ZenPayroll Review: Best Payroll Service for Sole Proprietors

At the Sleeter Accounting Technology Conference earlier this month, I had the opportunity to review Zen Payroll with the CEO and some of the fantastic staff.  I had gone in hopeful (because one of my favorite clients loves the service), but skeptical (the price is too low to be real).

I was intrigued.  Upon return, I scheduled a demo to learn the program more in-depth, and to ask all the multitude of questions I had.  And guess what?  I’m a fan.  They may be missing a few bells and whistles that some payroll systems have (most notably, departmental reporting, which they are bringing online in March), but they are affordable, integrate well, and are easy to use.

[UPDATE AS OF 2/16/2015 — THE INTEGRATIONS DO NOT WORK ANY BETTER THAN THE ADP AND PAYCHEX “MAPPING”.  THIS MEANS IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PROPERLY RECONCILE THE PAYROLL TRANSACTIONS AGAINST YOUR BANK ACCOUNT.  I AM PRETTY FURIOUS THAT THE METHOD OF INTEGRATION WAS NOT REVIEWED IN EITHER MY DEMO OR MY TRAINING.  THEY ARE AWARE OF THIS PROBLEM AND YET PRESENT IT AS IF THEY HAVE A FUNCTIONING INTEGRATION, BECAUSE TECHNICALLY, IT WORKS.   I WILL POST A BLOG ABOUT THE DETAILS ON THIS SOON AND LINK TO IT HERE.]

And they do the one thing I consider the most important characteristic of payroll software — they take the liability for making timely tax payments and filing timely payroll tax returns off the small business owner’s shoulders and onto theirs.  It’s like ADP or Paychex, but easy to use and affordable.

Today, I saw that Business News Daily agrees with me! See their review below.

ZenPayroll Review: Best Payroll Service for Sole Proprietors.

If you’re intrigued too, let me know — I’ll get you in touch with my rep, Jarell, and he’ll get you set up (they offer free conversion, so I encourage you to contact me before year-end so we can make sure everything’s ready to go before it’s time for W-2s).  Since I don’t accept commissions, I’ve chosen their “10% discount for more than 5 accounting clients” option, so on top of their already low fees, you get to share in this discount.

(I’ve never been excited about payroll services before.  It feels odd to be so enthusiastic about this.  Did I drink the Sleeter Group Kool-Aid?)

[UPDATE AS OF 2/16/15: APPARENTLY EVERYONE AT SLEETER IS DRINKING THE KOOL-AID IF THEY THINK THIS INTEGRATION WORKS.  BLOG POST ON THE TOPIC TO FOLLOW SOON.]

Oh, What A Relief It Is

I’m looking forward to sharing more about the amazing experiences I had at the back-to-back accounting conferences I just attended.  However, one short post in the meanwhile:

It is SUCH a relief to find out that so many of the workarounds I’ve created for my clients — most notably, recurring daily journal entries to capture data from online Point of Sale systems (although there were at least two other topics) — aren’t because I was just “missing something” or confused about how these systems (Square, Vend, etc.) work.  The fact is, they simply don’t function properly.  The “integrations” with QuickBooks Online aren’t what they purport themselves to be, and I have it on good authority that the most expert POS consultants in the world are using the same exact workarounds that I thought I’d invented.  It may not be “good” news, per se, but it’s such a relief!

Commonly Overlooked Deductions

Here are some routine deductions that many business owners miss. Keep your eye out for them.

  • bank service charges
  • business association dues
  • business gifts (limited to $25 per recipient per year)
  • business-related magazines, books & subscriptions
  • casual labor and tips (make sure to issue a 1099-MISC if over $600 per recipient per year)
  • casualty and theft losses
  • coffee and beverage service for clients/customers
  • commissions
  • consultant fees
  • credit bureau fees
  • office supplies
  • online computer & internet services related to business
  • parking and meters
  • petty cash expenses/payouts
  • postage/shipping
  • promotion and publicity
  • seminars and trade shows
  • taxi, train and bus fare
  • telephone calls related to the business
  • training related to business skills

In 2015, Various Tax Benefits Increase Due to Inflation Adjustments

A few days ago, the IRS released info on which tax benefits will increase next year due to inflation (guessing the silly old limit on deductible gifts is still going strong/ would love to see that one indexed some day); see the list here:

In 2015, Various Tax Benefits Increase Due to Inflation Adjustments.