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Level 2

Track Owner Comp, Insurance Separate from Employees'

*** Advanced Payroll Question ***

Subscriptions: QuickBooks Plus + QuickBooks Online Payroll Core


I own a business (LCC filing as S Corp) and take a salary through payroll in addition to owner distributions/draw. I also have a few salaried employees. I would like to track my own payroll comp separately from employees', track employee salary & bonuses (separately) and categorize owner health insurance (paid by company), employee health insurance (reimbursed through payroll via QSEHRA).


My current payroll settings are using custom payroll settings > accounting preferences using the setting, "Each employee's wages are posted to their own expense account". This allows me to separate employee compensation from owner comp, but not employee salary separate from bonuses. It also treats employee health insurance reimbursement to generic "employee reimbursements" account rather than the "health insurance reimbursement" type that it should use.. 


What I'd like to do is change the payroll setting from the above quoted option to: "Each employee's wages are posted to different types of accounts (ex: salary, contractor, and so on)", and just use different comp types - Salary and Bonus for employees, and a new "Owner Compensation" pay type for myself.

The problem is: I would need to use a compensation type for myself that's separate from the built-in options.. I can add a new comp type ("owner compensation"), but QBO won't let me select zero for a salary. I could select "commission only" and never add a commission, but that seems hacky and I'm not certain it would work.


Any suggestions for this situation? Should I run with the hacky commission pay type, or is there something I'm overlooking? Thanks in advance for looking!

2 Comments 2
QuickBooks Team

Track Owner Comp, Insurance Separate from Employees'

I appreciate the complete details you've shared, @itsGreghere.


Once you create a new payroll item, a sub-account under the Payroll Expense account is automatically created. 


You can review the accounts assigned to each payroll item. If the account is incorrect, just click the drop-down and select the correct account from the Account List pop-up window.

Also, you can edit its name. Here's how:

  1. Go to the Accounting menu.
  2. Choose the Chart of Accounts tab.
  3. Locate the specific Payroll Expense sub-account (i.e employee reimbursements).
  4. From the Action column, click the drop-down.
  5. Select Edit.
  6. Change the name to your desired one.
  7. Click the Save and Close button.

On the other hand, yes, you can create an "Owner Compensation" payroll item and use it in paying yourself. However, I'd recommend consulting your accountant or a Tax Professional. This way, you'd be guided accurately in assigning accurate accounts to your payroll items and liabilities.


Lastly, I'm adding these tips to help you manage your payroll-related transactions:

Keep me posted if you have other questions or concerns. I'm always here to help.

Level 2

Track Owner Comp, Insurance Separate from Employees'

Thanks for the quick reply,  @IamjuViel

Your instructions are essentially what I knew already, but it's a good summary and I'm sure the screenshots will be helpful to others.


I did go ahead and make the change I wanted today, including setting accounting preferences as you showed. The part I don't like is that I need to select unique compensation types in the Employee settings within payroll. Salaried employees use the Salary option, which is straightforward. The three built-in options when going to Employee > "How much do you pay employee?" screen are: Salary, Hourly and Commission Only. I must select something here. QBO does not allow a salary of $0, so I chose Hourly and used a rate of $0.01/hour. This shows up in payroll but we'll just have to know not to enter any hours.


I also added a new compensation type, "Owner Compensation" on the same screen, and mapped to that in accounting preference. That part will work just fine. I just wish there were a way to NOT select any of the three primary compensation types as the hourly approach seems like a strange work-around.

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