Intuit offers three separate payroll options associated with its QuickBooks line of accounting software. While the Basic version is just that—the basic functions needed to pay employees through QuickBooks—the two higher-end versions, Enhanced and Full Service, offer significantly more features. If you are considering a change to your payroll system, you may wonder which is right for your business. Here we will compare the two payroll packages.
While both versions obviously enable you to pay standard W-2 employees, both also add a feature not found in Basic—the ability to pay 1099 contractors. Intuit includes free direct deposit with both packages, but in both cases, paychecks for any employees who are paid by hardcopy check will have to be printed at your location. (The availability of declining-balance or “reloadable” MasterCard, VISA, or American Express-branded cards means that even those employees who may be unable to have a bank account can be paid via direct deposit, although in some states the law prohibits requiring this of an employee.)
Electronic W-2 Filing
Another annual undertaking that Enhanced Payroll and Full Service Payroll both ease is the preparation, printing, and electronic filing of W-2 forms. There are some important differences, however. Enhanced Payroll users must still print and distribute W-2s, although the forms are pre-formatted for ease of production and filing with the IRS is electronic and accomplished with a few mouse clicks. Full Service Payroll takes this chore off of your hands entirely.
State and Local Tax Form Filings
Enhanced Payroll automates the completion of the major federal payroll tax forms including the 940, 941, 944/945a, 943/943a, and 1096. It enables you to file and pay electronically and also reminds you when payments are due. Additionally, most state tax forms are included in Enhanced Payroll, and for those that are not a summary report makes completion easier. But again, with Full Service Payroll all of these tasks are handled for you, and Intuit guarantees that filings will be both on-time and accurate. This extends to local tax forms if applicable to where you do business, which are not included with Enhanced Payroll. It is past this point that Full Service Payroll steps away from its little brothers. As the name promises, Full Service Payroll is a completely outsourced payroll solution, meaning Intuit handles everything from preparing paychecks to calculating and filing payroll taxes to preparing year-end forms to performing new hire reporting. The only tasks that really remain for you are entering employee hours and printing any hardcopy paychecks that are needed.
Integrated With QuickBooks
One of the main benefits of using one of Intuit’s payroll packages is the full integration with QuickBooks, which minimizes the need for manual data entry or transfer. However, Full Service Payroll is a truly full-service option, and unlike with Basic or Enhanced Payroll you need not use or even have QuickBooks in order to use this version. In fact, a computer isn’t even necessary; it is possible to run payroll from an Apple or Android smartphone or tablet. Intuit also handles payroll setup with its Full Service product, even if you are migrating from another outsourced provider, so making the change is easy—and especially easy if you have already been using Basic or Enhanced Payroll from QuickBooks.
You Decide What Works Best
If you have a very small number of employees, the time and effort required for each payroll may make full outsourcing unnecessary. Of course, that also depends on your company’s staffing situation; because of the complex mix of federal, state, and sometimes local laws affecting employee pay and the potentially stiff fines and penalties associated with violating those laws—not to mention the improper filing or late payment of payroll taxes—not just anyone in the office can handle payroll. Unless you have other tasks for them, an employee with the competencies necessary for payroll may be an expensive luxury, and even then you will need someone cross-trained in the event the primary person is sick, on vacation, or otherwise unavailable to handle payroll. Considering that your year-end tax forms are included free with the Full Service package, even ignoring the elimination of potential headaches the relatively small difference in monthly cost makes it an extremely attractive alternative to Enhanced Payroll.
Have Questions? Need Help?
Trying to choose the best options when it comes to payroll can be tricky. Sometimes, doing it yourself is a viable option while in other situations it can create a disaster for you business and problems for your employees. If you have questions on how to choose the right option for you, give us a call. We have a team of payroll experts that can guide you to ensure that you choose wisely. Just give us a call at 866-949-7267 or click here to send us an email.