Reviewing the Capabilities of 5 Top Mobile Payroll Applications
Gartner’s 2012 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies report points out that mobile is one of three key themes; and as the firm’s VP Jackie Fenn cites, “Mobile technologies continue to be part of most of our clients’ short- and long-term plans.” This clear indication of the way in which mobile devices (and 24/7 anywhere connectivity) are transforming both personal and working lives only serves to highlight the fact that 21st-century businesses cannot afford to ignore the mobile trend any longer; not with their customers and certainly not with regard to their employees. Mobile payroll applications are no exception; and organizations that fail to connect the consumerization dots may well be left behind. Indeed, as evidenced by approaching widespread adoption levels (32% globally according to a 2011 Bloomberg Businessweek research report), mobile payroll software is clearly riding the broader mobile and social media wave that is pushing all business technologies forward. In fact, mobile payroll has evolved to the point that system functionality is no longer simply relegated to simple employee self-service (ESS) transactions for pay-slip access. Rather, now complete on-the-move payroll management is possible with this latest generation of vendor offerings.
To help make sense of this changing landscape (and provide a mobile payroll guide of sorts); we’ve highlighted the following five vendors—providers which represent some of the latest and best mobile payroll offerings for the full range of company sizes and requirements.
Mobile Payroll Vendor #1: ADP
With 570K+ clients and $10B in revenue, ADP (Automatic Data Processing) is certainly one of the larger players in the payroll automation market. ADP has offered mobile payroll solutions since 2008; and has helped progress the market for these payroll technologies to the critical point we see today (including introducing the RUN application aimed at small business payroll management). The latest employee-focused mobile payroll offerings from the company include the following functionalities:
Easily accessible pay statements: that offer employees access to pay details such as earnings, deductions, and direct deposits.
Remote time tracking and management: that features the capability to enter timesheets, punch in/out, and send late arrival notifications.
Benefits plan information: that allows immediate access to existing and future benefit elections.
FSA balance and transaction tracking: that lists accounts, available balances, and annual goal amounts along with information on claims, payments and contribution amounts.
Retirement accounts: that feature detailed information on individual retirement plans, portfolio balances, contribution rates, returns, and loan balances.
News service: that offers employees the chance to remain up-to-date on important company news and events.
Connections: that provides a detailed and centralized employee contact list.
As can be seen, ADP’s mobile offering aims to supply the full employee self-service experience rather than limit itself to a purely payroll application. As such, the ADP solution seeks to act as more of an employee portal to an integrated compensation experience.
Mobile Payroll Vendor #2: SurePayroll
Since 2011, SurePayroll have been part of Paychex, Inc. However, the company got its start in 2000 as the first wholly online payroll provider—aiming to provide a full service shop for small businesses (up to 100 employees). The SurePayroll mobile app is a free download for both Apple and Android operating systems and allows existing customers a more flexible approach to running their payroll. The system features the capabilities to:
Pay salary, hourly, and 1099 employees;
Enter earnings, deductions, and hours worked; as well as vacation, sick, and personal time;
View or change check dates;
Preview payroll and payment methods to ensure accuracy;
View previous payroll summary reports;
Access employees' contact information;
Run payroll through One-Click Payroll;
Stop direct deposit; and
Stay current on payroll deadlines, bank holidays, employees' birthdays, and compliance updates.
Mobile Payroll Vendor #3: Payrollguru
With a full range of payroll administration and processing services for small to medium-sized businesses, Payrollguru supplements their mobile payroll offering with a range of no-frills and easy-to-use payroll apps for Windows, Android, and Apple smartphones. While helpful, the focus is limited to the essentials of payroll calculation; including verifying the accuracy of payroll figures produced by software or by manual calculation (for employers) and checking the accuracy of individual paychecks (for employees). That said, PayrollGuru’s mobile payroll applications do take into account net pay and payroll taxes (including federal withholding, Medicare, social security, state income tax, state unemployment, and state disability withholding—where applicable).
Mobile Payroll Vendor #4: Ceridian
Ceridian is a global business services company offering comprehensive payroll solutions from its three main arms in the U.S., Canada, and the UK. The PowerPay mobile app enables customers to create, edit, and submit payroll data on the go—using a BlackBerry, iPhone, or Android device. While limited to a 24-hour turnaround offering, PowerPay does include the functionalities to:
Process and submit regular and extra payroll runs;
Enter data for rapid or regular time entry with employee search;
Perform employee hire / profile / bank deposits / status changes with ROE;
View deductions and contributions;
Generate and view online payroll reports;
Receive on-demand support from Ceridian’s Small Business Services Team;
Leverage advanced job costing; and
Verify payroll data through a dedicated preview function.
Rather interestingly though, the PowerPay mobile application is currently restricted to only Canadian payroll clients. However, given that PowerPay was only recently launched (in July 2011), a more global roll-out is no doubt likely in the near future.
Mobile Payroll Vendor #5: Intuit
While Intuit is behind the popular QuickBooks accounting software for small and medium-sized businesses, most companies are not aware that Intuit also provides a full online payroll service—now enhanced by a mobile app for both Android and Apple operating systems. Though incredibly basic compared with the other vendors that have been mentioned, Intuit does use a solid three-step process for handling both hourly and salaried employees. Key features of the Intuit mobile payroll application include the capabilities for:
Payment of both hourly and salaried workers;
Comprehensive preview of how much each employee is being paid before running payroll;
Confirmation e-mails to be sent to both employers and accountants (including electronic pay stubs to employees once paychecks are approved);
Direct deposit and/or manual paycheck printing;
Reports of previous payroll runs; and
Free phone support with subscription.
That said, it should be noted that the Intuit app (while free) is only for use by existing subscribers to Intuit's Online Payroll or Quickbooks Online Payroll services.
Final Thoughts on the Future of Mobile Payroll
Given the seemingly unstoppable mobile trend in payroll automation, all organizations need to solidify their mobile payroll strategy—planning a measured introduction of mobile functionality which is aligned to clear productivity and bottom line profitability goals. As the five examples of vendor offerings above show, most market segments are being catered to; highlighting a range of feature sets that can suit a number of business requirements. Still, perhaps the most important element for organizations to keep in mind about mobile payroll, is the upskilling of those individuals responsible for the payroll function. In fact, as a 2011 Ceridian report (Payroll Technology at Work: Looking to the Future) says, “Embracing the use of new technology like iPads and mobile applications now will prepare the payroll professional for the future.”
As evidenced by approaching widespread adoption levels (32% globally according to a 2011 Bloomberg Businessweek research report), mobile payroll software is clearly riding the broader mobile and social media wave that is pushing all business technologies forward.”