Payroll is becoming a seminal battleground in accounting software, with more than a dozen major companies offering a variety of programs. And that doesn't begin to measure new competition from banks and other financial services firms.Nor is there any consensus on the format. Established online payroll services such as CompuPay and MPay are now seeing additional competition from the likes of ADP's Run and Intuit Online Payroll. But service bureaus are likewise making a comeback as they diversify their offerings and compete more strongly on price, as the new myPay service from Thomson-Reuters is demonstrating.

For their part, accountants could not be more pleased. This increasing competition means that the market is fast, smart and competitive, with new features and interfaces debuting every month. This equates to better service, greater convenience and lower prices both for accountants and their clients.

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