Small and medium-size businesses do all kinds of different things, but one thing they have in common is they're in business. Something else they have in common is payrolls. Meeting them, managing them, recording them -- no wonder so many business owners and accountants always seem worried! It's a lot of responsibility. Payroll Mate 2013 from Real Business Solutions can help. It handles just about every part of the payroll process except providing the actual pay (sorry -- that one's still yours!) for a reasonable price. It can prepare payrolls, calculate taxes and withholding, print paychecks, create and export reports and data to a variety of databases and document types, and process forms, including W-2s and federal forms (and even some state forms, too). Payroll Mate is free to try for 30 days -- plenty of time to see if it's what your business needs. The latest release is fully compatible with Windows 8.
As with many proprietary business tools, Payroll Mate's user interface offers its own take on the basic Explorer-style layout, with multipurpose sidebars and toolbars as well as menu bars that borrow touches from Web browsers. Payroll Mate opened with the Checks form displayed and pre-filled with sample data for a fictitious employee, "George B. Orange." Other buttons configure and manage data for Employees, Forms, Reports, Company, and Vendor Center, but we could add custom buttons easily, too. In fact, most of Payroll Mate can be customized to suit your business. We probably should have mentioned this earlier, but Payroll Mate has plenty to offer on its Help menu, too, including a Help Manual with lots of specific information (like Clergy Payroll, for instance) as well as an entire submenu of Helpful Resources such as a Quick Start Guide and instructions for using W-2s and other forms.
Overall, we were impressed with Payroll Mate 2013's ability to simplify a lot of complex processes. For example, toolbar buttons labeled Print Selected Check and Print Multiple Checks leave little room for guessing.
Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of Payroll Mate 2013 9.0.10.