Intuit bolsters payroll services with Prestwick acquisition

Forthcoming integration will enable small and midsize business to calculate workers' compensation premiums every pay period, instead of making big prepayments.

One perceived weakness in Intuit's vast lineup of financial and business management applications for small businesses has been the payroll services component of its lineup. Still, the division has approximately 1 million customers.

Well, this week, the company moved to beef up its offerings in this area with a definitive agreement to acquire Prestwick Services, a billing company in Sudbury, Mass., that will make it easier for SMBs to manage workers' compensation payments over time. 

Specifically, the new features and integration that will be made possible through this union will allow owners and managers to calculate workers' comp insurance premiums in real time during every pay period rather than forcing them to estimate them ahead of time -- a process that usually requires them to make large-sum prepayments. (Not so fun with cash flow.)

Prestwick's technology platform, Trupay, will become part of the Intuit Employee Management Solutions division. It currently works with plans from 15 major carriers. 

"Our drive has always been to make running a business simpler," said Adam Black, founder of Prestwick, in a statement about the deal. "Intuit's expertise in doing just that, coupled with our Trupay technology, will enable workers' compensation insurance carriers to better serve their small business clients with flexible payment options while retaining the benefits of existing client-agent relationships."

The transaction is scheduled to close by Jan. 31 (the end of Intuit's second fiscal quarter). There's no word on when the integrated service will be available.