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Micah Fairchild Paycor Brings Payroll Functionality to the World of Small Businesses

3.5 stars Average rating: 3.5 (from 121 votes)
 By Micah Fairchild

Paycor’s Small Business Payroll Solution: An Independent Analysis

Founded in 1990 by Bob Coughlin, Cincinnati, Ohio-based Paycor, is an SMB-focused payroll, HR, and time-attendance vendor that is a lesson in and of itself in small business success. Indeed, what began as a 15-person payroll start-up (with a paltry $1M revenue stream) has now grown into 500-employee strong company that is on track to make $100M within the very near future. In fact, Paycor is currently one of the largest and fastest-growing payroll services providers in the U.S.; and now has a customer base of 18K+ centered around 19 offices nationwide. Not only that, but Paycor continues to reap critical praise for its offerings as well; racking up 4 wins for the Independent Payroll Providers Association (IPPA) Growth Award, as well as Service Bureau of the Year Award and a 2011 People's Choice Stevie Award For Favorite Customer Service.

Paycor’s Payroll Options

Offering a surprisingly wide range of payroll management services, Paycor follows suit with a number of our other top solutions by providing solutions that can be used by the micro-end of the small business market on up to the upper end of the middle market.

  • Online Payroll Solution: The most robust option that the company provides is the Paycor Payroll application (formerly Paycor for Windows); a solution that allows for maximum control of payroll data with the efficiency benefits of paycheck processing and tax filing by Paycor specialists. Although not as widely applicable to the lower end of the small business market, companies with 50 or more employees will likely find the solution exceeds their expectations. First off, Paycor Payroll houses functionality for administrative HR, accounting, and time/attendance functions via tight integration with Paycor’s HR Performer, General Ledger, and Time OnDemand applications. Plus, Paycor Payroll allows for real-time, gross-to-net calculations before transmittal; a full range of choices for employee payment services (i.e. direct deposit, check printing, and/or pay-cards); the ability to define earnings/deductions codes; configurable security levels for an organization’s different user types; and capabilities for tracking and managing benefit accruals. Further, as a hosted SaaS solution, this particular Paycor offering helps eliminate small businesses’ needs for hardware, IT support, and the pain of software upgrades.

  • Internet Entry Solution: The next choice that businesses have, Paycor’s Internet Entry, is simply the modern world’s version of the phone-in payroll option. Hence, as long as an internet connection is present, payroll can be submitted securely (via SSL encryption). Paycor does sweeten the pot a bit though by offering full processing (i.e. check printing, direct deposit pay stubs, W-2s, 1099s, and paycards); a dedicated payroll specialist; real-time calculations; earning/deduction codes flexibility; the capability to import hours directly from Paycor’s ReadyClock application or Excel; and email alerts about upcoming payroll dates. And as is the case for all of Paycor’s offerings, payroll taxes will be calculated/filed/deposited/reconciled with federal, state, and local authorities; in-class and web-based system training sessions are available (though only free for the premium Paycor Payroll subscribers); and Paycor’s Online Reporting service can provide viewable and downloadable reports on-demand.

  • Phone/Fax/Email Solution: The most standard offering Paycor provides, this option allows companies to submit payroll information by phone, fax, or email, and have a dedicated payroll specialist handle the check printing, payroll tax processing/filing, and payments/reporting. Of course, it’s up to each small business to ensure that their data is as error-free as possible, but Paycor’s specialists will verify check dates, ensure taxable wages are balanced, and check for proper withholdings. Aside from not having to release control over the actual payroll data, the upside to utilizing this particular limited Paycor option is that taxes will still be automatically filed; direct deposit can still happen via simple reconciliation between accounts; and you’ll still have access to a limited number of reports (approximately 30).

Reporting

Reporting options for the Paycor solution, while vast, are basic and somewhat confusing given the monikers that the company has assigned. Namely, Paycor offers what they call Custom Web Reporting and Online Reporting; of which both appear to be referencing the same reports. More specifically, the feature set for Custom Web Reporting allows for: historical data to be evaluated (to gauge overtime trends, benefit payouts, etc. over an up to 3 year span); health insurance costs to be reconciled (by employee or department for PTO, wages, etc.); local allocations to be managed; reporting across calendar (rather than just fiscal) years to be conducted; and data to be sorted, sub-totaled, and filtered in any other ways deemed necessary. Paycor’s Online Reporting functionality however, appears more focused on how those reports are accessed. For instance, as expected reports can be viewed online; downloaded via Adobe Acrobat; securely transferred to CD-ROM, network, and local hard drives, and viewed during the following 13 months after the report is run. Regardless of these semantic issues though, Paycor does offer the benefit of providing report access (via multiple client IDs) to whichever employees and/or managers need a given data set. Further, thanks to the relatively intuitive design of these tools, the learning curve for Paycor’s reporting is drastically lessened over its competitors.

Additional Functionalities

In addition to the extensive tools that Paycor already affords small businesses, additional capabilities are also available. For instance, businesses can choose to utilize the functionalities of Online Check Stubs (which provides employees with access to view, print, and download their pay information); Time OnDemand (which is a dashboard-based attendance solution that allows for punches to be recorded via badge terminal, telephone, biometric reader, or PC); ReadyClock (which is a simple, web-based, clock-in/clock-out tool that can allow managers easy access to verify hours and correct mistakes); and HR Performer (which is Paycor’s HRIS for handling self-service, benefits, reporting, recruiting, performance, and training). Of course Paycor also offers an HR Support Center (which features handbook templates, checklists, downloadable job descriptions, topic quick guides, and legal information) with the upgrade option to HR On-Demand for more personalized consulting.

Paycor’s Strengths

  • Unlike several of Paycor’s competitors, service is conducted via the single point of contact (SPOC) model—a particularly helpful method for those organizations needing greater than average help with their payroll needs
  • Paycor’s report writing tool is intuitive (and built off point-and-click functionality), which should be sufficient for most organization’s analysis needs
  • While functionality is reduced, Paycor does provide reporting options for every package buyers choose.
  • While not nearly as robust as other leading HR management systems, the inclusion of Paycor’s HR Performer application allows for a unified solution that should be able to sufficiently handle most small business needs.
  • Paycor’s system has a simple and intuitive design—a facet that has the ability to reduce learning times for employees and provide a more rapid ROI.
  • Web options for Paycor’s payroll include an easy-to-use grid layout that provides single-page viewing of all necessary steps.
  • Paycor’s solution includes progress bars to keep users updated on where in the process they are and which steps have yet to be completed.

Paycor’s Weaknesses

  • While sufficient for most small businesses seeking payroll outsourcing services, Paycor’s ventures into the ancillary world of HR and time-keeping has diluted some of their core payroll offerings—potentially alienating some strictly payroll-only customers.
  • The pricing and functionality structure of the Paycor solution is most appropriate for those businesses that exceed 50 employees—an issue that likely puts this offering out of the reach of a significant number of small businesses.
  • Though not specific to Paycor, customers have indicated that the company’s practice of split deposits (i.e. partial direct deposit monies shown as deduction, as opposed to net income) is cumbersome and often conceptually confusing.
  • Significant turnover within Paycor’s representative ranks have created a customer service issue for numerous clients. It should be noted though that this problem is one that the payroll service industry as a whole experiences to some extent.
  • Reporting options are limited and can’t be run/accessed in real-time.
  • Outsourcing options for the micro-end of the small business market are not as robust as similarly-situated solutions.

Short List Paycor When:

  • You’re a small company that wants to submit payroll information by phone, fax, or email and have a dedicated payroll representative handle the rest.
  • You’re looking for back-end help with taxes and compliance while handling the bulk of data entry on your own.
  • You need a modicum of HR software to aid in administrative or transactional processes.
  • Looking for a payroll software solution that is fully integrated with functions such as General Ledger or Time & Attendance.
  • Seeking a proven and older payroll solution provider as opposed to a newer start-up.

Consider an Alternative Payroll Solution When:

  • You are a small business with less than 50 employees.
  • You’re an organization looking for more international payroll services.
  • You’re seeking a wholly outsourced payroll solution.
  • Your reporting needs are time-sensitive and have to be accessible quickly.
  • Looking for innovative solutions such as Software-as-a-Service or more modern user interfaces. End

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Offering a surprisingly wide range of payroll management services, Paycor follows suit with a number of our other top solutions by providing solutions that can be used by the micro-end of the small business market on up to the upper end of the middle market.

 

 

 

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