Payroll is one of those aspects of business that many are reluctant to change, but it’s worth evaluating from time to time and this is a good time of year to do it. If you decide to make a change, you have time to be up and running with your new payroll system by the first of the year (or sooner if you want).
Your version of QuickBooks will determine what options you have within the Intuit line. There are payroll products that function in the PC desktop version of QuickBooks only and those you can do online, which you can use in the desktop or online versions of QuickBooks.
Then decide –
- Do you want to actually create the paychecks yourself or report only hours? Here are a few factors to consider:
- How much time will it take?
- Complexity of your payroll (e.g. benefits, wage garnishments)
- Frequency of staff turnover
- Your comfort level with payroll
- If you create the paychecks, do you want to handle the tax payments and filings?
- If you decide you want to outsource the tax filings, you can outsource to Intuit or an accountant or bookkeeper.
- If you are thinking of outsourcing, how easy will it be to integrate your payroll data with your QuickBooks and at what cost?
- Your budget may also factor in. BUT keep in mind that when you do payroll in-house, you are paying, too, and payroll can be time-consuming, especially if you use timesheets and/or do job costing. I’ve had clients decide it was more cost efficient to outsource at least part of payroll.
- Do you need to do job costing? The PC versions of payroll are the best for this. If you outsource, then you’ll need a work-around for decent cost numbers.
So here’s a run-down of the Intuit payroll products:
- Outsource your payroll completely
Intuit Full Service Payroll. You simply enter the hours for each employee online and Intuit takes it from there. You can easily import into the Online QuickBooks or the PC versions. If you need job costing, though, this will have the same limitations as outsourcing to other payroll companies. But if you don’t need job costing, I would take a close look at this option. It’s simple, convenient and very reasonably priced. Pricing is a flat monthly fee – not contingent on the number of pay periods you have per month! To compare to outsourcing to other payroll companies, here’s an article that discusses factors that often affect payroll fees.
2. Outsource the tax filings (deposits and reports).
QuickBooks Assisted Payroll. You create the paychecks (must have a PC version of QuickBooks) and Intuit takes responsibility for filing payroll taxes and reporting, guarantees accuracy or Intuit pays penalties. If you need job costing, this is my preferred choice. You get the detail you need for job costing, but you let an experienced company handle the tax filings. My clients who have Assisted, love it. One of my clients was sorry she didn’t sign up sooner since she missed some tax payments resulting in penalties and interest.
QuickBooks Basic Payroll. You create the paychecks (need the PC version of QuickBooks) but will need to manually fill out the forms and mail the deposits. I don’t recommend this option unless you have an accountant or professional bookkeeper doing the filing for you.
Intuit Online Payroll – You create the paychecks (you can even use your iPad or Smartphone), but will need to manually fill out the forms and mail the deposits. I don’t recommend this option unless you have an accountant or professional bookkeeper doing the filing for you. If you need job costing, this is not a good option for you, but if you don’t, then many like the flexibility and access.
3. Completely In-house
QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll. You do it all – create the paychecks and handle all the tax filings; you can even e-file directly from within QuickBooks. I have many clients who use this. You need the PC version of QuickBooks.
Intuit Online Payroll Plus – You do it all – create the paychecks and handle all the tax filings. You can even do payroll from your iPad or Smartphone. You can e-file directly from within Online QuickBooks. Not the best option if you need job costing, but if you don’t, then many like the flexibility and access.
If you don’t need job costing, I would give serious thought to outsourcing at least part of the process. Payroll companies are more efficient and keep up with the payroll tax laws. And what I like about the Intuit payroll products is the integration – at no extra cost.
If you decide to make a change with your payroll set up, let us know. As a ProAdvisor, I am able to get special pricing for my clients, help you select the payroll option best for your situation, and assist with setup and training if needed.