ADP planted its feet a little deeper into the small-business market by enhancing its General Ledger Interface mapping with Intuit’s QuickBooks.
Combined with enhancements to ADP’s Compensation Benchmarking, the integration through its Accountant Connect product helps CPAs to “better position” themselves by allowing them to provide more comprehensive services to their clients, the company said.
In ADP’s world, the online GLI converts payroll data to a general ledger file for import into a company’s accounting software. The point is to simplify the process of creating payroll journal entries and updating the general ledger after each payroll run. This latest effort allows users to access complete GLI mapping through QuickBooks as well as “many other popular accounting software platforms,” ADP said. Those other platforms are nice, but remember QuickBooks controls some 80 percent of the market for small-business financial software.
“By streamlining routine processes, the GLI technology helps increase efficiencies for accountants and their clients,” ADP said in a press release, adding that more enhancements to GLI are due to come in early 2019.
ADP also announced a new compensation benchmarking tool that provides data by industry, location, job type, employee or revenue size and pay type.
Running on ADP DataCloud, the tool’s intended to help accountants advise clients by giving them access to information comparing their organizations to similar companies. Compensation data points include items such as overtime, bonuses and job tenure, which ADP and many data providers say is often difficult to find.
Maria Black, president of Small Business Solutions and Human Resources Outsourcing for ADP, said that integrating ADP’s data and technology solutions with QuickBooks’ financial and transactional capabilities, “will provide accountants with unparalleled business insights to help improve their clients’ businesses.”
Consider, also, the more nuts-and-bolts value of time saved by both accountants and clients. Customers of Intuit’s time-tracking product TSheets report saving an average of over two hours on every payroll run, said Kyle Jenke, Intuit’s global partnership and platform lead. “These enhancements are designed to dramatically increase an accountant’s most valuable asset: time,” he said.
A Less Bumpy Road for ADP?
ADP and Intuit are dominant players in the world of small business payroll and finance. We’ve already noted that Quickbooks controls the lion’s share of the SMB financial software market, and conversations with small business owners lead us to believe that the first payroll services that come to their minds are ADP, Ceridian, Paychex and Intuit Payroll. That’s sure to change as newer companies like Gusto make inroads, but for now those four have the most mindshare.
Many small businesses handle most HR issues themselves, in ways that are far removed from any sort of best practice. Some accountants say the first workforce issue they look to outsource is payroll. In the case of ADP, we’ve talked to a number of businesses who eventually outsourced all of their HR work to the company for no other reason than it already handled their payroll. This demonstrates the value of simple presence: Many of those same business owners complain regularly about ADP’s poor customer service.
Now let’s consider QuickBooks. As it moves online, it’s “kind of pivoting” from being solely a financial system to a solution for many of the HR issues faced by SMBs, accountants say. Products like TSheets and third-party apps such as Acuity Scheduling and Performance Reviews by JuvodHR allow business owners to use QuickBooks as a centralized platform for financial and employee management. Market penetration aside, we should note that Intuit has traditionally focused on developing products for small business, while ADP’s customers range from mom-and-pop operations to multinationals.
So while both companies benefit from these enhancements, we believe ADP has the most to gain. We can’t help but think it’s is more nervous about companies like Gusto than is Intuit, with its huge market share and strong ties to both business owners and their CPAs. While many business owners are well-aware that ADP has services geared toward them, and sometimes outsourcing HR is just easier than trying to manage it yourself through QuickBooks, every step ADP takes to increase its presence in the small business landscape and grapple with its perceived lack of customer service makes it a stronger contender in the growing market for small business HR tech.
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