As I continue to meet with clients, I learn that they are sometimes missing out on some of the QuickBooks employee and payroll features. There can be many reasons. A common one is that it did not exist when you were first using QuickBooks and as you upgrade your QuickBooks, many of these new features “sneak in” in the preferences. And I find most people don’t go into the preferences to see what’s new – they simply continue to work as they did. Or perhaps your predecessor taught you and did not know about some of these features. So here are features I think are helpful
- Timesheet not turned on. If you need to track time for your employees, whether it’s because you bill for their services or pay them hourly, when you use the timesheet, it will populate your paychecks for you. You can review before you pay, but if they were doing work for different customers, this enables you to run a variety of reports involving time on the job, cost of labor on the job, how long workers take, etc. This is a setting you turn on in the preferences
- Batch Timesheets: A new feature introduced in 2012 was the ability to fill in one timesheet, but have it create timesheets for multiple employees. This was an awesome feature for those who have crews! One reason this is often missed is that instead of keying in an employee name or scrolling down to your list of employees, you had to scroll up to select multiple employees.
- Workers Comp. Many of you have workers comp audits every year. This is a feature you can turn on in QuickBooks (in the preferences). Once it’s turned on, you can enter your different workers comp codes; you can either assign a code to an employee or enter the code for the different tasks they do (this is done in the timesheet). Then you run workers comp reports. This feature won’t go retroactive, so if your premium year started a few months ago, you’ll have to handle that the “old” way, but going forward, QuickBooks will track for you.
- A side note: Intuit has partnered with a broker so you can “pay your workers comp as you go” over 12 months instead of paying a years’ worth of premium in 10 months with the biggest payments being upfront. This is great for those with seasonal payrolls. Usually, when payroll is down, your business is slower and as business picks up you hire more staff. So with the pay as you go, you pay more when you have more employees and less when you have fewer employees. Let me know if you would like more information.
- Job Costing payroll. For those of you who want to job cost your payroll, you want to be sure that option is turned on in QuickBooks. In addition, I recommend choosing the option per Earnings Item instead of paycheck. It will keep your options open as your employees perform different tasks for different customers and/or different classes.
- Release Date: Some businesses have more turnover than others. Could be for seasonal reasons or that you’ve been in business a long time or in your industry employees come, leave, and come back. When they leave, there is an option in QuickBooks to enter their last day they worked for you and then after you’ve run your payroll, you can make them inactive. That way you don’t have such long list to scroll through. Just remember that if they come back to remove the release date so they will show in your payroll run.
- Certified Payroll: Some of you need to run certified payroll reports. Used to be you either had to do this by hand or with third party software, but now you can do it in QuickBooks. If you find that you need to be able to more with the certified payroll, then Sunburst’s Certified Payroll will work. What’s nice is it pulls your information form QuickBooks do you don’t need to be creating this from scratch.
- Employee Organizer For those who have Enterprise, one of the features I love is the Employee Organizer. This organizer contains wizards to walk you through the process of hiring, terminating, raises/promotions, leaves of absence and more. I wish it was available for those using Pro and Premier. I’ve seen over the years that smaller companies or new bookkeepers often don’t know some of the rules or needs of payroll so these wizards help with that.
- Enterprise also has more fields available to use for employees – very helpful. While you can do some of these with custom fields in Pro and Premier, you are limited to how many custom fields so you don’t have enough to be able to duplicate what you find in Enterprise.
- Labor Law Posters for state and federal must be posted so employees can read. Failure to have these hanging somewhere is subject to fines – some can be quite steep. When I was at the Intuit Reseller Rally this winter, I learned that an employee of Intuit once had her own business. She had enough fines from not making these available, that she had to close down her business. Not surprisingly, she’s now a big proponent of making sure businesses post these. Intuit offers a Poster Compliance Service so you can receive updated posters automatically.
If you have questions on how to turn these features on, find them or use them, let us know. We’ll be happy to help. Would love to know if any of these were a surprise to you and which one(s) you find most helpful.