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01 / 29 / 2015 by Greg Freyman, CPA in Bookkeeping

A New Way To Record Payroll in QuickBooks

Staff accountants and bookkeepers using payroll in QuickBooks can record all of their entries to wages and taxes payable, while also grossing up payroll as infrequently as once a month, quarter, or year. This can be a significant time saver, especially when the month to month reporting is not needed.

However, when reporting on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis to senior management, bookkeepers may need to record the payroll systematically each and every single pay day. In this article, I will explain how to record payroll in QuickBooks with minimal effort.

For those familiar with exporting payroll entries from their payroll software to QuickBooks, this will seem very simple. We like to use QuickBooks Online or Intuit QuickBooks because it takes the guess-work out of payroll, and the software does all the work, from booking to filing.

In the accountant version of Intuit QuickBooks, bookkeepers can simply export the payroll transactions from directly to IIF, and then import the file in the QuickBooks Desktop Edition. Still, there are some limitations involved with this functionality. For example, bookkeepers that are working in multi-user mode must have all other users logged out of QuickBooks in order to be able to transfer paychecks from one system to another. This may be a significant limitation in a busy environment.

quickbooks export function

One more way to enter the payroll would be to use the actual check feature in QuickBooks to enter each check.


In QuickBooks, go to the Banking Tab, followed by Write Checks, and enter the net pay in the dollar field for the following:

actual check feature quickbooks
quickbooks payroll bank account

Below add the gross pay along with the employer portion of the taxes:
actual check feature quickbooks 2

The above entry format is showing the gross pay and adding the employer portion of the taxes on the profit and loss statement. This assumes that the accounts above are setup as expenses). However, notice the negative -$114.79. This negative number is automatically generated by QuickBooks in order to balance the amount in the lower portion of the check field with the net check amount up above.

When writing a check in QuickBooks, there is a credit to cash and all of the items in the other account fields below the check image outline are all debits to the financial statements. If the number appears as a negative, it will be generating a credit to a financial statement.

You are actually doing the following up above:
gross pay quickbooks

In QuickBooks, now set up the liability by typing in Employer Federal Taxes Payable in the account section this way:

Go ahead and click the set-up Tab, and create another current liability:

Make sure that the amounts are entered as a negative number. This results in a credit on the financial statements or creating a liability.

Notice that after you repeat this step 4 times, the profit and loss along with the balance sheet now show the correct expenses and liabilities:

This is the basic concept of how this style of payroll entries would work in QuickBooks. Thus, we would recommend that you review your specific accounting program to determine whether this process can be applied.

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