QuickBooks Payroll vs Gusto

When choosing a new payroll service for your business, there’s a lot to consider to make sure things get handled accurately. A good provider should help you take care of payroll taxes and a whole lot more ⁠— like benefits, HR, and compliance. We’ve done the research so you can find the best solution for your team.


While both QuickBooks Payroll and Gusto are respected names in payroll, a few significant differences stood out between them. It’s also worth mentioning that another provider scored higher in many important areas. See for yourself how their reviews and features stack up, and who was the top-rated provider.

When choosing a new payroll service for your business, there’s a lot to consider to make sure things get handled accurately.

Jump to compare QuickBooks and Gusto by:

Ratings and Reviews | Pricing and Features | Support

Compare ratings and reviews

First, here’s a look at how each company is rated, plus some reviews from small business owners who use QuickBooks or Gusto payroll services every day. While these companies both ranked highly, neither were ranked as top-rated in every category, so it may be worthwhile to see who came in on top.


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

QuickBooks Payroll

Gusto

Ease of Setup

76%
88%

Ease of Admin

90%
90%

Quality of Support

80%
84%

Performance

89%
92%

Reliability

89%
92%

Customization

Not available
81%

Reporting

Not available
87%

Based on G2Crowd ratings

QuickBooks Payroll

Ease of Setup

76%

Ease of Admin

90%

Quality of Support

80%

Performance

89%

Reliability

89%

Customization

Not available

Reporting

Not available

Gusto

Ease of Setup

88%

Ease of Admin

90%

Quality of Support

84%

Performance

92%

Reliability

92%

Customization

81%

Reporting

87%

Compare features and pricing

Experts and clients agree that both solutions are pretty good. Gusto has more features at a lower starting price, but it costs more per employee. So, a smaller organization that doesn’t need time-off tracking and other perks may prefer using QuickBooks. But when it comes to services like filing and paying local taxes, and custom, real-time reporting, both QuickBooks Online Payroll and Gusto have limitations. It’s still worth taking a look at everything you get with each provider, and what will it will cost⁠— but it may also be worth widening your search to include other providers.

QuickBooks Payroll Gusto
Pricing
Base price Starts at $45 per month Tiered pricing Starting at $39 per month
Per worker cost Starts at $4 per person Tiered pricing Starting at $6 per person
Full-service payroll
Automated federal, state, and local tax filings and payments Included Included
Local tax filings and payments Not available Included
Unlimited pay runs Included Included
Multi-state payroll Included Included
Edit or cancel a pay run Additional fees Included
Multiple pay rates and schedules Included Included
Garnishments Included Included
Accounting and time tracking integrations Included Included
New hire reporting Included Included
Year-end filings, W-2s, and 1099s Additional fees Included
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 Additional fees Included
Send and sign offer letters electronically Not available Included
Employee lifetime account access Not available Included
HR and Team Management
Manage and track time off Not available Included
Org charts Not available Additional fees
Document storage and audits Not available Included
Custom onboarding workflows Additional fees Not available
Benefits and Compliance
Medical, dental, and vision plans Via SimplyInsured Pay premiums only
Integrated workers’ comp plans Additional fees Pay premiums only
Integrated 401(k) plan Pay premiums only Pay premiums only
Reporting and Usability
Payroll and employee reports Additional fees Included
Real-time reporting filters Additional fees Not available
Custom report designer Not available Not available

Compare support

When shopping for a payroll service, it’s important to consider whether they guarantee the accuracy of their calculations. Humans aren’t perfect, and neither is our software, so your payroll solution should include a team of experts that are invested in your success. QuickBooks Payroll charges extra for help getting set up, and for their phone support. Gusto offers free support but they don’t rank highest in satisfaction ratings from customers. It’s worth noting that other providers were rated higher in this category than both QuickBooks and Gusto. Here’s how QuickBooks and Gusto measure up when it comes to getting help.

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

Decide what payroll features you need

At the end of the day, your payroll and HR software should be easy to set up, and come with payroll services that make it simple to grow your business. Since no two businesses are the same, you’re the real expert when it comes to what’s important in a payroll provider, but it usually comes down to time and money.


Let’s look at four specific features, and see how QuickBooks and Gusto compare.


A full set of payroll services: Full-service payroll for a small business should include the filing and payment of payroll taxes in every state (and city) you operate in. It should include the ability to pay contractors off of normal pay cycles (with no added fees), and simplify things like bonuses, garnishments, and commissions. And finally, if it’s really full-service, they should handle any data migration and setup for you, and guarantee accuracy.


Gusto offers free setup and data migration, which QuickBooks Online Payroll charges extra for. Gusto will file and pay local payroll taxes, but QuickBooks doesn’t offer this in their core plan. QuickBooks also charges fees for new hire reporting, and neither lets you automate onboarding workflows. So while Gusto seems to be pulling a little ahead, they each have their own benefits and drawbacks. Our research found that another provider scored higher in most of these areas.



HR features: You may think your business doesn't need HR functionality, but tools like self-onboarding, document e-sign for offer letters and tax forms, and document audits greatly reduce the time you spend on paperwork. Payroll providers that offer HR services like lifetime access for employee documents, and that integrate with Workers’ Compensation plans, let you relax and run your business without worrying about staying compliant. Plus, who doesn’t like a nice org chart to help everyone know who’s who?


In this category, Gusto has a slight advantage by offering document storage and audits with lifetime employee account access, though they don’t offer custom onboarding workflows. QuickBooks Payroll does, but not in their core plan. Payroll providers that are designed for small businesses should offer these features standard.



Real-time reporting: It’s not always obvious what you need from reports until you suddenly have a question about employee hours or taxes withheld. Since you never know what report you’ll need until the time comes, look for a payroll service that offers a flexible, customizable report builder so you can see only the data that impacts your business the most.


Gusto and QuickBooks both have payroll and employee reports, but neither have a custom payroll listing report builder. While QuickBooks came out ahead of Gusto when it comes to real-time reporting filters, Gusto offers some basic customization of employee-level reports. Some payroll services offer more robust reporting options, so if reporting is important to you, you might want to consider more providers.



Price: It’s a fine line between discount and value. A discount price might be convincing at first, but then will they set you up, or manage a seamless handoff from your previous provider? What happens when you need help? You shouldn’t have to settle for watered down payroll just because you’re not their biggest client.


There’s no clear winner between QuickBooks Payroll and Gusto in this category. Gusto has a lower base price than QuickBooks, but with a higher per-worker cost plus extra fees for some of the features you might require. QuickBooks also offers multiple pricing tiers as well as add-on packages, which can make shopping by price a little ambiguous. Look for a payroll service with a simple pricing structure to avoid sudden extra fees and costs popping up when you least expect them.



Compare more providers

QuickBooks Payroll and Gusto both seem to offer great tools for small to medium businesses, but depending on what you need, you can quickly find yourself paying a premium price. There was another payroll service that rated higher than both QuickBooks and Gusto in almost every category. Check out our full comparison report of all top-rated payroll providers to see who really offers the services and support you need:


See who's the top-rated provider

Or see how QuickBooks payroll and Gusto do versus individual providers:

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