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Control How Payroll Works in QuickBooks 2013

The Payroll & Employees Preferences set in QuickBooks 2013 includes only Company Preferences. The QuickBooks Payroll Features radio buttons let you tell QuickBooks how you want to handle payroll: using an outside payroll service such as Intuit Complete Payroll (select Complete Payroll Customers in this case), using QuickBooks payroll features (select the Full Payroll radio button), or that you’re not using payroll at all (select the No Payroll radio button).

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The Pay Stub & Voucher Printing button lets you tell QuickBooks what employee information to print on the payroll check: employee address, company address, sick pay information, vacation pay information, and pay period information. You can figure out how this works by clicking the button and looking at the dialog box that QuickBooks displays.

The Workers Compensation button lets you fiddle with the way that QuickBooks tracks information related to your workers’ compensation tax. The Sick and Vacation button lets you fine-tune how QuickBooks monitors employee sick and vacation pay accrual and usage. Again, click either of these buttons to see a screen that provides more information about how the button works.

In roughly the middle of the Company Preferences tab of the Payroll & Employees Preferences set, QuickBooks supplies several other check boxes and radio buttons:

  • Copy Earnings Details from Previous Paycheck: Another duh.

  • Recall Quantity Field on Paychecks: QuickBooks recalls or reuses paycheck quantity information from the last pay period’s paychecks. (The QuickBooks Help file suggests that you use this option when you have a “fixed quantity that occurs from paycheck to paycheck.” The Help file uses the example of tiered sales commissions where the commission amount is set for each tier.)

  • Recall Hour Field on Paychecks: QuickBooks recalls or reuses hours-worked information from the last pay period’s paychecks. You use this option when you have a fixed number of hours that occurs from paycheck to paycheck.

  • Job Costing and Item Tracking for Paycheck Expenses: QuickBooks lets you track payroll expenses not just by account, but also by job, class, or item.

  • The Assign One Class Per radio buttons (Entire Paycheck and Earnings Item): These options enable you to break down wage expenses into classes more finely. For example, you can indicate that you want to use a different class for each item that appears on an employee’s paycheck. (Note: these options appear only if classes are enabled.)

The Display Employee List By radio buttons let you choose how employee lists are sorted on reports — by first name or by last name.

If you click the Employee Defaults button, QuickBooks displays a dialog box that you can use to set employee payroll default information, such as deductions for taxes or health insurance.

Finally, at the bottom of the dialog box, QuickBooks provides two other options for handling payroll. The Mark New Employees as Sales Reps check box, if selected, does what you’d expect: It marks new employees that you add to the employee list as sales reps.

And the Display Employee Social Security Numbers in Headers on Reports check box, if selected, also does what you’d expect: It adds employee Social Security numbers to reports.

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