Payroll on the Run

The latest mobile payroll app to make a splash is Automatic Data Processing’s RUN, which was launched last Autumn in the US for the iPhone and iPod Touch and iPad and will soon arrive in the UK. RUN Powered by ADP follows SurePayroll, which claims to have been the first mobile payroll app overall and Intuit Online Payroll as the third payroll app to target the iPhone's constituency of small-business users. These payroll apps are adapted from widely used Internet payroll sites.

Like SurePayroll and Intuit, ADP's iPhone app is free, but for you to use any mobile payroll app’ your business needs to be using that vendor's online payroll service, so that likely will be your deciding factor.

ADP came to market armed with research that suggested small businesses are ready to unplug payroll from the desktop, and it found this tantalizing figure: Small business owners spend 23 percent of their workweek away from the office.

RUN's payroll functions are similar to the other two apps': entering and reviewing employee/contractor information; paying employees via checks or direct deposits; calculating earnings and deductions and tax info; reviewing and confirming hours/earnings accuracy; reviewing payroll liability and cash required; and confirming funds to be withdrawn. It also allows you to review and compare previous payroll reports.

The apps do have some slight differences. RUN offers additional content, such as human resources tips and an HR dictionary. SurePayroll, meanwhile, has a one-click confirmation option if you know your payroll is set in stone from one pay period to the next. SurePayroll also includes employee photos, a nifty touch to help you put names with faces though if you need that kind of help, you really are spending a lot of time away from the office. 

Payroll apps may not knock Angry Birds out of the sky anytime soon, but the fact that there are at least three payroll apps for the iPhone alone shows how viable the idea of managing a small business on the go has become