QuickBooks Online Payroll Makes Life Easier

This post is all about QuickBooks Online Payroll, but before we dig in, I want to mention that as I’m writing this (in January 2023), I have a newfound appreciation for just how freaking easy QuickBooks Online Payroll makes payroll at year end. I promise I’ll tell you why in a bit; before I tell you how it’s making my life better, I want to go over some general features of QuickBooks Online Payroll.

(Yes, I am aware that I haven’t written a blog post in a Very Long Time; the last few years have been sort of… weird. I found that I needed to focus on mental health and I ended up spending a LOT of time in northern Michigan camping, hiking, and biking in 2022. BUT I’M BACK BABY SO LET’S TALK ABOUT QUICKBOOKS ONLINE PAYROLL!)

QuickBooks Online Payroll is Intuit’s online payroll solution, and after at least a decade of using Intuit’s Online Payroll for Accountants, I moved all of my payroll clients to QuickBooks Online Payroll when Intuit discontinued that product. One of my complaints about payroll as a general topic is there is never a vacation from it. I can take a week off and go up north camping, then catch up on the other services I provide clients when I get back, but with payroll that’s just not an option.

Here’s where my longtime love of Intuit’s online based software comes in, and for what it’s worth, in this video from another lifetime ago (that green eye shadow… gahhh), I’m logging in to look at payroll while on my bike, and it wasn’t staged. I did actually get a message while filming this and had to stop, login and reply.

QuickBooks Online Payroll offers a bunch of features to help make processing payroll accurate and efficient; the best part is that I can manage it from anywhere: my home office, a library, or even with my phone in my rooftop tent:

Ford F150 pickup with a rooftop tent on a bed rack

Some of the features that I love for my clients are the expert set up that comes with the Elite subscription level (I’ll share pricing at the end of this post), the tax penalty protection and the 24 hour and same day direct deposit. I love being able to tell clients that YES, we can process a paycheck TODAY and have the direct deposit hit TODAY. Another feature for Elite subscribers is the HR Services; these are delivered through a 3rd party partner called Mineral, Inc. Just recruiting and hiring is difficult enough, so to be able to have tools like handbook templates and help with setting policies or managing conflicts is a relief. For some of my small businesses, being able to offer health and 401k benefits via the QuickBooks Online Payroll HR Advisor actually makes the recruiting part easier!

For my client’s employees, logging into Workforce allows them to view paystubs and make changes to their tax withholding and direct deposit account.

My clients can also use the contractor payments feature as well


The features that I love for me, as someone who is entering the payroll and creating the paychecks for my clients, are the integration with QuickBooks Time (or even the default time tracking in QuickBooks Online), and automatic tax calculations. QuickBooks Online Payroll uses real-time tax rates and rules to calculate payroll taxes; I can say that I’ve never had an issue with taxes being miscalculated, unless it was because a state unemployment rate didn’t get updated in time. (And when that happens, QuickBooks Online Payroll makes the adjustments needed so that the employer is compliant in paying what is owed.)

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, QuickBooks Online Payroll is making payroll year end so, sooo much easier for me with the automatic tax calculations, automatic tax filing and liability payments. Why do I love this so much? Because I don’t have to worry about making sure all the 941s, 940s, W2s get efiled on time. I just need to make sure everything ties out before that happens!


I don’t have to send PDFs of the W2s to clients, or make sure they’ve mailed them out to their employees. Between the automatic tax filing and payments and the employee access to Workforce, it’s all taken care of – and my clients can access all of it whenever they need to by logging into QuickBooks Online!

Now we get into the costs; there are three different plans to choose from, each with its own set of features and pricing.


QuickBooks Online Payroll Core is the bottom tier at $45/month plus $5 per employee. It includes the automated tax filing/payment, auto payroll, 1099 E-File & Pay and next-day direct deposit.

QuickBooks Online Payroll Premium is the most popular, mid-range option at $75/month plus $8 per employee. It includes everything that Core does, plus you get QB Time and same day direct deposit.

QuickBooks Online Payroll Elite is the top tier at $125/month plus $10 per employee. This has all of the bells and whistles! It included everything in Core but also expert set up, the HR Advisor and tax penalty protection.

Employers can start at any level and upgrade or downgrade as needed.

For my fellow ProAdvisors: QuickBooks Online Accountant users get the highest tier – QuickBooks Online Payroll Elite free for their firm! There is also pricing for ProAdvisors to offer their clients as well as a revenue share option.

One last thing I want to talk about, is the improvement of support. I’m VERY picky about my support options. I prefer for any app to have an online support page – Intuit’s QuickBooks Community Knowledge Base is AMAZING, but they’ve also made some major changes to Accountant support by providing product experts with prior tax and accounting knowledge and requiring support agents to get certified as part of their training/learning path. They are also working on standardizing the Tier2 support model as well ramping up staffing and social media engagement.

For what it’s worth, I freaking LOVE the QuickBooks Online Payroll chat support. If I can’t find the answer online, I have quite a lot of options to get help by clicking the help icon in the top right corner of any page when logged into QuickBooks Online.


Screen shot 2023-01-13 at 7.28.57 am

If you just need payroll, or you want to keep it separate from the QuickBooks Online account, the stand alone option is available and transactions exported to QuickBooks Online.

With all of this,QuickBooks Online Payroll is saving me time and reducing my stress level this January!! It’s comprehensive, affordable, and the fact that it’s built right into QuickBooks Online makes it so easy!!

You can keep up to date on all things QuickBooks Online Payroll by bookmarking their updates/product news page here.

This post is sponsored by Intuit and QuickBooks Online Payroll.

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