How to Do Payroll in QuickBooks Online in 7 Steps

Managing payroll can be a daunting task for any business owner. With countless details to keep track of, from employee information to tax filings, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. To help streamline this process, many businesses turn to QuickBooks Online for their payroll needs. However, setting up payroll in QuickBooks can pose its own set of challenges, especially if you’re new to the platform. In this blog post, we’ll break down the process of setting up payroll in QuickBooks Online into seven simple steps, making it easier for you to manage this crucial aspect of your business.

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By following our step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to efficiently handle payroll in QuickBooks Online and ensure your employees are paid accurately and on time. We’ll address common pain points and provide you with the knowledge you need to tackle payroll with confidence. So, let’s dive in and get started on mastering payroll in QuickBooks Online.

Setting Up Payroll in QuickBooks Online

Choosing a Payroll Plan

Before diving into the world of payroll in QuickBooks Online, you’ll need to select the right payroll plan for your business. QuickBooks offers multiple plans, each with different features and pricing. Consider your business’s needs, such as the number of employees, required tax forms, and payroll frequency. By carefully evaluating your options, you’ll be able to choose a plan that best suits your requirements.

Adding Employees and Their Information

Once you’ve selected a plan, it’s time to add your employees and their essential information. In QuickBooks Online, navigate to the “Employees” section, where you can enter each employee’s name, address, Social Security number, and more. Be sure to accurately input wage rates, pay frequencies, and withholding details to ensure seamless payroll processing.

Setting Up Payroll Tax Settings

Handling payroll taxes is a critical aspect of managing payroll in QuickBooks Online. To set up payroll tax settings, visit the “Taxes” tab and select the appropriate payroll tax forms for your business. This step will help you automate tax calculations, payments, and filings, thus streamlining your payroll process.

Step-by-Step Guide to Processing Payroll in QuickBooks Online

Step 1: Accessing the Payroll Module

To start processing payroll, access the payroll module by clicking the “Payroll” tab in QuickBooks Online. This will take you to the main payroll dashboard, where you can manage all payroll-related tasks.

Step 2: Entering Employee Hours and Earnings

For each pay period, enter employee hours and earnings into the system. Input regular, overtime, and any additional pay rates, as needed. This information is crucial for accurate payroll calculations.

Step 3: Reviewing Payroll Details

Before finalizing payroll, take a moment to review the payroll details. Ensure that employee hours, pay rates, and deductions are accurate. Catching errors early on can save you time and potential headaches down the road.

Step 4: Confirming Payroll Taxes and Deductions

QuickBooks Online automatically calculates payroll taxes and deductions based on the information you’ve provided. Double-check these calculations for accuracy and make any necessary adjustments.

Step 5: Previewing and Approving Payroll

With all payroll details in place, preview your payroll to verify that everything is correct. If you’re satisfied with the information, approve the payroll to move forward.

Step 6: Running Payroll and Issuing Paychecks

Once your payroll is approved, run the payroll process in QuickBooks Online. This will generate paychecks for your employees, either as direct deposits or paper checks, depending on your chosen method.

Step 7: Reviewing Payroll Reports and Filing Tax Forms

After completing payroll, review payroll reports to analyze your business’s payroll expenses and trends. Additionally, don’t forget to file the necessary tax forms, either manually or through QuickBooks Online’s automated system.

By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to mastering payroll in QuickBooks Online and ensuring a smooth, efficient process for your business.

Tips for Managing Payroll in QuickBooks Online

Tips for Managing Payroll in QuickBooks Online

Keeping Employee Information Up-to-Date

One of the keys to successfully managing payroll in QuickBooks Online is keeping employee information up-to-date. Regularly reviewing and updating your employees’ personal information, such as their addresses, tax withholdings, and benefit selections, ensures accurate payroll processing. By staying on top of these details, you’ll save time and reduce the risk of errors that could lead to costly discrepancies.

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Staying Compliant with Tax Regulations

Another essential aspect of managing payroll in QuickBooks Online is staying compliant with tax regulations. Be aware of the ever-changing tax laws, and make sure to apply any updates to your payroll system. This includes adjusting tax rates, staying informed about new tax codes, and filing your payroll taxes on time. Staying compliant helps you avoid costly penalties and maintain a healthy relationship with tax authorities.

Scheduling Payroll Reminders

To keep your payroll process running smoothly, it’s important to schedule payroll reminders. QuickBooks Online allows you to set up custom reminders for important payroll tasks, such as running payroll, submitting tax payments, and filing tax forms. These reminders will help ensure you never miss a deadline, ultimately reducing stress and the risk of late fees.

Troubleshooting Common Payroll Issues in QuickBooks Online

Resolving Errors and Discrepancies

Despite your best efforts, errors and discrepancies can still occur when managing payroll in QuickBooks Online. When faced with these issues, it’s essential to remain calm and methodically work through the problem. Begin by identifying the root cause of the error, then apply the necessary corrections to your payroll system. Remember, it’s always better to address any issues as soon as they arise to minimize their impact on your business.

Seeking Help from QuickBooks Support

If you find yourself struggling to resolve a payroll issue, don’t hesitate to seek help from QuickBooks support. Their knowledgeable team of experts is available to assist you with a variety of payroll-related concerns, from setup and tax compliance to troubleshooting errors. With their guidance, you’ll be able to overcome challenges and maintain a streamlined payroll process.


In summary, setting up and managing payroll in QuickBooks Online can be a straightforward and efficient process when you follow the guidance provided in this article. By choosing the right payroll plan, adding employee information, and following our step-by-step guide to processing payroll, you’ll be well on your way to a successful payroll system. Remember to keep employee information up-to-date, stay compliant with tax regulations, and schedule payroll reminders. And should you encounter any issues, don’t hesitate to seek help from QuickBooks support. Embrace the knowledge you’ve gained and use it to streamline your payroll process, benefiting both your employees and your business.


How do I choose the right payroll plan in QuickBooks Online?

When choosing a payroll plan in QuickBooks Online, consider factors like the number of employees you have, your desired level of automation, and the specific features you need. QuickBooks offers various plans to cater to different business needs, so compare the options and choose the one that best suits your requirements.

How do I set up payroll tax settings in QuickBooks Online?

To set up payroll tax settings in QuickBooks Online, navigate to the Payroll Tax Center and complete the required tax forms. Ensure that you have accurate information on your business and employees, as well as your tax identification numbers. QuickBooks will then calculate payroll taxes for you based on your settings.

How can I review payroll details in QuickBooks Online?

To review payroll details in QuickBooks Online, go to the Payroll module and access the payroll summary or individual paychecks. Review the earnings, hours, taxes, and deductions for each employee to ensure accuracy before approving and processing payroll.

What should I do if I encounter errors in my payroll in QuickBooks Online?

If you encounter errors or discrepancies in your payroll, first identify the root cause of the issue. Make the necessary corrections in your payroll system and re-run payroll if needed. If you’re unable to resolve the problem, don’t hesitate to contact QuickBooks support for assistance.

How can I access QuickBooks support to help with payroll issues?

To access QuickBooks support, visit the QuickBooks website and navigate to the support section. You can find help articles, video tutorials, and contact information for the support team. Don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance with any payroll-related concerns you may have.

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