In an economy where everyone's doing whatever it takes to keep business open, it's nice to know that a small business owner can still catch a break. Intuit recently announced that it's temporarily reducing the price of its online payroll service from $29.95 a month to $9.95 a month for new customers. The company's also offering new products and services aimed at small retailers, and we'll get into that a bit later.
New customers who sign up for Intuit Online Payroll will also receive the first 90 days for free, which brings the cost of running the payroll for a year to less than $100. The service also lets customers provide free direct deposit to their employees. Compared to doing payroll by hand, an online payroll service saves you time and frees you up to handle other tasks. It also increases accuracy, which can reduce your risk of costly payroll tax penalties.
Cameron Schmidt, vice-president at Intuit, said that while the company can't offer the price reduction permanently, it would run it as long as possible. "We understand where our bread is buttered. At a time like this we have to band together, and now's the time to get behind small business and do whatever we can to help."
Intuit also offers the following free payroll resources that may help you better understand the payroll process:
- Payroll Video Tutorial Explains how to set up and run payroll online
- Business Owner's Guide to Hiring and Paying Employees ‑ Provides information an employer needs when hiring employees including government requirements.
- Intuit QuickBooks Payroll Year-End Center ‑ Helps small business owners perform the most common payroll tasks to ensure a smooth year-end transition.
Cash In on Retail and E-tail Sales
Retailers take note: Intuit offers new products and services for merchants with varied needs. The company designed QuickBooks Cash Register Plus for smaller shop owners looking for a simple way to track customer sales.
For companies with more complex needs, such as inventory tracking, Intuit has QuickBooks Point of Sale 8.0. And, for retailers looking to sell products online, the Intuit Storefront for QuickBooks Point of Sale may be of interest.
QuickBooks Cash Register Plus software ($299.95) works and looks like an electronic cash register, but offers a lot more functionality, according to Josh Brenner, a product manager at Intuit. Just some of the capabilities include being able to:
- Look up prior transactions by date, customer and more
- See a customer's purchase history, preferences and contact information
- Track top customers, best sellers, most profitable items plus daily and seasonal trends
- Process credit and debit card transactions from your PC
- Automatically record sales, sales tax and cost-of-goods-sold information
- Import end-of-day reports into QuickBooks
"Many small retailers think POS is very expensive and complex. This is a simple solution that offers a lot of point-of-sale function at a fraction of the cost," said Brenner. "We deliberately branded QuickBooks Cash Register Plus as a cash register because we don't want to scare off people."
QuickBooks Point of Sale 8.0 (Basic for $799.95 and Pro for $1,199.95) is designed for shop owners with product-based businesses that require inventory-tracking capability among other more complex retail tasks, Brenner said. Features include a new simple sales receipt view and a user-friendly interface that works with a touch-screen monitor. The software lets you manage up to 20 registers. A multi-store version lets you manage up to 20 stores from one location.
Intuit Storefront for QuickBooks Point of Sale is designed to help brick-and-mortar retailers expand their business to include Internet sales. It offers a one-stop shop where business owners can get all the help they need, from designing and hosting their Web store to managing their online and off-line inventory.
"We surveyed our customers and found that one-third of them want to sell products online, but aren't," said Brenner. "Of those who are selling products online, three-quarters of them can't integrate their point-of-sale software with their Web store. They're basically running two businesses: one on the POS system and one in the online store. Our storefront solution integrates seamlessly with the Intuit QuickBooks Point of Sale software," he said.
Intuit charges a one-time set-up fee of $199 plus a monthly charge of $149 to host and maintain the e-commerce site If you're not up to the task of designing your own professional e-commerce site, you can outsource that chore to Intuit's team of Web designers (an additional one-time fee of $999).
You can buy Cash Register Plus and QuickBooks Point of Sale 8.0 as stand-alone software or with retail hardware, including a receipt printer, cash drawer and credit card reader.
Intuit also sells the Intuit-HP Retail Solution, which includes Cash Register Plus or QuickBooks Point of Sale 8.0 software, retail hardware and HP's rp3000 Point of Sale System, a 17-inch flat panel monitor, USB keyboard and mouse. Contact Intuit for specific pricing information.
Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com