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Check mate

Print checks, manage payrolls, and even do your taxes with this small-business tool.

Small businesses need all the breaks they can get, and anything that can reduce costs and increase productivity by automating a tedious process is welcome. HalfPriceSoft's ezPaycheck 2010 is a payroll management tool designed for small-business owners and accountants. It can manage payrolls for several companies, print checks and reports, and even calculate taxes and print tax forms. It includes tax data for all 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., as well as Social Security, Medicare, and FICA withholdings.

The ezPaycheck interface is a simple, efficient dialog that opens with a split display, a sample check facsimile above a selection pane, and a basic left-hand navigation panel handles all settings and options with a series of configuration windows and dialogs. The program makes extensive use of wizards for setting up options, entering data, and other functions. We opted to simply print out the sample check to gauge how easy ezPaycheck is to use as well as the quality of its output. It delivered a crisp, professional-quality check image, including signature, as well as full balance information to our compact laser printer. Customizing checks is easy, too. The Check Setup dialog simplifies entering regularly accessed data, whereas the Check List displays your checks for easy selection. The New Check button calls up an extensive payroll data dialog. The Reports button accesses various annual and quarterly reporting options as well as data export wizards. We tried the W2 form tool, too, which automatically populated the form with appropriate data. You can even order professionally printed checks in quantity via an online link on the file menu. All told, it's a cinch to set up employee, payroll, and check data, save sample checks, and print out high-quality paper checks that can include signatures, images, and logos.

This is a simple yet effective and efficient check-printing and payroll management tool that includes some welcome extras in an easy-to-use package. With it, mom-and-pop shops can cut checks like the big boys.

Editors' note: This is a review of the full version of ezPayCheck 3.0.9. The trial version is limited to 30 days.

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