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The Best Payroll Software for Accountants

Content sponsored in partnership with Gusto

These are the most important features accountants should look for in a payroll software solution.


Many accounting software programs cater to business owners who don't have the time to delve into their business's accounting matters nor the money to hire accounting teams. However, there are accounting software applications that exist for accountants like yourself. Digitizing your firm's accounting practices can far better organize your clients' financial information than doing so manually, all while making this information more readily accessible.

Many accountants help businesses, especially small businesses, with their payroll. However, no two payroll software programs offer accounting firms the same set of functions. And since most internet searches for accounting software return results that are intended for business owners instead of accountants, it can be hard to find resources that adequately explain exactly what accountants need in a software solution.

Some payroll software programs for accountants go well beyond basic accounting tasks. You might also find programs that allow you to expand your services from accounting to advising. Other programs come with tools to connect your clients to the program for their own internal needs.

We've assembled this list of the most important features of payroll software for accountants. Here are 11 must-have features accountants should look for in a payroll software solution:

1. Cloud-based modern dashboard

To provide top-notch accounting services, your firm needs an easy-to-use launching pad. A payroll software program with a cloud-based modern dashboard is a great start. From this dashboard – which you can access from anywhere and at any time – you'll be able to quickly generate a list of your clients, the number of employees they have, their entity types, locations and more. You can also see the health insurance, 401(k)s and other benefits that your clients offer their employees.

2. Compliance support

As an accountant, one of your key roles is to ensure your clients comply with federal, state and local tax laws. Your payroll software should have built-in tools for ensuring client compliance from the time checks are cut to when tax returns are filed. Ideally, the software platform is updated each time new tax legislation is enacted so you and your clients are always compliant.

3. Ample integrations

It's imperative to choose a payroll software provider that supports ample integrations with your time-tracking, point-of-sale system and human resources programs, among others. These integrations simplify and streamline your work as well.

4. Payroll lists

An accountant-friendly payroll software program should display clients' upcoming payrolls and their due dates. Using this list, your firm can plan ahead to ensure that your clients run their payrolls on time. Many payroll solutions provide ample notifications as well to prevent a payroll from being missed.

5. Real-time alerts

In addition to notifications about upcoming payrolls, many payroll software solutions alert you to serious issues that could significantly delay payroll from being met. For example, if your client is facing a delayed payroll due to a miscalculation, a misclassification, or another error, as their accountant, you'll be notified about that and can quickly resolve the question or issue so that your client can make payroll in time.

Top-notch payroll software for accountants also alerts you when your clients are laying off employees. In addition to real-time notifications, you receive strategic resources you can share with your clients to help stabilize their finances and minimize future layoffs. These resources also enable you to act as more than just a number-cruncher.

6. Streamlined accounting workflows

No payroll software can conduct a conversation on your behalf with your clients, but the best payroll software for accountants can streamline your number-crunching and compliance work – and these workflow efficiencies allow you more time to spend advising clients how to best run their business.

7. Training and certifications

Some payroll platforms for accountants include training and certification programs. Using the courses available from these payroll platforms, you can build your expertise and advise your clients on not just payroll, but benefits and HR, too. This boosts the value you provide to your clients as a knowledgeable small business finance expert with whom your clients enjoy talking.

8. Partner badges and directories

The best payroll software programs for accountants generate partner badges that you can display on your website. Additionally, business owners looking for new accountants sometimes find them on payroll software platforms' websites, which often include directories of trusted accountants – which could include you.

9. Referral tools

Let's say you've taken on a new client. Shortly after working with them, you discover their in-house accounting software is impeding their ability to properly track their finances. If you've chosen an excellent payroll software program for your accounting firm, you can refer your clients to your program, and that's not all.

10. Client trials and discounts

Yes, connecting your clients with better accounting software makes your job easier – when their financials are complete and well organized, you can serve clients better, and it saves your clients money. Some payroll software programs come with free trials and discounted monthly rates. And since you might be advising clients on their finances, too, your clients will trust appreciate you connecting them with affordable, excellent accounting software.

11. Free subscription

What if you didn't have to pay for payroll software? Some payroll solutions for accountants know that you will refer and successfully onboard your clients to their product. And using the software yourself makes it even easier to explain the value to your small business clients. With user-friendly features, learning opportunities and paths toward financial advising, free accounting software can be hard to resist.

The payroll software for accountants with all-of-the-above features

If you want all-of-the-above payroll software features for your accounting firm, Gusto can give you exactly what you need. Gusto's user-friendly dashboard and alerts streamline your accounting tasks. Use Gusto to keep your clients' information neatly organized, build a schedule of upcoming payrolls and gather all the tools necessary to act on any urgent client needs. Plus, because Gusto is cloud-based, you can assist your clients from the office or at home.

With Gusto, you can also become an advisor to clients. Use Gusto's People Advisor certification to earn CPE credits each year, and enhance your current accounting knowledge with more information about successful business finance and team-management practices. Since Gusto's online dashboard facilitates quicker workflows, you'll have plenty of time to advise your clients, too, and you can introduce your clients to Gusto's affordable small business payroll solution.

Gusto client referrals take only a few clicks. Your referrals give your clients a month-long free Gusto trial and up to 20% discounts on their monthly fees. Plus, as long as you onboard one client to Gusto per year, you won't pay to use it.

If all this efficiency, expertise and unparalleled client service sound like what you need, become a Gusto partner now.

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