Small Business News Briefs

Thursday Jul 3rd 2003 by SmallBusinessComputing.com Staff
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Intuit introduces a new tool to help manage human resources for small- and mid-sized businesses, ACCPAC offers a way for employees to manage certain HR data, and Kurant provides an e-commerce starter kit for small businesses that want to dabble in online sales.

Intuit's New Complete Payroll HR Assistant
Intuit released its Complete Payroll HR Assistant this week. HR Assistant provides an affordable solution for employers to administer payroll services while managing employee HR needs and information. The service also assures your small business will stay in compliance with federal and state employment laws and regulations.

Integrated with Complete Payroll, the full service payroll solution from Intuit Payroll Services, HR Assistant provides employers with step-by-step guidance for key HR events and activities including hiring, raises and promotions, leaves of absence, and terminations. Because the program is integrated with Intuit's Complete Payroll, small businesses can save time by eliminating duplicate data entry, increase accuracy, and can enhance simplicity by managing all payroll and HR activities from one screen.

The offering provides all the latest state and federal government forms, templates for letters and other documents, and employee management forms. Regular updates and personalized e-mail support to specific employment questions are provided by CCH.

Complete Payroll HR Assistant is priced on the number of employees and starts at $29 a month.

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ACCPAC's New Web-Based Self-Service HR Module
Computer Associates, has also released a human resource management package that is part of its integrated suite of end-to-end business management applications for small and mid-size businesses. The HR module is available in two editions, Corporate and Enterprise, ACCPAC HR Series 4.5 integrates with the ACCPAC Advantage Series and ACCPAC Pro Series accounting systems.

Highlighting this new release is the addition of an Employee Self-Service module. This Web-based feature gives employees easy access to company organizational charts and the ability to view or make changes to their personal and dependents data, vacation accruals and a variety of additional benefits information.

ACCPAC HR Series 4.5 improves employee satisfaction and HR administration efficiency by giving employees the ability to access and update their own information. The product automates almost every aspect of the HR process, including maintaining full compliance with government Human Resource Management requirements, such as U.S. COBRA administration and 401(k) management. Version 4.5, like previous versions, uses "wizards" to efficiently lead non-technical users through data entry. The new intranet-based Employee Self Service module enables employees to access and update data in the following areas:

  • My Self section: Allows employees to view and update their personal information such as address, phone numbers, and emergency contacts.

  • My Family section: Allows employees to enter information about their dependents.

  • My Benefits section: Allows employees to view their current benefits. They can also view information on multiple benefit plans available, and do plan comparisons.

  • My Time Off section: Allows employees to check accrued sick and vacation time.

  • My Company section: Allows employees to search a directory of all company employees, including pictures and organizational charts.

"Improving user productivity is paramount for any business application today," said Dr. Katherine Jones, Director Enterprise Business Applications at Aberdeen Group. "The addition of self serve capabilities in ACCPAC HR Series 4.5 gives small and mid-size businesses savings in data entry costs, more accurate information, and the ability to focus HR staff on strategically important tasks."

ACCPAC HR Series 4.5 is available through authorized resellers starting at $1,000 for a 25-employee system.

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Kurant Offers Starter Version of StoreSense
San Francisco-based e-business software provider Kurant this week launched its new StoreSense Starter Edition. An extension of Kurant's popular StoreSense platform, the Starter Edition offers a suite of entry-level e-business tools designed to help small businesses get started selling on the Web.

Designed and priced for new online merchants, who have been slow to adopt e-commerce technology due to the complexity and cost of products available, Kurant's StoreSense Starter Edition allows merchants to begin selling online without a major investment of time or resources.

"We're bringing our technical expertise to the entry level, giving new online merchants a low-risk yet powerful way to test the e-commerce waters," said Curtis Pierce, CEO of Kurant Corporation. "In so doing, we're allowing more small businesses to come online earlier, creating new opportunities for both StoreSense merchants and our channel partners who directly serve them."

Landmark Merchant Solutions is among the first of Kurant's reseller partners to offer StoreSense Starter Edition. Joseph Garza, Landmark president, said Kurant's Starter Edition is an attractive addition to the StoreSense product line.

"It clearly fulfills an unmet need at the entry-level end of the market, creating a larger pool of new customers to bring online," Garza said. "More importantly, however, the upgrade path that runs throughout the StoreSense platform will allow us ongoing up-sell opportunities that other products simply can't provide, meaning we can keep those customers as their e-business needs evolve."

Raymond Boggs, vice president for Small/Medium Business and Home Office Research at IDC, said about 200,000 small businesses will begin selling online for the first time this year, but there are many that are still unsure where to begin.

"For the 75 percent of online small businesses not selling online, StoreSense Starter Edition represents the kind of resource needed to get to the next level of Internet effectiveness," Boggs said.

StoreSense Starter Edition, a streamlined version of the StoreSense platform, includes all the key components necessary for selling online. It features a user-friendly setup of key business functions such as shipping tables and tax data, using simple wizards, drop-down menus and checkboxes. The Starter Edition allows for multiple payment methods such as credit cards, store cards, checks, PayPal or WorldPay, and process transactions securely in real-time.

StoreSense Starter Edition is available now through select Kurant reseller partners. The suggested retail price begins at $9.95 for a Starter Edition Store, but actual pricing will vary with the size and scope of the e-commerce initiative.

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