by disk capacity. The system also allows a variety of user-defined and standard pay periods (daily, weekly, semi-monthly, quarterly, and annual) and can manage a range of different employee classifications (hourly, salary, or salary with overtime) as well as multiple state income taxes.
Payroll reporting is also an integral piece to the OpenPro solution, and standard system reports include: employee listings, deductions, payroll costs for selected periods, and checks issued. Further, 941 quarterly reports and W-2 forms (required by the IRS at year-end) are built in. Organizations considering the OpenPro solution though should take note that while the company’s open source payroll software has been deemed as including international payroll processing and reporting, the information available does not make clear which countries are supported (or even the extent to which OpenPro could potentially handle multi-country payroll management. That said, because OpenPro is an open source application (based on LAMP technology), perhaps the most salient benefit of leveraging payroll through this vendor is the fact that the initial purchase price (and ongoing maintenance expenses) are significantly less than that of Windows-based ERP software.
OpenPro’s Customer Target Market
The ongoing vision for OpenPro is to provide open source ERP functionality to small and medium-sized businesses, whose need for affordable and less complex business software was not being met by traditional ERP vendors. As such, this approach has led to a solution uptake from a considerably diverse group of customers. In fact, OpenPro's clientele represent a wide range of industries, sizes, and requirements from small businesses up to large companies with over 3,000 employees. Even so, while applicable to organizations in any industry sector, OpenPro makes a point of highlighting their solution’s suitability in the manufacturing, distribution, supply chain, retail point of sale, non-profit, government, practice management, e-commerce and professional services sectors.
OpenPro’s Technical Specs
OpenPro runs on any operating system including Linux, Windows, UNIX, and Mac; as well as on IBM AS400 I and Z series mainframes and minis, HP minis, and Sun minis; and it can use any SQL database.
OpenPro’s Primary Competitors
Other open source payroll software that functions as a fully-integrated part of a broader ERP solution includes the Indianapolis-based Compiere, Nexedi’s ERP5 and the Sysfore-designed module for the OpenBravo ERP system.
Strengths of OpenPro’s Open Source Payroll System
OpenPro offers full integration with HRMS modules, time-tracking, Financials, and other business management elements.
OpenPro was designed from scratch as a web-based application as opposed to being a “translated” version of a server-based solution.
Weaknesses of OpenPro’s Open Source Payroll System
Unfortunately the payroll option is not included in the Easy ERP version.
It is unclear what degree of international payroll functionality is available.
Bottom-line for OpenPro’s Open Source Payroll Software
OpenPro offers a payroll application that forms a small but seamless part of a well-established, designed-for-the-web ERP solution. As such, it’s fair to say that payroll is far from OpenPro’s priority or specialization. However, for small to mid-sized companies who are seeking standard payroll functionality in concert with single-system deployment, OpenPro delivers. Add in the fact that this software has a dedicated focus that mitigates many of open source payroll’s pitfalls and OpenPro may just be the perfect practical and principled solution for the right organization.
Organizations considering the OpenPro solution though should take note that while the company’s open source payroll software has been deemed as including international payroll processing and reporting, the information available does not make clear which countries are supported (or even the extent to which OpenPro could potentially handle multi-country payroll management.”