Activate QuickBooks Desktop Payroll in 3 Steps (Explained Guide)

Published by David Miller, Last Updated On :

Quickbooks Desktop Payroll

QuickBooks came up with QuickBooks desktop payroll services. It caters to the needs of small business firms and users for their payroll. It is directly installed on their computers, eliminating the complexity of web-based systems. 

QuickBooks desktop payroll offers three plans; QuickBooks enhanced payroll services, QuickBooks assisted payroll, and QuickBooks assisted payroll plus. Each of these payroll services has its own pros and cons, which we’ll discuss in the blog. 

Quickbooks Desktop Payroll

Nonetheless, our main focus would be on understanding the QuickBooks payroll enhanced version. Without further ado, let’s get started!


Let’s Compare All Quickbooks Desktop Payroll Versions

With QuickBooks desktop payroll services, you can pay on time, accurately, and without any hassle. And, if you get an error, you can get QuickBooks desktop payroll support online. 

Let’s take an overview of all three plans:

  • Enhanced Payroll Services: Useful for QuickBooks desktop users with a handful of employees. It lets you manage payroll tax payments and filings to save money. 
  • Assisted Payroll Services: Unlike QuickBooks enhanced payroll, assisted payroll automates tax filing services. 
  • Full Assisted Payroll Services: It offers a full-fledged business management software package that allows access from accounting to tracking payroll. 

However, if you’re not looking for this feature, QuickBooks Payroll Enhanced is sufficient for you.

 Also Read : QuickBooks Payroll Problems


Features of Quickbooks Enhanced Payroll Services

Quickbooks provides users with a smooth user interface for their accounting and payroll needs. One of which is enhanced payroll for QuickBooks has various features. 

These are:

Direct Deposit feature: 

With this feature in QuickBooks desktop enhanced payroll, you don’t need to print or email checks. Instead, you can easily pay salaries to employees. Also, if you wish, you can pay half with direct deposit and the remaining half with checks or cards. 


Reporting and Monitoring:

QuickBooks desktop enhanced payroll makes reporting and monitoring tasks such as: 

  • exporting reports to tax liabilities
  • saving reports in multiple formats (pdf, word, and excel)
  • Review state, federal and local reports
  • Receive compliance reports without any extra charges, etc. 


Integration/import and export:

QuickBooks enhanced payroll for accountants is integrated with several modules that include 401(k) management, health-care plan, etc. 

Furthermore, you can import or export data in a different format (Excel or CSV). In addition, the mapping option lets you do this from any system. 


Self-Service Advantages:

This feature of Enhanced Payroll for QuickBooks authenticates W-2 employees. Thus, they can use View My Paycheck to view and print their paycheck information. 


Summary and Pricing report:

To get this report, you will need to have a 2009 or higher version of QuickBooks software. It costs $50/month and $2/month per employee. 

This includes free tax forms, instant paychecks, payroll support, paying 1099 employees, paying w-2 employees, e-filing and printing for w-2s, and two-day direct deposit.


Support & Assistance: 

Last but not least, you get QuickBooks desktop payroll support. You can call, email, or live chat with experts. 


How to Activate & Access Quickbooks Desktop Payroll Services?

Please remember that QuickBooks payroll services are not accessible via Mac. In that case, you can use Intuit’s online payroll as their payroll add-on. 

Detailed instructions for activating QuickBooks payroll on your system

Step 1: Activate Your Payroll

In this first step, you’ll activate your QuickBooks payroll subscription. The process may vary if you have purchased it online, by phone, or from a retail store. 

When you purchase the subscription online, you’ll receive a 16-digit service key by email. You’ll need to enter this key when activating QuickBooks payroll. 

Steps to Activate QuickBooks payroll using service Key- 

Via phone or online: 
  • Open the QuickBooks company file
  • Go to Employees and then select Payroll
  • After that, tap on entering the Payroll Service key
    • If you have a different payroll subscription, then select the Manage Payroll Service key. 
  • Now, select Add
  • But, if your payroll service is already listed, then select Edit
    • Remove payroll service key in QuickBooks desktop. 
  • Once done, enter your service key.
  • Tap Next
  • Tap to finish
  • When you’re promoted to Payroll Updates, the message will appear, tap Ok
  • Check if your payroll service status is Active and then select OK


Purchase from a retail store:
  • Open QuickBooks.
  • Go to the employee tab. 
  • Select Payroll.
  • Then, tap on Install Payroll from Box. 
  • Now, please enter the information on the Payroll License and Product page. 
    • See the bright-colored sticker placed inside of the box.
  • Click to continue.
  • Adhere to the onscreen instructions to complete the payroll activation. And, when prompted, also enter this 16-digit service key. 


Step 2: Create a Payroll PIN (for QuickBooks Assisted only)

To complete this step, you’ll have to connect your bank account. So that you can use direct deposit for QuickBooks to pay and file your payroll taxes. 

  • Collect your employees’ and principal’s info.
  • Complete the online application. 


Step 3: Complete your payroll setup tasks

To complete the payroll setup, you’ll have to provide these details: 

  • Add your employees: In this section, you’re required to provide your employees’ information or invite them to enter it themselves. These include Form W-4, hiring date, birth date, pay rate, any paycheck deduction, bank account or payment card info, and rates and balances. 
  • Set up state and federal taxes: Here, select from your present list of pay items, insurance benefits, and retirement deductions. To apply the same items to multiple employees, use the Assign employees option
  • Enter any paychecks or payments paid this year.
  • For QuickBooks assistance, please get help from QuickBooks desktop payroll support.


Once you complete these steps, activate your payroll service. Also, sign your payroll authorization forms (only for Payroll assistance). 

Also Read : QuickBooks Payroll Error 30159


Summing Up: 

You can opt for these plans for QuickBooks desktop payroll services. All are designed to fulfill different requirements of business owners. But, if you’re a small firm with a handful of employees, get QuickBooks enhanced payroll. It will be cost-effective and useful to you. With that, we hope you find this guide insightful. Nonetheless, if you have any concerns about our payroll services, our experts are always ready to assist you