CheckMark Payroll Review 2021: Cost, Features, Alternatives

As a small business owner, you have countless responsibilities—even ones that aren’t included in your official job description. And as your business grows, it’s a good idea to delegate some of those unnecessarily time-consuming tasks to a service that’s literally dedicated to the job. Take payroll processing, for instance. Ensuring your employees are paid correctly and on time is incredibly important, but it can also be extremely time-consuming. Enlisting a payroll service can take this process out of your hands, which is where services like CheckMark Payroll come into play

CheckMark Payroll is an accounting and payroll services provider that currently serves over 12,000 small to midsize businesses in the U.S. and Canada. But beyond offering full-service payroll and accounting solutions, CheckMark Payroll provides comprehensive business-management tools that can help save busy SMB owners time, energy, and anxiety about maintaining compliance across their payroll, accounting, HR, and labor-management processes. CheckMark also offers payroll software solutions, but in this review, we’ll focus on their more customized and hands-on payroll and accounting services.

In this CheckMark Payroll review, we’ll take a closer look at what CheckMark Payroll provides for their small business clients looking to streamline or outsource their payroll processes, including features and pricing. In addition, we’ll look at some of CheckMark’s competitors so you can compare and decide on the best payroll processing service for your small business needs.

CheckMark Payroll Features

Despite the name, CheckMark Payroll offers much more than just payroll processing services. Let’s take a look at the other tools and solutions this company can provide for businesses:

Payroll Services

First and foremost, CheckMark Payroll offers payroll processing services, which allow small business owners to fully outsource their payroll and tax filings to CheckMark’s team of experts. These payroll pros guarantee compliance and accuracy, and they’re trained to handle multi-state taxes if you have employees in multiple states.

If you use Checkmark Payroll as your payroll service, you can submit your payroll information to the company via phone, fax, email, or online. Then, your dedicated payroll expert will take care of the rest for you, including:

  • Set and track benefits and deductions.
  • Ensure that your employees receive timely payments via direct deposit, paper or printable check, or pay cards–whichever method you choose.
  • Prepare and file all quarterly and annual payroll tax forms and W-2 and 1099 forms (unless you choose to do so yourself).
  • Prepare custom reports that you can integrate with your business accounting software.

Even though CheckMark Payroll will do all the heavy lifting for you, you’ll still be able to access all your payroll reports online through CheckMark’s digital payroll portal.

Accounting Services

CheckMark was actually among the first companies to develop accounting software for the Mac in 1985, so it’s no surprise that the company still offers their small business clients accounting services (albeit updated for the 21st century).

CheckMark Accounting Services is their division of experts that’s specially trained to handle accounting for small to midsize businesses. You’ll be assigned a dedicated accounting expert who can provide your business with the monthly bank reconciliations, profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and more.

HR Services

CheckMark Payroll’s HR services are designed to help small business owners streamline their internal HR functions and stay compliant. CheckMark Payroll also provides small business owners with useful HR tools and information, like an employee handbook wizard, HR documents, and other learning resources. SMBs using this service can also contact CheckMark’s on-demand HR pros for consulting purposes.

CheckMark offers two HR solutions packages. The first offers small business owners tools to supplement their existing internal HR processes, and the second allows SMBs to fully outsource their HR system:

  • HR Support Center: With this plan, you’ll have access to digital HR-related tools and resources, and you can contact an HR expert and even more resources via HRProMobile, CheckMark’s HR mobile app.
  • HR On-Demand Program: This plan gets you every feature available with the HR Support Center plan, plus access to HR Concierge, CheckMark’s live-chat feature, and unlimited consultations with HR pros via phone or email. This plan also offers customized HR documents, a harassment training program, a ticket tracker, and custom employee handbook development.

Time and Attendance Solutions

CheckMark offers SwipeClock’s cloud-based timekeeping, labor management, and appointment scheduling software, plus SwipeClock’s range of plug-and-play hardware that collects employee’s clock-in/clock-out data via badge cards, PIN, finger scans, or phone. All daily time and attendance data is immediately exported to your CheckMark Payroll software, or to your dedicated CheckMark Payroll expert if you’ve chosen to outsource your processes.

Other CheckMark Payroll Products

CheckMark Payroll offers small business owners a range of other products in addition to their payroll and business-management services. Also on offer are four types of payroll software (CheckMark Payroll, CheckMark MultiLedger, CheckMark 1099, and CheckMark 1095); paper products like high-security, customizable checks and envelopes, business forms, and tax forms; and a cloud backup for your CheckMark software.

CheckMark Payroll Pricing

CheckMark Payroll has a quote-based pricing model, so the cost of your services will depend on your business’s needs and which of their services you’re signing up for. You can choose from CheckMark’s three levels of payroll processing services, or you can have CheckMark design a completely custom solution for your business.

Here’s a quick overview of what’s included with CheckMark Payroll’s three service plans, which increase in features and capabilities:

  • Basic Payroll Processing: You’ll submit payroll information online, and CheckMark will process payroll, make deposits, and process FUTA/SUTA reports on your behalf. 
  • Pay & File Pro: CheckMark Payroll will take on all payroll burdens for you, including processing payroll and federal, state, and local payroll taxes, payments, and filings.
  • Pay & File Complete: In addition to fully outsourced payroll processing and tax filings and payments services, you’ll also have access to a virtual HR department.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to pay an additional fee for their add-on products, like their payroll software, cloud backup, and paper products.

CheckMark Payroll Alternatives

CheckMark Payroll can offer small businesses a comprehensive suite of business-management tools, but it’s far from the only payroll provider available. As you research your options, consider the following CheckMark Payroll alternatives:

OnPay Payroll

Cloud-based payroll service provider OnPay Payroll fully automates payroll processing according to your particular schedule. This service will also take on payroll tax administration for you. This software also allows for employee self-onboarding and provides employees with an easily navigable online portal where they can manage and view important information, like their paystubs, tax forms, and they can control voluntary deductions.

In addition to running payroll, OnPay Payroll offers features that can help you streamline HR and employee management, including an HR resource library, compliance audits, state new-hire reporting, robust PTO management features, and digitized processes like e-signing and online I-9 and W-4 forms.

Unlike CheckMark Payroll, OnPay is a licensed health insurance broker in all 50 states, so they can help you find and compare the most cost-effective plans you can offer your employees. OnPay also partners with Guideline, America’s Best 401(k), and Vestwell, so you can also provide your staff with retirement plans. OnPay also offers pay-as-you-go workers’ comp insurance.

As you’d expect from a cloud-based software, OnPay boasts a good-sized list of integrations with other well-loved business management, HR, and accounting software, like QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop, Xero, TSheets, ThinkHR, and more.

Get Started With OnPay

Square Payroll

For an even simpler payroll solution, consider Square Payroll. With Square, you can automatically run payroll according to your payroll schedule, and this software can accommodate both salaried and hourly workers at multiple pay rates, plus automatically track sick leave and PTO. Square also handles all tax administration duties, including tax calculations and withholdings and making tax payments to federal and state agencies. Square Payroll also supports benefits deductions and company contributions, and can offer workers’ comp insurance through their insurance partner, AP Intego.

Setup is easy, too: You’ll just enter your basic information, customize your payroll schedule, and add your team members’ information or invite them to enter their information themselves. And as Square Payroll integrates with all other services in the Square ecosystem, you can sync your Square POS app (and its clock-in/clock-out feature) with Square Payroll—that way, your employees’ hours will automatically integrate with your payroll software.

Get Started With Square Payroll

CheckMark Payroll: The Bottom Line

If you want to outsource, or at least streamline, your payroll, accounting, HR, and time management processes, CheckMark Payroll may just be the solution for your small business. And if you’re not sold yet but are interested in learning more, you can request a free quote from their website or ask a few questions in their online live chat.

Whichever payroll processing service you choose, you can’t go wrong by either outsourcing or automating this task so you can spend more time on the jobs that truly require your attention and expertise so your business can continue to grow.

Caroline Goldstein
Contributing Writer at Fundera

Caroline Goldstein

Caroline Goldstein is a contributing writer for Fundera.

Caroline is a freelance writer and editor, specializing in small business and finance. She has covered topics such as lending, credit cards, marketing, and starting a business for Fundera. Her work has appeared in JPMorgan Chase, Prevention, Refinery29, Bustle, Men’s Health, and more.

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