QuickBooks Payroll vs. ADP: Which Is the Best for Your Business?

Choosing the right payroll software is tough. Two prominent names, QuickBooks and ADP, stand out, but which is the best fit for your business? This quick-hitting analysis will compare both, analyzing their pricing, ease of usage, features, integrations, scalability, and customer reviews. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned pro, we will decode which provider best suits your budget and business needs – no filler, all killer insights.

QuickBooks Payroll vs. ADP At a Glance

Features QuickBooks Payroll ADP
Starting Price $45/month per user + $6/employee per month Quote-based (prices are not directly listed on ADP’s official website). However, base price starts at $79/month + $4/month per employee.
Free Plan No free plan. Only a 30-day trial is available No free plan. Up to 3-months free trial is available
Tax Filing Automatically files federal, local, and state taxes. Automatically files federal, local, and state taxes
Employee Benefits Management Health Insurance, Retirement plans, Workers’ compensation administration, and HR Support Retirement, Workers’ compensation, Health Insurance, Time and Attendance, student loan debts, and shopping expenses
Employee Portal Yes, included with all paid plans Yes, included with all paid plans
Integrations Integrations available with other Quickbooks products A wider variety of external integrations is available, including Xero, Quickbooks Online, Sage, and Wave
General HR No dedicated general HR portal Yes, ADP has a dedicated HR portal. This portal
• Offers robust HR ecosystem with more integrations.
• Provides “return to the workplace” tools for contact tracing and employee comfort monitoring.
• Its ‘Enhanced plan’ includes ZipRecruiter and background checks.
• Offers HR checkups to help establish policies and handbooks.
Customer Support Phone support (Monday-Friday) and 24*7 chat support Phone support (Monday-Friday) and 24*7 chat support
Read Review Our QuickBooks Payroll review Our ADP Payroll review

QuickBooks Payroll vs. ADP Pricing Compared

When it comes to cost, QuickBooks Payroll and ADP take very different approaches. This section compares the pricing models of each platform to reveal what budget-conscious buyers can expect to pay.

Version QuickBooks Payroll ADP
Free Version No free version available No free version available
Starter Payroll Core
• Monthly: $45/month + $6/month per employee
• 3-month + 30-day free trial: $22.50/month + $6/month per employee
Essential payroll:
• Custom pricing (price depends on size and needs)
Advanced Payroll Premium:
• Monthly: $80/month + $8/month per employee
• 3-month + 30-day free trial: $40/month + $8/month per employee
Enhanced payroll:
• Custom pricing (price depends on size and needs)
Premium Payroll Elite:
• Monthly: $125/month + $10/month per employee
• 3-month + 30-day free trial: $62.50/month + $10/month per employee
Complete payroll & HR+
• Custom pricing (price depends on size and needs)
Ultra Premium none HR Pro Payroll & HR
• Custom pricing (price depends on size and needs)

QuickBooks Payroll offers more predictable pricing with transparent published rates for all plan tiers. Low-volume users can benefit from basic payroll functions in the $45 Payroll Core plan. ADP provides customizable packages but lacks pricing transparency and requires a custom-made quotation even for basic services.

So, QuickBooks Payroll may be more suitable for smaller businesses due to its straightforward pricing and the inclusion of HR support in its higher-tier plans. ADP is more ideal for larger businesses with more complex payroll and HR needs, as it offers custom pricing and a wider range of HR services.

QuickBooks Payroll vs ADP Ease of Use

Winner: QuickBooks Payroll

When it comes to ease of use, QuickBooks Payroll is the winner. QuickBooks Payroll has a simpler, more intuitive interface that is easier for first-time users to learn and start using quickly.

ADP’s interface provides very advanced features and customization options, making it more complex for basic users who just need to run payroll. If you are new to payroll, the abundance of configuration choices ADP offers can overwhelm you.

In contrast, QuickBooks Payroll has a straightforward dashboard focused on core payroll tasks like calculating paychecks, filing tax returns, and generating reports. For a small business owner running their own payroll, QuickBooks is faster to pick up and eliminates the learning curve.

A screenshot of Quickbooks Payroll

Source: Quickbooks

Additionally, QuickBooks Payroll integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks’ accounting and bookkeeping software. For a user already leveraging QuickBooks’ other products, everything is accessible from one easy-to-use platform. Meanwhile, ADP forces users to toggle between various modules and dashboards.

A screenshot of Run by ADP Payroll

Source: Techopedia

In summary, ADP provides superior customization for larger and more complex payroll needs. But QuickBooks Payroll offers better ease of use and a simpler user experience for entry-level payroll processing. With its intuitive interface and tight integration with QuickBooks’ ecosystem, QuickBooks Payroll is the easier option for small business owners to get up and running.

QuickBooks Payroll vs ADP Key Features

Winner: ADP

While QuickBooks Payroll offers seamless integration at a lower cost, ADP generally provides more robust and advanced functionality for complex payroll tasks and HR management. Therefore, in this section, we are going to compare the key features of both the software, with respect to four parameters, viz.,

  1. Payroll
  2. Time Tracking abilities
  3. Benefits management
  4. Tax support


ADP supports customized pay rates, garnishments, advanced taxes, contractor payments, and automatic error detection. It is more customizable and offers robust HR tools alongside full-service, automated payroll features. It is ideal for midsize businesses and larger companies with more complex payroll needs.

QuickBooks Payroll offers a straightforward approach, making it suitable for small businesses with up to 50 employees. It provides unlimited payroll runs and deep integration with QuickBooks Online, but it lacks some enterprise-grade capabilities.

Time Tracking

Both ADP and QuickBooks Payroll offer time-tracking integration but cater to different needs. ADP boasts wider connectivity, seamlessly integrating multiple time and attendance systems for automated data transfer, minimizing errors, and streamlining payroll processing.

QuickBooks Payroll works well within its ecosystem but offers limited external connections, potentially requiring manual intervention and hindering data flow.

Therefore, businesses utilizing diverse systems and prioritizing efficiency may find ADP’s flexibility more valuable, while those comfortable within the QuickBooks ecosystem and with basic needs might find QuickBooks Payroll sufficient.

Benefits Management

ADP facilitates customized benefits packages through a wide range of provider integrations and enrollment tools. Some of them are:

  • Health insurance
  • Business Insurance
  • Retirement plans
  • Enrollment tools
  • Professional Employer Organization (PEO)

While QuickBooks Payroll provides a solid foundation for basic HR support, it is not as exhaustive as ADP.

Some of its benefits are:

  • Partnering with SimplyInsured to offer medical, dental, and vision insurance.
  • Providing affordable retirement plans with Guideline.
  • Offering workers’ comp administration through AP Intego.
  • Giving HR support through Mineral, Inc.

While these third-party integrations provide a good range of benefits, they are not as comprehensive as ADP’s packages.

Tax Support

ADP handles payroll taxes in multiple jurisdictions, ensuring specialized location compliance. Additionally, ADP’s Local Tax Code Locator tool also suggests that they provide up-to-date codes and percentages needed to set up employees in various jurisdictions.

On the other hand, QuickBooks payroll is predominantly optimized for small businesses. Therefore, it is designed to meet the needs of most small business owners but lacks enterprise sophistication.

QuickBooks Payroll vs ADP Integrations

Winner: ADP

When comparing QuickBooks Payroll and ADP in terms of integrations, the choice depends on your business needs and the level of customization and scalability you require. Here is a quick comparison of the integrations both these software provide:

QuickBooks Payroll

  • Integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks Online
  • Offers robust payroll reporting
  • Limited to integration with QuickBooks Online, which may be suitable for small businesses already using QuickBooks for accounting.


  • Offers integration capabilities with several popular business software, including ERPs like Workday, and Financial Force, accounting systems, and CRMs, such as SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft Teams.
  • Scalable plans that can accommodate businesses with up to 1,000 employees.
  • More customizable and offers a wider selection of integrations, making it suitable for larger businesses with more complex needs.

Considering the above points, ADP is the preferred option for businesses with more complex needs, larger employee counts, and a desire for more customization and scalability.

QuickBooks payroll is better for small businesses already using QuickBooks accounting software. However, if an organization decides to expand its horizons, then choosing ADP would be a more viable option.

QuickBooks Payroll vs ADP Scalability

Winner: ADP

ADP clearly beats QuickBooks Payroll when it comes to scaling up. ADP suits businesses of varied levels with customized enterprise solutions. QuickBooks Payroll specifically targets smaller businesses optimized for less than 50 employees.

As an organization’s needs become more advanced, ADP’s plethora of robust features stand out. In particular, aspects like varied pay types, payment compliance, configurable reporting, and integrations make ADP a suitable choice.

QuickBooks provides fundamental payroll features and seamless accounting integration, ideal for early-stage growth. However, limitations emerge in functionality and customization for mid-sized payroll and HR requirements. QuickBooks also lacks the specialized expertise to support human resources management at an enterprise scale.

Essentially, QuickBooks Payroll excels at core features for smaller customer needs. But ADP dominates in meeting larger sophisticated company requirements today and into the future. ADP’s payroll and HR versatility enable customized solutions as organizations scale up. So for full-service enterprise needs, ADP is best positioned to grow with a business.

QuickBooks Payroll vs ADP Customer Reviews

Both QuickBooks Payroll and ADP receive largely positive feedback, but each caters to differing customer priorities around features and ease of use.

QuickBooks Payroll satisfies smaller customers with its simple interface, QuickBooks integration, and value pricing. But it lacks some advanced capabilities needed at a larger scale.

ADP wins praise for its sophisticated features and excellent support, but some find its customization excessive and pricing opaque for basic payroll needs.

We are providing some customer reviews here:

A customer review of ADP Payroll

Source: G2

A customer review of Quickbooks Payroll

Source: G2

Conclusion – QuickBooks Payroll vs ADP: Which One Wins?

The ideal payroll software depends on your company’s unique needs and priorities.

However, when comparing the overall capabilities of QuickBooks Payroll and ADP, ADP emerges as the leading payroll processing platform. ADP offers unmatched customization, advanced functionality, and enterprise-level support.

It provides the most robust features, HR tools, benefits management, and business system integrations. ADP also scales with ease, delivers specialized tax expertise, and reduces manual work through automation.

While QuickBooks Payroll is easier to use and affordable for small businesses, ADP simply provides more value, sophistication, and room for growth. For mid-size to large companies wanting a full-service payroll provider, ADP is the clear winner.

So if you need to handle complex payroll processing and want an industry-leading solution, choose ADP. Their unparalleled features and customization capabilities make ADP the superior payroll platform for growing organizations.

How We Test Payroll Software

At Techopedia, we thoroughly test payroll software using the following criteria:

  • Pricing – We compare pricing models by analyzing free trials and plans at different tiers. This reveals what features are included at each price point.
  • Features – We test all main features extensively by setting up payrolls, running reports, and configuring system settings. We verify features work as expected for core payroll tasks.
  • Integrations – We examine integration options with popular HR, accounting, time tracking, and other business platforms. More integrations allow smoother payroll processing.
  • Automation – We assess automation tools that reduce manual data entry and potential errors.
  • Ease of Use – We have new users evaluate interfaces and workflows. Intuitive design, navigation, and guidance indicate better usability.
  • Third-Party Reviews – We research online reviews from sites like G2, Trustpilot, Reddit, and testimonials to understand real-world experiences from active users.

How to Choose the Best Payroll Software

Choosing the right payroll software is crucial for streamlining payroll processing. Here are key factors to consider when selecting the best solution for your needs:

  • Budget – Compare pricing tiers to find plans with features that provide good value within your budget. Prioritize solutions that offer core functionality at affordable rates.
  • Ease of Use – Look for an intuitive interface and workflow design. Software that is simple to learn and use will minimize training time and frustration.
  • Compatibility – Ensure mobile access and key integrations are available in your plan tier. This allows payroll accessibility and seamless connections.
  • Key Features – Verify that must-have features are included in an affordable plan tier. Avoid solutions restricting essential tools to high-end packages.
  • Scalability – Consider capabilities to support company growth and advanced needs. Solutions that scale smoothly will prevent having to switch later.
  • Customer Support – Prioritize providers with robust customer service for setup assistance and resolving issues. Strong user reviews also indicate good support experiences.

Evaluating solutions against these criteria will help identify the optimal payroll software for your budget, needs, and business goals.


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Gayathri G.

Gayathri is an experienced SEO content writer who helps inform readers through her expertise gained over 7 years in the field. She has successfully implemented SEO strategies with top publishers like One Green Planet and The Doof Media. Gayathri has a Master's Degree in Mathematics from the University of Madras. Her skills include long-form content writing, content strategy development, and search engine optimization. She owns two newsletters ‘That Freelancing Girl’ and ‘Inkwell Insights’, providing valuable insights into freelancing and content writing.