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What is it?
Small business payroll software
How popular is it?
SurePayroll is a medium-sized company with over 200 employees.
What does it do well?
Like Intuit, SurePayroll is a high powered system that gives you a lot of control over payroll.
What does it not do well?
The interface is not particularly easy to use and the price is much higher than Gusto (formerly ZenPayroll).
Who does it work well for?
Businesses that want some advanced features, like the ability to accrue vacation time and generate many different reports.
Who does it not work well for?
Businesses that want a simple & straightforward payroll system. Gusto (formerly ZenPayroll) is easier, cheaper and handles W2s and 1099 forms for you without an extra fee.
Compliant in all 50 States?
Cost Compared to Competitors?
Cloud or Hosted?
SurePayroll costs a flat $70/month plus an additional $2 per employee or contractor on payroll.
If you want SurePayroll to submit W2s and 1099s, this will cost an additional $40/year + $4.25 per employee or contractor.
Ease of use
- Setup – Moderate. I used a sandbox account, so I wasn’t able to go through the typical admin setup process. Adding employees was straightforward enough – with any payroll software this is going to be a time consuming process because of the amount of information you need. One downside with SurePayroll is you can’t invite employees to enter information themselves as you can with Gusto (formerly ZenPayroll) or Wave.
- End User – Difficult. There were a few instances where the software seemed buggy. After adding vacation hours, for example, the payroll page wouldn’t display the new pay amount – at least not until being refreshed or clicked on again. Also, entering contract workers took the same steps as full-time employees, even though sick pay and benefits aren’t relevant to a 1099 worker. This wasn’t a bug per se, but it shows how the software isn’t tailored to be easy on the user end.
- Support – Moderate. SurePayroll has phone support available during extended business hours. Users spoke highly of the support team. There’s also a searchable support center, but its tough to find (you have to be logged in to access it) and there’s only a handful of articles.
Features it has
Features it does not have
*Send 1099 forms
Manage Sick Days / Vacation Days
*Send W-2 forms
Submits payroll taxes
*costs additional fee of $40 + $4.25 per employee/contractor
Integrations it has
Integrations it does not have
Accounting (Quickbooks, Xero)
Project Management (Basecamp, Asana)
Time Tracking (SpringAhead, NOVAtime)
CRM (Zoho, Salesforce)
Digital Signature (Right Signature)
How Payroll Works
Running payroll is pretty standard. For your hourly employees, you’ll enter the hours worked along with any additional pay. Overtime pay isn’t calculated automatically, but there is a box where you can enter overtime hours. There’s also a pull-down tab where you can enter additional pay types, such as tips, commission, auto reimbursement and more.
Payroll for salaried employees works about the same. Next to each employee’s name is their standard pay, but one thing I like was how you could edit this amount on-the-fly. You can also add overtime hours, extra pay, tips, commission and more.
To pay employees, you can set up direct deposit or you can print checks directly from SurePayroll. Read more about running payroll here.
When you add an employee, you can give them a number of sick days and vacation days (calculated in hours). You can add a number of hours with each period so they can accrue sick/vacation hours over time. If you want, you can even set a different pay rate for vacation days or sick time.
If an employee took time off, you can make note of this when running payroll. Click “Edit” under Pay Detail and you’ll reach a menu where you can make more detailed changes to an employee’s pay stub. Fill in the boxes for time off and SurePayroll will adjust pay accordingly and subtract time from sick/vacation day balance.
As with most payroll software, there’s 4 different pay schedules:
- Every Week
- Every Other Week
- Twice a Month
- Every Month
You can also choose the start date and set the length of the pay period. All of your employees – including hourly, salary workers and 1099 contractors – must be paid on the same schedule. Unlike Intuit, you cannot have employees on different pay schedules.
SurePayroll will file all state and federal payroll taxes for you. This service is included with the base price of $70/month. Currently all 50 states are supported.
SurePayroll can also file W2s and 1099s for you, but this requires an extra fee of $40 + $4.25 per employee. Your employees will receive an email when W2s/1099s are ready with a link to login and view the forms.
State and federal unemployment insurance taxes are also calculated and paid for you. To make sure your state liabilities are accurate, however, you’ll have to answer some questions about your business, including whether or not you’ve laid off any workers. By asking these questions, SurePayroll will be able to automatically update your state unemployment insurance (SUI) rate from year-to-year.
Paying Contractors (1099 Forms)
You can add 1099 contractors on the “Employees” menu. SurePayroll treats them as essentially just another employee. One thing that irked me is you have to fill out information like hours worked per week and vacation/sick days, even though this probably isn’t relevant for a contract worker. 1099 workers are paid on the same menu as other employees and you can send payment via direct deposit or check.
You can set up all your deductions under the “Company” menu. Your options include retirement plans, pre-tax/post-tax insurance premiums, HSAs, FSAs, loan repayments and a few other benefits. Once you have these saved, you can go to your “Employee” menu, click a worker and add them to a benefit. Specify the amount deducted per paycheck and (if relevant) the employer contribution for each benefit.
SurePayroll integrates with a few accounting programs, including Quickbooks, Xero and Sage 50, so you can automatically import payroll data as journal entries in your accounting platform. You can also integrate with a number of time tracking programs, including Web Time Clock, SpringAhead, NOVAtime and more. This enables you to import time data and apply it to payroll as hours worked.
You can create many different standard reports, including a payroll summary, employee rundown, benefits reports (401k, IRA, workers comp) and more. You can view these reports in-browser or export them as a PDF, Excel, or rich text file. You can set a custom time frame and change a few other parameters, but besides that these reports are not customizable.
No, Monday to Friday 7am – 8pm CST. Sat 9am – 1pm.
US Based or Not?
What’s The Method of Delivery?
SurePayroll has phone support available during extended business hours. Users spoke highly of the support team. I was connected quickly when I called, although I wound up getting transferred to the sales team so I can’t comment on the quality of support.
If there’s one area support is lacking, its in providing online help resources. There is a searchable support center, but its tough to find (you have to be logged in to access it) and there’s only a handful of articles.
The Bottom Line
SurePayroll is most comparable to Intuit. Both are a little more high-powered than Gusto (formerly ZenPayroll) and pricing for 5 employees is about the same ($80/month for SurePayroll vs. $89/month for Intuit). I found Intuit, however, to be better on the user end. It’s a little easier to use and had a stronger/more reliable interface. The only advantage of SurePayroll is their better-rated customer service team.