ADP vs. QuickBooks – Which is right for your business?

ADP vs QuickBooks payroll: To keep your business running smoothly, you must ensure that your employees are paid correctly and on time. This can be time-consuming, confusing, and frustrating. However, there are payroll services that will automate it for you. There are many options available, so you might not know which one to choose for your company.

It can be difficult to choose the best payroll software. But we will help you to make an informed decision.

ADP vs QuickBooks

ADP and QuickBooks are big names when it comes to business management software. These two companies are well-known and have some of the best software options. This guide will walk you through ADP vs. QuickBooks payroll so that you can choose the one that best suits your business.

ADP vs QuickBooks payroll: Overview

When comparing the payroll offerings for ADP and QB Payroll, there are many things to consider. We will discuss each product and its unique features. Here’s a quick overview of both products before we get into the details.

Both these cloud-based payroll services allow you to manage your payroll and other HR-related tasks through multiple plans. The chart below shows that ADP and QuickBooks have different pricing structures (ADP is quote-based), features, and integrations, as well as other differences.

ADP Payroll Pricing and Plans

ADP Payroll Services is the first payroll software provider that we will cover. ADP Run is a payroll software solution for companies with 49 employees. There are four options within the Run suite with different features.

Essential Payroll

ADP’s Essential Payroll Plan covers everything you need for a small business or startup that needs to manage payroll quickly and efficiently.

The Essential plan can also be used to file taxes and assist with new employee onboarding. This can be a huge advantage for companies that are looking for additional HR functionality. The Essential Payroll Plan from ADP Run includes the following features:

  • Direct deposit
  • Payroll delivery
  • Solid reporting
  • General ledger interface
  • New-hire reporting
  • W-2s and 1099s
  • Filing taxes
  • Access to ADP employees
  • Mobile app
  • Newsletter and HR tips
  • Resources and forms for both the federal and state governments
  • HR checkups

Enhanced Payroll

The Enhanced Payroll plan includes all the features of the Essential plan as well as a few additional features. Those extra features include:

  • Be sure to check the signing and stuffing
  • Compliance with the poster
  • State unemployment insurance
  • Garnish payment services
  • Background checks
  • ZipRecruiter

This plan provides more HR-management tools that will help you with your onboarding and hiring processes.

Complete Payroll

ADP’s plan includes many HR solutions as well as all the features of the enhanced payroll. Additional features include:

  • Helpdesk for HR
  • Employee Handbook Wizard
  • HR tracking
  • Forms and documents for HR
  • Training and toolkits for HR professionals

This is a great way to keep up with all things HR and payroll if you don’t have a human resources department.

HR Pro

The HR Pro plan by ADP Run offers even more features in HR management. This plan includes all the features that you have in the other plans, plus more.

These additional features include:

  • Support for Enhanced HR Helpdesk
  • Support for employees through enhanced handbooks
  • Training for employees and employers
  • Prevention and training for sexual harassment
  • LegalShield offers legal assistance

This plan will give you access to professionals who will help you create your employee handbook, as well as answer any questions you have or those of your employees. Access to advisors is available at all times. This will ensure that your HR needs are met.

ADP also offers additional options for larger businesses that employ more than 49 people or have higher payroll and HR requirements. ADP Workforce Now is available to companies with 50-1000 employees. ADP also offers two enterprise-level options: ADP Vantage HCM for businesses with over 1,000 employees, and ADP Streamline for global businesses.

Pricing and Plans for QuickBooks Payroll

QuickBooks provides three payroll plans to small business owners. They also offer pricing information upfront, which is a departure from ADP. You can also try the service for free for 30 days before you commit to a paid plan.

QuickBooks Payroll Core

QuickBooks Payroll’s Core plan is the most basic plan. It includes payroll and HR basics as well as automatic tax help. This plan is $45 per month, plus $4 per employee per year.

These are the features of the QuickBooks Payroll Core Plan:

  • Full-service payroll
  • Payroll automation
  • Health benefits
  • Expert product support
  • Next-day direct deposit
  • Payroll runs that are fast and unlimited
  • Calculation of tax and paycheck
  • Automated tax filing
  • Workforce portal
  • Payroll reports

This plan is great for small teams and was created with them in mind. This plan covers basic payroll functions, but if you require more functionality, you might want to consider one of their higher-level plans.

QuickBooks Payroll Premium

The Premium plan is the next level up, and it offers all the same features as the Core plan plus additional ones.

The plan is $75 per month, with an additional $8 per employee each month. You’ll also get the following:

  • Same-day direct deposit
  • Administration of workers’ compensation
  • Support center for HR
  • Expert setup review
  • Time tracking

This plan is for you if you feel you will need assistance with time tracking or payroll setup. An Elite plan is an option if you need more than the Premium plan.

QuickBooks Payroll Elite

The Elite plan of QuickBooks includes all the benefits of the other QuickBooks plans but adds a few bonuses. It costs $125 per month and $10 per Employee per Month.

Elite also includes the following additional features:

  • Setup of white-gloves
  • Expert product support available 24/7
  • Tracking time and projects
  • Protection from tax penalties
  • Personal HR advisor

The Elite plan offers significantly more support and resources, as you can see. You’ll feel as if you have your own dedicated HR team with 24/7 support. Their tax penalty protection is a huge benefit for businesses. If your company is subject to an IRS penalty due to tax filings made by QuickBooks, they will represent you, resolve the issue and pay the penalty on your behalf.

ADP Payroll Pros

We now have a better understanding of ADP vs. QuickBooks payroll. Let’s look at the strengths and weaknesses of each platform. Let’s first look at the benefits of ADP for your payroll needs.


ADP offers many third-party integrations. These include accounting software and time tracking. Recruitment, benefits administration, and more. You can also integrate other software platforms, such as Xero to manage your employees or Homebase to track time, with your ADP payroll software.

Grow with Your Business

ADP’s ability to grow with your business is a major plus. It was designed for small businesses. They offer different plans depending on how many employees you have. Additionally, they offer different levels of these plans so that you can find the best solution for your business. ADP has a payroll solution that will work for your company, no matter how small or large it is.

ADP Payroll Cons

Every product has its downfalls. ADP is no different. They have one major problem, most notably.


ADP payroll doesn’t offer its prices online, which is a disadvantage. For a quote, you will need to contact ADP directly. Although they are more difficult to compare with other companies, this doesn’t mean that you will pay more. You can actually get personalized pricing depending on the number of employees and features you require. This could make it more cost-effective.

QuickBooks Payroll Pros

QuickBooks Payroll offers clear benefits, especially if other QuickBooks products are used for accounting or human resources.

QuickBooks Integration

QuickBooks Payroll has the advantage of integrating with other QuickBooks software. You don’t need to manually update information across the platforms.

You can add another QuickBooks software to your account for an additional monthly charge if you don’t already use it. This could be the best payroll solution for you if you are a QuickBooks user or want to explore other products.

It’s easy to use

QuickBooks has spent a lot of time perfecting their software, which shows in their product’s usability. When discussing the reasons they chose QuickBooks, users often highlight how simple it is to use.

Quickbooks’ simplicity and ease of use is what I love the most. I didn’t have to watch any training videos or go through FAQ tutorials. “I pretty much used their platform and quickly picked up what to do,” James Canzanella of Isolated Market Nights told Fundera.

Cons of QuickBooks Payroll

There are also some disadvantages to QuickBooks.

Inadequacy of third-party integration

ADP integrates with many third-party applications. QuickBooks, however, offers most integrations with QuickBooks software.

You will need to manually input information to any other platform than QuickBooks if you want to manage your business operations. This is not only time-consuming but also increases the chance of human error.

ADP vs. QB: Alternatives

ADP Payroll and QuickBooks Payroll both offer solid features to manage payroll and HR. However, it is possible that you have concluded from this comparison that neither one is right for your business. Here are two options to consider if that is the case.

Wave Payroll

WavePayroll is a cheaper alternative to ADP Payroll and QuickBooks Payroll. Wave provides free software for invoicing and accounting, but not their payroll software. Pricing is dependent on where your are located . Wave Payroll costs $20 per month in states that don’t offer tax administration and $35 for those that do. You also pay $4 per employee per month, regardless of where you live.

Wave Payroll allows you to set up automatic payroll according to your schedule. You can also receive reminders for payroll approval so that you don’t forget. An employee portal allows employees to log-in online to view their payroll information, such as time off, pay slips, and salary. This is an easy solution that is affordable and simple to use. It is ideal for small businesses or people on a budget.


GustoPayroll is another option. This software can be customized to fit your business’ needs. It can handle everything you need, from payroll approvals and time off approvals to accessing HR professionals if you have any questions or need help.

Gusto offers many integration options to their customers for services they do not offer. You can also add on 529 college savings plans and health savings accounts to Gusto for an additional monthly fee. Gusto is a flexible and customizable solution that can be tailored to meet your business’s needs.

The Last Word

Small business owners must choose payroll software to ensure that their employees are paid on time and they have the freedom to spend their time on other areas of the business. It can be hard to find the right software for your business, especially with so many choices.

Although we’ve done extensive research on ADP Payroll and QuickBooks Payroll, the final decision about which platform is best for your company is up to you. Every business is unique and has its own needs. Before you make a decision, take the time to familiarize yourself with each platform (take advantage of ADP’s free trial and contact ADP to get a quote). Keep in mind that if none of these options work for you, there are many other options.

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