Quick Tips: Using QuickBooks Payroll 2007

Getting the Most from QuickBooks Payroll 2007

Using the New Pay Employees Workflow

In QuickBooks Payroll 2007, we redesigned the Pay Employees workflow to make it easier and more efficient for QuickBooks Payroll users to process payroll. This change should simplify payroll processing for our payroll customers who own and manage small businesses, while offering the flexibility to support the payroll needs of more complex businesses—including accountants—and those businesses that have varied payroll requirements.

Two key changes to QuickBooks Payroll include:

  • A guided, three-step process streamlines paying employees:

    • Step 1: Enter payroll data on a new, single data entry screen (no more drilling down into each individual paycheck stack if not needed), or drill down into a paycheck if required (just like before!).
    • Step 2: Review a summary of payroll transactions (or drill down into individual paychecks to adjust/preview) and create paychecks.
    • Step 3: Print and distribute paychecks and/or pay stubs to employees.
  • Optional payroll schedules allow you to organize your employees into groups for easy batch payroll processing. This means:

    • You no longer have to keep track of who to pay and when to pay them. The Payroll Center will notify you when to process payroll for each group of employees.
    • The new Pay Employees workflow will automatically display only those employees in the group, eliminating the need for you to manually select the employees you wish to pay.
    • If you use Direct Deposit or Assisted Payroll, the Payroll Center will keep track of when to send your payroll to Intuit for processing and will notify you of the 48-hour processing time. Additionally, the dates will be adjusted for bank holidays, making it even easier for you to stay on top of this important payroll task.

Remember, you can:

  • Pay employees using the new payroll schedules, continue to pay your employees without establishing schedules, or process your regular payroll using scheduled payroll and create paychecks off-cycle as needed.
  • Enter data directly into the paycheck as you have with previous QuickBooks Payroll versions. The new workflow, however, makes it easier to quickly enter data on a single screen without going through every paycheck.

Read on for more details!

Using the New Features in QuickBooks Payroll

To help you understand how to use the new features in QuickBooks Payroll 2007, we've answered the top questions that customers have about the Pay Employees features.

NOTE: The following information requires users to have the QuickBooks Payroll 2007 R5 update distributed in January 2007. Click here to get the latest updates for your QuickBooks software.

Q1: Do I have to set up payroll schedules to begin using QuickBooks Payroll 2007?

A: No, payroll schedules are optional. You can still choose to preview the list of all your employees, select the ones you wish to pay, and then create their paychecks.

Use this step-by-step process for running payroll without creating payroll schedules:

  1. From the Employees menu or Payroll Center, click Pay Employees.

    Figure 1: Pay Employees without Creating Schedules
    Figure 1: Pay Employees without Creating Schedules

  2. Clicking Pay Employees will open up a new screen that displays all of your employees and enables you to enter payroll data per employee on this screen. Alternatively, you can enter data directly into the paycheck detail screen as you did with previous (before 2007) versions of QuickBooks Payroll.

    Figure 2: Enter Hours Screen
    Figure 2: Enter Hours Screen

  3. Set the Pay Period End date and the Check Date to the correct dates-they will default to today's date.
  4. Select the employees you wish to pay by putting a check mark next to their name(s).
  5. If your company uses timesheets, the timesheet data that you previously entered will be displayed in the relevant columns on this screen.
  6. If you don't use timesheets but wish to enter time data for your employees, you can do so on this screen without going directly into each employee's paycheck to enter the information.
  7. To drill down into the paycheck stack, double-click on the first employee name. (You can always go into an individual's paycheck by clicking on their name.)

    1. Proceed through the paycheck stack by clicking Next or Previous.
    2. When you are finished with the last paycheck, click OK.
    3. You will come back to the Enter Hours screen, and any time data you entered at the paycheck level will be updated on this screen.
  8. Click Continue. This will open the Review and create paychecks screen. You will see a summary of the gross to net for each employee, as well as totals for the entire payroll run.
    1. A key benefit is that the paychecks have not yet been posted to your general ledger. You can make any adjustments or changes by going back to the Enter Hours screen or by drilling down into the paycheck stack to view the details. Once you are satisfied, click Create Paychecks.

    Figure 3: Review and Create Paychecks Screen
    Figure 3: Review and Create Paychecks Screen

  9. The confirmation screen will appear. This screen shows information about the number of paychecks you have created and how many were direct deposit checks. The screen will also allow you to print paychecks and pay stubs.

    Figure 4: Confirmation and Next Steps Screen
    Figure 4: Confirmation and Next Steps Screen

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Q2: The Enter Hours screen displays my employees and a list of payroll items in the columns. How do I use this screen?

A: The columns that appear on the Enter Hours screen represent the payroll items that appear on the employee's paycheck or in their employee record.

White cells in the Enter Hours screen are active—that means that you can enter hours directly into these cells.

Gray cells in the Enter Hours screen are inactive. You cannot directly enter hours in these cells. Gray cells appear because:

  • The payroll item might not exist for the employee, but the column appears because the payroll item is used in another employee's paycheck.
  • Gray cells that have a blue number represent a sum total across different instances of the same payroll item (for example, hourly1, hourly2, hourly3). They show that the number is not associated with a single payroll item. To change the number, click the employee's name and make changes in the Review and Change Paycheck window.

NOTE: The Total Hours column cannot be updated from the Enter Hours window. The column updates automatically when the hours worked are changed on this screen or directly on the paycheck.

To enter payroll data directly on the Enter Hours screen, tab into the active cell(s) next to the employee's name and enter the data associated with that payroll item. Remember, the name of the payroll item in the column is the same name that your business used to set up the payroll item. For example, if you have labeled an hourly payroll item "hourly wage1," this item will be displayed on the Enter Hours screen as "hourly wage1." To enter time data for your employees who use this payroll item, tab into the active cell under this column heading and input the hours worked.

If you need to enter other payroll compensation information, such as bonus amounts or tips, and these payroll items are displayed in the columns, enter the compensation amount directly into the cells. If these columns are not displayed, it means that the payroll items are not saved in the employee record. You can still enter payroll information for these items by clicking on the employee's name to open the Review and Change Paycheck window.

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Q3: Can I customize the columns that appear in the Enter Hours screen?

A: Yes, you can choose to show or hide the payroll items that are displayed in the columns on the Enter Hours screen. To do so, select Show/hide columns. The available columns will appear, and you can add or remove columns as necessary.

Figure 5

Figure 6: Show/Hide Columns Screen
Figures 5 and 6: Show/Hide Columns Screen

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Q4: Why should I use payroll schedules? I never forget when to pay my employees.

A: Not only do payroll schedules remind you when to pay, but they also enable you to organize your employees who are paid on a common schedule into groups for efficient batch payroll processing. Payroll schedules are beneficial for businesses that pay employees by:

  • Class
  • Department
  • Location
  • Hourly vs. salary
  • Direct Deposit vs. paper check
  • Different schedules, e.g., some weekly, some monthly, etc.
  • Other business-specified grouping

For example, if you normally sort your employees by class or location to determine which employees to pay, you might consider grouping your employees by class into their own unique payroll schedule (e.g., Administration Weekly, Hourly Weekly).

Establishing payroll schedules can help you in the following ways:

  • Only those employees in the payroll schedule group are presented for payment when you select that group to be paid. No more sorting, checking, and selecting.
  • Due dates for payroll processing are displayed in the Payroll Center. This is a key advantage if you use Direct Deposit or QuickBooks Assisted Payroll.

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Q5: What if I have only a few employees and I pay them on the same schedule? Should I use payroll schedules? Isn't this unnecessary?

A: Payroll schedules can help you remember when your payroll is due, but schedules are optional. You can continue to pay your employees without payroll schedules.

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Q6: I have established payroll schedules for my business, but I still need to occasionally create paychecks outside of my scheduled payroll run. How can I do that?

A: You can create "off-cycle" paychecks for your employees for any reason, including bonus checks, termination checks, or advances. When you choose Unscheduled Payroll, your employee list will be displayed, and you simply choose the employee or employees you wish to pay.

Figure 7: Unscheduled Payroll Access Points
Figure 7: Unscheduled Payroll Access Points

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Q7: What if I want to create just one paycheck? Is this easy to do?

A: Yes, you can create one or more paychecks at any time. If you have not set up schedules, select Pay Employees, mark the employee you wish to pay, enter the payroll data, and then review and create.

If you have set up schedules and wish to pay one or more employees outside of your scheduled run, select Unscheduled Payroll, mark the employee you wish to pay, enter the payroll data, and then review and create.

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Q8: Why does a salary column appear on the Enter Hours screen? What data do I enter in this column for my salaried employees?

A: If your local or state jurisdiction requires you to track salary hours for tax reporting purposes, or if your business tracks salaried hours for sick and vacation accrual purposes, you can enter time worked in this column. However, if you do not track time for salaried employees, you can use the Show/hide feature to prevent this column from displaying.

NOTE: Hours entered in the salary column do not affect the amount of pay. This information is used for tracking and reporting purposes only.

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Q9: What about the display of class, pay period end date, and some of the other data fields that are missing from the new workflow? Will those be available again in QuickBooks Payroll 2007?

A: Although payroll schedules have been designed to help you organize and choose which employees to pay, some of our users would like the ability to choose whether to display or hide these additional columns. The QuickBooks Payroll team is evaluating when and how to provide this capability in future releases and will keep you up-to-date on any planned changes or enhancements.

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We'd Like Your Feedback

In QuickBooks Payroll 2007, we redesigned the Pay Employees workflow to make it easier and more efficient for QuickBooks Payroll users to accurately process payroll. We hope you are now more familiar with how to use the new features and can take advantage of the benefits.

Did the information in this short lesson help you understand the new workflows? Please let us know.