Quickbooks Payroll Review: Should You Use It?

Payroll and accounting are two aspects of human resource management that challenge HRs the most. Your workforce needs to be paid, on time, and with all their payment requirements taken care of. This is easier said than done, what with so many employees having flexible schedules, and different individual accounting needs. That’s where a payroll service such as Quickbooks comes in. 

With its integrated accounting features, Quickbooks is one of the more versatile payroll software systems on the market, for small businesses. While it can handle processing payroll and basic accounting for larger firms, it’s best suited to a smaller workforce, which it can manage very well. But, the question is, is Quickbooks Payroll right for your business?

Here’s a full review to help you find out.

What is Quickbooks Payroll? 

Intuit QuickBooks Online is one of the leading cloud-based SaaS companies. A subsidiary of Intuit, which is one of the biggest financial software companies in the world, QuickBooks merges basic payroll processing with accounting and record keeping. It’s a fully automated system, essentially working without user input, except at the very initial stages when it takes in all the relevant employee information and payroll data. 

The software is known for its ease of use and the highly user-friendly interface, which can be operated by even HR coordinators or HR generalists who are not experts in corporate financial management.

QuickBooks Payroll Services and Features 

There are several different individual software offerings that come under the QuickBooks umbrella, with QuickBooks Online being the prime offering for companies with a lacking HR department. The software uses various Key Performance Indicators to get an idea of the company’s performance and business trends. QuickBooks has some features that allow it to be a full-service payroll system.

These features also allow it to become an effective accounting software that manages pay stubs, and saves companies up to 40 hours of accounting assessment hours a month. 

Let’s take a look at the main features of QuickBooks Payroll.

Direct Deposit  

This feature lets you connect employees bank accounts with your financial framework, effectively taking over the tasks of an employee accounts manager. The software makes free direct deposits to employees’ accounts at the end of every payroll run. In other words, you can completely automate transactions to your employees. 

In addition, QuickBooks Payroll categorizes the transactions according to your pre-set specifications. If you have employees who need to be paid extra, or less than the others, the software includes those employees in a separate category, and runs payroll differently for them. 

Tax Records

Tax payments and record maintenance for employees, and employers, all fall on the HR manager’s head. This feature automates the tracking of all expenses, which is needed for when the year-end tax season rolls around. While the software doesn’t file taxes and doesn’t have reports on tax filing based on the incoming and outgoing cash, it does record all the taxable cash flow. You simply need to insert details regarding state, local and federal tax rates, during the initial setup. Senior managers can track company expenses, for better financial planning and tax compliance. 

 QuickBooks does offer Tax Penalty Protection, which helps HRs solve discrepancies with tax fees, errors in filing, and compliance. This feature will help small business owners avoid tax penalties in the long run. 

Payroll and Tax Receipts

Payroll receipts are the only proof that the employer and employee have of the transaction. This feature takes generates payroll receipts, takes photo-copies of them, saves them on a singular database, and organizes all receipts in order. In addition, both the employer and employees get a copy of their payday receipt in their inbox. 

Federal and State Tax Payment

Small businesses have unique taxation requirements, which make running payroll even more difficult (due to the legal requirements). The tax payment feature lets you automate the tax payment and filing process completely, to the point where the software pays the taxes directly in tune with incoming payments, prepares payroll tax forms, and maintains a record of all the state and federal tax payments.

All you need to do is, input the tax particulars at the time of the initial payroll setup, and let the software take care of tax compliance while you run payroll. 

Note: The software doesn’t manage the new R&D Tax Credit process.

Security and Record-Keeping

This feature works by centralizing all payroll and tax records, on a single database. QuickBooks provides enterprise-grade security for records, which keeps employee information and tax data out of the wrongs. It also acts as an added layer of security against loss of data due to system error. Plus, each new activity on the software platform triggers an automatic backup. 

QuickBooks Payroll Pros and Cons

Here are some of the reasons why you should or shouldn’t adopt QuickBooks Payroll.


  • Helps with tax savings by maintaining compliance and regularly filing taxes.
  • Lets employers pay several vendors and bills at once.
  • Account managers can access and manage accounts from anywhere, in real-time.
  • An intuitive mobile app (QuickBooks Mobile on Android).


  • An enhanced payroll suite that’s sometimes too expensive for small businesses.
  • It only runs one activity tab at once.
  • The interface is easy to use but involves too many steps to access each option. 
  • Occasional bugs in some transaction records.

QuickBooks Pricing

Currently, QuickBooks Payroll has 3 pricing packages:

Simple Start: This plan offers limited features and costs $15 per month, per employee.

Essentials: This plan includes some additional features on top of what you get with the Simple Start plan, and costs $23 per month, per employee.

Plus: This is the full-service payroll offering by QuickBooks, and includes all the features discussed in this review, at a cost of $31 per month, per employee.

All new customers get a 30-day trial period for the software, regardless of which pricing plan they choose. After the trial period is over, you’ll have to buy the software. 

Should You Use QuickBooks Payroll?

If your payroll software needs include full automation, with excellent security and easy payroll runs each month, then QuickBooks Payroll is a good choice of software for you. This means that if you are a small business owner who’s looking to grow and scale their enterprise, without having to hire too many human resource personnel, QuickBooks Payroll is ideal. However, if you have already scaled your company to where you don’t qualify as a small business, you might want to look for alternative payroll software.

​All in all, QuickBooks should prove beneficial for companies in their earlier stages and small, niche businesses with a limited workforce size.

Josh Fechter
Josh Fechter is a business strategy consultant and founder. He's written several world-recognized books on software configuration, speaks Spanish, ballroom dances, and owns The Product Company and Squibler.