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Payroll tips for small business owners

Hiring your first employee is a big accomplishment. And learning to run payroll is no small feat. So we designed a collection of articles, videos, and tools to help you hire employees and learn payroll fast.

Running payroll for small business

Hiring employees

New to hiring? Check out these resources to help you hire the right way, the first time.
  1. Learn how to see if you’re ready to hire and find employees.
  2. Learn how to create an employee handbook. This resource can help you decide what to include.
  3. Dive into this 11-chapter article for an in-depth look at how to manage your staff.
Adding employees to payroll.
Adding employees to payroll.
Adding employees to payroll.

Understanding payroll

Now that you know a thing or two about hiring, it’s time to learn payroll. Let’s start with the basics:
Understanding payroll for small business owners.
Understanding payroll for small business owners.
Understanding payroll for small business owners.

State payroll resources

Many states have unique payroll laws. Here are some resources for learning the rules in your state:
State payroll resources.
State payroll resources.
State payroll resources.

Federal payroll and hiring resources

A few federal laws and resources to keep in mind:
Federal payroll resources.
Federal payroll resources.
Federal payroll resources.

Checkout these payroll service features

IRS resources
IRS resources
The IRS website features resources for small business owners and payroll professionals on topics like worker classifications and employment taxes. If you’re considering hiring contractors and employees, you’ll want to review these resources to be sure you’re complying with regulations for each group.
Paycheck calculator
Paycheck calculator
Calculate paychecks for hourly and salaried employees. Try it now
Form W-2 or 1099?
Form W-2 or 1099?
Wondering which tax form to use for each employee? We can help. Check now
Additional payroll information
Additional payroll information
You’ll find additional articles related to payroll on the QuickBooks Payroll website, including hiring, payroll processing, and tip pooling.
Payroll 101 ebook
Payroll 101 ebook
Hiring employees is a big step for small business owners. Set yourself up for success with our free 18-page ebook. Here’s a sneak peek at the resources you’ll find inside:
  • The hidden costs associated with hiring employees
  • The ins and outs of payroll taxes
  • Considerations for hiring contractors
  • A few tips for planning for new hires
  • Labor laws you’ll want to know
  • Tax forms every employer needs
If you’ve been struggling with some of these payroll basics, the Payroll 101 ebook is a great place to get help and resources. Get a better grasp on these complex subjects with easy-to-follow examples. Follow the guide’s embedded links to other helpful resources that can provide additional clarity.
IRS resources
The IRS website features resources for small business owners and payroll professionals on topics like worker classifications and employment taxes. If you’re considering hiring contractors and employees, you’ll want to review these resources to be sure you’re complying with regulations for each group.
Paycheck calculator
Calculate paychecks for hourly and salaried employees. Try it now
Form W-2 or 1099?
Wondering which tax form to use for each employee? We can help. Check now
Additional payroll information
You’ll find additional articles related to payroll on the QuickBooks Payroll website, including hiring, payroll processing, and tip pooling.
Payroll 101 ebook
Hiring employees is a big step for small business owners. Set yourself up for success with our free 18-page ebook. Here’s a sneak peek at the resources you’ll find inside:
  • The hidden costs associated with hiring employees
  • The ins and outs of payroll taxes
  • Considerations for hiring contractors
  • A few tips for planning for new hires
  • Labor laws you’ll want to know
  • Tax forms every employer needs
If you’ve been struggling with some of these payroll basics, the Payroll 101 ebook is a great place to get help and resources. Get a better grasp on these complex subjects with easy-to-follow examples. Follow the guide’s embedded links to other helpful resources that can provide additional clarity.

Payroll training videos 

Learn payroll with one of our easy payroll training videos.

Frequently asked questions

Payroll checklist

Now that you know the basics, it’s time to set up payroll. Depending on your business, you’ll need most of the information on this checklist to complete the paperwork and pay your new hire. Your employee will have to provide some information on a Form W-4 and direct deposit request form. The rest will come from your records or federal and state agencies.
This checklist can help you prepare all the necessary information to run payroll successfully. Here’s an overview of the items you’ll want to prepare:
  • Company details, including contact and tax information
  • Employee details, including personal information, earnings, benefits and deductions, and applicable direct deposit information
  • Tax details like your Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) and deposit schedule
  • Bank details, including account information and the principal officer’s Social Security number
  • E-signatures from the principal officer
  • Prior payroll information, including previous payroll tax payments made during the year
Payroll checklist.
Payroll checklist.
Payroll checklist.

Payroll readiness quiz

Now that you’ve reviewed the payroll checklist, let’s see if you’re ready to run your first payroll. We designed this 10-question quiz to see how you’re doing in four categories:
  1. Time tracking and data entry
  2. Employee benefits and expenses
  3. Tax filing penalties
  4. Workers’ comp

If we told you that you had to run payroll right now, how would that make you feel?

Which aspect of payroll are you the least comfortable with?

How do you and your employees track and manage time worked?

How often do you have to make changes to time worked after it has been submitted or tracked?

How do you manage deductions for employee benefits?

Is it easy for employees to understand the deductions coming out of their paychecks?

Have you ever had to pay a tax penalty?

Do you have any backup to avoid payroll tax filing penalties?

If you had to file a workers’ comp claim, how would you feel?

Does your state require you to have workers’ compensation insurance?

You are all done

Based on your responses, it looks like you could use help with and . Here are some helpful resources on all four categories, prioritized just for you.

This free tool is for information purposes only and results should not be considered legal or tax advice.
Save time on time tracking and data entry

Learn ways to be more efficient when managing time tracking in your payroll process.

Check out guide
Providing competitive employee benefits

Learn new tips and tricks for handling benefits and expenses.

Check out guide
Avoiding payroll tax filing penalties and maximize returns

Learn how to avoid payroll tax filing issues and penalties.

Check out guide
Understanding workers’ comp insurance

Learn more about how to be prepared for workers’ comp claims.

Check out guide