As everyone becomes more cautious of their data security, Intuit is taking measures to add a new software update as a safety layer to its software. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is on the way this month regarding additional security functionality in QuickBooks Online Payroll accounts in the US (Canada is slated for the later future, but is in the plan).

The ultimate objective of introducing step-up/MFA is to prevent fraud and product abuse by malicious actors. With multi-factor authentication in payroll, our customers’ money, sensitive data and identity will be better protected.

In the coming months, you’ll have to use multi-factor authentication, once per session, when you:


  •  – Employee or contractor bank accounts


  •  – FEIN, SSN or business number in Tax setup
  •  – Employee SSN or date of birth


  •  – SSNs or date of births in reports

These are just a few of the flows being updated now. Over the next few months, there will be more that will require this double authentication method.

What is MFA

In addition to the usual password requirement, multi-factor authentication enhances security. It is a method of confirming your identity by sending you a unique one-time password to the phone number associated with your account.

You might have seen this feature on other apps like Amazon or Microsoft when using them.

How it works

In order to protect sensitive information, certain data now will be masked. Adding, editing or viewing sensitive information may require you to authenticate your identity once per session.

A one-time password (OTP) will be sent to your profile’s phone number (by text or phone call), which must be entered on-screen. This will allow you to view, edit and add sensitive information.

If you do not log out or switch companies, you will not have to perform another MFA after your first one.

How to prepare:

Here are some tips you need know to best prepare for this security enhancement:

On the Payroll screen, you will see this notice.

1. Select Find out more

2. Start by double-checking your phone number. It never hurts to make sure your contact number is up to date. To view or update your phone number on file, please log in to https://accounts.intuit.com/, then follow the steps below:

1. Go to the Sign In & Security section

2. Click the Verify link beside the phone number

3. Click the Change link beside the phone number

4. Update your phone number and click Save

5. Choose the method to receive the verification code, then click Continue

6. Enter the code in the provided field. Upon verification, you will see the status updated to Verified

You have a couple of options if the number is not yours. You should ask your primary administrator to update the payroll number if you are the primary payroll contact or you can have them add you as a new user with your sign-in and contact info.

While some might find this new feature redundant, it is important. Bad actors are getting better.

Liz Scott is a multi-business entrepreneur working to bring together technology and accountants through her business, Liz Scott Consulting. A member of Intuit Trainer/Writer Network, she authored and taught Master level courses, including Advisory Guides and Consulting Tools for Accountants. In addition to Liz Scott Consulting, she also owns Accounting Lifeline, a firm to serve small businesses with their financial needs. Liz is a co-host of the “Appy Hour,” which helps other accountants learn about the different tools and apps for small business needs. Holding a high passion for real estate investment, she owns properties throughout Oklahoma.

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Insightful Accountant