Bare-bones payroll

Don't expect much from this spartan program.

Even if you use a payroll company to pay your employees, in many cases you're still legally obligated to keep your own payroll records. We've encountered several programs that let users do that with varying levels of success. Personal Payroll Manager, we're sorry to say, is among the worst. While it technically does keep track of your payroll records, it's difficult to use and lacks important features.

We had trouble getting Personal Payroll Manager to open at first; it requires Microsoft Access, and when we tried to launch Personal Payroll Manager, we had to manually select Access as the program to open it with. Once it was open, we were greeted by an extremely sparse interface, with seven tiny buttons across the top and an otherwise empty screen. We were able to add employees easily enough, entering their names and personal information, but there didn't seem to be any way to customize the type of data that we entered. For example, the program makes you choose whether an employee is a manager or associate, but there doesn't seem to be any way to enter other positions. For each employee we were able to enter wage information, and the time card feature lets you enter the number of hours worked at each pay rate for each employee. Although the program did successfully process the time card information and add it to each employee's record, there didn't seem to be anything else we could do with it. The Help file, which is extremely brief and vague, mentions printing payroll receipts using a report feature, but we couldn't find such a feature anywhere in the program. Overall, we were not at all impressed with Personal Payroll Manager, and we recommend exploring other options for your payroll record-keeping.

Personal Payroll Manager comes as a ZIP file. It installs politely but leaves a folder and a Start menu icon behind upon removal.

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