Reconsidering the new QuickBooks Online Payroll

Reconsidering the new QuickBooks Online Payroll

It’s payroll season. January is typically the time of the year that your clients may be considering a change to a new payroll provider. Right now is the best time of the year to make a switch. There are fewer payrolls processed, so marrying the old payroll platform to the new one is easy.

Have you considered looking at QuickBooks® Online Payroll? If you decided not to recommend a new provider based on past experiences, I highly recommend giving QuickBooks Online Payroll a second look. There have been many changes since you may have first looked at the platform, starting with a name change. Now, we have three products we can choose from to see which one fits best for our clients.

QuickBooks Online Payroll Core

Core is your basic-level program – and it is a full-service payroll. In fact, all three products are full service. It also has auto payroll. Auto payroll is one of my favorite new features of QuickBooks Online Payroll. If you have a firm with all of its employees on salary, you can schedule payroll out – basically set it and forget it. You get an email reminding you that it’s about to process, and can review the details in the email, all automatically. It’s technology at its finest! In addition, you have access to affordable health benefits and 401(k) plans for your client’s company, available for an additional fee. You get expert product support and next-day direct deposit for their employees. QuickBooks Online Payroll Core is $45 a month and $4 an employee per month, so it is a smaller business’ best option.

QuickBooks Online Payroll Premium

The next product is Premium. Most of my existing clients use this product. Premium has all of the same features as Core, but includes same-day direct deposit. This feature alone had saved me when I forgot to run a payroll. I was able to process it on the exact same day that employees were paid. Incredible! There’s also a Human Resources support center and Expert Setup Review. What’s included in the setup review? Well, if you’ve already run a few payrolls in January, you will need to make sure that those are included in your new QuickBooks Online Payroll by connecting the transactions. You’ll have to map over every paycheck and all the taxes, but a payroll expert will be available to review your work and ensure the data is transferred over correctly. If you want an expert to do it, there’s an additional fee.

There is also Workers’ Compensation Insurance by AP Intego, including a pay-as-you-go plan that lets you send your premium payments to your workers’ compensation carrier based on your actual payroll information – no guesswork needed! This is better for small businesses because this improves cash flow compared to insurance policies with a large deposit down and set payments based on an estimated payroll for the year. You can sign up with worker’s compensation with all the payroll products. It is a huge time-saver at audit time too!

You can also track time with QuickBooks Time (and in the QB Workforce mobile app), included in Premium. Wow! Think about that for a minute. That is an exceptional value – the pricing on this product is $75 per month and $8 per employee.

QuickBooks Online Payroll Elite

The crème de la crème or top-tier product is Elite. With Elite, you get everything in Core and Premium, plus Expert Setup where the payroll team will set up your payroll. If you’ve already run a few payrolls in January, the team will map it into the new payroll system, and 24/7 expert product support is included.

One of the most valuable assets with Elite is that you get a personal HR advisor, provided by Mammoth. The mid-market firms I work with tend to have many employees. Having that one contact person in place who knows the compliance aspect of HR is critical. They will make sure your business doesn’t miss any of the essential laws for your state.

Also with Elite, you can track time and projects with QuickBooks Time, including tracking project hours and labor expenses in real time. So, if your client has a need for job costing and tracking via projects, this feature alone is a win-win.

Other reasons to make the move

One of the most significant benefits of QuickBooks Online Payroll is that the paychecks and all payroll processes are embedded into the platform. You don’t have to navigate to another source or another website to run payroll. Go to the left navigation bar and click “payroll.” It’s as simple as that. If you want to see what’s in a net paycheck after you’ve processed it, click on the check and it brings up all the details. With other outside products, you have to map payroll over via a journal entry, or even worse, it doesn’t map over at all and you have to manually type it in. Many of my clients get a little freaked out about journal entries and have no clue how to type it all in. I’ve also seen some mapping that’s not the best. QuickBooks Online Payroll is very simple and there is an easy setup. Here are some resources to help.

My top seven tips when shopping and comparing payroll programs:

  1. Is the payroll priced out per payroll run or per month? QuickBooks payroll is per month pricing. When researching other payroll providers, many of them invoice you per payroll run.
  2. Are there additional fees at year-end? No. I’ve seen some payroll companies charge additional fees for year-end processing, per additional form fees, and envelopes and stamps.
  3. What does automation look like? QuickBooks auto payroll can save you considerable time and worry.
  4. Can you process and pay employees on the same day? Same day payroll is incredible!
  5. Do you have to log into an outside website? It’s right inside the program – no need to jump out to another website.
  6. Is it full service or do you have to process the tax returns? All three choices are full service.
  7. What features are included in the pricing? The additional features, especially QuickBooks Payments and QuickBooks Capital, make QuickBooks Online Payroll a great value in my book.

If you haven’t looked at QuickBooks Online Payroll in a while, I encourage you to check it out. There’s been a lot of changes and a lot of additional features added to the program. It’s worth a second look, especially at this time of year.

Learn more

Watch Lynda’s QuickBooks Connect webinar, Serving clients with QuickBooks Payroll, or take the in-depth product training for free in the QuickBooks Online Accountant ProAdvisor training portal.

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