Easy, Affordable Payroll Options in QuickBooks

Easy, Affordable Payroll: Intuit’s Many Options

Employee payroll management is complex and time-consuming. It can also be costly if you submit taxes late or incorrectly. And your employees will be unhappy if checks are tardy, or if withholding for benefits like health insurance and 401(k)s isn’t accurate.

Fortunately, Intuit offers numerous QuickBooks-based payroll solutions with varying degrees of assistance built in. Depending on your budget and your willingness to manage the ongoing process, you’ll undoubtedly find one that works for you.

Laying the groundwork

To get started, you’ll create records and deduction types for your employees using the QuickBooks Payroll Setup Wizard. Click Employees | Payroll Setup and work through the outline, as shown here:

Figure 1: QuickBooks’ Payroll Setup Wizard simplifies the early stages of paying employees.

That’s the hard part. You’ll go through multiple screens here, adding information about each employee and your YTD payroll. There’s nothing especially difficult about this as long as you’ve assembled the necessary information upfront.

Running the payroll

Non-salaried employees can track time in QuickBooks or remotely. As you prepare payroll, you’ll assign a type to hours worked (regular, vacation, etc.).

Figure 2: The partially displayed top window contains important payroll information. Below, you’ll see how everything was calculated by QuickBooks.

You can review the paychecks you just entered before you dispatch them. QuickBooks keeps track of payroll data so you’ll know what your tax liabilities are.

Varied assistance options

Intuit offers several service levels. All let you enter hours and print checks or dispatch direct deposits, and each calculates federal and state taxes. They all, of course, use the latest tax rates and generate reports. The differences lie primarily in how taxes are handled and how much assistance you get.

  • Basic Payroll. No tax forms, but generates tax reports. Starts at $21/month.
  • Enhanced Payroll. Completes federal and state tax forms you still pay, and file.  Starts at $33/month.
  • Assisted Payroll.You prepare your payroll but they file the tax payments, quarterly/annual tax forms for you. Starts at $55/month.
  • Assisted Advantage. You prepare your payroll but they file the tax payments, quarterly/annual tax forms for you. Free direct deposit. Starts at $108/month.
  • Intuit Online Payroll. Anywhere access. Free direct deposit. Unlimited payrolls. Completes federal and state tax forms. Does not integrate with QuickBooks. Pay and file electronically. iPhone app. Starts at $25/month.

Since you’re dealing with government agencies, payroll accuracy and timeliness are critical. QuickBooks helps, but you’d be wise to consult your accountant, especially during setup and early runs.