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How to Create a One-Time Payroll Check in QuickBooks Online?

Create a One-Time Payroll Check in QuickBooks Online

You can create a one-time check or set up a regular payroll in QuickBooks online. First of all, you need to have an active subscription to QuickBooks Online Payroll; otherwise, you cannot create your payroll checks in the accounting solution. After creating the one-time payroll check, you can send it for processing directly into the employee’s or contractor’s account. 

In this guide, you’ll learn how to create a one-time payroll check in QuickBooks Online.

Setting up Payroll in QuickBooks Online

Take note of the following information before you create a one-time payroll check using QuickBooks online.

1. Create a pay schedule

This process isn’t necessary for those who want to create a one-time check with QuickBooks online payroll. However, if you’ve to create paychecks for your regular employees, then creating a proper schedule is much more efficient.

2. Create paychecks and send checks for processing

This is the essential step for creating a one-time payroll check in QuickBooks online. After setting up payroll, you can create and send an unscheduled payroll check for processing.

Unscheduled payrolls are generally used to pay bonuses or commissions to employees. They’re also used to pay contractors and freelancers.

Steps to Create a One-Time Payroll Check in QuickBooks Online

Below are the given steps for creating the payroll check in QuickBooks Online, follow the steps carefully:

  • Open your web browser and log in to your QuickBooks Online account.
  • From the left-hand menu, select “Payroll”.
  • If you haven’t set up payroll yet, follow the setup wizard to enter company information, employee details, and payroll preferences.
  • Under the “Employees” tab, click on “Pay Schedules” and set up the appropriate pay schedules for your employees (e.g., weekly, bi-weekly, monthly).
  • Go to the “Run Payroll” section and click “Run Payroll”.
  • Choose the pay schedule you are running payroll for and click “Continue”.
  • For each employee, review and enter their hours worked, overtime, bonuses, commissions, or any other earnings. QuickBooks will automatically calculate taxes and deductions based on the information provided during the setup.
  • Click “Preview Payroll” to review the details. Ensure all amounts, including earnings, taxes, and deductions, are correct. Make adjustments if necessary.
  • Once you’ve reviewed and are satisfied with the payroll details, click “Submit Payroll”. This action processes the payroll and schedules the payment.
  • If you are printing physical checks, select “Print paychecks” and follow the prompts to print the checks.
  • If you are using direct deposit, QuickBooks will automatically transfer the funds to your employees’ bank accounts on the scheduled payday.
  • After running payroll, you can review payroll reports to ensure everything is recorded correctly. Go to the “Reports” section and select payroll reports to view details like payroll summary, payroll tax liability, and more.

How to Resolve Error: Submitting payroll QuickBooks Online Payroll?

When submitting payroll in QuickBooks Online Payroll, you might encounter the error message: “You have selected a tax liability account on a transaction where it is not allowed or have not specified a tax rate.” This error typically occurs due to incorrect mapping in accounting preferences.

How to Fix This Error

To resolve this error, follow these steps:

  1. Open QuickBooks Online and navigate to the “Chart of Accounts“.
  2. Go to “Payroll Accounting Preferences”.
  3. Ensure that you have selected the appropriate accounts for each payroll item.
  4. Verify that the correct accounts are set up for payroll liabilities and payroll expenses.
  5. Make any necessary updates to ensure proper mapping.

Important Note

Make sure that the accounts are correctly set up for both payroll liabilities and payroll expenses to avoid this error in the future.


You can create one-time payroll checks in Quickbooks online using the unscheduled payroll option in QuickBooks Online. Once you create your paycheck, you can take its printout or submit it directly to the bank for processing. If you need to pay the employee or contractor regularly, then you can create scheduled payments that enable QuickBooks to use the timesheet data and automatically create and submit payroll checks at regular intervals.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between scheduled and unscheduled payroll?

Unscheduled payroll is generally a one time payment used for paying bonuses and commissions. To make regular salary payments to employees, users generally prefer to create scheduled payroll so that QuickBooks online can automatically generate paychecks for paying the employees. And by setting up payroll properly, you can also enable direct deposit in QuickBooks online.

How can QuickBooks calculate the paycheck amount automatically?

When you enable payroll and input information for the employees and contractors, QuickBooks payroll can use this information along with info from Intuit Timesheets to create paychecks automatically. And if you enable direct deposit, then QuickBooks online can deposit the paychecks directly into the bank accounts of your employees.

Can I set up automatic payroll in QuickBooks online?

Yes, you can. You need to set up employees and store essential information such as employment status, pay schedule and tax info. Then you need to set up an hourly rate for each employee. You can then turn on auto payroll in QuickBooks online.

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