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The Top 5 Alternatives To QuickBooks Payroll

Ready to ditch QuickBooks Payroll and find out what options are out there? Here are our best alternatives for small businesses looking to move away from QuickBooks.

    Davina Ward
  • Last updated onUpdated

  • Chelsea Krause

    Chelsea Krause

    Lead Staff Writer

Advertiser Disclosure: Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity.

Whether you’re looking for stronger customer support or have outgrown the software’s 150 employees paid limit, we’ve got you covered with the best payroll services to consider when switching from QuickBooks Online Payroll.

We evaluated the best payroll software on the market and selected the options with the best mix of affordability, ease of use, scalability, and features. Keep reading to learn more about the top alternatives to QuickBooks Payroll.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For

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  • Best overall
  • $40-$80/month + $6-$12/employee
  • Advanced payroll and HR features
  • Best overall
  • $40-$80/month + $6-$12/employee
  • Advanced payroll and HR features

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ADP Payroll

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  • Best for customized features
  • Contact ADP for pricing
  • Massive integration library
  • Best for customized features
  • Contact ADP for pricing
  • Massive integration library

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  • Best for reporting & analytics
  • Starts at $39/month + $5/employee
  • Advanced HR features and scalable
  • Best for reporting & analytics
  • Starts at $39/month + $5/employee
  • Advanced HR features and scalable

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  • Best for combined HR and payroll
  • Quote-based
  • Many integrations
  • Best for combined HR and payroll
  • Quote-based
  • Many integrations

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Patriot Payroll

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  • Best combined accounting and payroll software
  • $17-$37/month + $4/employee/month
  • Excellent cheap payroll option
  • Best combined accounting and payroll software
  • $17-$37/month + $4/employee/month
  • Excellent cheap payroll option

Visit Site

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Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

The Best Alternatives To QuickBooks Payroll

We reviewed the best payroll software for small businesses and evaluated their features, pricing, user reviews, and more to determine the best alternative to QuickBooks Online Payroll. Our picks include:

The Top QuickBooks Online Payroll Alternatives Compared

PricingPayroll Processing TimeBuilt-in Time TrackingMobile App
Gusto$40-$80/month + $6-$12/employeeNext-day to 4 daysFor employees
ADP PayrollQuote-basedVariable
PaychexStarts at $39/month + $5/employee/month2 days
Patriot Payroll$17-$37/month + $4/employee/month2-4 days

Gusto: Best Overall

Total Rating 4.4

Ease Of Use4.9


Customer Service4.1

User Reviews3.9

Payroll Processing Time

Next-day to 4 Days


$40/month + $6/employee to $80/month + $12/employee

Business Size

Small-Medium Businesses (1-650+ Users)


  • More comprehensive feature set than QBO Payroll
  • Many integrations, including with QBO
  • Very easy to use
  • Affordable pricing
  • Scalable for growing businesses


  • Time tracking not included in Gusto’s cheapest plan
  • Benefits administration not available in 12 states
  • No employer mobile app
  • Customer support complaints

Why We Chose Gusto As Best Overall

Gusto's affordable pricing, extensive feature set, ease of use, and solid customer support options helped the software earn a high 4.4/5 star overall rating in our Gusto review, .

Gusto can integrate with a dozen accounting platforms (including QuickBooks) as well as software used for time tracking, point of sale, training, and business analytics.

Gusto also has a variety of features such as job costing and advanced onboarding tools that you won't find with QuickBooks Payroll.

Gusto Pricing

Gusto Plans Price  When To Use
Simple $40/month + $6/person If your small business needs reliable, basic payroll software
Plus $80/month + $12/person If your business needs tools to handle complex payroll and team management needs
Premium Custom If your medium to large-sized business needs advanced HR and compliance tools
Contractor Only $35/month + $6/person per month If your growing business needs basic payroll and only pays contractors

Gusto’s pricing starts at $40/month + $6/person/month under its Simple plan for paying 1099 contractors and W-2 employees. The Simple plan offers extensive payroll processing and employee management features.

Gusto’s Plus plan costs $80/month + $12/person/month and adds more advanced features, built-in time tracking, multistate payroll processing, next-day direct deposit, and optional HR resources.

Gusto also offers a Contractor-Only plan that starts at $35/month + $6/person for businesses that exclusively pay 1099 contractors.

Larger companies may consider Gusto’s Premium plan for access to Gusto’s full feature set, services, and priority support.

Gusto Features

Gusto boasts an impressive feature set that should be more than enough for small business payroll processing. Here’s a look at Gusto’s standout features:

  • Unlimited payroll processing, including multistate payroll processing for businesses with out-of-state locations
  • Direct deposit and check payment options, plus early access to funds through Gusto Wallet and next-day processing
  • Time tracking, including web-based kiosks and mobile clock-ins via the Gusto mobile app for employees
  • PTO and time-off tracking with the ability to set custom time-off policies and manage requests
  • Robust, customizable reports, plus job costing
  • Strong HR and employee management features, including an HR resource library, hiring and onboarding tools, employee surveys, and performance reviews
  • Benefits administration, including health, vision, dental, and more
  • Employee self-service portal where employees can add and edit information such as their address, preferred payment methods, and more

What To Watch Out For

  • Pricing: Like QuickBooks, Gusto’s time tracking features cost extra and require users to subscribe to the software’s higher pricing tier to access the service.
  • Benefits Administration Limitations: Unlike QuickBooks Online Payroll, Gusto’s benefits administration isn’t available in the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
  • Mobile App For Employee-Use Only: Gusto doesn’t offer a mobile app for employers, so you’ll need to process payroll via your phone’s web browser if you’re on the go.

When To Use Gusto

  • You’re looking for a QuickBooks alternative that offers a similar feature set at an affordable price
  • You value ease of use and reliability when it comes to your chosen payroll software solution
  • You’re looking for extensive HR and onboarding features to streamline your hiring process

Get Started With Gusto

Read our in-depth review

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ADP Payroll: Best For Customization Options

Total Rating 4.0

Ease Of Use4.8


Customer Service3.7

User Reviews3.3

Payroll Processing Time




Business Size

Small to enterprise-sized businesses (1-1,000+ users)


  • Extensive feature set, plus automated payroll processing
  • Labor law compliance poster subscription available
  • Easy to use with an impressive mobile app
  • Massive integration library
  • Many add-on services for plan customization


  • No free trial
  • Charges on a per-payroll run basis
  • Quoted pricing is expensive compared to other services
  • Nontransparent pricing makes it hard to compare costs

Why We Chose ADP For Best Customization Options

ADP rated a solid 4/5 stars in our ADP review, largely driven by the software's comprehensive feature set, reliability, and ease of use. ADP is a great QuickBooks alternative for businesses with complex payroll needs, as the software can be custom tailored to best manage your business's payroll processes.

Depending on the ADP pricing package you select, you can access payroll features including tax filing, direct deposit, and automated processing, as well as HR tools like new hire onboarding, background checks, labor law compliance, and employee access.

ADP Pricing

ADP Payroll Plans Price  When To Use
RUN Powered By ADP Essential Custom If you need basic payroll for up to 49 users
RUN Powered By ADP Enhanced Custom If you need basic payroll and advanced hiring and onboarding tools for up to 49 users
RUN Powered By ADP Complete Custom If you need basic payroll and HR support for up to 49 users
RUN Powered By ADP HR Pro Custom If you need advanced payroll and HR support for up to 49 users
ADP Workforce Now Payroll Essentials Custom If you need basic payroll for 50+ users
ADP Workforce Now Plus Custom If you need payroll and enhanced HR tools for 50+ users
ADP Workforce Now Hiring Advantage Custom If you need advanced recruitment and hiring support for 50+ users
ADP Workforce Now Performance Plus Custom If you need performance analytics and improvement tools for 50+ users

ADP does not publish the cost for any of its Run Powered by ADP pricing plans, so businesses will need to contact ADP directly for a quote. Our business was quoted a per-payroll run fee, plus a one time set up fee.

However, ADP customizes quotes based on a business’s size, service needs, payroll run frequency, and other factors, so your quote may differ significantly.

ADP Features

ADP boasts one of the most comprehensive feature sets of any payroll software service available. There’s not a lot the company hasn’t implemented throughout its 75-year reign as one of the best payroll software solutions available. Here’s a look at ADP’s features:

  • Full-service payroll, including multistate payroll processing and auto-scheduled payroll
  • Multiple payment methods, including direct deposit, paycheck delivery, and direct debit card
  • Full tax support at the local, state, and federal levels
  • Online employee portal supporting editing, time tracking, schedule management, pay stub access, benefits management, time-off management, and mobile payroll processing
  • Excellent reports, including all standard payroll reports, plus nice-to-haves such as job costing
  • Onboarding and HR support, including new hire reporting, access to an extensive HR library, and labor law compliance posters
  • Benefits administration, including health, vision, and dental insurance

What To Watch Out For

  • Pricing: As ADP charges on a per-payroll run basis, businesses that have more frequent pay schedules may be charged more. Additionally, ADP’s customization options can make for a package with many add-ons, which can drive costs up.
  • Package Options: ADP gates some essential features behind its higher plan tiers, including garnishment payment services and state unemployment insurance.

When To Use ADP

  • Your businesses has complex payroll needs that require a highly-customizable payroll software solution
  • Your business has outgrown QuickBooks Online Payroll’s 150 employee limit
  • You’re looking for payroll software that offers hundreds of integration options

Get Started With ADP Payroll

Read our in-depth review

Jump back to comparison chart

Paychex: Best For Reporting & Analytics

Total Rating 4.1

Ease Of Use4.4


Customer Service3.8

User Reviews3.9

Payroll Processing Time

Two days (faster costs extra)


Starts at $39/month + $5/employee

Business Size

Self-employed contractors to enterprises with 1,000+ employees


  • 24/7 live customer support
  • Excellent reporting and analytics
  • Many integrations
  • Scalable, with solutions for businesses with 1-1,000+ employees


  • Non-transparent pricing
  • Add-ons can be costly
  • Demo isn’t fully interactive

Why We Chose Paychex For Best Reporting

With 100+ built-in reports and extensive customization options, Paychex rates among the best QuickBooks Payroll alternatives for reporting and analytics. Paychex's reporting features are a great match for any employer that needs to keep an eye on the data for tax purposes, budgeting, or talent management.

Paychex scored an overall 4.1/5 stars when evaluated in our Paychex review. The software's score reflects its extensive feature set, ease of use, and good customer support options — all of which make for a solid small business payroll service.

Paychex Pricing

Paychex Plans Price  When To Use
Flex Essentials $39/month +$5/employee If you need basic payroll services and tax support for your mid-sized business
Flex Select Custom If you need a dedicated payroll specialist to walk you through your payroll runs
Flex Pro Custom If you need accounting software integrations for your payroll software
Flex Enterprise Custom If you need advanced HR solutions, analytics, and insurance setup support

Paychex only publishes pricing for one of its plans, which starts at $39/month + $5/employee/month. For all other pricing information, businesses must contact Paychex directly.

Paychex offers users four pricing plans, each offering essential payroll and HR features. Going up a pricing package tier adds access to dedicated payroll specialists, HR resources, learning, more integrations, stronger analytics, and more.

Paychex also boasts many add-on services, enabling businesses to custom tailor their service packages.

Paychex Features

Paychex offers an extensive feature set that’s on par with competitors, such as ADP. The software boasts features that include:

  • Unlimited payroll processing, including off-cycle payroll runs, multistate payroll processing, and support for multiple pay rates and schedules
  • Built-in time tracking, including mobile app clock-ins, web browsers, geolocation, attendance alerts, and custom time-off policies
  • Full-service tax support at the federal, state, and local levels, plus tax form completion and filing
  • Extensive reporting, including over 100 built-in reports and robust customization options
  • Benefits administration with enrollment tracking, health, vision, and dental insurance, retirement accounts, and health savings account options
  • Onboarding tools, including self-managed digital onboarding for new hires, plus eSigning
  • Online employee portal with pay stub access, custom fields, and time-off management
  • Mobile app also works for employers and includes task tracking, schedule management, time-off request management, access to reports, access to employee data, and mobile payroll processing

What To Watch Out For

  • No Free Trial: Paychex does not offer a free trial for new customers, so businesses must use the software’s limited demo to get an idea of what the software offers and how it functions. Otherwise, they’ll need to schedule a guided demo, which can be tedious and time-consuming.
  • Nontransparent Pricing: In addition to lacking a free trial, Paychex also doesn’t publish the vast majority of its pricing information. So, remember to ask about pricing information when you’re scheduling that guided demo.

When To Use Paychex

  • You’re in need of a payroll software solution with extensive reporting and analytics features
  • You’re looking for an affordable, entry-level payroll package that offers all essential payroll features
  • You’re interested in PEO services for your business

Get Started With Paychex

Read our in-depth review

Jump back to comparison chart

Paylocity: Best Combined HR & Payroll

Total Rating 4.2

Ease Of Use4.6


Customer Service4.7

User Reviews4.1

Payroll Processing Time




Business Size

Small to enterprise-sized with 1,000+ users


  • Customizable payroll & HR plans
  • Many integrations
  • Great expense tracking
  • Excellent customer support
  • Mobile app with support for time and attendance tracking


  • Nontransparent pricing
  • Feature set may be too complex for smaller businesses
  • Quoted pricing can be expensive
  • No free trial

Why We Chose Paylocity For Best Combined HR & Payroll

Paylocity is a great QuickBooks Online Payroll alternative for businesses in need of stronger HR and employee management features.

Paylocity boasts unlimited, full-service payroll processing, garnishments, new-hire reporting, poster compliance, and QuickBooks accounting integration — helping it earn a notable 4.2/5 stars overall rating in our Paylocity review.

For businesses with more complex needs, the software also offers customized PTO tracking systems, unemployment management, background checks, job performance reporting, learning management systems, and benefits administration.

Paychex Pricing

Paylocity uses a quote-based pricing model in which each business is given a custom pricing package based on their unique needs. While this pricing structure offers pricing flexibility, it lacks pricing transparency and can drive costs up as a la carte options are tacked on.

Paylocity Features

Paylocity is a Human Resources Information System (HRIS), the software offers an extensive payroll, HR, and employee management features. Here’s a look at Paylocity’s features:

  • Unlimited payroll processing, including off-cycle payroll runs, multiple payment methods, garnishment management, and full-tax service at all government levels
  • Expense management, including mobile app receipt uploads, automatic reimbursements, and reporting
  • Advanced HR features, with new-hire reporting, paperless onboarding, custom workflows, learning, secure document storage, and analytics
  • Benefits administration for retirement accounts, health, vision, and dental insurance, workers’ compensation, and employee benefits self-management
  • Time tracking consisting of mobile and web-based clocking and a robust selection of time tracking integration options
  • Time-off management that includes time-off policy customization, accrual, and request management

When To Use Paylocity

  • You find QuickBooks’s HR features to be lacking and want a more advanced HRIS solution
  • You’re interested in building a service plan with a custom-tailored feature set
  • Strong customer support is a priority when searching for a payroll software solution

Get Started With Paylocity

Read our in-depth review

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Patriot Payroll: Best For Accounting & Payroll Integration

Patriot Payroll

Total Rating 3.9

Ease Of Use3.4


Customer Service4.6

User Reviews4.8

Payroll Processing Time

2-4 days


Starting at $17/month + $4 per person paid

Business Size

Small to mid-sized businesses with up to 500 people paid


  • Very affordable
  • Native integration with Patriot Accounting
  • Both full-service and self-managed payroll tax service available
  • Top-notch customer support
  • Excellent user reviews


  • No mobile app
  • Patriot doesn’t handle new hire reporting
  • No benefits administration
  • Very limited integration options

Why We Chose Patriot Payroll For Best Integrated Accounting & Payroll

Like QuickBooks Online, Patriot offers native accounting and payroll software that seamlessly integrates with each other. Unlike QuickBooks, Patriot offers essential payroll processing services and accounting software at an impressively affordable price.

Additionally, Patriot Payroll offers a self-managed payroll tax plan for businesses that prefer to manage payroll tax filing and remittance themselves. Patriot scored 3.9/5 stars overall in our Patriot Payroll review, as it offers a great mix of features, affordability, and excellent customer service.

Patriot Payroll Pricing

Patriot Payroll Plans Price  When To Use
Basic Payroll $17/month + $4 per person paid If you need basic payroll processing services for up to 500 employees or contractors
Full Service Payroll $37/month + $4 per person paid If you need full-service payroll with tax support for up to 500 employees or contractors

Patriot Payroll offers two payroll pricing packages: Basic Payroll at $17/month + $4/employee/month and Full Service Payroll at $37/month + $4/employee/month.

Basic Payroll doesn’t include any payroll tax filing and remittance services, while Full Service Payroll offers complete tax support at the federal, state, and local levels.

If you’d like to add on Patriot’s accounting software, you’ll pay an additional $20-$30/month for the service.

Patriot Payroll Features

Compared to QuickBooks Online Payroll, Patriot Payroll doesn’t offer as complex a feature set. However, Patriot Payroll offers all the payroll essentials you’ll need, including:

  • Unlimited payroll processing, plus 2-day direct deposit options, support for multiple pay rates and schedules, and custom deductions
  • Full-service tax support, including payroll tax calculation, filing, and remittance at federal, state, and local levels
  • Automated workers’ compensation and retirement plan contributions via Next Insurance and Vestwell integrations
  • Built-in time tracking, with a web-based time portal, auto imported time cards, custom time-off policies, and reports
  • Online employee portal to view and edit information, review pay stubs, and access tax forms

What To Watch Out For

  • No New Hire Reporting: Patriot does not handle new-hire reporting on behalf of your business, so you’ll need to ensure that you report new hires to your state new hire registry.
  • Very Limited Integrations: While Patriot Payroll does offer some integrations, those integrations are limited to Vestwell, QuickBooks Time, Next Insurance, QuickBooks Desktop, and QuickBooks Online.
  • Limited Benefits Administration: Patriot Payroll doesn’t enable businesses to administer and manage benefits from within the software. However, the software does offer workers’ compensation and retirement plan contributions.
  • No Mobile App: If you enjoy QuickBooks’ mobile app solutions, you’ll definitely be missing them in the switch to Patriot Payroll, as the software only supports web-based access.

When To Use Patriot Payroll

  • You’re looking for a combined accounting and payroll software solution
  • You’re in need of cheap payroll processing software with essential payroll features
  • You want a choice between full-service tax support and self-managed payroll taxes

Get Started With Patriot Payroll

Read our in-depth review

Jump back to comparison chart


Merchant Maverick has been researching and reviewing payroll providers since 2018. Our writers have tested more than 75 different payroll software systems, evaluating pricing, features, ease of use, customer service, and user reviewers. Read more about how we rate payroll providers.

When comparing different apps, we consider over seventy data points, including the speed and cost of payroll runs, federal and state tax filing features, HR integrations, employee management tools, time tracking, and more. Our lists of the best providers include only apps we’ve deemed worthwhile from several vantage points. The payroll apps we pick are widely available and relatively easy to train on, with robust features and reasonable pricing. We also look carefully at features such as employee and client portals, user onboarding services, PTO management, benefits administration, multistate compliance, and more.

We spend an average of 10-15 hours researching and updating each one of our lists, making sure the providers included meet our internal standards for quality and reputation.


Vendors evaluated


Attributes assessed per vendor


Features weighed


Combined years of experience

When To Switch To A QuickBooks Online Payroll Alternative

QuickBooks Online Payroll isn’t always the ideal choice for every business. Here’s why you might want to seek alternatives to QuickBooks Online Payroll:

  • You Need More Users: QuickBooks Online Payroll only supports up to 150 users, so it wouldn’t be a good fit for larger businesses.
  • You’re Not A QuickBooks Online User: QuickBooks Online Payroll syncs beautifully with QuickBooks Online and integrates with a number of other accounting programs. However, if you use another type of accounting software, there may be a more suitable option for you.
  • Customer Support Is Important To You: Unfortunately, QuickBooks products are pretty notorious for having lackluster customer support.
  • You’re New To Payroll: While QuickBooks Payroll is fairly easy once you learn the ropes, it does have a slight learning curve. As a new user, you may face some navigational difficulties until you get the hang of the software.

Choosing The Right Alternative To QuickBooks Payroll For Your Business

While QuickBooks has built a strong reputation for its accounting and business software, its payroll services may not be the best fit for some small businesses. Depending on a business’s budget, desired features, and the number of employees, one of the five aforementioned alternatives to QuickBooks payroll could better equip your business for success.

If you’re new to payroll and still weighing options, consider getting your feet wet with one of these free payroll software providers.

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Davina Ward

Davina Ward

Senior Staff Writer
Davina joined Merchant Maverick in 2022, covering small business payroll and accounting. She began writing for small businesses in 2018 and has since gained expertise in the SaaS industry. She earned her Bachelor’s of Arts in English Literature from SUNY Geneseo in 2018. She currently resides in New York.
Davina Ward
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