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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.

    Erica Seppala
  • UPDATED

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

QuickBooks Online Payroll is a top choice in payroll software, but may not be the best choice in payroll for every business. If this payroll software isn’t a good match for your business, it’s time to search for an alternative to QuickBooks Payroll. Start your search with these options.

In this post, we’re going to look at the top alternatives to QuickBooks Payroll. Whether you want payroll software that’s more affordable, easier to use, or loaded with more features, there’s an alternative for you. Keep reading to learn more about the top five alternatives to QuickBooks Payroll.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For
Gusto

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  • Best for smaller businesses & flexible payroll schedules
  • $40-$80/month + $6-$12/employee
  • Best for small- to medium-sized businesses
  • Best for smaller businesses & flexible payroll schedules
  • $40-$80/month + $6-$12/employee
  • Best for small- to medium-sized businesses

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ADP Payroll

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  • Best for customized features & integrations
  • Contact ADP for pricing
  • Best for businesses of all sizes
  • Best for customized features & integrations
  • Contact ADP for pricing
  • Best for businesses of all sizes

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Paychex

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  • Best for analytics and reporting
  • Starts at $39/month + $5/employee
  • Best for businesses of all sizes
  • Best for analytics and reporting
  • Starts at $39/month + $5/employee
  • Best for businesses of all sizes

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Zenefits

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  • Best for comprehensive HR features & integrations
  • $8-$21/month per employee
  • Best for businesses of all sizes
  • Best for comprehensive HR features & integrations
  • $8-$21/month per employee
  • Best for businesses of all sizes

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Paylocity

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  • Best for mobile-friendly payroll and HR solutions
  • Contact Paylocity for pricing
  • Best for medium- to enterprise-sized businesses
  • Best for mobile-friendly payroll and HR solutions
  • Contact Paylocity for pricing
  • Best for medium- to enterprise-sized businesses

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Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

Tired Of QuickBooks Payroll? Four Reasons You Might Want To Switch

QuickBooks Payroll is a top choice in payroll software for good reason, as it integrates perfectly with QuickBooks Online software and boasts a number of great features.

However, it 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. While this is suitable for small- to medium-sized businesses, larger businesses will need to search for a more robust solution.
  • 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. If good customer support is at the top of your priorities list, you might want to seek a QuickBooks Payroll alternative.
  • 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. If you’re looking for beginner-friendly software, look beyond QuickBooks Online Payroll.

The Best Alternatives To QuickBooks Payroll

If you’re ready to find the perfect alternative to QuickBooks Payroll, there are plenty of small business payroll solutions to choose from. To narrow down your choices, we’ve evaluated features, pricing, user reviews, and more to determine the top five alternatives to QuickBooks Online Payroll.

1. Gusto: Overall Best Alternative To QuickBooks Payroll

Gusto



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Pros

  • More comprehensive included features & integrations than QuickBooks
  • Unlimited payroll runs
  • More HR tools & integrations than QuickBooks

Cons

  • Pricing can be less competitive for mid-size small businesses
  • No mobile app

Gusto’s affordable and transparent pricing structure is a key reason for ranking among the top alternatives to QuickBooks payroll. Gusto is also equipped to handle everything associated with payroll, from new hire reporting and tax filing to scheduling pay periods. Gusto doesn’t charge per pay run, so businesses can schedule pay periods according to their needs without extra fees.

One of QuickBooks Online’s main benefits is its seamless integration with QuickBooks accounting programs. However, 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.

Get Started With Gusto

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2. ADP: Best Alternative To QuickBooks Payroll For Large Businesses

ADP Payroll



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Pros

  • Strong customer service & knowledgeable HR support staff
  • Extensive HR & payroll features
  • User-friendly & intuitive interface

Cons

  • Pricing is not disclosed online
  • Extra fees for integrations & payroll runs

From Fortune 500 companies to Main Street businesses, ADP can customize payroll and HR solutions to a business’s size and needs. Depending on the 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.

Small businesses can take advantage of 24/7 customer service by phone and live chat, and ADP can provide hands-on assistance and guided tutorials for the setup process

ADP is a top choice for QuickBooks payroll alternatives for customers looking to integrate additional software needed to run their business. Whereas QuickBooks limits users to its sister accounting products, ADP can integrate with other platforms such as Wave and Xero. ADP also makes it easy to sync with numerous applications related to point-of-sale, benefits administration, time tracking, productivity, learning management, and recruiting.

Get Started With ADP Payroll

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3. Paychex: Best Alternative To QuickBooks Payroll For Reporting & Analytics

Paychex



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Pros

  • 24/7 customer support
  • Scalable
  • Extensive reporting & analytics

Cons

  • Non-transparent pricing
  • Limited integrations

Paychex has been a leader in the payroll industry for decades. Three plans are available that include features like tax administration, new-hire reporting, time tracking, and analytics and reporting. The higher tier plans include more advanced features like access to Paychex’s mobile app, employee wellness programs, HR integrations, a dedicated payroll specialist, prepaid digital marketing services, workers’ compensation payment services, employee background checks, and customized reporting and analytics.

In a head-to-head comparison, Paychex has some clear advantages over QuickBooks Payroll. For starters, Paychex’s selection of 160 standard reports and options for customized analysis are among the main reasons why Paychex ranks among the leading alternatives to QuickBooks Payroll. With Paychex, employers have the additional option to pay employers with prepaid debit cards rather than simply paycheck or direct deposit. Additionally, Paychex takes care of the setup process for you.

Get Started With Paychex

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4. Zenefits: Best Alternative To QuickBooks Payroll For Benefits Administration

Zenefits



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Pros

  • Transparent pricing
  • Convenient integration of HR & payroll services
  • Comprehensive HR & payroll features

Cons

  • No option for simple payroll packages
  • Pricing is structured for 5+ employees

While the other QuickBooks payroll alternatives on this list are primarily payroll providers, Zenefits is first and foremost a benefits administration system. Zenefits only offers payroll as an add-on module to one of its three HR software plans. Zenefits payroll features are extensive, including direct deposit, setting multiple pay rates, garnishments, automatic tax filing, and payroll reporting. Depending on the plan you select, you could have access to features including employee management, time scheduling, hiring and onboarding, performance management, and employee engagement surveys.

There are also plentiful options for integrations, including productivity tools, accounting software, business insurance, and travel apps. The recent launch of a platform to compare healthcare benefits rivals QuickBooks’ partnership with SimplyInsured to select and administer health, dental, and vision benefits for small business employees.

Get Started With Zenefits

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5. Paylocity: Best Alternative To QuickBooks Payroll For HR

Paylocity



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Read our Review

Pros

  • Customized payroll & HR plans
  • Hands-on tax filing assistance
  • Excellent expense tracking tools

Cons

  • Steep learning curve
  • Pricing is generally not competitive with QuickBooks Payroll

Rather than simply offering payroll processing services, Paylocity provides tailored payroll and HR solutions to streamline small business operations. Paylocity offers three levels of payroll services that boast features including direct deposit, unlimited payroll processing, tax filings, garnishments, new-hire reporting, poster compliance, and QuickBooks accounting integration. If you upgrade your plan, you’ll get access to additional features such as customized PTO tracking systems, unemployment management, background checks, job performance reporting, learning management systems, and benefits administration.

Compared to other QuickBooks payroll alternatives, Paylocity stands out for its in-depth employee management features from hire to retire.

Notably, Paylocity’s expense management tools can let employees upload receipts on the go for approval and fast-track employee reimbursements. Additionally, Paylocity’s mobile app is reputed for letting business owners easily run payroll from anywhere and allowing employees to do everything from managing benefits enrollments to checking their paycheck contributions.

Get Started With Paylocity

Read our in-depth review

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Choosing The Right Alternative To QuickBooks Payroll For Your Business

Small businesses have a lot on their plates. Besides paying employees and filing payroll taxes, employers are also tasked with managing productivity, balancing the books, and providing employee benefits. The best small business payroll software can integrate payroll processing with these additional aspects of running a business, saving time, money, and stress.

While QuickBooks has built a strong reputation on 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.

Alternatives To QuickBooks Payroll FAQs

What is the best alternative to QuickBooks Payroll?

There are a number of great alternatives to QuickBooks Payroll, including the five options on our list. Gusto received our best overall QuickBooks Payroll alternative designation due to its abundance of features and integrations, HR features, ease of use, and excellent customer service.

Do I have to use QuickBooks Online to use QuickBooks Payroll?

You do not have to use QuickBooks Online small business accounting software to use QuickBooks Payroll. Standalone payroll subscriptions are available; however, you can bundle your subscriptions for additional savings if you need payroll and accounting software.

What's the difference between QuickBooks Online Payroll and QuickBooks Desktop Payroll?

QuickBooks Desktop Payroll is best used with QuickBooks Desktop’s locally-installed software. QuickBooks Online Payroll is suitable for use by those with a QuickBooks Online accounting software subscription.

Is Intuit Online Payroll the same as QuickBooks Online Payroll?

QuickBooks cloud-based payroll service was once known as Intuit Online Payroll. However, after May 1, 2021, Intuit Online Payroll was retired and all users were moved to the more modern software that is known as QuickBooks Online Payroll.

Is QuickBooks discontinuing desktop payroll?

As of June 1, 2022, QuickBooks has discontinued new purchases of QuickBooks Desktop Assisted Payroll unless it is purchased with a QuickBooks Enterprise Diamond bundle. Existing users are not affected by this change. New users can purchase QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll.

In Summary: The Best Alternatives To QuickBooks Payroll

  1. Gusto:
    • Best for smaller businesses & flexible payroll schedules
    • $40-$80/month + $6-$12/employee
    • Best for small- to medium-sized businesses
  2. ADP Payroll:
    • Best for customized features & integrations
    • Contact ADP for pricing
    • Best for businesses of all sizes
  3. Paychex:
    • Best for analytics and reporting
    • Starts at $39/month + $5/employee
    • Best for businesses of all sizes
  4. Zenefits:
    • Best for comprehensive HR features & integrations
    • $8-$21/month per employee
    • Best for businesses of all sizes
  5. Paylocity:
    • Best for mobile-friendly payroll and HR solutions
    • Contact Paylocity for pricing
    • Best for medium- to enterprise-sized businesses
Erica Seppala

Erica Seppala

Expert Analyst & Reviewer at Merchant Maverick
An expert in accounting, finance, and point of sale, Erica has been researching and writing about all things small-business since 2018. Erica's insights into personal and business finance have been cited in numerous publications, including MSN, Real Simple, and Reader's Digest. She is a graduate of Limestone College.
Erica Seppala
View Erica Seppala's professional experience on LinkedIn.

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Merchant Maverick’s ratings are editorial in nature, and are not aggregated from user reviews. Each staff reviewer at Merchant Maverick is a subject matter expert with experience researching, testing, and evaluating small business software and services. The rating of this company or service is based on the author’s expert opinion and analysis of the product, and assessed and seconded by another subject matter expert on staff before publication. Merchant Maverick’s ratings are not influenced by affiliate partnerships.

Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity. The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone.

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