Manual Payroll Processing QuickBooks

Manual Payroll Processing

Beverly Lang Payroll Leave a Comment

Manual payroll processing can be set up in QuickBooks if you choose not to subscribe to a QuickBooks Payroll service. With a few steps, QuickBooks allows you to manually calculate your employees’ payroll.

Below are the steps you need to follow to turn on the QuickBooks manual payroll. These instructions are only for those who have never processed payroll in QuickBooks before.  Please follow these steps carefully (it’s sort of like going on a hunt for buried treasure) and make sure you read each of the help topics that are displayed:

First, make sure payroll is turned on in your Preferences.  From the Edit menu -> choose Preferences -> scroll to Payroll & Employees -> click on the Company Preferences tab.  Select the Full Payroll option.

Next go to the Help menu -> choose QuickBooks Help.  In the Search box, type in manual payroll.  Once the search results appears in the window, click on the topic with the title
“Calculate payroll taxes manually (without a subscription to QuickBooks payroll)”.
QuickBooks Help manual payroll

When this help topic displays, scroll down until you find the section titled “Set your company file to use the manual payroll calculations setting” and click on the link manual payroll calculations.
QuickBooks Help manual payroll

This opens another Help window.  Here you will want to look for the title heading “If you are sure you want to manually calculate your payroll taxes in QuickBooks” and click on the link that says “Set my company file to use manual calculations.”
QuickBooks set my company file to use manual calculations

Once you click this link, you should see the following QuickBooks information window.  This is the ONLY notification that you will receive indicating that manual payroll is now active in your QuickBooks file.
QuickBooks manual payroll now active

If you go to the Lists menu and choose Payroll Item List, you’ll see that QuickBooks has set up some of the more basic payroll tax items for you – you’ll need to enter the rest of them yourself.
QuickBooks Payroll Item List

At this point I would highly recommend that you go through the Payroll Setup Wizard – found from the Employees menu -> and choosing Payroll Setup.  The Payroll Setup wizard walks you through seven (7) key pieces of payroll data.  Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the setup.

Please keep in mind that you are responsible for tax tables and tax updates, and this can be a very scary decision. I always explain to my clients about the peace of mind of using a fully outsourced payroll service such as Intuit Assisted Payroll or Intuit Full Service Payroll. If you have questions please give me a call at 256-656-6014 or email me at

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