Guide To Doing Payroll In QuickBooks, Bi-Weekly or Monthly Payroll?

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Millions of small business owners rely on QuickBooks Desktop to handle their accounting tasks. If you’re reading this, then you’re one of those people … or maybe you’re shopping your software options and are ready to sign up for QuickBooks. No matter what the case, QuickBooks is a leader in the industry because of its feature-packed software, which helps you balance the books, track expenses, and even pay your employees.

One of the standout features of QuickBooks Desktop is its payroll. This software makes it quick and easy to pay your employees on time each pay period while providing adding benefits to you such as calculating payroll taxes and even filling out tax forms.

Unfortunately, though, the purchase of your license or the monthly subscription fee for QuickBooks Desktop doesn’t include payroll. QuickBooks Payroll is an add-on that costs an additional fee. Depending on the plan you choose, you’ll pay $29/month – $109/month plus an additional $2/month per employee (either per paycheck or per month, based on your chosen plan). The good news, though, is that you may be able to give QuickBooks Payroll a test drive through a 30-day free trial before you make the commitment. You may also qualify for discounts, which are available through the QuickBooks Payroll website.

Some more good news? Once you’re signed up for a subscription, QuickBooks Payroll can be accessed easily through your QuickBooks Desktop dashboard — no additional downloads required. Within minutes, you can set up and process your payroll.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through all of the steps to get your payroll off the ground in QuickBooks Desktop, from helping you gather the proper documentation to submitting your first payroll successfully. Ready to pay your employees? Let’s get started with QuickBooks Payroll.

Are you using QuickBooks Online? Check out our guide How To Do Payroll In QuickBooks Online to get started.

What You Need To Run Payroll In QuickBooks

To make the process of setting up QuickBooks payroll as quick and easy as possible, gather the necessary documentation and information first before you even get started with the software. We’ll go through everything you need to set up and process payroll. Later on in this post, we’ll go step-by-step through the process so you’ll know exactly when to use these documents and information.

  • W-4s: For tax purposes, you’ll need a completed and signed W-4 for each employee.
  • Pay Rates: What does each employee make within your company? Are they hourly, salaried, or commission-only?
  • Pay Schedule: How often do you pay your employees: weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or on another schedule?
  • Basic Employee Information: You will need basic information for each employee, including their legal name, address, birth date, hire date, and termination date (if applicable).
  • Deductions: If your employees have certain deductions, you should know the type of deduction and the amount. Some common paycheck deductions include wage garnishments, employee contributions to retirement accounts, and health insurance premiums.
  • Sick Time & Vacation Hours: What are your company’s policies on sick time and vacation hours? Before setting up payroll, you should know this policy, as well as have documentation of current balances for each employee.
  • Compensation & Additions: To set up payroll, you’ll need information about compensation and paycheck additions for each employee. Some of the most common include mileage reimbursements, travel reimbursements, cash advances, or Flexible Spending Accounts.
  • Direct Deposit Information: If you offer direct deposit, you’ll need the routing and account numbers for each employee that prefers direct deposit over receiving a paper check. Have each employee fill out a direct deposit authorization form and provide a voided check to help make the process error- and hassle-free.
  • Company Bank Account Information: If you’re going to use direct deposit, you’ll also need to have your business bank account information handy so that funds can be drawn from your account and paid to your employees.
  • Tax Information: It’s no secret that you have to file and pay taxes. To simplify the payroll tax process, make sure you have information on hand including your state ID numbers and Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN).
  • Prior Payroll Information: If you’ve currently been paying your employees, have your prior payroll information on hand so that payroll taxes can be accurately calculated.
  • QuickBooks Payroll Subscription: Unfortunately, QuickBooks Payroll does cost an additional fee each month. Make sure that you have signed up for the plan that’s best for your business. This can be done directly through the software or by visiting the QuickBooks Payroll website.

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ADP Payroll

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How To Set Up Payroll In QuickBooks

Sometimes, QuickBooks Desktop can get a bit confusing.

Fortunately, when it comes to payroll, Intuit has really simplified the process with a step-by-step payroll setup tool that walks you through the process. Let’s go through this process together so you can have your payroll up and running in no time.

If you’re still feeling uncertain before you get started, you can always practice using a sample company file like I’m using for this guide. This allows you to practice and test out payroll to get the hang of the system before running your own payroll. Whether you’re using your own company file or a sample, follow these steps to get started.

Step 1: Open QuickBooks Payroll Setup

how to do payroll in quickbooks

Once you’ve gathered all of your documentation, it’s time to get started with setting up your payroll. Start by opening the QuickBooks Payroll Setup tool. This can be done by selecting “Employees” at the top of your screen, then selecting “Payroll Center” from the dropdown menu. Once the Payroll Center opens, select the menu option “Payroll Setup” to get started.

how to do payroll in quickbooks

Step 2: Set Up Compensation

Once you’ve opened the Payroll Setup tool, the first step is to enter and/or confirm information about your company’s benefits and compensation.

For compensation, there are several options that may be used by your business. Those include:

  • Overtime Rate: Overtime pay for hourly employees.
  • Regular Pay: Hourly pay for employees.
  • Salary: Used for employees that receive a salary.
  • Bonus: Used for any bonus payments.
  • Mileage Reimbursement: Used if you reimburse employees for miles driven.

You have three options in this menu. You can delete any type of compensation not used by your company. You can also add any additional compensation that’s not already on your list. You can also edit entries on your list. If you choose to edit entries, you can change how the compensation is shown on paychecks, make the payroll item active or inactive, select the account type, and change the account name.

how to do payroll in quickbooks

Once you’ve confirmed these entries, click Continue, and you will move onto the next section: Employee Benefits.

Step 3: Set Up Employee Benefits

how to do payroll in quickbooks

In this section, you’ll add and edit employee benefits offered by your company. You’ll also add pay additions (such as mileage reimbursements or cash advances) and deductions (such as wage garnishments.) Some options include:

  • Insurance Benefits: Workman’s Comp
  • Retirement Benefits: 401(k), Simple IRA, 403(b), 408(k)(6)SEP, 457(b)
  • Paid Time Off: Sick Hourly, Sick Salary, Vacation Hourly, Vacation Salary
  • Miscellaneous: Direct Deposit, Health Insurance
how to do payroll in quickbooks

Now that you have all of your compensation, benefits, additions, and deductions added, it’s time to add the numbers for each employee.

Step 4: Set Up Employees

how to do payroll in quickbooks

Remember those W-4s and pay rates from earlier? It’s time to pull those out because we’re going to set up your employees.

Personal Information

how to do payroll in quickbooks

To set up a new employee, start by selecting the “Add New” option. In this section, you’ll need to provide the following information:

  • Legal name
  • Contact information
  • Employee type
  • Social Security Number
  • Hire date
  • Release date
  • Birthdate
  • Gender

Pay Rates & Schedules

how to do payroll in quickbooks

After entering this information, you’ll need to input the employee’s pay rate and schedule. You can also set overtime rates or add a bonus, as well as mileage reimbursement and health insurance costs.

Next, you will input how sick pay is calculated. You will need to enter information including how many hours of sick pay the employee receives, when these hours begin (i.e., at the beginning of each year), what happens to unused sick hours, and current balances. Once you’ve entered this information, you will do the same for vacation pay.

Direct Deposit

how to do payroll in quickbooks

If your employees are receiving their pay via direct deposit, the next step is to add this information.

You can set up direct deposit for up to two accounts per employee. You also have the option to provide your employees with prepaid cards that can be used to receive their direct deposits. Cards can be requested through the setup tool. If you opt to not use direct deposit, you can pay your employees with a paper check.

State Tax Withholdings

how to do payroll in quickbooks

After setting up direct deposit information, you will answer some tax questions about the employee. These include:

  • State subject to withholding
  • State subject to unemployment tax
  • Did the employee live or work in another state?

Confused as to how to fill this out? Fortunately, QuickBooks has help menus throughout the setup process, making it easier for you to ensure that your payroll is set up correctly.

Federal & State Tax Information

how to do payroll in quickbooks

For this section, pull out the employee’s W-4. Use the information provided on the form to enter the employee’s filing status, number of allowances, extra withholding amounts, and other withholdings and credits.

Once you click “Next,” you will provide the same information for the state.

After wrapping up this section, you’ll be able to save the employee’s information. The employee’s name, social security number, and a summary should now appear in the Employee List.

If there is missing information or an error, the error will appear on the Employee List. Review each entry for error notifications and correct each as needed. The summary section in the Employee List will specify the exact error, so you don’t have to fumble around trying to figure out what is incorrect or missing.

how to do payroll in quickbooks

You can revisit the Employee List as needed to update employee information, correct errors, add new employees, or delete employees as needed.

Step 5: Set Up Payroll Taxes

Paying taxes is a burden that we just can’t avoid. However, you can make the process a little less painful by using QuickBooks Desktop to calculate and even file and pay your payroll taxes. Let’s walk through how to set up your payroll taxes.

Federal Taxes

how to do payroll in quickbooks

When you enter the Federal Taxes section, you’ll notice that QuickBooks has already set up several different taxes. This includes federal withholding, federal unemployment, Medicare for the company and the employee, and Social Security for the company and the employee.

The rates for these taxes are already set, so you don’t have to worry about calculating rates. However, you do have the option to Edit each type of tax by changing how it is shown on paychecks, editing the expense account, or editing the liability account. In most cases, you won’t be making any extensive edits in this section.

State Taxes

The next section is State Taxes. In this section, you may have to make some edits. There are several state taxes already set up for you, including state withholding and employee disability. The description shows the current rate.

how to do payroll in quickbooks

However, if these rates need to be corrected, simply click on the tax that requires the correction, select “Next,” and make the necessary changes. If you’re unsure of the rates, click the link marked “Explain” and QuickBooks provides more information. Once all changes have been made, save your changes and proceed to the next section.

Scheduled Payments

how to do payroll in quickbooks

In this section, you’ll set up your required tax payments. In the Scheduled Payments column, the types of payments are listed. In the Description column, the method of payment and the frequency of payments are listed. You can edit information such as the frequency or the payee by highlighting the payment and selecting the Edit option.

Step 6: Enter Year-To-Date Payrolls

how to do payroll in quickbooks

If you’re paying employees for the first time, you can skip over this section. However, if you have employees that have been paid in the current year, you’ll be required to input year-to-date payrolls in order to make sure that tax payments and paychecks are accurate.

how to do payroll in quickbooks

This section may take a bit of time depending on the number of employees you’ve paid and the number of checks issued.

Fortunately, QuickBooks has detailed instructions right on the page and the tool is pretty easy to use. You will input information such as the check date, pay period, check number, employee pay, and tax withholdings. This step will need to be completed for every employee that has been paid in the current year prior to using QuickBooks Payroll.

Next, you’ll need to enter payroll tax payments that have already been made.

QuickBooks will calculate the amount you’re required to pay, compare it to the total you’ve already paid, and show your remaining balance.

how to do payroll in quickbooks

Finally, you’ll enter non-tax payments such as workman’s comp and health insurance. Again, QuickBooks will calculate the amount owed and use what you’ve already paid to show any remaining balance due.

Step 7: Finish Up & Prepare To Run Your First Payroll

how to do payroll in quickbooks

Congratulations! If you’ve done all of the steps as outlined and have entered all employee and tax information correctly, your payroll is now set up and ready to go. At this point, you are ready to run your first payroll. You also have the option to go back through the tool and make any additions or corrections as needed.

Though the setup is pretty lengthy, it’s important to make sure that you take your time to accurately enter all information to ensure that your employees are all paid the correct amount on time and that payroll taxes are accurately calculated so you know exactly what needs to be paid and when to pay it.

How To Do Payroll In QuickBooks

Now that you have everything set up, it’s time to process your first payroll. Just follow each step, take your time, and you’ll have your employees paid in no time!

Step 1: Set Pay Schedule

how to do payroll in quickbooks

The first step you need to take is to make sure that your pay schedules are accurate. In the Payroll Center, your pay schedule(s) should appear based on the information you added when setting up your employees. The Payroll Center shows information including:

  • When to process payroll by
  • The payroll status
  • Payroll schedule (frequency)
  • Pay period
  • Check date
how to do payroll in quickbooks

If any of this information is inaccurate, you can use the payroll schedules button to edit, delete, or add a new payroll schedule.

Step 2: Start A Scheduled Payroll

how to do payroll in quickbooks

Select your payroll schedule and click the Start A Scheduled Payroll option. In this section, you can review the payroll schedule, the number of employees being paid, the bank account being used to pay employees, the balance of that account, and check options. Check to make sure all information is correct and make edits as needed before selecting Continue.

Another thing to note is that if you’re running payroll off schedule, the Payroll Center also offers the option to run an unscheduled payroll.

Step 3: Check For Accuracy

how to do payroll in quickbooks

Once you click Continue, you’ll be able to see a detailed breakdown of each employee’s paycheck. You’ll see gross pay, deductions, taxes, total hours, and other information for each employee. You’ll also be able to see accumulated totals for all employees. Check to ensure accuracy, then select Create Paychecks.

Step 4: Print Checks

how to do payroll in quickbooks

Once you’ve selected Create Paychecks, you’ll see a pop-up that shows the number of paychecks available for printing and the number available for direct deposit. You’ll now have the option to print paychecks or paystubs. Once you return to the Payroll Center, you’ll see that the information for your next payroll is listed under the Create Paychecks section. The payroll that was just processed will be listed in the Recent Payrolls section.

Step 5: Explore Other Payroll Center Options

how to do payroll in quickbooks

There are lots of options available directly in the Payroll Center. Some other tasks you can complete include:

  • Setting up direct deposit
  • Add employees
  • Edit or void paychecks
  • Create termination checks
  • Print paychecks
  • Run reports
  • Pay taxes and liabilities
  • File forms

If you don’t want to mess up your company file, using one of QuickBooks’ sample companies is an easy way to get the feel of the payroll system without worrying about making a potentially costly mistake.

If you get stuck at any point, go back through this guide or take advantage of the in-software support options to properly set up and process your payroll.

Tackle Your QuickBooks Payroll With Ease

Running payroll for the first time can be a little intimidating. But with QuickBooks, it’s all very straightforward and simple — even if you’re brand new to payroll and accounting. Just make sure to take your time, follow the steps in this guide, and utilize the help and support resources available to you within the software. Good luck!

QuickBooks Desktop Payroll Pricing & Features

As an employee, the payroll process seems like a piece of cake. You wait until every second Friday, grab your paycheck deposit, and that’s it! But from the employer’s perspective, payroll is much more complicated.

More goes into payroll than meets the eye, like making sure your company is set up for payroll taxes, properly recording all of your employee’s tax information, and staying on top of paydays. Luckily, accounting software programs like QuickBooks offer payroll features and provide plenty of resources to help you learn how payroll works and what your payroll obligations are. (We’ve also got some great payroll resources including our Complete Guide To Small Business Payroll.)

This post will cover the cost and features of each QuickBooks payroll plan and guide you through how to choose which plan is right for your business.

Need payroll for QuickBooks Online instead? No problem, we’ve got you covered with our complete Intuit QuickBooks Online Payroll review.

⭐️ Try A Top Pick For Payroll ⭐️

ADP Payroll

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We like ADP Payroll for its advanced employee management, strong payroll features, and great customer support. Get three months free when you sign up through our links! Get Started.

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QuickBooks Payroll Plans & Pricing

Looking into purchasing QuickBooks Payroll? QuickBooks Desktop offers three payroll plans: Basic, Enhanced, and Assisted. Each option varies by features, automations, and price.

Every QuickBooks Desktop payroll option is compatible with QuickBooks Desktop Pro, QuickBooks Desktop Premier, and QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise. (If you use the Gold or Platinum version of QuickBooks Enterprise, payroll is already included in your subscription).

Let’s break it down.


QuickBooks Basic Payroll costs $20.30/month + $2/month per employee (though Intuit usually offers a discount for QuickBooks payroll). This is the smallest payroll plan. With QuickBooks Basic Payroll, you can process your payroll and pay employees by check or direct deposit.

Basic Payroll also includes:

  • Instant paychecks
  • Pay W-2 employees
  • Pay 1099 employees
  • Free direct deposit
  • Payroll support

The one drawback of Basic payroll is that it does not include any of your payroll tax forms. You’d have to buy tax forms separately and file them on your own.


QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll costs $45/month +$2/month per employee (though Intuit usually offers a discount for QuickBooks payroll). Enhanced payroll is QuickBooks Desktop’s do-it-yourself payroll option. You can process your payroll and file your taxes directly through QuickBooks.

Enhanced Payroll includes:

  • Instant paychecks
  • Pay W-2 employees
  • Pay 1099 employees
  • Free direct deposit
  • E-filing for W-2’s
  • Free tax forms
  • Payroll support


QuickBooks Assisted Payroll costs $109/month + $2/month per employee (though Intuit usually offers a discount for QuickBooks payroll). This plan is aptly named as QuickBooks processes your payroll for you and automatically files your payroll taxes. QuickBooks Desktop Assisted handles the payroll set up for you as well.

Full-Service Payroll includes:

  • Instant paychecks
  • Pay W-2 employees
  • Pay 1099 employees
  • Free direct deposit
  • Automatic tax filing
  • Free tax forms
  • No tax penalties
  • Free year-end forms
  • Automatic payroll setup
  • Payroll support

With this plan, all you have to do is make sure your employee’s hours are entered into QuickBooks and the rest is taken care of for you.

Which QuickBooks Payroll Plan Is Right For Me?

When it comes to choosing the best QuickBooks Desktop Payroll plan, it ultimately comes down to how much you can afford and how much work you want to do personally.

To help you determine which QuickBooks payroll plan is best, here’s a side-by-side comparison of all three QuickBooks payroll plans:

Payroll Support
Payroll Processing
Payroll Checks
Direct Deposit
W-2 Employees
1099 Employees
Tax Forms
Automatic Payroll Processing
Automatic E-Filing
Payroll Setup
Year-End Forms

If you are comfortable running payroll and handling taxes yourself, the Basic or Enhanced plan might be best. If you don’t feel good about running payroll yourself or don’t have enough time to do so, the Assisted plan might be a better choice.

Make sure to check your budget and see which payroll plan you can afford as well. If you are a small startup with a tight budget, you might have to stick with the Basic plan and spend some time learning how to run payroll. If this is the case, don’t worry. We’ll teach you everything you need to know about processing payroll in the rest of this post.

Where To Buy QuickBooks Payroll

There are a few ways to purchase QuickBooks Desktop Payroll: on Intuit’s site or through one of QuickBooks’ resellers.

Office supply stores, like Staples or Office Max, often sell the software. Retail stores like Walmart and Best Buy — and even online giants like Amazon — also carry QuickBooks Payroll software. Often, the software is bundled with the purchase of QuickBooks Desktop Pro, QuickBooks Desktop Premier, or QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise.

If you are a QuickBooks Enterprise Gold or Platinum user, then your QuickBooks subscription already comes with payroll support.

QuickBooks Desktop Payroll Troubleshooting & Support

Every QuickBooks Desktop payroll plan comes with tech support at no additional cost. When you sign up for payroll, QuickBooks sends you an email containing several of the main support options. However, there are a few additional support options.

Here are all of the ways you can contact QuickBooks Payroll Support:

  • Phone: Call the QuickBooks Payroll phone support number.
  • Payroll Checklist: QuickBooks created a payroll setup checklist to help you gather all of the information you need to set up payroll before you begin the process.
  • Payroll Guide: There is also a QuickBooks Payroll Getting Started Guide that covers everything you need to know about setting up payroll, running payroll, understanding your payroll tax obligations, and provides additional employer resources.
  • Payroll New Customer Center: I highly recommend taking a look at this resource before setting up your QuickBooks Payroll, even if you aren’t new to payroll. First-time payroll software users and users mitigating from other software can both benefit from the guides, videos, and other resources in the Payroll New Customer Center. You’ll also find FAQs and help articles.
  • Contact Form: Within the Payroll New Customer Center there’s a contact option where you can search existing resources for answers to your question or problem. If the answers are inadequate, you’ll can then contact support directly.
  • Help Centers: There is a Basic and Enhanced payroll help center and an Assisted payroll help center. Both features dozens of how-to articles with detailed instructions. The help centers also help troubleshoot issues with QuickBooks Payroll.
  • QuickBooks Community: There is also a QuickBooks Community where users can ask questions and receive answers from other users and QuickBooks’ own team. This is a good spot to look if you’re having issues with QuickBooks Payroll, as someone may have had the same issue before.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know what each payroll plan is capable of and exactly how much each plan costs, you can make an informed decision on which QuickBooks payroll plan is right for you. If you still aren’t sure, take advantage of the free 30-day payroll trial to see if QB payroll is right for your business.

If you do decide to use QuickBooks, be sure to check out our QuickBooks Desktop Pro 101 series to learn how to set up QuickBooks payroll, run payroll, use direct deposit, and more.

What is QuickBooks Payroll?

QuickBooks is one of the most well-known providers of accounting and bookkeeping software. Owned by Intuit, QuickBooks offers a full suite of useful software and online subscriptions for small and large businesses alike.  QuickBooks Payroll is a small business payroll service that is entirely online. It’s a standalone product, meaning it doesn’t necessarily require the use of QuickBooks software. QuickBooks Payroll offers a full suite of useful features to pay your employees, track hours, and even manage employee benefits – all online, through one simple platform.  The full QuickBooks Payroll review below will go over the details of this service, from pricing and features to customer ratings. 

What is QuickBooks Payroll?

QuickBooks Payroll is an online payroll service for small businesses. It allows employers to track hours, calculate payroll taxes, pay employees via direct deposit, and much more.  QuickBooks Payroll is designed to streamline your weekly or bi-weekly payroll process, freeing up your time to focus on what matters most. Once you’ve completed the initial setup, you can pay your team automatically via direct deposit.  QB Payroll also simplifies the collection, allocation, and payment of payroll taxes. These taxes are collected automatically and kept in a separate account until payment is due.   The service also offers various Human Resources (HR) tools, including benefit management, health insurance, workers’ compensation, vacation time management, and more. In short, QuickBooks Payroll aims to provide a cheaper alternative to in-house payroll teams, while also combining some elements of a traditional HR department. 

Is Intuit QuickBooks Payroll right for my business?

QuickBooks Payroll is a great payroll solution for small business owners and managers at mid-sized firms. Currently, over 1.4 million businesses use QuickBooks Payroll, and for good reason: It’s easy to use, accurate, and cost-effective.  QuickBooks Payroll processing is a no-brainer if your company already uses QuickBooks accounting software for bookkeeping, accounting, or tax prep. The service integrates seamlessly with other QuickBooks products, saving you time and money. It offers the same ease of use and intuitive design that QuickBooks users love.  Even for firms that don’t already use QuickBooks, this payroll service can still be a good option. QuickBooks Payroll is a standalone service, meaning you don’t need to subscribe to any other QuickBooks products. 

What features does QuickBooks Payroll offer?

Intuit QuickBooks Online Payroll offers three different plans. All three offer user-friendly, full-service payroll, so the main difference is in the available bonus features. For instance, Premium offers more help with initial setup, and an HR support center, while Elite offers premium customer service and extra protections for tax compliance. 

Here is an overview of features offered by each plan: 

QuickBooks Payroll Core:

Auto payroll for existing employees
Access to health benefits and other employee perks
Next-day direct deposit payments
Check printing
Vacation and paid leave tracking
Supports W-2 employees payroll, and offers 1099 and other tax form preparation for contractors
Fast and simple payroll runs
Simple tools to calculate paychecks and federal/state payroll taxes
Automated payroll tax calculation, collection, and payment
Compatible with guidelines in all 50 states
Ability to manage deductions and garnishments
Detailed payroll reports

QuickBooks Payroll Premium:

All features of Core
Same-day direct deposit
Workers’ comp. Administration
Human Resources support center
Expert setup
On-the-go time tracking via app

QuickBooks Payroll Elite:

All features of Core and
Premium Premium customer support
24/7 product support
On-the-go time and project tracking
Protection from payroll tax penalties
Personal Human Resources advisor

All three versions have full-service payroll capability. This is notable, as most competing payroll providers only offer full-service features on premium plans.

Every version of QuickBooks Payroll lets you automatically calculate, process, and file all necessary payroll tax forms. It enables employers to calculate and collect tax deposits, as well as issue tax payments, with compatibility for all 50 states. Multiple employee pay types can be added (salary and hourly, for example), and deductions and garnishments are handled automatically. Plus, all versions offer unlimited payroll runs, so you won’t be charged extra for additional runs.

Auto-payroll is another hugely useful feature. This lets you automatically run payroll, without the need for any manual entries. Auto-Payroll lets you skip all the manual work of a payroll run, and simply lets you review payroll before processing to ensure accuracy. For companies with predictable, stable payroll costs, this can save a lot of time. Unfortunately, Auto Payroll is only compatible with salaried employees who are using direct deposit. It does not work for hourly or contract workers, nor for employees receiving physical check payments.

QuickBooks Online Payroll lets you define company policies relating to sick time, PTO, and vacation time. This information can be tracked over time as employees take advantage of their benefits.

All features of QuickBooks Payroll are available online, directly in your browser. Some features can also be accessed through other QuickBooks software. There’s also a mobile app (iOS and Android), although it is more limited in usable features.

How much does QuickBooks Payroll cost?

All three plans are currently available for 50% off, for the first 3 months. This means Core is $22.50, Premium is $37.50, and Elite is $62.50 for the first 3 months. Alternatively, you can opt to get your first 30 days free on any plan, but this will disqualify you for the 50% off promo pricing. As you can see, QuickBooks Payroll pricing is tiered in two ways: Features, and company size (measured by the number of employees). You can choose a base plan (Core, Premium, Elite), and then you’ll pay an additional $4-$10 per month, for each employee your business has. This is a fairly standard pricing structure for payroll services, but nonetheless, it’s important to be aware of how the cost will scale with the size of your business.

Getting started with QuickBooks Payroll

The initial setup process is generally one of the most complex for any new payroll system. You have to enter all your business data, the information for all your employees, and ensure you’re compliant with all state and local payroll tax filing requirements.

Fortunately, QuickBooks offers a fairly easy setup and onboarding process. There’s an automated setup “wizard” that asks a series of questions to help with the initial setup. This process will walk you step-by-step through uploading tax information, employee records, bank account information, etc. If you need, both chat and phone support agents are available during normal business hours.

QuickBooks can also help transfer over existing payroll information from your current provider. This process can be automated or may require the help of a QuickBooks agent, depending on the provider. All QuickBooks Payroll plans come with pretty good support. However, the Elite plan gives you access to premium support reps who are better trained and can be reached more quickly. If your payroll situation is complex, it may be worth upgrading to Quickbooks Payroll Elite.

Advantages of QuickBooks Payroll

Full-service plan for all payroll needs
Several plans available to suit various business needs
Does not require QuickBooks financial software
Seamless integration with other QuickBooks services
Smooth and quick payroll process
Auto-payroll saves a lot of time for companies with predictable payrolls
Fast payments, with next-day or same-day direct deposit (depending on your plan)
Integration with TSheets
HR support from third-party partners
Excellent payroll reports with automatic export to Excel
iOS and Android apps available for on-the-go use

Disadvantages of QuickBooks Payroll

Managing 1099 contractors costs extra
Employee-side interface and tools are limited
Some customers have complained about poor quality customer support
Report customization is limited
Auto Payroll is limited to salaried employees only .

What is Bi-weekly Pay? Bi-weekly vs Bi-monthly Pay

When you have employees, you have to run payroll so they can receive their wages.

Choosing a payment schedule can cause a lot of confusion. Your selection should suit your company’s budgeting, HR or administrator, and, of course, your employee.

Also, you need to follow the legal obligations of the state.

Bi-weekly pay is the most popular pay schedule among companies in the U.S. If you wonder how it works, just check out this article.

Table of Content

Check out these definitions before jumping to the main part.

  • Payroll: payroll is a list of employees with their calculated wages. Or, payroll can refer to the process of calculating wages
  • A check/paycheck: a check or paycheck is a document that instructs the bank to transfer an amount of money from one bank account to another one.
  • A pay date: a pay date is the date in a month that an employee is paid
  • An hourly employee: an hourly employee is paid according to hours they work over
  • A salaried employee: a salaried employee is paid based on an annual amount of money
  • A pay period/schedule: a pay period is a recurring schedule which determines how often you will pay your employees

What is bi-weekly pay?

Just like the name itself, bi-weekly means paying your employees every two weeks.

Frequently, a pay schedule/period will recur within a certain timeframe and won’t change until there is a new pay period.

How about the pay date?

You can choose any weekday to be a pay date. Once chosen, this day will be a set day. It can be Monday, Wednesday, or Friday.

For example, if you want to pay on Friday, then every other Friday in a month, you will pay for your employees.

Bi-weekly pay means paying every two weeks

Frequently, the pay date is 7 days after the end date of the work period.

Also, with this pay schedule, your employees will receive 365/14 = 26 (checks) per year. Because of this, every year, there are two months when you receive three checks.

How to calculate bi-weekly pay?

Actually, you just need two steps:

  • Step 1: Identify the gross annual salary
  • Step 2: Divide that number by 26

The number you get is the bi-weekly pay.

What is bi-monthly pay?

A bi-monthly or semi-monthly pay means paying twice a month. This pay schedule results in 12 * 2 = 24 (checks) during the year.

bi-weekly pay
You pay your employees twice a month with bi-monthly pay

Frequently, the pay dates are 15 days apart. The two pad dates can be on the first and the 15th every month, however, you can freely choose your own schedule.

Which is better? Bi-weekly pay or bi-monthly pay?

Look at the two definitions, you might get confused:

“Are you paying every two weeks and paying twice a month the same?”

However, they are totally different and each has its own pros and cons. Let’s see which type will fit your organization.

Bi-weekly pay pros and cons


  • You have to pay less money per check than when paying on a bi-monthly basis
  • Your employees get paid often. This helps you to maintain employee engagement, boost work ethic and increase productivity in the workplace.
  • Reduce time spent on payroll processing. With hourly employees, you just need to pay according to the number of hours he has worked over the past two weeks.
  • Overtime work is easier to calculate. You just need to add the number of overtime hours to the paycheck.
bi-weeky pay
Bi-weekly pay reduces the overtime calculating time


  • Require 2 more payroll processing times than bi-monthly pay
  • Reach to 27 payroll processing times in lap years because it has 366 days instead of 365 days
  • Difficult to keep track of the paydays or paychecks. The paydays can fall on any two or three dates of a month.
  • The extra two paychecks can set your business back if you haven’t prepared for the additional paychecks two times in a year

Bi-monthly pay pros and cons


  • Require 2 or 3 less payroll processing times than bi-weekly pay
  • No additional expenses because you will pay two times every month
  • Less suffering for employees to budget because paychecks arrive on the same date each month
bi-weekly pay
Bi-monthly pay pros & cons


  • You have to pay more money per check than you have to when paying on a bi-weekly basis
  • Time-wasting on hourly payroll processing. Since some months have 31 days and some have 30 days, hourly employees sometimes can get paid for the different numbers of days.

How to choose the best pay schedule for your business?

Besides bi-weekly pay, there are some other types of pay schedules, which are:

  • Weekly pay: pay every week with 52 paychecks
  • Monthly pay: pay every month with 12 paychecks

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, bi-weekly is the most common pay period among companies nationally. The second most popular pay frequency is the weekly model. On the other hand, monthly pay models are the least implemented.

Choosing a pay period is one of the first steps that all companies take when beginning to hire the first employee to work for them.

Before choosing a pay schedule, you should consider these following factors:

Number of employees

As for small businesses, being clear about the pay schedule is very important. Because, if the money is tight, you really need to know when you have to pay for your employee.

However, if you have a small number of employees, there will be not many differences among selections.

On the other hand, if you have a large employee number, you might want to project the financial pressure coming along with each payroll schedule.

bi-weekly pay
Consider your employee number in choosing the pay schedule

Costs and time

When you run your payroll more frequently, you might have to pay more money with hidden fees.

If your payroll software provider allows you to run unlimited payrolls without paying extra fees then cost might not be a factor. However, if the provider charges per payroll run, then you probably choose the most optimized pay schedule.

Also, remember to make sure the time you spent on paying your employees, you will not want it to take like forever.

Hourly vs salary employees

When it comes to hourly employees, let’s be honest, they will love bi-weekly pay, because if predictable, clear and consistent. On the other hand, salaried workers will like bi-monthly pay because they are exempt from overtime.

Thus, some companies have more than one pay period. They use the bi-monthly pay model for owners or managers and bi-weekly pay for hourly employees.


The long-standing businesses might also want to change their pay period due to the conditions change or when their employees request for a pay period reconsideration.

From the point of view of an employee, knowing exactly when you will be paid is critical for managing the budget.

Payroll can be your business’s largest expense, so choose a pay schedule wisely!

Also Read :- How To Fix Quicken Error Code 1305 With Simple Steps?

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