Are Your QuickBooks Payroll & Certified Payroll Processes Efficient?

QuickBooks Payroll and Certified Payroll processes really need to be efficient in order for a business to be successful.  When one of your businesses largest job expenses is payroll, you need to:

  • pay your employees correctly and on time to keep them happy,
  • make sure that those payroll costs are part of your accounting system so those costs are included in job costing reports,
  • and you need to submit your certified payroll reports accurately and in a timely fashion in order to be paid.

Yes, it’s a vicious cycle!

Ask any business owner how efficient he thinks his payroll and certified payroll processes are and I’m betting he’ll either say “oh they are very efficient” or “they could be better”.  Ask his payroll clerk who is dealing with a lot of manual data entry and I bet that she’ll have a far different answer!

I attended a really great webinar a couple of weeks ago, called “A Tale of Two Payroll Processes” – given by CPA Practice Advisor and TSheets and I have to admit I was pretty surprised by one of the slides in the presentation – Processing Payroll: Industry Snapshot (shown below).

Right click to enlarge image.
Right click to enlarge image.

When I first looked at this slide, I thought “awesome” 64% of small businesses process payroll in-house.

But then I looked more closely:

  • 62% use a spreadsheet, and
  • 66% do not have a payroll system that is tied to their accounting software!

manual payroll processesEgads!  Immediately I was mentally transported back about 15 years in time – when QuickBooks desktop payroll was not as robust as it is today and there were no third-party add-on available to automate critical tasks, like preparing certified payroll reports – and I was doing a LOT of payroll and certified payroll tasks manually using complex Excel spreadsheets.  As a bookkeeper, I hated my job – I spent 40+ hours every week doing nothing but entering the same employee time and payroll data in multiple places – over and over again in multiple Excel spreadsheets as well as in QuickBooks to cut paychecks!  If you were to have asked my boss at the time if the processes were efficient – he would have told you yes – because I was using Excel to automate the process instead of having to hand write all of the data!

For some businesses using a spreadsheet or having a payroll system that isn’t tied to their accounting software might be ok – at first glance. If you are a contractor or any type of business that needs to track employee time against specific customers or jobs and tasks or cost codes – then using a spreadsheet or a payroll system that isn’t tied to your accounting software isn’t efficient at all.

Payroll is a HUGE part of the cost of running a business and for many business type’s payroll is one of the largest portions of the cost of doing a job.

I know that many business owners who use QuickBooks will often use an outside payroll service to handle payroll – my question are:

  • • if you need job costing how are you getting those payroll costs into QuickBooks
  • • how are your certified payroll reports being created
  • • And then how efficient are the processes?

Payroll that is not tied to or part of your accounting system and certified payroll reports that are issued manually using complex Excel spreadsheets or fillable forms are time-consuming, tedious, error-prone and above all else disconnected from the rest of your financial data. This makes it difficult to obtain accurate and error-free financial information, because you are always having to enter the same information in multiple places.

If this sounds familiar and you would like to learn how to automate your payroll and certified payroll processes – join me tonight from 5-6 EST on Google+ for a 1 hour hangout called the Tale of Two Certified Payroll Processes, where we’ll compare the manual vs. the automated processes of entering employee time, generating paychecks, and finally creating certified payroll reports, EEOC and union dues and fringe benefit reports.  Can’t make the live hangout – that’s ok, it will be recorded and I’ll post the link so you can watch it on YouTube.

Below is the recording on YouTube of the hangout, it was a lot of fun!




9 thoughts on “Are Your QuickBooks Payroll & Certified Payroll Processes Efficient?

  • Deb

    To any who are considering whether or not this is worth it to them to check out all I can say is


    I work for a construction contracting company where we are required to produce certified payroll reports for upwards of 20-40 jobs each week. We have been using the certified payroll software for about 4 years and it is truly worth every penny and more! (And it really doesn’t cost that many pennies.) In addition Nancy & Ben & Company provide exceptional support. I really cannot recommend this product highly enough.

  • James

    Nancy, which of your webinars, training, etc., would be best for learning job costing within QuickBooks? I just upgraded to Enterprise which I have used before but not in a job costing capacity.

  • Hi James
    Sounds like you have your work cut out for you! These manual processes are horrible!

    Glad that you found this post helpful! Good luck with the task of automation 🙂

  • James

    Hi Nancy, I am the new controller at an engineering firm and the process you described above is exactly what has been occurring and is still being done until I can change the process. In addition we need it for job costing purposes which has not been done in the past either. So your timing of this blog was absolute perfection.

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