QuickBooks vs Gusto Payroll: Which One Is the Best for Your Business?

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Getting the payroll software is pivotal for any business, but the decision can be overwhelming, with options like QuickBooks and Gusto leading the market.

In this comprehensive comparison, we’re going to stack up on how QuickBooks vs Gusto platforms perform as payroll services and break down both solutions, analyzing features, pricing, ease of use, and more to help you find the perfect fit for your needs.

QuickBooks vs Gusto Payroll At a Glance

Here’s a quick glimpse into the key features, pricing, and strengths of both QuickBooks Payroll and Gusto Payroll. See which platform aligns better with your and your business’s needs at a glance:

QuickBooks Gusto
Starting Price $45 per month + $6 per user $40 per month + $6 per user
Free Plan Yes, 30-day free trial Yes, contractor payment only
Tax Filing Automatic federal, state, and local tax filing Automatic federal, state, and local tax filing
Employee Benefits Management Limited Built-in, including health insurance, retirement plans, and workers’ comp
Employee Portal Yes Yes, with self-service features
Integrations Integrates with QuickBooks ecosystem Extensive third-party integrations
General HR Limited Integrated HR tools like onboarding, performance management, and compliance
Customer Support Phone, email, and live chat Phone, email, live chat, and dedicated account managers
Read Review QuickBooks Payroll Review Gusto Payroll Review

QuickBooks vs Gusto Pricing Compared

Let’s quickly overview QuickBooks and Gusto pricing, plans, and what each of them offers:

QuickBooks Gusto
Free Version Yes, 30-day free trial Yes, contractor payment only
Starter $25/month or $240/year $39/month per person or $468/year per person
Advanced $75/month or $720/year $39/month per person or $468/year per person
Premium $150/month or $1,440/year $39/month per person or $468/year per person

To sum up, both QuickBooks and Gusto platforms offer tiered pricing based on the number of employees and features included. As shown, QuickBooks boasts a cheaper starting price, and Gusto’s base plan has more functionality, including employee self-service and basic benefits management.

On the other hand, if you’re a larger business or are looking for comprehensive HR services and platforms, Gusto’s higher tiers offer compelling value.

QuickBooks vs Gusto Ease of Use

Winner: Gusto

It’s no news that QuickBooks and Gusto are both popular platforms offering essential payroll services, but they serve different needs and have distinct approaches to ease of use.

QuickBooks is well-known for its accounting software, designed primarily for small and medium-sized businesses. Its user interface is simple, particularly for individuals already familiar with accounting basics. The platform’s layout is organized logically, making navigation straightforward.

On the other hand, Gusto specializes in payroll, benefits administration, and HR management. Its interface is modern, clean, and user-friendly.

So, it’s a perfect fit if you’re looking for a straightforward solution for managing employee-related tasks. Gusto’s onboarding process takes just a few minutes, guiding you through each step with clear instructions and prompts.

QuickBooks, while powerfully built for accounting, might be more complex for payroll tasks for first-time users than Gusto. It’s suited more for experienced users or those already familiar with accounting software.

In a nutshell, QuickBooks stands out in providing an all-around accounting solution with a user-friendly interface, while Gusto is our winner with simplicity and efficiency in payroll and HR management.

The choice between the two ultimately depends on your needs and priorities, with QuickBooks being ideal for accounting functionality and Gusto being number one for smooth HR and payroll processes.

QuickBooks vs Gusto Payroll Key Features

Winner: Gusto

While both QuickBooks and Gusto offer strong payroll features, Gusto emerges as the overall winner thanks not only to its comprehensive feature set but also to scalability and adaptability.

In this section, we’ll dissect 4 crucial features – payroll, benefits management, employee portal, and time tracking – to justify on why Gusto stands out, allowing you to make an informed decision for your business.


Both QuickBooks and Gusto boast payroll processing capabilities, offering automatic tax calculations, direct deposits, and employee pay stubs. However, a closer look reveals key differences that might sway your decision.

For payroll within a single state, QuickBooks offers a familiar solution tightly integrated with its accounting software. This can be ideal for bigger businesses comfortable with the QuickBooks ecosystem. However, venturing into multi-state operations exposes QuickBooks’ limits.

Gusto, though, offers its multi-state payroll capabilities, handling complex tax regulations across borders. International payroll is even available as an add-on. What truly sets Gusto apart is its comprehensive tax support – tax professionals stand ready to answer your questions and alleviate tax-related concerns, offering a level of reassurance QuickBooks simply can’t match.

Benefits Management

While both platforms handle basic payroll, the true difference lies in their benefits management capabilities.

QuickBooks offers limited integration through add-ons, so you have to juggle multiple providers and manage benefits separately. Gusto, though, with its built-in Gusto Benefits Exchange. Access health insurance, dental, vision, and even 401(k) plans – all seamlessly integrated and competitively priced.

Compliance automation and pre-built packages ease tasks, saving you time and ensuring adherence to regulations. For a wider selection and administrative support, Gusto’s benefits are supreme.

Employee Portal

In the case of employee engagement and self-service, both QuickBooks and Gusto offer employee portals, but they differ in functionalities. QuickBooks’ portal provides basic access to paystubs, W-2s, and limited tax documents. While functional, it lacks features that foster engagement or streamline tasks for employees.

Gusto’s employee portal, on the other hand, has features like time off requests, benefits enrollment and management, and access to paystubs and tax documents.

Additionally, Gusto Wallet allows employees with on-demand access to earned wages, leveling up financial well-being and satisfaction. Performance management tools like goal setting and feedback mechanisms contribute to a more engaged workforce.

Time Tracking

QuickBooks integrates smoothly with its own Time by QuickBooks, offering basic time capture, project tracking, and reporting. However, integrations with third-party tools are limited, restricting options if you have specific needs.

Gusto focuses on flexibility, allowing native time tracking through its mobile app and web interface. This caters to businesses with remote or mobile workforces.

Additionally, Gusto has a wider range of third-party integrations with popular time-tracking tools like Clockify and Toggl Track, providing greater customization and advanced features.

QuickBooks vs Gusto Integrations

Winner: Gusto

When it comes to integrations, both QuickBooks and Gusto payroll services offer valuable connections but cater to different needs.

  • QuickBooks. This software caters to businesses already within the Intuit ecosystem. Seamless integration with QuickBooks accounting software (Xero, Wave, Sage Intacct) and other Intuit products like Time by QuickBooks boosts workflows and eliminates data duplication. However, external integrations, especially for HR and advanced needs, are more limited.
  • Gusto. This platform boasts a wider net of external integrations, connecting with popular accounting, time tracking (Clockify, Toggl Track, Harvest), HR (like BambooHR), and benefits platforms. This flexibility allows you to build a customized tech stack that suits your needs. However, integrating with non-Gusto products might require additional setup and fees.

So, if you’re deeply invested in the QuickBooks ecosystem, its native integrations hold strong appeal. However, Gusto’s broader connectivity and adaptability win the integration crown, allowing you to build a tech stack that reflects unique needs and scales with you.

QuickBooks vs Gusto Scalability

Winner: Gusto

When talking about scalability, both QuickBooks and Gusto offer such solutions, but they cater to different growth trajectories.

QuickBooks excels for established businesses with steady growth, offering integration with its accounting ecosystem. Its user-friendly interface and familiar structure cater well to smaller teams without overwhelming them with unnecessary complexity.

However, for rapidly scaling companies or those with ambitious expansion plans, Gusto is a better choice. Its comprehensive HR tools, multi-state payroll capabilities, and extensive third-party integrations empower businesses to adapt and evolve.

Think of it like climbing a ladder – QuickBooks offers support for the first few rungs, ideal for small businesses finding their footing. But as you climb higher, Gusto’s adaptability and comprehensive features become invaluable, helping you navigate more complex payroll needs and scale with confidence.

In the long run, scalability isn’t just about employee count – it’s also about anticipating future needs. Choose the payroll platform that can not only handle your current payroll but also grow alongside your business.

QuickBooks vs Gusto Customer Reviews

Both QuickBooks and Gusto generally receive positive user reviews, with QuickBooks praised for its quick customer support and Gusto lauded for its comprehensive features, excellent customer support, and intuitive interface.

Gusto Payroll Review

Most customer reviews on Trustpilot reveal a preference for Gusto’s payroll services, often praised for its user-friendly interface and responsive support. Users commend its efficiency and ease of use.

QuickBooks, though, receives mixed reviews, with some users appreciating its comprehensive accounting features, while others find its interface complex for payroll tasks.

Quickbooks Payroll Review

In general, customers appear to prefer Gusto for its user-friendliness and efficient payroll management, as reflected in the reviews.

Conclusion – QuickBooks vs Gusto Payroll – Which One Wins?

In the showdown of QuickBooks vs Gusto for payroll management, Gusto emerges as a winner, particularly for its intuitive interface and integrated HR services.

While QuickBooks offers built-in accounting features, Gusto’s user-friendly design and efficient payroll processing take the glory of small businesses and first-time users.

Despite that, QuickBooks may still be suitable for more experienced users who need comprehensive accounting solutions. Ultimately, the decision hinges on the specific needs and preferences of each business, but for straightforward payroll management, Gusto takes the lead.

How We Test Payroll Software

We test all payroll providers on our list in-depth to fit the needs and requirements of businesses or individuals looking to improve their workforce management. Here are the testing criteria we go by:

  • Pricing – we test pricing, analyzing various plans and fees to ensure you get the most value for your budget.
  • Features – we delve into the functionalities, dissecting each platform’s capabilities to confirm they offer the tools you need to manage your payroll effectively.
  • Integrations – we explore each platform’s connectivity potential, evaluating how they integrate with your existing tools to boost efficiency and data flow.
  • Automation – we assess the level of automation offered, saving you time by automating repetitive tasks.
  • Ease of use – we put payroll software’s user interfaces to the test to see how intuitive the design is and whether it’s made for both tech-savvy and first-time users.
  • Third-Party Reviews – we incorporate insights from user reviews and expert evaluations to provide a well-rounded view of each payroll platform’s strengths and weaknesses.

How to Choose the Best Payroll Software

Choosing the best payroll software for your business comes down to knowing your unique needs and comparing different options on the market. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Budget – determine how much you can realistically spend on payroll software each month or year.
  • Ease of Use – consider how comfortable you and your team are with technology. Choose software with a simple interface and intuitive design.
  • Compatibility – check if the software is mobile-compatible and integrates with your existing accounting, time tracking, or HR tools. Integrations can streamline workflows and save time. Some integrations might only be available in higher-tier plans.
  • Key Features – make a list of key features, such as automatic tax filing, multi-state payroll, or benefits administration.
  • Scalability – check if the payroll software can scale with your business as you add employees or expand operations. Learn how the pricing structure changes as your business grows.
  • Customer Support – evaluate the quality and availability of the software’s customer support.


What is the difference between Gusto and QuickBooks?

When is Gusto better than QuickBooks Payroll?

When is QuickBooks better than Gusto Payroll?

Inga Valiaugaite

Inga is an accomplished tech copywriter with a wealth of experience spanning 3+ years writing in the cybersecurity and fintech fields. With a Media and Communications degree in store, she's been a go-to tech wordsmith crafting content that simplifies the complex and enlightens the curious. From startups to cyber havens, she's been employing her expertise to help you navigate the intricacies of technology with ease.