by Jonathan Garro
Published on 7 November 2013
Wagepoint Pay Review - Online payroll accessible to businesses of all size in Canada
Running your business requires the help of your dedicated employees, so ensuring that they get paid on time is tremendously important. However, navigating the complex world of payroll procedure becomes increasingly difficult as your business grows and tax law becomes more confusing. With this Wagepoint Pay review we'll see how this online payroll software can handle calculations, deductions, and even the actual transfer to your hourly and salaried employees.
In this Wagepoint Payreview, I will walk you through their creation tool and explore the many features that the software offers to businesses of all sizes.
Wagepoint markets itself as a payroll solution for Canadian businesses, but support for American businesses is coming soon (Dec '13 / Jan '14). For now, tax support is geared towards Canadian laws, but free tiers are currently available that can help Americans take the software for a spin and decide whether they want to wait for Wagepoint to rollout south of the border. You can also sign up to get notified of their US beta launch by clicking here.
As you create your account, you will be asked for several details about where you operate in order to tailor your payroll options to your location. Next, you can add any deductions that will be taken out of paychecks. The list of pre-defined deductions is long, and includes everything from dental and medical to 401k's and union dues. If there is an option that you need which Wagepoint has not included, you can request it. After deductions, you can define income types. Again, the list here comes populated with five of the more common options, including vacation, regular pay, overtime, final pay, and bonus. You can delete unnecessary options or add your own. Finally, you can set payroll schedules from a list that includes weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, and monthly.
Once you have set up your Wagepoint Pay account, it's time to dive into the software's important payroll features. Wagepoint Pay can act as a centralized employee database, allowing you to quickly access relevant information and make payments directly. The individual employee input form requires that you define his or her name, hire date, pay schedule (which you created during the initial set up process), province or state, and annual or hourly pay rate. The expanded input then allows you to add any other personal details that you want, including Social Insurance Number, birth date, contact information, and more.
There are several other tabs on the individual employee input form that help you add additional data regarding supervisors, vacation accrual rate, and federal and state tax deductions. Direct deposit can be enabled, so that paychecks are automatically transferred to employee accounts each pay period. Not all employees take advantage of the same benefits, so deductions for things like retirement or insurance can also be set. As employees can be assigned job titles and departments, you have some basic control over organizational structure. After designating someone as a manager, others can be listed as "reporting to" him or her.
Wagepoint offers an innovative solution if your organization is large enough that individually entering every employee into the database will be prohibitively time-consuming. Just download their Excel spreadsheet template that includes all of the fields I have mentioned above (and many more that I did not), fill in all of the information or transfer it from an existing Excel spreadsheet or Access table, and upload it back to Wagepoint Pay.
The payroll controls allow simple editing of pay-group details. First, you can select the starting point upon which to base your pay date. For example, setting a bi-weekly schedule and choosing the upcoming Monday will tell Wagepoint to process paydays every other Monday from then on. Next, for hourly employees, you will enter the number of standard and overtime hours worked, as well as any vacation time, during the current pay period. For salaried employees, you confirm their base pay and vacation.
Employees can receive invitations to a separate portal of Wagepoint Pay that grants them basic access to their personal and bank information, as well as an overview of the pay schedule and history.
Paying your employees represents a major part of your company's expenses, so keeping a firm grasp of payroll's impact on your financial position is important. The reporting functions in Wagepoint offer a wealth of information to help understand and analyze your payroll history. The software allows you to view your payroll register to visualize gross pay, total deductions, total net pay, and more. You can see paystubs, and get a breakdown of how taxes are being paid in the receiver general tab. All of the reporting features can be exported via PDF and Excel, as well as printed.
Add-ons allow you to connect your account with other business applications. At the time of the review, the offerings were a bit on the thin side, with official connections limited to FreshBooks and Swipe Clock. The short list of connections does not, however, diminish the utility of those add-ons. FreshBooks' time-tracking features allow employees to record their hours, and you can export those records to track payroll and remittances. SwipeClock's features offer a similar functionality.
Pricing for Wagepoint is kept simple, which is a breath of fresh air in a world full of complicated pricing schemes for business apps. A free package is available that includes all of the features I have discussed, minus the direct deposit and tax services. While those are two major elements of Wagepoint Pay that you are missing with the free package, it's designed to help as a fully-featured alternative to the CRA calculator. You can run your payroll calculations, generate paystubs, access reporting features and maintain an employee database.
Upgrading to the Pro plan adds the direct deposit and tax features, as well as a dedicated account manager. The Pro plan costs $2 per employee, per pay, on top of a base $20 fee per pay, and it includes direct deposits, government remittances and year-end T4's.
Wagepoint Pay is a case of filling a very specific need in your business operations. For the most part, it accomplishes payroll management well, and adds a few features that make it appealing compared to its competitors.
The integration with other apps is a great start, but limited to time trackers. The natural integration that many potential users would likely love to see would be with more expansive business management applications, such as full-featured accounting software. But that too is set to change by December 2013, which is when integrations with Xero Accounting will become available. QuickBooks and FreshBooks accounting integrations are slated for launch in January 2014.
Overall, this Wagepoint Pay review has demonstrated that it can make payroll management easy, and with direct deposit tools and other features, it comes as close as a set-it-and-forget it solution for payroll as there is for small business. With a free option, it is easy to try out and decide whether it's right for your company.