Intuit Online Payroll Review
- Easy setup
- No long-term contract required
- Integrates with QuickBooks Online
- 24-hour direct deposit
- Numerous public complaints
- Poor customer support
- Nontransparent pricing
Intuit QuickBooks has been one of the industry leaders in accounting software since the 1980s. With 2.7 million users, that means roughly 10% of small businesses today already use QuickBooks for some aspect of their business accounting — and 1.4 million of those use the payroll services specifically.
There are two types of QuickBooks payroll products: QuickBooks Desktop Payroll and Intuit Online Payroll (also known as QuickBooks Online Payroll). What’s the difference? QuickBooks Desktop Payroll — you guessed it — works with QuickBooks Desktop Pro, Premier, and Enterprise. Likewise, Intuit Online Payroll works directly with QuickBooks Online. You must have an existing QuickBooks Online account or be looking to purchase both QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Online Payroll to use this payroll service.
Intuit Online Payroll is easy to use, and those who are familiar with QuickBooks will find a similar interface and level of usability. QuickBooks Online Payroll has decent features, a large number of integrations, and it directly integrates with QuickBooks Online for a smooth and seamless transition into the payroll world. The system has many bells and whistles designed for medium-sized businesses, so the program grows well with a company. Small businesses might find all those features dizzying, inflexible, and more expensive than other small business options, such as Gusto or Square.
Those familiar with QuickBooks Online already know one of the biggest complaints about the company — poor customer support. QuickBooks Online Payroll is no different; the representatives are friendly but lack an understanding of payroll and taxes.
For QuickBooks fans, Intuit Online Payroll is a solid upgrade that will integrate well with your existing accounting software. But for the average small business owner, if you don’t already use QuickBooks, other options offer more support, flexibility, and value for your money. To decide if QuickBooks Online Payroll is right for your business, read our full review or check out Gusto for a more flexible small business payroll solution.
Table of Contents
QuickBooks Online Payroll recently went through a renovation of its Intuit program and prices. The biggest update is that all of the new payroll options are full-service platforms. Intuit QuickBooks has month-to-month contracts and no early termination fees. Payments are monthly, and you can cancel your subscription at any time. QuickBooks also runs promotions for its payroll product frequently, so be sure to check for any available discounts before purchasing.
Intuit Online Payroll’s Core Payroll plan costs $45/month +$4/per employee and includes:
- Next day direct deposit
- Unlimited payroll runs
- Calculates paychecks
- Calculates and files federal and state taxes
- Calculates and files year-end forms
- Expert support
- Workforce portal
- Manages garnishments and deductions
- Offers reporting features
Intuit Online Payroll’s Premium Payroll plan costs $75/month +$8/per employee and includes everything in the Core Payroll plan, plus:
- 24-hour same day direct deposit
- Automated payroll
- HR support
- Assisted payroll setup
- Help from US-based expert support
- Time tracking
- Grant user permissions
Intuit Online Payroll’s Elite Payroll plan costs $125/month +$10/per employee and includes everything in the Premium Payroll plan, plus:
- $125 a month + $10 per employee
- HR support with a personal HR advisor
- Assisted payroll setup
- White glove customized setup
- Track time and projects on the go
- Tax penalty protection
- 24/7 product support
Before choosing Intuit Online Payroll, there are several additional costs to be aware of:
- Workers’ Compensation Insurance: Most businesses with one or more employees across all 50 states need workers’ compensation as a legal business requirement. It pays for medical expenses and lost wages if an employee gets injured on the job. Intuit partners with AP Intego’s pay-as-you-go workers’ compensation insurance. There is a $5 monthly fee to use this service. Premiums for workers’ compensation will depend on how many employees you have and what type of business you operate.
- QuickBooks Simple Start/Essentials/Plus: Tracks income, expenses, sales, and sales tax; organizes receipts and maximizes tax deductions. The program also creates invoices and accepts payments. This addition is $25 a month and up, depending on the features your business will need.
- Labor Law Poster Subscription Service: All businesses that have an employee or contractor working for them must display or have available the appropriate labor law posters. Posting this information is part of labor law here in the US, and staying on top of new regulations and changes can be tedious. Through an add-on subscription, payroll customers can have access to the labor law posters for their state, and QuickBooks will send new posters as needed.
- E-File 1099s: In January of each year, your business will need to file the 1099 forms sent out to contractors. This service helps prepare your 1099s through auto-fill from your Intuit Online Payroll information. You can send PDFs to contractors, and QuickBooks will e-file your 1099s for you. This additional service is available in January and is an additional $14. You can also order tax forms and other business forms, such as checks, directly from QuickBooks.
- Multi-State Processing Fees: If you are processing payroll for people in different states, expect to pay a $12 processing fee per state to file taxes.
- Medical/Dental/Vision: New to Intuit’s online platform is the option to add health insurance for your team through Simply Insured. Quotes start at $233 per month per employee. Contact Intuit directly for more details.
Cloud-Based Or Locally-Installed
Intuit QuickBooks is cloud-based, with no downloads or installation required.
Hardware & Software Requirements
As cloud-based software, QuickBooks Online Payroll operates with nearly all internet browsers so long as you have internet access. There are also desktop versions available, which rate higher among consumers for speed. To read forms and use the print checks feature, you will need Adobe Reader 7.0+ or the Firefox PDF plugin.
QuickBooks Online Payroll also has mobile apps for Apple products (iOS 9.3+) and Android products (4.1+).
Specific Size Of Business
For the cost, Intuit is well-optimized for mid-sized businesses looking for a full-service payroll solution. However, if your company plans to grow, Intuit is a good option if you would like your payroll system to grow with you. Intuit recently added a benefits section to its online options, which is fantastic, but there are limited options for other small business integrations. The entire platform seems geared toward converting its existing QuickBooks users into payroll customers instead of trying to be a leader in online payroll services.
For small and micro businesses looking for self-service payroll, this is an expensive option for the features promised, and you can get more bang for your buck elsewhere. One plus that is worth taking into consideration is that your employees have the option to connect directly to TurboTax. Intuit Online users can quickly and easily set up a preference in the settings to allow their employees to import their W-2 information from Intuit straight into TurboTax. This feature might make the software worthwhile for those small business owners who want to make the tax process as seamless as possible for their employees.
Ease Of Use
If you’re already accustomed to QuickBooks Online, Intuit Online Payroll will seem familiar and easy to get used to. The software is well organized, and the UI is relatively intuitive. In terms of getting started, reviews say that onboarding is particularly tedious, but the upper pricing tiers do offer onboarding help with available experts.
QuickBooks Online offers the basics you’d expect with a payroll solution. The company recently expanded its features and reports as well. Here’s an overview of what you can expect with Intuit’s payroll services:
- Dashboard: The free trial did not allow me to navigate much around the dashboard, but it is relatively easy to do so and to understand the layout. The top dash is dedicated to any “to-dos” on your list. You can also hop between employees or contractors and the newly added benefits section.
- Employee Portal: The workforce portal allows your employees to log in under the same email they use for TurboTax or the email you provided when setting up payroll. They have access to their benefits information, leave information, and any other information you’ve made available for them during payroll setup.
- Employee Management: Intuit has many features to help you manage your employees and contractors from a single interface. You can add various details, including job title, payment information, time off, tax documents, and benefits. Intuit allows you to manage additional earnings, deductions, and garnishments.
- Payroll: Intuit promises that running payroll is as easy as clicking a button. It takes about two or three minutes to run payroll online. Once your employees are enrolled, their hours and pay scales set, and your pay dates set, running payroll is simple. Intuit will pay your taxes and file your quarterly payroll reports for you. (For local taxes, you might be on your own to deduct and allocate; check with a QuickBooks or tax expert.)
- Payment Methods: You can pay your employees by check or by direct deposit.
- Pay Stubs & Checks: Employees can download a PDF of their pay stubs directly from their employee portal. If you choose to pay your employees by check, you can print the checks with Intuit.
- Paid Time Off (PTO): You can set paid time off policies on any plan, including vacation and sick days. Set sick days/vacation or accrued sick days/vacation are both possibilities.
- Reports: Here is a screenshot of the reports section from the free trial. QuickBooks also allows for custom reports.
- Benefits Administration: Intuit is growing its benefit options. Benefits through Simply Insured are available, and future updates through Mammoth, Inc., will include more HR administration integrations. There are options to connect your benefits management, but QuickBooks does not often integrate with things outside the QuickBooks Suite. So some businesses find themselves going back and forth with record keeping.
- Payroll Garnishment: Intuit can handle pay garnishment for you.
- Tax Support: Tax support is now available on all plans.
- Connects To TurboTax: You can set up a preference within your payroll that allows employees to import their W-2s straight into TurboTax by using their employee identification number. Doing so can save a few minutes of manually entering W-2 information for your employees during tax time.
Customer Service & Support
Before purchasing the product, I was able to get in touch with people very easily via phone or online chat. For more specific user questions, the online chat was pretty simple, and they did provide me with answers in a reasonable time. Then I realized that both times the chat information was incorrect. However, Intuit QuickBooks is known for outsourcing its help centers. Payroll experts are hypothetically available for important issues, but getting to one and talking things through can take a long time.
- Phone: Intuit has a phone line, but there’s no specific extension for payroll or any particular call hours that I can find.
- Email: Yes, there is a way to contact customer service through email either outside or from inside your payroll program.
- Online Chat: Online chat is a quick and easy option. After an initial screening, customer service reps will get you to the right person to answer your question.
- In-Software Support: Within the software, you or your users can access forums and chat rooms.
- Help Center: There is an online help center with articles, forms, and lists to help keep you knowledgable and organized.
- Social Media: Intuit maintains Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn accounts.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
Any major company that has a great many users is bound to run into challenges, and Intuit is a large company that does a lot more than payroll. The Better Business Bureau gives it a good rating overall, but if you delve deeper into the reviews specifically for the payroll program, things turn ugly in a hurry. There are a plethora of rants about misfiled taxes, miscommunications about payments, and the general ineptitude of the customer service representatives. It’s hard to ignore the negative reviews and all-caps calls of caveat emptor. Here are the most significant complaints users have:
- Nontransparent Pricing & Fees: Pinning down an exact price is difficult. There are several QuickBooks programs, so it’s easy to get lost among the different payroll pricing guides. You could end up straying away from the online payroll program and not even know it. There are also many additional add-ons: When building the perfect payroll platform, the price can climb in a hurry.
- Bad Customer Service: If the program runs well for you, then great! If it doesn’t? Well, be prepared to spend some time getting those questions answered. While the people on the other end of the phone/chat/screen are well-intentioned, very few of them are actual payroll experts. It can take a long time to connect with someone who is.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
People who like QuickBooks and already use aspects of the software are more likely to have a positive experience transitioning to the Intuit Online Payroll system. It also seems that many of the positive reviews are from people with accounting backgrounds versus small business owners. It is also sometimes tough to ascertain if reviews are for the online or the desktop versions (and the desktop version receives the higher praise). However, this seems to be a situation of love it or hate it. The software has 4/5 stars on Capterra (based on 363 ratings), and a collection of the best reviews boil down to the following features:
- Easy To Access & Use: The QuickBooks interface is clean and straightforward. It’s easy to use for all levels of technical abilities, and most users find it very intuitive. Also, as long as you have an internet connection, you can run payroll.
- Onboarding Help: No matter which tier you purchase, there are specific representatives dedicated to making sure you are set up from start to finish. Since this part of the process is a bit tedious, it’s nice to have the extra assistance in making sure all the required forms are filled out. The top tier receives the white glove treatment, which sounds fancy and helpful.
- Constantly Updating: Even in the past few months, Intuit has rolled out new changes and updates to its program. Since the program is cloud-based, all updates are automatic, so you know you’re getting a fresh and evolving product. Intuit’s willingness to explore upgrades and keep current is essential. This program listens to people and makes changes when needed.
Intuit online payroll is continuously expanding its integrations. QuickBooks is known for giving access to over 400 apps, and the Intuit Online program has many you might be familiar with, such as TSheets, Expensify, Shopify, and Chaser. Please contact Intuit for a full list of what’s currently available.
QuickBooks Online uses 128-bit SSL encryption and multi-factor authentication. The Tier-4 data center has physical safeguards in place, and routine testing ensures security. For more information on QuickBooks’ security, check out the Intuit website.
So what do we think of QuickBooks Online Payroll? Intuit is undoubtedly a big player in the business software world, and the recent updates to its full-service platform demonstrate a willingness to adapt and improve its platform. While companies might have to pay for the elite service with some add-ons to get the same price and level of features as some of the other payroll platforms, Intuit is continuously adapting and reworking its payroll features. There are also many discounts and sales available, so the top price is competitive with industry standards.
If you’re a huge fan of QuickBooks Online and its UI, Intuit Online Payroll might still win your heart. Brand loyalty goes a long way. Plus, the TurboTax integration for W-2 employees is tempting. It is hard to look past the poor customer support and negative reviews from the now-outdated payroll options. Still, I appreciate that Intuit listened to user reviews and made sweeping changes in response. A company that listens to and changes for its customers is valuable. However, if you want to explore other options, check out payroll programs that might be a better fit for smaller businesses and more cost-effective, such as Gusto, Paychex, or Square.