Intuit Offers Payroll Without QuickBooks

According to Intuit, there are 9.6 million small businesses in the United States that employ 50 or fewer employees. The interesting fact is that the 9.6 million number represents a fluid collection of businesses with one million new small businesses starting each year, and, unfortunately, about 1 million going out of business each year.

Roy Goldman, director of product management for Intuit Payroll, said that the roughly one million new businesses entering the market need payroll. In fact, in what some might consider heresy for the makers of QuickBooks, the de facto standard accounting package with small businesses, Goldman said, “New employers need payroll before accounting.”

The catch is that until today Intuit Payroll worked only with QuickBooks, and while QuickBooks may be the leading accounting application, according to Intuit’s figures more than 75 percent of small businesses in the country don’t use QuickBooks.

If you fall in the category of a small business that hasn’t adopted QuickBooks, today’s announcement is aimed at you. Intuit Online Payroll is, as its name implies, a Web-based service that’s designed to let you handle your payroll without requiring you to have QuickBooks.

Intuit Online Payroll
Intuit Online Payroll features a nine-step interview to get you set up quickly for payroll.

According to Goldman, Intuit Online Payroll lets you accomplish the three most important tasks related to payroll: creating paychecks, paying taxes and filing tax forms.

To generate payroll, according to Intuit, you enter the hours worked by each employee for the pay period, and you can have paychecks and stubs printed or issued through Intuit’s direct deposit service (for no additional charge). Intuit Online Payroll automatically calculates compensation, deductions and withholdings.

Goldman said that Intuit has a team that keeps tax tables up to date so you always have the latest rates. You can also use 20 customizable reports designed to show you how payroll affects your bottom line.

Intuit Online Payroll is designed to guide you through every step of the process, Goldman said. “We want to do for payroll what Turbo Tax did for individuals.”

To help you get up and running quickly, Intuit provides a one-time setup questionnaire and a checklist of required information, available prior to setup, that tells employers the data they will need to supply before beginning. “We want to make sure we fill people in on what to do.”

Intuit Online Payroll
Intuit says its new Web-based payroll service requires only a few clicks to pay employees and your taxes.

Using Intuit Online Payroll’s Liability Payment Center you can have e-mail reminders sent when payroll tax payments are due. It also provides ready-to-print tax forms for federal filings (as well as for many states) including 940, 941, W-2 and W-3 forms. Intuit claims you just print, sign and mail the form.

Goldman said that Intuit has tried to provide answers to commonly asked questions and attempts to provide additional help when you are mostly likely to need it. The help is provided by “sprinkling green links that anticipate questions,” he said. One example, of a question is “What’s an EIN?” “The goal is to avoid hard questions. And if there are any, we’ll walk you through them.”

Payroll data is password-protected, so you can restrict access to just yourself or extend it to specific employees or your accountants. While Intuit Online Payroll is based on the QuickBooks Online platform, it does not currently integrate with the Web or software-based versions of QuickBooks. However, Goldman said, “we’re working on it.”

Intuit Online Payroll is available direct from Intuit here for $29.95 per month.

Dan Muse is executive editor of’s Small Business Channel, EarthWeb’s Networking Channel and ServerWatch.

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