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QuickBooks Payroll is the #1 payroll provider for small businesses.
Market study results independently identified automated payroll as the single most impactful feature for customers.

I designed the end-to-end automated payroll experience, tested and iterated based on customer feedback.
Payroll is an employer’s largest recurring cost and an employee’s critical source of income. Timeliness and accuracy are crucial.
But when employers already have so much worries, paying employees accurately and on time shouldn’t be one of them.

  • Discussions with cross-functional teams to align on MVP features for V1, and feature roadmap for V2 and V3.
  • Competitive feature analysis and interviews with customers using Gusto and Square.
  • Design concepting, prototype testing and iteration.

User testing

Customer: 9 QuickBooks Payroll users with number of employees ranged from 1-30
Process: Two interviews each day, between each one we iterated user experience based on feedback from previous interview
Customer problem: Learned about their normal process for running payroll, dug deeper to ask about if (and how) they had thought about automationTesting with prototype:
    • Where their attention was being drawn
    • Which CTA did they wanted to click and why
    • What they expected when the CTA was clicked
    • Whether they were interested in turning on Auto Payroll

Market research shows a strong desire for automated payroll. Yet early customer tests show a lack of interest in giving up control in exchange for time back.
Both time and technical constraints limited the scope of the V1 experience.

Automated payroll experience

Payroll has 4 main areas, automated payroll focuses on running payroll and money movement to employees.

Happy path

Enrollment modal iterations

Email communication



Lessons learned
  • Most interaction happens outside of the product
  • Content design is critical with automated systems
  • Transparency and visibility of status are paramount
  • Customers valued peace of mind over saving time
Added exit survey when customers turn off the feature and text message notifications

What’s next

Auto Payroll V1 launched as part of the new Payroll SKUs, supporting salaried employees on direct deposit.
Future releases will support both paper checks and hourly employees. We’ll use machine learning models to automate error checking and time approval.