The Fourth Annual Inc Web Awards: Killer Apps

Company: PayMaxx, in Franklin, Tenn.
What we liked: This pioneer of Internet-based payroll systems is a potent reminder of how the Web can help streamline administrative tasks

Here are PayMaxx's detailed, step-by-step instructions for processing a company's payroll on the Internet:

1. Fire up your browser and head to

2. Upload your employees' pay information onto the secure site.

3. Wait for PayMaxx to print your checks and deliver them the next day, or print your own checks from the site.

OK, that's the Reader's Digest version. PowerPayroll users -- generally companies that have fewer than 100 employees -- must also establish an account and undergo some training. But once they're set up, it's just about that simple to run a batch of paychecks.

The system also handles federal, state, and local taxes; deals with deductions; keeps time and attendance records; and produces year-end W-2 forms. Add-on services include vacation and sick-day tracking, complete tax filing and reporting, and 401(k) plan administration.

In other words, PowerPayroll performs some of the most regulation- and paperwork-intensive chores that typically burden accounting and human-resources departments. And although the record of Internet-based application service providers has been mixed, PayMaxx's offering -- used by more than 1,500 companies -- reports 92% customer satisfaction.

PayMaxx has even overcome customers' understandable security jitters, using a stringent password-ID system, encrypted data, and firewalls, as well as physically separating its Web server and its payroll-processing computers. (An electronic agent moves the data between them.) To date, PayMaxx has never suffered an electronic break-in or other breach.

PAYING TRIBUTE: PayMaxx's offering reports 92% customer satisfaction, says CEO Farsheed Ferdowsi.

Launched in 1999, PowerPayroll is PayMaxx's fastest-growing service, generating 25% of the company's annual revenues. "I wouldn't be surprised if in a few years it constitutes more than half our business," says CEO Farsheed Ferdowsi, who adds that the application has given his $12-million company an edge over much larger competitors that have yet to field a comparable service.

The CEO says one reason PowerPayroll has outstripped PayMaxx's other products is its portability. There's no software to install, so customers can process their payrolls from any computer on the Internet. One company owner recently did the job from an Internet cafÉ in Amsterdam.

The Fourth Annual Inc Web Awards

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