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Updated Sep 26, 2023

Intuit QuickBooks Payroll Review

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Jamie Johnson, Business Operations Insider and Senior Analyst

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Editors Score:9.3/10
QuickBooks Payroll is our choice for the best payroll service for direct deposit flexibility. Its free direct deposit options help businesses conserve cash. It's affordable and integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks accounting software and other products.
Plus Sign Pros
  • QuickBooks offers several plans at different price points, so you can choose the best one for your payroll budget.
  • The vendor provides free next-day or same-day direct deposit.
  • The software is intuitive and easy to use.
Minus Sign Cons
  • Not all of the plans include the company's Tax Penalty Protection.
  • QuickBooks Payroll supports fewer third-party integrations than many competitors.
Quickbooks logo
Editor's Rating9.3/10
  • QuickBooks Payroll is a full-service payroll provider that can work with businesses of any size.
  • QuickBooks Payroll supports next-day or same-day direct deposit, allowing businesses to conserve cash longer.
  • QuickBooks Payroll seamlessly integrates with the top-rated QuickBooks accounting solution and Intuit’s other product offerings. 
  • This review is for small business owners considering using QuickBooks Payroll as their payroll provider.

Many businesses already use QuickBooks for accounting — it’s one of the best accounting software solutions available. If you’re already in the QuickBooks ecosystem, QuickBooks Payroll may be an excellent choice for your payroll needs. QuickBooks Payroll is a full-service payroll provider that includes next-day or same-day direct deposit. You can also add HR support to expand the payroll product’s features. QuickBooks Payroll offers various plans so its services can grow with your business. Additionally, over 15 Intuit product offerings seamlessly integrate with the payroll solution. 

Intuit QuickBooks Payroll Editor's Rating:

9.3 / 10

Employee self-service
Customer service

Why QuickBooks Payroll Is Best for Same-Day Direct Deposit

With a client roster of 1.4 million companies, Intuit QuickBooks is well known for providing robust financial tools for businesses of all sizes and being a top provider in multiple business software categories. QuickBooks Payroll is the company’s well-regarded payroll service, boasting comprehensive payroll and HR features. Notably, QuickBooks Payroll offers free direct deposit options — a feature that sets it apart from the competition. 

If you sign up for the company’s Core plan — the least expensive option — you can access free next-day direct deposit. Two higher-tiered plans, Premium and Elite, come with free same-day direct deposit, allowing businesses to conserve cash longer. Most payroll services we reviewed, such as Gusto, only provide two-day direct deposit. As we noted in our in-depth Gusto review, even that option isn’t available on its basic plan.

QuickBooks Payroll also stands out because it easily integrates with the vendor’s accounting software. Between the two products, businesses can efficiently process payroll, pay their payroll taxes, monitor company finances, track employee attendance, and even receive HR support. These tools can set up your business for financial success.

Quickbooks payroll accounting integrations

QuickBooks Payroll easily integrates with the vendor’s top-rated accounting solution. Source: QuickBooks

Use QuickBooks Payroll to pay W-2 employees and contractors with ease. Employees can use the platform's self-service portal to view pay stubs, year-to-date earnings and tax withholdings.


QuickBooks Payroll is relatively easy to use — especially if you have experience running payroll or using other 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 the platform’s main features. You can run payroll in three simple steps or set up AutoPay to run payroll without entering new data. The dashboard is fairly intuitive and allows you to access all account features from the main screen. You can also run payroll and review your payroll history directly from the platform’s mobile app. We like that the employee self-service option lets team members easily access their pay stubs and annual payroll forms for taxes.

QuickBooks Payroll is designed to dovetail with over 15 Intuit product offerings, including POS and time tracking tools as well as the various QuickBooks accounting solutions. This lets you build a suite of related tools to support your business’s needs. However, it’s worth noting that QuickBooks doesn’t integrate with many third-party software platforms.

Did You Know?Did you know
To choose the best version of QuickBooks for your business, consider whether you want a cloud-hosted or desktop system, assess your budget, and decide on your necessary features.

QuickBooks Payroll Features

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

Full-service payroll provider

Get employees set up in the system and schedule payroll to run automatically.

Same-day direct deposit

Employees can receive their direct deposit the same day you run payroll.

Automatic tax withholding

QuickBooks will calculate, file and pay your payroll taxes.

Time tracking

Use the software to approve timesheets and create invoices.

Health benefits

Provide employees with medical, dental and vision insurance.

HR support

Access HR resources or talk to an HR specialist.

Full-Service Payroll Provider

QuickBooks is a full-service payroll provider. We like that all plan tiers let you set up automatic payroll. This feature allows you to schedule the system to run payroll without any additional manual work. If you need to make changes, you can review the latest payroll before it’s processed. 

Payroll reports cover the usual core functionalities of vacation and sick leave, payroll taxes and wages, payroll deductions and contributions, workers’ compensation, and multiple worksite coverage.

Quickbooks payroll reporting feature

QuickBooks Payroll includes comprehensive payroll reporting features. Source: QuickBooks

Same-Day Direct Deposit

Some businesses struggle with choosing a pay schedule if they have limited funds. We like that QuickBooks makes this easier by offering next-day and same-day direct deposit, depending on your plan. If you have the Core plan, you’ll receive free next-day direct deposit; Premium and Elite packages deliver direct deposits the same day you process payroll. Fast direct deposits let you hold onto cash longer, which helps with cash flow management. QuickBooks Payroll also supports direct deposit alternatives like pay cards.

Quickbooks payroll direct deposit

QuickBooks Payroll lets you set up direct deposit and pay your team the same day or the following day. Source: QuickBooks

Did You Know?Did you know
Direct deposit is part of creating a paperless payroll system. Other elements include generating electronic paychecks and stubs and entering timesheets digitally.

Automatic Tax Withholding

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 the platform’s Tax Penalty Protection program is a great perk, other payroll providers we reviewed include such accuracy guarantees in all packages and vow to pay any penalties regardless of your plan. See our review of OnPay to learn more about a vendor that provides a tax guarantee for all its clients.

Quickbooks payroll tax penalty protection

QuickBooks Payroll provides tax penalty protection on its Elite plan. Source: QuickBooks

Time Tracking

The QuickBooks Premium and Elite plans come with time tracking software employees can use to clock in and out. You can track and approve employee time from the QuickBooks Time mobile app as well as quickly edit and share team schedules even if you’re on the go. Read our detailed QuickBooks Time review to learn more about how this solution integrates with QuickBooks Payroll.

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

Quickbooks payroll clock-in feature

Employees can clock in and out with QuickBooks Payroll’s time tracking features. Source: QuickBooks

Health Benefits

We were pleased to see that 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 Payroll’s packages. However, the vendor will only handle workers’ compensation administration with the Premium or Elite packages.

HR Support

Some payroll vendors, like OnPay, provide HR tools for all clients. Others, like ADP, only include such features in specific plans (read our ADP review to learn about this vendor’s various service tiers). 

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 employee 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
A pay period is a regularly scheduled time when workers earn wages. Pay periods can be weekly, biweekly, semimonthly or monthly.

QuickBooks Payroll Cost

We love 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 ends, you can choose from one of three payroll plans. We appreciate that QuickBooks provides transparent pricing — some competitors are less open about what their plans cost.

Here’s a breakdown of QuickBooks Payroll pricing: 

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

QuickBooks sometimes offers introductory discounts with significant savings. Check with the company to see if any discounts are available.

QuickBooks also offers plans that let you bundle its payroll and accounting software:

  • Payroll Core + QuickBooks Simple Start. This bundle offers basic payroll and accounting tools for $75 per month plus $5 per employee.
  • Payroll Core + QuickBooks Essentials. This bundle includes everything in the above plan and a few more accounting features for $100 per month plus $5 per employee.
  • Payroll Premium + QuickBooks Plus. This bundle enhances payroll and accounting features for $160 per month plus $8 per employee.
If you have QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks Desktop, you can add payroll anytime. If you need an accounting solution, read our QuickBooks Online accounting software review to learn about this popular accounting tool.

QuickBooks Payroll Setup

Getting started with QuickBooks Payroll is surprisingly easy — especially if you already use the vendor’s accounting software. Existing QuickBooks customers can sign into their account and add a payroll package. New customers can sign up online or over the phone. It’s best to speak to a customer service representative if you’re interested in a payroll-only plan but have complex needs. 

The setup process depends on your plan. If you opt for Payroll Core, you’re on your own for implementation. However, we liked the setup wizard and online resources — business owners and their teams shouldn’t have any trouble. If you go with the Premium plan, a QuickBooks expert will review your setup to ensure it’s correct. They’ll even check 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.

Did You Know?Did you know
Setting up QuickBooks Payroll direct deposit is straightforward. Ensure your business and tax information is accurate, connect your bank, have employees authorize direct deposit and enter their banking information, and run payroll.

QuickBooks Payroll 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 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. PT on Saturdays. If you sign up for the Elite plan, you can choose a callback option to limit the time spent waiting on the phone. Notably, Intuit outsources HR support to a third-party company, Mineral. This is worth considering if you plan to add the company’s HR services to an existing payroll account.

We like the vendor’s online support options:

  • Guides and tutorials. The QuickBooks Support online database provides self-guided assistance for all QuickBooks products. It has one-hour webinars, training classes, tutorials, and a collection of guides and videos. 
  • Blog. The QuickBooks blog includes advice for small businesses on subjects 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.”
  • ProAdvisor. You can also use online resources to access a live bookkeeper or ProAdvisor to assist you with various functions. 

Online customer service reviews left us wary — especially when many competitors boast outstanding customer service testimonials. Finding reviews of QuickBooks Payroll is tricky; the Better Business Bureau has many entries for QuickBooks under slightly different names. It’s impossible to find specific reviews of the payroll software. However, Intuit as a brand has a C+ rating across multiple BBB entries. 

On Trustpilot, there’s also no distinction between payroll and broader accounting and HR services; Intuit scores 1.2 out of 5, with over 90 percent of its reviews awarding the company the lowest possible score. Customer service receives particularly harsh criticism. 

Quickbooks payroll blog

The QuickBooks blog includes detailed articles on all aspects of running a business. Source: QuickBooks

QuickBooks Payroll Drawbacks

QuickBooks Payroll has many upsides. However, we found a few drawbacks: 

  • Crucial features are on higher-tier plans. One of the downsides of using QuickBooks Payroll is that you must 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.
  • You pay more for out-of-state employees. Another disadvantage is that if you must 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. 
  • Limited third-party integrations. QuickBooks has limited third-party integrations compared to other payroll vendors. For example, you can only use QuickBooks as your accounting software provider with QuickBooks Payroll. Ironically, many providers incorporate QuickBooks compatibility and integrations in their programs. If you need a payroll service with hundreds of possible integrations, check out our review of Rippling.


When evaluating the best payroll services, we spent dozens of hours researching the top online payroll companies. We examined costs, tax services, ease of use, customer service, integration options, and incentives like free trials and tax guarantees. We also looked for mobile accessibility, payroll report availability and employee self-service features. We read customer reviews and viewed Better Business Bureau ratings and complaints to see how others view the vendor and its products. When searching for the best online payroll service for same-day direct deposit, we looked for vendors with flexible direct deposit options alongside robust payroll and HR features. Our goal is to help businesses choose the right payroll service.

QuickBooks FAQs

Quickbooks’s payroll works in much the same fashion as with other payroll services: You can schedule payroll to run automatically but have the added bonus of next-day or same-day direct deposit. QuickBooks will also automatically deduct, file and pay your company's payroll taxes.
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.
Yes. QuickBooks Payroll 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; Intuit has also made it easy for customers of rival platforms (including Gusto, ADP and Paychex) to make the switch.
Intuit routinely rolls out incremental software updates to improve the functionality of its QuickBooks Payroll package. For example, in early 2023, QuickBooks introduced the ability to use the total hours worked by employees to determine payroll contributions and deductions. It also introduced a new tool to highlight 1099 contractors.

Bottom Line

We recommend QuickBooks Payroll 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.

Neil Cumins contributed to this article. 

author image
Jamie Johnson, Business Operations Insider and Senior Analyst
For more than five years, Jamie Johnson has been guiding business owners on financial matters both big and small. This includes investment advice, insights on business loans and funding options, recommendations on insurance and more. Johnson excels at delivering easy-to-understand direction so entrepreneurs can make the best financial decisions for their businesses and, as a solopreneur herself, she regularly tests business strategies and services. Johnson's expertise can be found in a variety of finance publications, including InvestorPlace, Credit Karma, Insurify and Rocket Mortgage. She has also demonstrated a deep understanding of other B2B topics — including sales, payroll, marketing and social media — for the likes of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. News & World Report, CNN, USA Today and Business Insider.
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Editor's Rating9.3/10
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