by Carly Lombardo
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David Kupferman feels payroll is a “nitpicky” area, but finds he has to address it with almost every client.
“We, as CPAs, already have enough deadlines, and for us to supervise our staffs, it almost always ends up being unduly expensive if we have to run client payrolls or if we have to clean up their messes,” says Kupferman. As a result, he relies on Intuit’s QuickBooks Assisted Payroll.
A sole practitioner, located in San Francisco, Calif., Kupferman says, “Of course, we do back filings and clean up messes in the payroll area, but I strive to make things as cheap for my clients as possible.”
Although the service is an outsourced model, professionals can still print checks and maintain control of their payroll data through QuickBooks. Formerly called QuickBooks Deluxe Payroll, the offering allows users to enter payroll data into the latest version of QuickBooks, then transmit it to Intuit anytime over a secure Internet connection.
Intuit calculates payroll earnings and deductions, sends an updated QuickBooks file, and performs the funds transfer. They send copies of what has been filed on their behalf, and print W-2s at year-end. The customer then prints their employees’ paychecks whenever they want. QuickBooks Assisted Payroll starts at $79 per month, based on five employees.
So how does Kupferman fit in? He insists his role is important—he must be with the client when they first set up payroll because the payroll interfaces have to be created properly from the beginning. He charges $220 per hour, which he says is in line with the pricey San Francisco market.
“As the accountant, I do the setup, not the client, so the proper general ledger accounts link,” he says. “I always make sure that my staff or I do the first one or two payrolls with the client. We can show them how it works, print a summary report, find the binder, where to put it, ensure a proper audit trail, and then we turn it over to them.”
Kupferman’s practice focuses on technology start-ups in the U.S. and Europe, but also covers the areas of taxation, business valuation, cash-flow planning, and financial consulting. In fact, 60 percent of his business comes from tax and payroll. In previous jobs, he has served as a CFO, controller, COO, auditor, and financial advisor. He also worked for KPMG. His firm has four employees and 250 clients. Besides being a strong advocate of QuickBooks, he also uses Intuit’s Lacerte for tax return preparation and BNA Software’s Tax Planner.
Kupferman is personally fascinated by technology, and this comes into play with his involvement in Intuit’s Advisory Council for QuickBooks Professional Advisors.
The council was designed to tap into the perspective of accountants regarding products and services, and Kupferman is a charter member. The council meets throughout the year and covers day-to-day job demands, emerging professional requirements, and product usability. Kupferman says, “I’m not on the council to get more clients. I interact with great people, and we’re trying to give back to the industry.”
Particularly, he wants to focus on improving Intuit’s methods for educating customers. “It is clear that Intuit, as they expand and complicate their menu, needs to find a way to disseminate and educate customers. The products and methods they’re using now are way behind,” he says.
The solution he proposes the council adopt comes from Provo, Utah-based ClearCourse, an e-learning company. The company’s solution is based on customized content for individuals, adaptive e-learning, and cognitive mapping technologies. For example, new companies using QuickBooks can attend a course on what to do and what not to do when using the software, or customers can attend online tutorials on payroll. “With ClearCourse, its not just limited to question and answer. It’s interactive and allows for Intuit to have control setting up each class,” he notes.
That technology interest extends to the area of nanotechnology. Kupferman is chair of the nanoEuro Forum and Finance Director of nanoSIG, an industry trade group, which promotes the growth of the nascent nanotech industry.
Kupferman is multilingual and that helps him to assist international nanotechnology companies looking to break into the U.S. market. He provides operations, global tax consulting, and strategic business consulting for such companies, besides back-office accounting services. “One cannot exist without the other. If finances are handled wrong from the get-go, the whole thing can fail” he says.
Carly Lombardo is Associate Editor of Accounting Technology and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.