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This article will walk you step by step on what needs to be set up within QuickBooks Desktop and Aspire in order to start exporting your payroll!

Setup within QuickBooks Desktop

Begin by setting up QuickBooks Desktop to ensure that when you export your Payroll from Aspire is smooth, with no issues!

  • Log into your QuickBooks Desktop account.

  • Then, go to the New Customer tab and add a new Customer called Aspire System.

Next, review your employee set up:

  • Go into each employee record in QuickBooks Desktop to check that every employee you will be exporting hours for in Aspire has an Account No. (Employee ID) assigned to them.

  • Click Employees and then Employee Center.

⚠️ If using Account Numbers for Vendors, make sure an employee number in QuickBooks is not the same as a Vendor account number.

  • The Employee ID box is located for each employee’s record on the Additional Info tab.

  • In Aspire, we label this field as the Employee Number.

  • Make sure that the employees that will be exported from Aspire to QuickBooks Desktop do not have a Class assigned to them in QuickBooks on their Payroll Info Tab.

  • While in the Payroll Info tab of your employee, select the checkbox at the bottom left called Use time data to create paychecks for all employees that will have hours exported from Aspire.

  • From the top toolbar, select Edit to open your Preferences tab.

  • Then, choose Time & Expenses then select the Company Preferences tab.

  • If the box Mark all time entries as billable is checked under the Time Tracking section, uncheck the box and click OK.

  • While you are in Preferences, choose Payroll & Employees and then the Company Preferences tab.

  • Confirm the boxes for Job Costing, Class and Item Tracking for paycheck expenses are checked. Next, on the Assign one class per row line item, make sure Earnings Item is chosen. Click OK.

  • To make sure your hours are processed in decimal format instead of minutes, click on General, and then Company Preferences. Make sure the Decimal option is selected and click OK.

Setting Up Time Reporting

In Aspire, we need to check that the settings are correct for how your company will use Aspire for your payroll export and everything related to successful Payroll Processing.

The first step is to configure your Time Reporting settings in Administration.

  • Go to Settings and then Administration in the blue tool bar.

  • Select Configuration.

  • Then click on the Time Reporting tab. Check the boxes that apply to your company and how employees report their time. Each field and checkbox is described below. 👇

  • Mobile Time Reporting Timeout – If field employees will be using a Mobile device for time reporting, this is to set the seconds before the mobile will timeout on the Aspire Crew Mobile application.

    • This is configured by seconds, you will need to do a bit of number crunching. A good example would be is if you want the time out to be after 3 Minutes of no activity, you would enter 180 seconds into this field.

  • Break Time – If crews are required to take a lunch during the work day fill in the Break Time field with the required time. This will show on the Time Entry screen.

    • You would configure this in decimal format, a good example is for a half hour break, enter .50 or if you provide an hour lunch, enter 1.00

  • Disable Mobile Crew Management –If checked, Aspire requires Crew Members to clock themselves in and out individually as well as clock in and out for lunch if required, and not the Crew Leader to perform these functions on their behalf. This is only for clocking in at the beginning of the day, and clocking out at the end of the day.

  • First Day of Week – Choose the first day of your payroll workweek.

  • Default GEO Perimeter – The GEO perimeter allows Aspire to determine if the crews have clocked in or out within a certain distance of each property. The number of feet that you put here is measured from the center of the property, so base the number on your standard property size. In certain cases, for large or small properties, a special GEO perimeter can be set on the property itself that will override the default setting here. To get more tips on special GEO perimeters, click the tool tip next to the header of this field.

    • When using mobile time entry, Production Managers will be able to identify where the crew was in reference to the GEO perimeter based on the three colors of pins:

      • Green - employee was within the GEO perimeter!

      • Yellow - the system could not read the location of the employee's mobile device or, the time was changed on the Time Entry screen or manually entered into the Time Entry screen by someone that has user role permission to edit time entry on Aspire Desktop.

      • Red - employee was outside the GEO perimeter. Aspire shows you where the employee was located when they clocked in/started time.

        • Green and Red pins are hyperlinked to Google maps to show the exact location the employee punched in or out at the time.

  • Round Clock in/out times to the nearest 15 minutes – Check this box if you want an employee’s clock in/out time to round up or down to the nearest 15 minutes. If the employee’s clock is between 8:00 and 8:07 the clock rounds back to 8:00 exactly, anything after 8:07 means it will round up to 8:15.

  • Include Date in Paychex Export – This box is normally not checked; check this box if you need the hours to export for each day of the week for each employee when using the Paychex Export option.

  • Payroll Export Format – There are many options to choose from in the dropdown menu. Choose the QuickBooks Desktop option.

  • After all changes have been made, click the Save icon.

Creating and Verifying Branch and Division Codes

All Aspire Branch Codes and Division Codes must match QuickBooks Desktop classes exactly. There is a limit of six characters on these two codes.

  • In QuickBooks Desktop, review the codes used for branches and divisions. This is what it should look like in QuickBooks Desktop:

Adding Branch Codes to Your Branches

  • Go to the Settings and then Administration in the left blue side menu.

  • To verify the Branch Codes used in Aspire match, select Organization and click on a Branch from your list of Branches.

  • Review the Branch Code column.

🧠 If the Branch Codes have not been set up, click into your existing Branches to add them. If you haven't set up your Branches click the New icon in Branches to create a new Branch Code.

📌 Note: Remember the following when filling Branch Code box:

  • Branch Codes are required when you have Multiple Branches in QuickBooks.

  • The Branch Code will be used to export/import into your Accounting System or Payroll Service.

  • Branch Codes have a six character limit!

  • For QuickBooks with Multiple Branches

    • Create additional Branches for payroll export purposes only if you do not want to change the Branch or Division six characters for reporting revenue.

  • Add your Branch Code.

  • Click the Save icon in the upper right of the Branch Code window.

  • Repeat these steps for the branches you'll be using during payroll until all Branch Codes are entered.

Reviewing and Adding Division Codes in Aspire

  • To verify the Division Codes used in Aspire, click Settings in the blue toolbar, and then select Administration.

  • Select the Application tab and click on Lists.

  • Select Division from the drop down list.

  • Set up your Division Codes by selecting a Division from your list.

  • Once you select your division, add your Division Code.

Enter information in the following boxes:

  • Display Order - This is where you assign a number to specify the order the division will show on the reports.

  • Worker's Comp Name - Available for companies that integrate their external payroll systems with Aspire. Workers Comp Codes can be specified here at the division level if desired to be used when exporting employee time from Aspire to the external system.

Workers' comp codes may alternately be provided for individual employees or for services. When time export occurs, the workers' comp code exported is determined based on the following hierarchy:

  • Use workers comp code assigned to the employee if provided.

    • If not, use the worker comp code assigned to the service performed if provided.

      • If not, use the worker comp code assigned to the division of the service.

  • Active slider - When on, this means that this is an active Division to be used.

  • Revenue Account Number, Material Expense Account Number, Equipment Expense Account Number, Sub Expense Account Number, and Other Expense Account Number are fields are used for purposes outside of Payroll.

📌 Note: In QuickBooks, Divisions are called Classes. Divisions are sub-classes of the Branch if you have Branches.

  • Indirect - The Indirect checkbox is only used with the “OH” or overhead account so that indirect labor can be tracked. If you have an indirect division, none of the other divisions should have indirect checked.

    • Direct labor is time tracked directly to work done on job sites.

    • Indirect labor is time tracked to services such as shop time, vacation time etc.

⚠️ For some Payroll Services, a Division may be considered a department.

  • After adding in your Division Code, click the Save icon in the Division window.

  • Your Division Codes will be displayed now when reviewing this section to confirm that you have successfully added them.

Creating Locality Codes

This is only necessary if you have different payroll holdings based on the locality where the employee works. If you do not have different payroll holdings based on locality, skip to the next section.

To set up your locality code:

  • Click the Settings button in the blue side menu. Then, go to Administration.

  • Select Application, and click on the Lists tab.

  • Select Locality from the drop down list.

  • Click New to set up a new Locality and Locality Code.

Enter information in the following boxes:

  • Locality Name – This is where you name your City or Municipality.

  • Local Code – Put the code name here and place up to 6 characters for the best description of the Locality.

  • Active – This should be on when first creating a new locality. Click the slider again if needing to inactivate.

📌 NOTE: Aspire will export localities only if your accounting system has the ability to accept these locality codes for state withholding calculations.

  • After all information is entered, click the Save icon.

Creating Pay Codes

Next, we'll create Pay Codes. Creating Pay Codes are necessary to build Pay Schedules for employees in Aspire.

🧠 You should at least have a Default Pay Code and a Default OT Pay Code set up for your employees.

  • To set up your Pay Codes in Aspire, click the Settings button in the blue side menu.

  • Then, go to Administration.

  • Once in Administration, click Application and go to Lists.

  • In the dropdown, select Pay Code.

  • Select New to add a new Pay Code.

Enter information in the following boxes:

  • Pay Code Name - This is where you add the Pay Code name. A Pay Code determines how time is calculated and tracked.

  • Pay Code - This is where the actual Pay Code is entered.

    • The Pay Code must match the Pay Code used by QuickBooks Desktop.

    • QuickBooks allows up to ten characters.

⚠️ If you create new Pay Codes that do not exist in QuickBooks Desktop, add that Payroll Item to each employee in QuickBooks Desktop.

⚠️ If there is a Pay Code exported to QuickBooks for a payroll item that isn’t attached to an employee, that employee will be paid $0 for those hours. They need to match in both Aspire and QuickBooks Desktop:

  • Premium Dollars - This is the premium amount the employee is paid, in addition to their base pay. Put a zero if this doesn’t apply.

    • In QuickBooks, if a premium dollar amount is paid to an employee, a new payroll item will have to be added in QuickBooks with the full amount the employee will be paid. (Base rate plus premium rate).

      • For example: Snow Premium. An employee is paid an additional $5.00 for each hour worked for snow.

  • Premium Percent – This is the premium percent the employee is paid, in addition to their base pay. Put a zero if this doesn’t apply. For example: Overtime. 50% would be entered if you pay Overtime at time and one-half the base rate.

    • Fixed Rate – This is the employee’s fixed rate of pay, regardless of their base rate. Put a Zero if this doesn’t apply.

      • For example: Prevailing Wage. If an employee works on a prevailing wage job and is paid $29 per hour instead of their base rate of $18 per hour.

        • The Pay Code would be Prevailing Wage with a fixed rate of $29.

    • Exclude from OT – Check this box if no matter what the Pay Code is, you will not pay Overtime on this type of pay. For example: Vacation, Holiday, Sick, Overtime

    • OT Pay Code – This is only checked for Overtime Pay Codes that are added as a default on an employee’s Pay Schedule.

  • Create Vacation, Sick Pay, or Holiday Pay Codes following the above steps:

    • If you want QuickBooks to keep up with any time off still available.

    • If you are exporting more than 40 hours, the Pay Code will indicate not to pay Overtime for these hours

    • It will show those specific codes on the employee’s paycheck.

  • Once all of the necessary fields are filled out, click the Save button.

🔑 Key Takeaways to Remember about Pay Codes:

  • Pay Codes used must match your Payroll Service's codes.

  • If you have a salary employee that is paid Flex Overtime Hours, the flex overtime pay will be calculated in Aspire at a fixed rate. The actual variance will have to be manually calculated.

  • Most salary employee’s hours will not be exported from Aspire into the payroll service or accounting system.

  • There are several export file choices in Aspire for exporting to a payroll service.

  • If a salary employee is paid overtime, you will need to set that employee up with and Salary-Overtime HOURLY Pay Code. When that automatic OT Pay Code is exported to QuickBooks, it will automatically calculate the pay based on the Salary-Overtime Hourly Pay Code set up in QuickBooks.

Creating Pay Schedules

A Pay Schedule specifies how a person is paid (Hourly or Salary) and how their Overtime is calculated. Once Pay Schedules are created, they are assigned to individual employees.

💡 A Pay Schedule in Aspire will also group employees separately on the Weekly Time Review for exporting to your Payroll Service.

  • To set up your Pay Schedules in Aspire, click Settings in the blue tool bar.

  • Then, click Administration.

  • Once in Administration, from the Application tab, go to the Lists tab. In the dropdown, select the Pay Schedule list.

  • You can create new pay schedules, by selecting New.

📌 Note: You should have at least one Pay Schedule set up with the appropriate Pay Codes assigned.

Enter information in the following boxes:

  • Pay Schedule Name - Add the Pay Schedule name.

    • Examples would be: Weekly 40, Hourly, Salary with OT, Salary without OT, Daily 8, etc.

  • Daily Hours Before OT - This is where you would place how many hours you can work in one day before being eligible for Over Time.

  • Weekly Hours Before OT - This is where you would place how many hours you can work in one week before being eligible for Over Time.

  • Minimum Start Time - You can place a time here and the time you place will not allow anyone to clock in before this designated time.

  • Default Pay Code - Enter the Pay Code that applies to this Pay Schedule. Examples would be as follows:

    • Weekly 40 Pay Schedule - Default Pay Code would be Hourly.

    • Salary with OT Pay Schedule- Default Pay Code would be Salary.

    • Salary No OT Pay Schedule - Default Pay Code would be Salary No OT.

  • Default OT Pay Code -This is the default OT Pay Code if they get paid Overtime. If they are not paid overtime, you leave it as NONE. Pay Code options listed here would have the box at Pay Code called ‘OT Pay Code’ checked.

  • Active - If you are using the Pay Code, make sure you mark it as Active, or the Pay Code will not be available to assign to employees.

📌 Note: You can set up pay schedules for subcontractor labor or temporary labor if you have the need to track their hours to jobs in Aspire.

  • Once all of the necessary fields are complete, click Save .

Setting up Employees with Payroll

Next, you will set up your employees to be ready for Payroll Processing. This step is important to make sure your payroll exports correctly.

  • Go to the Contacts module in the blue side menu.

💡 If you don't already have employees in your system, make sure to create new Contacts first. If you aren't sure how to do this, check out our article about Creating an Employee Contact. If you are creating contacts for field crew members (not crew leaders), check out this article instead!

  • Select your Employee from the Contact Screen.

  • Scroll towards the bottom of the employee's Contact Screen to the Payroll section.

Enter the following information into the boxes:

📌 NOTE: All employees must have a branch and employee number assigned to them.

  • Pay Schedule - Select the correct Pay Schedule for the employee from the drop down.

  • Employee Number - Employee’s number must match his/her employee number from QuickBooks Desktop.

  • Employee PIN - An employee PIN might already be setup. If a PIN has not been setup:

    • Employee PIN's are necessary for all crew members that will be using Aspire Crew Mobile.

    • This PIN is their access into the system from a phone or tablet to track their time for the day.

    • PIN's allow employees quick access to Aspire from the Aspire Desktop if their role permissions allow.

    • We recommend they should be a minimum of 4 characters long and preferably alpha numeric (numbers and letters).


    • It can be the same as their Employee Number.

  • Accounting Sync ID - QuickBooks will fill in automatically when the sync occurs between Aspire & QuickBooks.

  • External Contact Reference - This section will remain empty or blank for QuickBooks Desktop.

Adding Pay Rates on the Contact Record

Once the employee's payroll information is entered, pay rates will need to be added for labor to be calculated and job costing to happen in Aspire.

  • Enter your Pay Rates for your employee in the section right below Payroll by clicking the New button.

  • Next, you'll add information into the Effective Date, Base Rate, Burden %, and Hourly Cost fields.

    Enter the following information into the Pay Rate boxes:

  • Effective Date - Enter the date the new rate will take effect.

    • You can back date the effective date on this page to reflect the original effective date for this pay rate, if desired.

    • For new rates entered, the effective date has to be at the beginning of the hired week.

  • Base Rate - Enter the hourly amount the employee will be receiving.

    • Salaried employees will also have an hourly rate entered here (not a salary rate).

    • DO NOT delete these when giving a raise.

    • DO enter a new Base Rate line when the employee has received an increase in pay.

  • Burden % - Enter the burden % if you are using a burden % in Aspire.

    • This is a percentage that you calculate based on employee costs for the company to provide here. The burden rate is the calculated percent of base rate that accounts for additional employee cost paid by the company such as company-paid insurance, retirement, vacation time, bonuses, etc.

  • Hourly Cost - This will automatically populate after the Effective date, Base Rate, and Burden % are correctly filled out.

  • Once everything is filled in, click the green Save icon on the Employee's Contact Screen if not adding Override Pay codes.

Adding Override Pay Codes

If you have an employee who is being paid a rate different than what was setup at the Pay Code List, it can be added to an employee’s contact record. This is called an Override Pay Rate.

Let's look an at an example as to when you would use an Override Pay Code.

An employee may make $15/hour during Green season, but $18/hour for Snow season.

If your premium for Snow is consistent across all employees, you can set up the Premium on the Pay code. If the premium rate varies by employee, then you could set it up as an Override Pay code on the employee Contact record.

  • To add an additional (override) pay rate, click on the 3 vertical dots to the right of the current pay rate on the employee's Contact Screen under Payrates and select Add Override Pay codes.

  • Under the Pay Code drop down list, choose the Pay Code Override option that you want based on the Pay Codes you have created.

💡 Reminder: If the option you want is not a choice, you will need to go back to Pay Codes in Administration to add it.

  • Next, enter Override Rate or dollar amount.

  • Then, click the Save icon to lock in your Override Pay Codes.

  • Once finished adding the needed Override Pay Codes on the contact record, click Save on the contact record.

  • Repeat this process for all needed employees so Payroll can be exported later.

⚠️ Overtime will not automatically calculate on a regular Override Pay code. If overtime is to be paid on an Override Pay rate, an Overtime Pay Code must be setup and added here.

📌 Note: When a Pay Code is selected for an employee on the Time Entry screen, Aspire will look at the employee’s Override Pay Codes to see if that Pay Code is listed. If it is, it will use that rate.

Repeat this process for all needed employees so Payroll can be exported later.

Proceed to the Next Step for Payroll

Next, as employees clock onto jobs and log time, and that time is approved, you are ready to proceed to the next step: Exporting your Payroll!

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