1. Payroll software
  2. The best payroll services
  3. Run by ADP vs QuickBooks

ADP Run vs QuickBooks Payroll

Because running a business means constantly taking on new responsibilities, it’s important to delegate or automate anything you can. That’s why around 60% of growing businesses rely on an outsourced payroll service for paying employees and contractors, as well as handling payroll taxes.


ADP and QuickBooks each have strong reputations for online payroll, but their services differ in many respects. Here’s a feature-by-feature comparison of ADP Run and QuickBooks Online Payroll to help you make the best decision for your company.

ADP and QuickBooks each have strong reputations for online payroll, but their services differ in many respects. Here’s a feature-by-feature comparison of ADP Run and QuickBooks Online Payroll to help you make the best decision for your company.

Jump to compare ADP and QuickBooks by:

Ratings and Reviews | Pricing and Features | Support

Compare ratings and reviews

Expert reviews and customer ratings from small business owners offer a first-hand account of how well ADP and QuickBooks Payroll serve small businesses. Both providers receive high ratings, but neither of them is considered the top-rated payroll provider in every category.


See who's the top-rated provider
Customer ratings Expert reviews

Run by ADP

QuickBooks Payroll

Ease of Setup

89%
76%

Ease of Admin

92%
90%

Quality of Support

91%
80%

Performance

93%
89%

Reliability

94%
89%

Customization

89%
Not available

Reporting

90%
Not available

Based on G2Crowd ratings

Run by ADP

Ease of Setup

89%

Ease of Admin

92%

Quality of Support

91%

Performance

93%

Reliability

94%

Customization

89%

Reporting

90%

QuickBooks Payroll

Ease of Setup

76%

Ease of Admin

90%

Quality of Support

80%

Performance

89%

Reliability

89%

Customization

Not available

Reporting

Not available

Compare features and pricing

ADP doesn’t disclose their pricing, which means you’ll need to speak to someone to get an idea of its cost for you. And even then, there may be additional fees for common payroll needs like time-off tracking, local tax filings, year-end filing W-2s and 1099s, and integrated workers’ comp or 401(k) plans. QuickBooks Payroll, on the other hand, doesn’t offer many of the services small businesses expect (like local payroll tax processing). Similar to ADP Run, upgrades are required for workers’ comp administration or help with setup.


In terms of the basics, both services include automated federal and state tax filings and payments, but neither of them have the kind of custom reporting available through competitors like OnPay or Paychex.


When it comes to HR tools like employee offer letters, org charts, and document management and audits, ADP Run has a more comprehensive set of features, which will require extra fees to access.

Run by ADP QuickBooks Payroll
Pricing
Base price No published price. Negotiate with sales. Price is per pay run, not monthly. Starts at $45 per month Tiered pricing
Per worker cost No published price. Negotiate with sales. Price is per pay run, not monthly. Starts at $4 per person Tiered pricing
Full-service payroll
Automated federal and state tax filings and payments Included Included
Local tax filings and payments Not available Not available
Unlimited pay runs Additional fees Included
Multi-state payroll Additional fees Included
Edit or cancel a pay run Additional fees Additional fees
Multiple pay rates and schedules Included Included
Garnishments Included Included
Accounting and time tracking integrations Included Included
New hire reporting Additional fees Included
Year-end filings, W-2s, and 1099s Additional fees Additional fees
Onboarding and Employee Self-Service
Employee self-onboarding Included Included
Employee self-service portal Included Included
Document e-sign for I-9s and W-4s Included Additional fees
Send and sign offer letters electronically Additional fees Not available
Employee lifetime account access Not available Not available
HR and Team Management
Manage and track time off Additional fees Included
Org charts Additional fees Not available
Document storage and audits Additional fees Not available
Custom onboarding workflows Not available Additional fees
Benefits and Compliance
Medical, dental, and vision plans Additional fees Via SimplyInsured
Integrated workers’ comp plans Additional fees Additional fees
Integrated 401(k) plan Additional fees Pay premiums only
Reporting and Usability
Payroll and employee reports Included Additional fees
Real-time reporting filters Not available Additional fees
Custom report designer Not available Not available

Compare support

Support should be more than a quick response time or a friendly rep. It should be easy to speak with a professional team of experts who are committed to your success. They should be there from the beginning, entering data for workers and pay histories, and setting up your account at no cost. And they should be knowledgeable of payroll requirements that apply to your business. Here’s how ADP and QuickBooks support their payroll services.

Run by ADP QuickBooks Payroll
Setup and data migration Additional fees Additional fees for customized setup
Expert phone support Included Additional fees for extended support hours
Chat support Not available Included
Accuracy guarantee Not available Additional fees

Decide what payroll features you need

Bottom line, payroll and HR software should simplify your business operations so you can focus on what you do best. Every business has unique needs, so choosing the right provider will make all the difference in how much time ⁠— and money ⁠— you can save. When comparing ADP Run and QuickBooks, you’ll find they differ most in a few areas.


Everyday Value: It’s hard to measure value without upfront pricing. If figuring out the price is more complicated than cost-per-employee with a few basic pricing tiers, you may want to look for a payroll provider with a simple, transparent pricing structure. Many payroll providers include essential services like multi-state payroll with integrated workers’ comp plans, tracking PTO and time-off accruals, and electronic offer letters in their basic package.


Both ADP Run and QuickBooks charge fees for services outside of basic everyday payroll, like setup and migration, year-end filings and payments, operating in multiple states, or local city taxes. And neither offer any sort of customizable report. Some providers include these services in their basic plan. Also, ADP charges per pay run, while Intuit’s QuickBooks charges a flat monthly fee. If you pay employees more than once a month (like most businesses), that can mean ADP Run is more expensive than it looks.



Accounting Integrations and Reporting: When you choose the right combination of payroll, time tracking, and accounting softwares, your business can sync all its finances and save a lot of time. Good payroll software should allow you to integrate your favorite apps seamlessly.


Many small business owners choose QuickBooks Payroll because they want a service that integrates smoothly with QuickBooks accounting software. And while QuickBooks’ two products do integrate well, ADP does offer a QuickBooks Online integration (for an extra fee). It should also be noted that we found other providers that offer QuickBooks integrations that are even more nuanced and customizable than QuickBooks’ own integration. Similarly, both companies offer basic payroll reporting, but it’s less flexible than some competitors we found.



Employee management and HR: The purpose of a payroll service is to save you time by simplifying the process of paying your team. But having a team also means hiring, maintaining paperwork, and keeping employees in the loop. Since you’ll already be needing to take care of these HR to-dos and more, it’s worth looking for a payroll provider that can streamline employee management with tools like electronic offer letters, custom onboarding workflows, storing and auditing employee documents, and tracking time off.


Both these companies save small businesses time by offering employee portals that allow workers to answer questions on their own. ADP Run can service most basic HR needs as well, but only if you’re willing to pay extra. On the other hand, QuickBooks doesn’t offer any built-in HR functionality (though you can get access to outside HR advisors by upgrading). Neither provider simplifies the onboarding process with services like reporting new hires, e-sign for offer letters, or org charts. Other providers offer a lot more functionality in this area at a lower price.



Help with compliance: Failure to stay compliant with federal, state, and local employment laws can result in unexpected fines and potential liabilities. In this age of remote work, a good payroll provider will ensure compliance in every state with services like integrated workers’ comp, access to harassment training, and lifetime employee accounts that let former employees access key documents without your help. A great payroll provider will also offer integrated 401(k) plans, and health benefits like medical and dental plans.


For an extra fee, both QuickBooks and ADP RUN can help with the workers’ comp policies that almost all small businesses are required to carry. They can also both help with multi-state payroll, but ADP Run charges additional fees for that as well. As your payroll gets more complex, it’s also good to have proactive expert help by your side, so it’s worth taking a close look at how current clients rate the service they receive.



Setup and ongoing support: You should have access to real experts for help, whether it’s a complex tax issue, or just getting started.Customer reviews lend valuable insight into how each company’s support teams treat their customers. But in addition to their reviews, you should also look out for any extra fees to get that support, as well as when it’s available to you.


QuickBooks will let you start a chat for free, but extended phone support can require long hold times, and extra fees for help with setup make it a little harder to get started. ADP also charges for setup and migration help, and while it comes with expert phone support, long hold times and no option for online chat can make asking a quick question difficult. Other providers receive higher customer ratings for their support, so if it’s important to you, it may be worth looking further into other payroll providers.



Compare more providers

ADP Run brings the payroll service large companies rely on to small businesses, but it lacks the personal touch and range of functionality that many small businesses expect. QuickBooks provides a more stripped down option at a lower cost, but doesn’t go quite as far to help small businesses with the facets of employment beyond the dollars and cents.


See who's the top-rated provider

Both of these providers can work well, depending on your needs, but you may be able to save money and get a higher of service by comparing QuickBooks Payroll and ADP Run with other competitors in the same space:

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