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Dave Foxall Vendor Solution Brief: CompuPay’s Payroll Outsourcing Service

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 By Dave Foxall

An Independent Review of CompuPay’s Payroll Outsourcing Service

CompuPay’s Company Overview

One of the largest service providers in the U.S., CompuPay (not to be confused with the UK-based payroll service of the same name) has spent over 30 years serving the payroll needs of small and mid-sized businesses—from small start-ups with a just a handful of employees to national corporations with workforces of several thousand staff. Founded in 1980 in Miami, CompuPay expanded slowly over the years via a network of offices across the U.S. However, the turning point for this payroll service provider was the sale of a controlling interest to the Chicago private equity group, Willis Stein and Partners in 2004. What followed was a series of acquisitions, including PayMaxx in Tennessee; Advanced Payroll Systems in California; and Seattle-based Key Payroll. More recently, CompuPay has entered into an agreement with Sage Software to provide outsourced payroll services to Sage clients (including users of Peachtree, Abra, Accpac ERP, BusinessWorks Accounting, MAS 90 ERP and MAS 200 ERP).

CompuPay’s vision and consequent emphasis is very much on client service and support—a fact that is well reflected in the company’s 2011 receipt of the Best in Business award from the Small Business Community Association. In fact, per company representatives, CompuPay aims incredibly high in this regard—seeking to provide:

  • An unparalleled commitment to delivery excellence, while meeting the changing needs of clients through innovation and responsiveness.
  • A workplace that fosters professional and personal growth and an environment that promotes trust, respect and the highest levels of ethical behavior.
  • A genuine contribution to the well-being of the communities that it serves.

CompuPay’s Payroll Outsourcing Service Offering

CompuPay offers a range of payroll service options ranging from a number of self-service and online options, to more traditional phone arrangements and industry-specific specials. Here we take a quick look over these offerings to give you a payroll outsourcing guide of sorts for this solution.

Online Payroll: Rapidly rising to be the payroll processing option of choice for businesses and accounting professionals, CompuPay offer three online payroll options; each supported by the CompuPay client services team.

  • PowerPayroll was introduced in 1999 and was one of the first online payroll services available. Ideal for small businesses or larger companies with multiple small worksites, the key features include: web-based payroll processing; federal, state and local payroll tax filing, payment, and compliance; direct deposit (up to four accounts per employee); onsite check printing and online reports; and employee access to online payroll check stubs and duplicate W-2s.
  • XpressPayroll is an online payroll service designed specifically for micro-businesses with one to five employees. XpressPayroll is essentially a streamlined version of PowerPayroll but retains the full tax filing services and similar functionality including online processing, direct deposit, check printing and ESS. Should a client company outgrow XpressPayroll though, CompuPay offers a relatively straightforward upgrade path to one of the other online service options.
  • CompuPay PayrollOnline was launched in 2008 for businesses with up to 1000 employees and includes features for the larger business including real time gross-to-net and net-to-gross calculations, 40+ standard reports, and a stripped down option for additional human resource functions and reporting. Available in Basic, Advanced, and Premier versions (with a rising hierarchy of functions for each respective option), this robust system features: streamlined web pages; Employee Self-Service (ESS) functionalities that extend beyond simple paystubs and W-2s; a robust report writer; and the capability to interface with most major accounting software packages.

Phone/Fax Payroll: For businesses that prefer a traditional, hands-on approach to their payroll, CompuPay has the capability to assign a payroll specialist exclusively to each account. While absent of most frills, this vendor option does allow for a CompuPay specialist to contact or fax the client at preset times to take the payroll information.

Construction & Restaurant industries: Offering specialty payroll services and reporting for businesses in the these two sectors, CompuPay provides industry-specific features such as job costing and union reports for construction; and tips allocation and 8027 calculation for restaurant clients.

Finally, for in-house processing, CompuPay also offer two versions of its payroll software. PayLoad is designed for larger companies with over 250 employees (or with multiple worksites). PayLoad can be implemented to run on the client’s server, or deployed as an ASP-hosted web-enabled version. For smaller businesses, CompuPay offer Payright, available as a hosted service only.

CompuPay’s Customer Target Market

Aiming for the small to mid-sized business market, CompuPay is focused on building long-term relationships with clients; and puts a high value on their stated commitment to, “go above and beyond to deliver long term service and support value.” As the second largest independently-owned payroll service in the country (and the fourth largest overall), CompuPay provides services to clients with anywhere between one and ten thousand employees—offering a service that is able to grow with the client’s business (and workforce).

CompuPay’s Technical Specifications

The bulk of CompuPay’s services are provided online via web-browser—effectively taking the client’s payroll information “out of the building”. To reassure any security concerns, all CompuPay payroll systems are reviewed by a third party SAS 70 (now SSAE 16) auditor on an annual basis; analyzing the company’s IT controls and processes.

CompuPay’s Primary Competitors

The market for payroll outsourcing services for small to mid-sized clients in the U.S. is large and fairly fragmented. Examples of other providers focused on offering similar services to CompuPay include: PayChex, PayCycle, and global giant, ADP.

Strengths of CompuPay’s Payroll Outsourcing Service

  • A 30 years track record of experience catering to the small and mid-sized business market
  • Multiple service routes; including self-service, online, and phone/fax
  • Specialist offerings for the restaurant and construction industries

Weaknesses of CompuPay’s Payroll Outsourcing Service

  • Though relatively seamless in regard to transitions, CompuPay’s service packages are nevertheless separate - a fact which some businesses may find cumbersome compared with a single, scalable service.
  • None of CompuPay’s offerings address the more complex payroll issues that larger companies typically run into. As such, it’s likely that CompuPay will find it difficult to expand outside of the SMB market (or the U.S. for that matter).

Bottom-line for CompuPay’s Payroll Outsourcing Service

CompuPay’s focus has always been on the small to mid-sized business client (i.e. the size of business unlikely to be able to afford its own in-house payroll team). However, conscious of the fact that ideally businesses will grow, CompuPay has carefully constructed a tiered structure of increasingly full-featured online payroll services for easy upgrading—allowing the company to maintain longer relationships where possible. In a crowded marketplace, CompuPay clearly have a broad enough service offering to stand out. Couple that fact with solid financial backing (and three decades of experience to draw from), and it becomes clear why CompuPay is one of the top payroll providers in the U.S. End

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Conscious of the fact that ideally businesses will grow, CompuPay has carefully constructed a tiered structure of increasingly full-featured online payroll services for easy upgrading—allowing the company to maintain longer relationships where possible.”



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