Running payroll might look simple, but it’s considered one of an organization’s most complex administrative functions. Using the right payroll software can streamline the whole accounting process. ADP is a popular payroll solution, but there may be an ADP payroll alternative that better suits your company.
ADP has a strong history of providing solutions for human resource challenges by offering HR and payroll software and services for decades. The company has been on the market for over 70 years, and it’s one of the most popular options for payroll services for small organizations. However, the market isn’t the same, and other companies are here to prove they can do as great a job as ADP.
Best ADP Alternatives
- Gusto – Best Overall Alternative to ADP
- Paychex Flex: Best for mid-to-large businesses
- Quickbooks: Best for self-employed
- OnPay: Best for usability
- Rippling: Best for customization
Ease of Use
Tax Filing & Payments
HR Management & Features
Starts at $39 per month, plus $6 per month per person + free trial for small business
Excellent user experience
Included in all plan tiers, calculated and paid automatically; no multiple state filing fees
Good. No mobile app but the website is responsive
Excellent. It includes many features and employee benefits
Great. It integrates with any third-party software
Starts at $39 per month, plus $5 per employee, per month
Easy to use, solid UI but inferior to most competitors
Great. The only payroll software allows users to custom fields and stay ahead of extra payments
Good, however, it has some interface issues
HR and benefits admin features are excellent. Benefits managements portal available
Integrations are limited and it can be cumbersome
Starts at $45 per month plus $4 per employee per month and up + free trial for 30 days
User-friendly and intuitive interface
Included in all plan tiers, calculated and paid automatically
Good. Mobile app missing some desktop features
Limited HR features for numerous employees
Limited integrations without QuickBooks Online
Starts at $36 per month plus $4 per month per person + free month trial
Easy set-up and good UX but not as intuitive as others
Includes all tax filings & risk-free payroll compliance
Good. No mobile app but the website is responsive
Excellent. Includes employee self-onboarding and automated employee management
Limited if compared to competitors
Starts at $35 per month, plus $5 per employee, per month
Excellent. Intuitive interface
Tax filing & payment automated
Excellent. App available for Android and iOS and lets you run payroll from your mobile device
Dedicated HR & IT services and functionalities
Great. Integrates IT, HR, finance and other third-party software
Gusto is the best overall alternative to ADP, particularly for small businesses. Gusto offers excellent UX, easy payroll processing, and benefits for numerous employees. It’s quick to set up and run, and it’s mobile-friendly.
It seems that Gusto understood the problems business owners were having when running their payrolls, such as inaccurate payments, staying in the loop with payroll laws, hiring, and data management reports, and decided to solve all of them. Gusto’s all-in-one HR platform solves those issues with tools you need to hire, pay, and manage your team at your fingertips – automated time tools, management onboarding, employees’ performance tools, compliance checklists, law, and regulation alerts.
Gusto’s integrated, easy-to-use system that offers an intuitive navigation system and interface, pleasant design, and plenty of support options. The company has worked over the years to improve the system, adding new features to some areas such as hiring and onboarding, payroll run, and employee paycheck management.
If you run a small company and this is your first time dealing with payroll management systems, Gusto is a good choice due to its smart all-in-one platform that grants small companies everything they need to run and manage their business – from hiring to onboarding to payroll.
When you compare Gusto vs ADP, you’ll see Gusto offers the best bang for the buck with guided payroll set-up, additional HR features included (even in the lowest tier plan), and automatically generated 1099s for contractors at no extra cost.
Why we chose it: Gusto is an all-in-one HR platform that offers outstanding customer support and various features for different business needs. You’ll get auto payroll tools, direct deposits, tax filings, onboarding management, and unlimited payroll runs at no extra cost.
- No extra cost for running multiple payrolls
- Excellent customer service
- Quick and easy setup
- No international payroll
- No household employee expenses
- No mobile payroll app
Pricing: Gusto offers four different plans: Core, Complete, Concierge, and Select
Gusto Core: Starts at $39 per month, plus $6 per employee, per month. What’s included:
- Full-service payroll including W-2s and 1099s with digital copies for employees and contractors
- Unlimited payrolls without extra costs
- Accounting and time-tracking integrations
- Employee health and financial benefits as well as onboarding and hiring tools
- Integrations for accounting, time tracking, and more
Gusto Complete: Starts at $39 per month, plus $12 per employee, per month. What’s included:
- All Gusto Core features
- PTO management
- Next-day direct deposit
- Project tracking and workforce cost reports
- Team management tools
- Performance reviews and employee survey
Gusto Concierge: Starts at $149 per month, plus $12 per employee, per month. What’s included:
- All Gusto Complete features
- HR resource center
- Compliance alerts
- Certified HR pros
- Dedicated support team
Gusto Select: No monthly based price (contact sales rep for pricing). What’s included:
- All Gusto Concierge features
- Full-service payroll migration
- Health insurance broker integration
- Direct access to a dedicated customer success manager
- Waived fees and exclusive pricing
Paychex Flex has been on the payroll market for decades, similar to ADP. Paychex Flex is the best fit for mid-to-large companies or fast-growing businesses, because it’s robust, scalable, and it has a high level of customization – though they also provide services to small-size firms.
The dashboard is easy to use and navigate, with a customizable interface, and pretty clean. Paychex Flex offers a variety of price points, plans, and additional services such as HR consulting to guide pressing and timely HR issues, compliance services, customizable reports, and e-learning services to employees. Employees can have access to their pay stubs and tax documentation on the software’s dashboard.
Why we chose it: The well-established company offers a number of helpful features and customizable services essential for growing businesses while combining digital and human-based services. Read the Paychex flex review if this software sounds like the best fit for your business.
- A mix of automated and human-powered solutions
- High level of customization and extra features
- Established in 1971 – Market experience
- Charge per payroll period
- Pricing isn’t really clear
- Lowest-tier plan limits features
Pricing: Paychex Flex offers three plans: Essential, Select, and Pro.
Paychex Flex Essential: Starts at $39 per month, plus $5 per employee, per month. What’s included:
- Payroll taxes are calculated, paid, and filed
- Free integration with employee’s compensation insurance
- Payment can be done via check, deposit, or prepaid paycard
- Employees have access to the payroll dashboard
- Import timesheet data from Paychex Flex Time
- Mostly recommended for companies with 1-9 employees
Paychex Flex Select: Custom Pricing. What’s included:
- All features from Essential plan
- Payroll specialist
- Submit payroll on the go – mobile app for both employer and employees
- Offers a range of standard reports, including new hire reporting and general ledger report
- Employee training, and financial wellness program
Paychex Flex Pro: Custom Pricing. What’s included:
- All Select features
- Automatic deduction and emit garnishment wages
- Creation of customized reports and data visualization
- Paycheck integration and HR services, and employee handbook
Intuit Quickbooks offers a plan tailored to independent contractors, freelancers, and sole proprietors. It combines accounting and payroll to simplify your finances. However, it also works perfectly well as a stand-alone tool.
When it comes to features, Quickbooks is quite similar to most payroll software – it also offers payroll tax calculation, time-tracking, and expert support. Quickbooks often runs promotions, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on its prices. If you want to give Quickbooks a try, it offers a 30-day free trial.
Besides the native integration with Quickbooks’ accounting system, another highlight worth mentioning about Quickbooks’ payroll system is the tax penalty protection. This means if you get fined by the IRS for any reason, Quickbooks will cover the cost of your penalty until a certain amount; besides, the Tax Resolution team will help you make sure mistakes won’t happen again. The user experience is smooth as most of the data and tools you need are found in the dashboard.
Why we chose it: For smaller businesses or self-employed people, Quickbooks offers an intuitive interface, accuracy guarantee in the Elite plan, and next-day direct deposit in the lowest-tier plan.
- Supports projects, payroll, and many add-ons and integrations
- Special service tailored to freelancers and self-employed people
- Tax penalty protection and Tax Resolution team support
- More expensive when compared to others
- Some features are available only on higher-tier plans
- Limited integration
Pricing: Quickbooks offers three plans: Core, Premium and Elite.
Quickbooks Core: Pricing starts at $45 per month plus $4 per employee monthly. What’s included:
- Full-service payroll including automated taxes and forms
- Automatic payroll
- Option to offer 401(k) plans and employee health benefits
- Next-day direct deposit
- Unlimited 1099 e-filing
Quickbooks Premium. $75 per month plus $8 per employee per month. What’s included:
- Same-day direct deposit
- HR customer support
- Workers’ compensation administration
- Tax penalty protection and Tax Resolution team support
- Mobile time tracking
Quickbooks Elite. $125 per month plus $10 per employee per month. What’s included:
- Pay out-of-state employees with no extra cost
- QuickBooks Payroll provides an expert to set up the software for you
- Personal HR advisor
- Call back support
- Tax penalty protection up to $25,000 per year
Two main advantages to choosing OnPay are running unlimited payroll without paying any extra fee, not even for corrections or cancelations, and its flat-rate pricing of $36 per month plus $4 per person monthly. That means no hidden costs for extra features.
OnPay has integration with other platforms too – you can sync up with other software like time tracking, 401(k), and retirement software you might already be using to run your business. The downside is that OnPay doesn’t offer an auto-payroll option, which means you’ll have to do it manually every payday. This could become time-consuming if you have a large team for which you need to run payroll.
Why we chose it: OnPay makes running payroll an easy task – from an effortless setup to a fully automated payroll process, including taxes. It is also one of the most affordable payroll software on the list. Read our review on OnPay for more details on its pricing and features.
- Run unlimited payrolls with no extra fee
- Transparent pricing
- No auto-payroll option
- Limited integration
- Mobile version missing some functions
Pricing: OnPay offers flat pricing of $36 monthly plus $4 per person per month. What’s included:
- Unlimited monthly pay runs
- All tax filings and payments
- W-2 and 1099 workers
- Pay by direct deposit, debit card, or check
- Multiple pay rates and schedules
- Unemployment insurance withholding
- Report designer with custom reporting
- Accounting and time tracking integrations
- Multi-state payroll
- Available in all 50 states
Advertised as a tool to magically simplify IT and HR, Rippling is considered one of the best alternatives to ADP due to its affordability, good setup tools, in-depth reports, and customization. Despite being relatively affordable for small businesses, the software can be quite complex and overwhelming for first-time users. So, it’s recommended for those already used to running their payroll using a platform but wish to get an upgrade.
If you’re an advanced user and are looking to migrate to a more robust system, Rippling lets you import your employee’s data from your current payroll website – no competitor from this list offers this feature. Also, Rippling’s dashboard is so intuitive and simplified that it looks like an app menu from a mobile device.
Rippling is an excellent unified platform for companies of any size but is not a good choice for micro-sized businesses. This software comes with several admin benefits – Rippling easily integrates HR, finance, and IT, all in one place; but it also lets you integrate any third-party software you might be using. It generates various in-depth reports and is effortlessly customizable with an intuitive interface.
Why we chose it: Affordable for small businesses offering midrange payroll features – Rippling is a robust payroll software with an exceptional dashboard, detailed set-up, and unified analytics.
- Superior user interface
- Pay international employees and contractors without hustle
- Smooth transition from another payroll provider
- It can be pretty complex for small businesses
- Mixed reviews about customer support
Pricing: Rippling pricing works differently from its competitors. It generally starts at $35 per month plus $8 per employee per month for payroll services, but each module costs extra.
- Core Rippling Unity platform: $10 per employee monthly ($8 per employee if billed annually).
- Full-service payroll: $8 per employee/ month
- Employee benefits: $6 per employee/ month
- Flex HSA/FSA and commuter benefits: $6 per employee/ month
- HR help desk: $100/ month
- App management: $8 per employee/ month
- Device management: $8 per employee/ month
Methodology for the Best ADP Payroll Alternatives
We know how overwhelming payroll can be, especially for small business owners who are new to it. It takes a lot of time, effort, specific knowledge, and accounting skills to do it right. But with the right tool, running payroll doesn’t have to be a chore.
Choosing the right payroll system can make or break success. Therefore, we’ve used the following criteria to choose the best options for you – we considered pricing, ease of use, and features of these alternatives to ADP. We gave more weight to those that offer affordable plans but room for growth.
- Pricing: We’ve evaluated the cost of the main payroll platform for small businesses and what is the best bang for the buck for small companies.
- Ease of use: We’ve analyzed how user-friendly, intuitive, and automated software can be, granting your business bandwidth to handle payroll.
- Management and features: Employee management can be daunting, particularly for remote workers and independent contractors. Having the right features and management tools working in your favor can save you time and money.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for ADP Alternatives
We’ve listed some of the most common questions about payroll and about ADP payroll alternatives here.
Bottom Line on ADP Alternatives
When comparing ADP with all the alternatives listed here, there are several factors to consider. Most payroll systems reviewed here offer similar options and are functional; before you choose which one is the best fit for your business, it’s important to consider your business needs. Gusto tops our list of the best alternatives to ADP, as it offers exceptional features, such as easy setup, excellent customer interface, unlimited payroll, and numerous innovative tools.