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Intuit QuickBooks Payroll Review

Jamie Johnson
Jamie Johnson
Business News Daily Contributing Writer
Updated Nov 30, 2022
  • QuickBooks is a full-service payroll provider for small businesses.
  • When you run payroll, employees can receive next-day or same-day direct deposit.
  • You can also use the software to manage employee benefits and access HR support.
  • This review is for small business owners who are considering using QuickBooks as their payroll provider.

If you already use QuickBooks for your accounting software, you should seriously consider using the vendor for payroll services as well. QuickBooks is a full-service payroll provider that can provide next-day or same-day direct deposit for your employees. The platform automatically withholds payroll taxes, and you can add on HR support to expand its features. QuickBooks offers a variety of plans so its services can grow with your business.

Intuit Quickbooks company logo

Intuit QuickBooks Payroll

The Verdict

QuickBooks Payroll is our choice for the best payroll service for small businesses because of its flexibility, ease of use, robust set of tools, numerous service plans and seamless integration with QuickBooks' accounting software.

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QuickBooks Editor’s Score: 95/100

Pricing90
Features95
Usability100
Employee self-service95
Customer service95

Why QuickBooks Is Best for Same-Day Direct Deposit

Quickbooks bank transactions screen

QuickBooks makes it easy to monitor and track your bank transactions.
Source: QuickBooks

Intuit QuickBooks is well known for providing robust financial tools for businesses of all sizes. It stands out as one of the top providers in multiple categories of business software. QuickBooks’ payroll services are set apart from its peers because it offers free direct deposit options.

If you sign up for the company’s Core plan, the least expensive option, you’ll get access to free next-day direct deposit. Two higher-tiered plans, Premium and Elite, come with free same-day direct deposit, which allows businesses to conserve cash longer. Most competitors, like Gusto, only provide two-day direct deposit and, as our Gusto review notes, even that option isn’t available on its basic plan.

QuickBooks’ payroll platform also stands out because of how easily it integrates with the vendor’s accounting software. Between the two products, businesses can easily process payroll, pay payroll taxes, monitor company finances, track employee attendance, and even receive HR support. This kind of software suite sets your business up for financial success. [Learn more in our QuickBooks Online accounting software review.]

TipTip: You can use QuickBooks to pay W-2 employees and contractors. Employees can use the self-service portal to view pay stubs, year-to-date earnings and tax withholdings.

Pros

  • QuickBooks offers a number of different plans at a range of price points.
  • The vendor provides next-day or same-day direct deposit.
  • The software is intuitive and easy to use.

Cons

  • Not all of the plans include the company’s Tax Penalty Protection.
  • The software comes with minimal third-party integrations.

Usability

QuickBooks Payroll is relatively easy to use, especially if you have previous experience running payroll or using any QuickBooks programs. Though the software is user-friendly, we appreciate that the company provides online guides for getting started and can assist with setup, depending on your plan.

When you log in, you’ll see a user dashboard that lets you navigate to all of the platform’s main features. You can run payroll in three simple steps or set up AutoPay to run payroll without entering any new data.

The dashboard is fairly intuitive and allows you to access all of the features in your account from the main screen. You can also run payroll and review your payroll history directly from the mobile app. We liked that the employee self-service option allows team members to easily access their pay stubs and annual tax forms.

QuickBooks Features

QuickBooks Payroll’s features are designed to simplify the payroll process, ensure your taxes are paid, and provide health benefits for your employees.

Full-service payroll providerGet employees set up in the system and schedule payroll to run automatically.
Same-day direct depositEmployees can receive their direct deposit the same day you run payroll.
Automatic tax withholdingQuickBooks will calculate, file and pay your payroll taxes.
Time trackingUse the software to approve timesheets and create invoices.
Health benefitsProvide employees with medical, dental and vision insurance.
HR supportAccess HR resources or talk to an HR specialist.

Full-Service Payroll Provider

QuickBooks is a full-service payroll provider, and all three of its plans let you set up automatic payroll. This feature allows you to schedule the system to run payroll without any additional manual work on your part. If you need to make any changes, you can still review the latest payroll before it’s processed.

Same-Day Direct Deposit

Some businesses struggle with choosing a pay schedule for their business if they have limited funds. QuickBooks makes this easier by offering next-day and same-day direct deposit, depending on which plan you sign up for. If you go with the Core plan, you’ll receive free next-day direct deposit, while the Premium and Elite packages deliver direct deposits the same day you process payroll. The advantage of this feature is that it allows you to hold onto cash longer, which helps with cash flow management. [Read related article: How Next-Day Payment Can Help SMB Cash Flow.]

Automatic Tax Withholding

Quickbooks automate taxes

QuickBooks will automatically deduct, file and pay your payroll taxes.
Source: QuickBooks

Like virtually all payroll vendors, QuickBooks will automatically calculate, file and pay your payroll taxes for you. It will also send you the appropriate year-end tax forms, as well as print and mail W-2 forms to your employees and e-file any 1099s.

For businesses on the Elite plan, QuickBooks will reimburse your company up to $25,000 if you receive any fines or interest charges due to inaccurate tax filings. While its Tax Penalty Protection program is a great perk, other payroll providers include such accuracy guarantees in all packages and vow to pay any penalties regardless of your plan. See our review of OnPay for an example.

Time Tracking

The QuickBooks Premium and Elite plans come with time-tracking software that employees can use to clock in and out. You’ll be able to track and approve employee time from the QuickBooks Time mobile app and quickly edit and share team schedules, even if you’re on the go. Find out more in our detailed QuickBooks Time review.

Regardless of plan, the platform comes with real-time reporting features, which can help you prepare for upcoming payroll costs, monitor paid time off, and review payroll history.

Health Benefits

QuickBooks Payroll makes managing employee benefits easy on all plans. Employees can view their options for medical, vision and dental insurance and fill out an application within minutes. Once the application is approved, employees can sign up for the plan.

You can also offer your employees access to 401(k) plans with any of QuickBooks’ packages, although the vendor will only handle workers’ compensation administration with the Premium or Elite packages.

HR Support

Quickbooks HR tools banner

You can use QuickBooks Payroll to access HR tools, though these tools aren’t available on the Core Plan.
Source: QuickBooks

Some payroll vendors, like OnPay, provide HR tools for all businesses. Others, like ADP, only include such features in certain plans. QuickBooks falls into the latter camp; its HR support center is only accessible to those on the Premium and Elite plans. If you sign up for those plans, you can take advantage of templates for onboarding checklists, employee handbooks and job descriptions. The Elite package also grants companies access to HR advisors who can provide guidance on various aspects of people management.

Did you know?Did you know?: To choose the best version of QuickBooks for your business, you should consider whether you want a cloud or desktop-based system, your budget and which features are nonnegotiable.

QuickBooks Cost

We loved that QuickBooks provides a 30-day trial so you can evaluate whether or not the software is a good fit for your business. Not all of its rivals give that opportunity. Once the free trial is up, you can choose from one of three payroll plans.

  • Core: This is the least expensive plan at $45 per month, plus $5 per employee. It includes unlimited payroll processing, next-day direct deposit, automatic payroll options, tax payments, health benefits management, 401(k) plans, reporting and a workforce portal for self-service.
  • Premium: The Premium plan costs $75 per month, plus $8 per employee. It includes all of the Core features, plus same-day direct deposit, access to the HR support center, workers’ compensation administration, mobile time tracking, and the promise that a QuickBooks expert will review your setup to make sure everything is implemented correctly.
  • Elite: The Elite plan costs $125 per month, plus $10 per employee. It includes everything in the Premium package, plus the Tax Penalty Protection, project tracking, a personal HR advisor and implementation led by a QuickBooks expert.

QuickBooks also offers plans that allow you to bundle its payroll and accounting software.

  • Payroll Core + QuickBooks Simple Start offers basic payroll and accounting tools for $75 per month, plus $5 per employee.
  • Payroll Core + QuickBooks Essentials includes everything in the above plan and a few more accounting features for $100 per month, plus $5 per employee.
  • Payroll Premium + QuickBooks Plus enhances both the payroll and accounting features for $160 per month, plus $8 per employee.

Alternatively, if you already use another QuickBooks product, the vendor makes adding its payroll services easy.

TipTip: Check out our accounting checklist for the tasks you should do daily, weekly and monthly.

QuickBooks Setup

Quickbooks payroll dashboard

QuickBooks has an easy-to-navigate dashboard for processing payroll.
Source: QuickBooks

Getting started with QuickBooks Payroll is surprisingly easy, especially if you’re already using the vendor’s accounting software. Existing QuickBooks customers can just sign into their account and add on the payroll package. New customers can sign up online or over the phone. If you’re interested in the payroll-only plans but have complex needs, you may want to speak to a customer service representative. In that case, we recommend signing up via phone.

The setup process depends on which plan you select. If you opt for Payroll Core, you will be on your own for implementation, apart from the setup wizard and the resources available in the QuickBooks online support center. If you go with the Premium plan, a QuickBooks expert will review your setup to make sure you did it correctly, even checking over the data you’ve imported from another provider. With the Elite package, an expert will do the entire implementation process for you, including any data transfer, after receiving the necessary information. After that, someone will review the setup to ensure you’re good to go.

QuickBooks Customer Service

Each QuickBooks plan comes with 24/7 customer support via chat. Phone support is available from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT Monday through Friday, and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. PT. If you sign up for the Elite plan, you can choose a callback option to limit the time spent waiting on the phone.

The QuickBooks Support online database provides self-guided assistance for all of the QuickBooks products. The vendor also offers training classes, the opportunity to partner with a live bookkeeper or “ProAdvisor,” and a blog with advice for small businesses on subjects that go far beyond payroll and accounting. For example, we were impressed to see an entire section on the “tools and resources you need to build a greener, more sustainable business.”

QuickBooks Drawbacks

One of the downsides of using QuickBooks Payroll is that you have to sign up for the Elite plan to access most of its best features. Same-day direct deposit is only available on the two higher-tiered plans, and the Tax Penalty Protection and access to HR specialists are only available to Elite users.

Another disadvantage is that if you need to pay employees in different states, you’ll be charged a $12 monthly fee for each state outside of your home state unless you sign up for the Elite plan. An additional drawback is that QuickBooks has limited third-party integrations compared to what other payroll vendors offer. For instance, you can only use QuickBooks as your accounting software provider. For a service with hundreds of possible integrations, check out our review of Rippling.

Methodology

To determine which payroll services are best for small businesses, we spent dozens of hours researching the top online payroll companies. We considered criteria like cost, tax services, ease of use, customer service, integration options, incentives like free trials, tax guarantees, mobile accessibility, payroll reports, employee self-service, and Better Business Bureau ratings and complaints. When searching for the best online payroll service for same-day direct deposit, we looked for vendors offering that function along with other desirable features.

QuickBooks FAQs

How does payroll work on QuickBooks?

Payroll works on QuickBooks in much the same fashion as with other payroll services: You can schedule payroll to run automatically, but with the added bonus of next-day or same-day direct deposit. QuickBooks will also automatically deduct, file and pay your company’s payroll taxes.

Is QuickBooks Payroll free?

QuickBooks Payroll isn’t free, but you can enjoy a 30-day trial. After that, its Core plan starts at $45 per month, plus $5 per employee.

Is QuickBooks good to use for payroll?

Yes, QuickBooks is a good choice for small businesses looking for a full-service payroll provider. It’s an especially great choice if you already use the QuickBooks accounting software.

Bottom Line

We recommend QuickBooks for …

  • Companies that want to offer next-day or same-day direct deposit.
  • Businesses that already use QuickBooks’ accounting software.

We don’t recommend QuickBooks payroll for …

  • Businesses that want to use third-party accounting software.
  • Larger companies with complex payroll and HR needs.
Intuit Quickbooks company logo

Intuit QuickBooks Payroll

The Verdict

QuickBooks Payroll is our choice for the best payroll service for small businesses because of its flexibility, ease of use, robust set of tools, numerous service plans and seamless integration with QuickBooks' accounting software.

visit site
Jamie Johnson
Jamie Johnson
Business News Daily Contributing Writer
Jamie Johnson is a Kansas City-based freelance writer who writes about finance and business. She has also written for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Fox Business and Business Insider. Jamie has written about a variety of B2B topics like finance, business funding options and accounting. She also writes about how businesses can grow through effective social media and email marketing strategies.