QuickBooks Payroll and ADP Run both offer easy-to-use payroll services and include tax filing and workers’ compensation management. When comparing QuickBooks Payroll vs ADP Run, the primary difference is in human resources (HR) features. QuickBooks Payroll concentrates on payroll processing with unlimited pay runs but has limited HR functionality and integrates only with Intuit products. Meanwhile, ADP Run is more expensive but has more flexible plans, pay cards, expanded HR functions, and more than 50 software integrations.
To help you choose the best one for you, we recommend the following:
- QuickBooks Payroll: Best for QuickBooks users and small businesses on a budget
- ADP Run: Best for growing businesses needing a robust variety of payroll and HR options
If you find neither QuickBooks Payroll nor ADP Run suitable for your needs and want a platform with strong HR payroll support, we recommend:
- Paychex: Best for solopreneurs and small to large businesses needing flexible HR solutions with dedicated payroll support
QuickBooks Payroll vs ADP Run Quick Comparison
(One to 49 Employees)
From $45 to $125 plus $6 to $10 per employee; custom pricing available
$3 per employee plus $65 per weekly pay run*; custom pricing available for premium plans
Checks and direct deposit (next-day or same-day for higher plans)
Checks (signing and delivery available), direct deposit (two-day payout), and pay cards
HI, VT, and DC are not covered
50 states and Washington, DC
Other Employee Benefits
Retirement and learning
With Premium and Elite plans via AP Intego
Payroll on Autopilot
Only for salaried workers on direct deposit
HR Support center; personal HR adviser with Elite plan
Background checks, onboarding, new hire support, handbooks, and advising
50-plus apps for accounting, point-of-sale (POS), project management, benefits, learning, recruiting and onboarding, time and attendance, and enterprise resource planning (ERP)
Six days a week; inconsistent quality
24/7 phone support; reports of delays and unhelpful reps
**Based on quotes we received for biweekly payroll. You need to contact the provider for a quote.
**Additional fees may apply.
Takeaway: QuickBooks and ADP Run are both popular and well-regarded payroll systems. ADP is pricier but more flexible, offering HR and more personalized assistance, making it a good choice for businesses needing more than payroll software. On the other hand, QuickBooks is easy-to-use but has limited integrations and HR features, making it ideal if you need just payroll.
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Best Use Cases of QuickBooks Payroll & ADP Run
Best for Inexpensive & Fast Pay Runs: QuickBooks Payroll
QuickBooks beats ADP Run in pricing and speed for pay runs. With a monthly plan that allows unlimited pay runs, you can handle hourly and salaried employees separately, do out-of-cycle reimbursements, and pay several departments or stores on different schedules. Payments can also be deposited into your employees’ accounts the same day with some plans. In contrast, ADP Run has a two-day lead time.
Best for Employee Access: ADP Run
ADP Run is the winner hands-down when it comes to employee access. It offers the following features:
- An employee portal: Employees can access pay information and W-2 statements, view and request paid time off (PTO), track time and attendance, punch in/out, view pay card accounts, see benefits information, do performance evaluations, and even contact co-workers. Features may vary according to the plan you have. Note that QuickBooks Payroll also offers a workforce portal, but it only allows employees to access paycheck information, W-2s, withholdings, and PTO balances.
- A mobile app: The ADP Run app works for managers and employees. It has 4.4 out of 5 stars for Android and 4.7 out of 5 stars in the App Store—excellent ratings for this kind of application. What’s more, it offers nearly all the functions in the employee portal.
Best for Flexibility: ADP Run
(One to 49 Employees)
Accounting, POS, Productivity, Benefits, Benefits Administration, Learning, Hiring, Time and Attendance, ERP
Manual check, direct deposit
Manual check, direct deposit, pay card
Good; Offers 3 plans
Excellent; Offers various plans based on business size
QuickBooks Payroll integrates only with other Intuit products, such as QuickBooks for accounting and QuickBooks Time. ADP Run integrates with these and dozens of other popular software, including the following:
- Accounting: Wave and Xero
- POS: Clover, Revel, and Toast
- Productivity: Slack, Duufree, and Microsoft Teams
- Benefits: LifeMart, PayActive, and SmartDollar
- Benefits Administration: BerniePortal, Employee Navigator, Flock, and PlanSource
- Learning: Cornerstone, Grovo, Litmos, and Mastery Training Services
- Recruiting and onboarding: ZipRecruiter, TempWorks, and Avointe
- Time and attendance: Deputy and Homebase
- ERP: FinancialForce, SAP SuccessFactors, and Oracle
Additionally, ADP Run can pay workers using pay cards, something QuickBooks Payroll does not offer. ADP Run’s plans also contain more HR features, including legal support, work-life employee assistance programs, and recruiting. It also offers different programs according to business size, from one to 49 employees to more than 1,000—as well as a self-serve option for one to 10 employees. It has more flexibility in pricing as well.
Best for Basic Payroll Functions: ADP Run
Both ADP Run and QuickBooks Payroll provide easy-to-use interfaces and the most important payroll functions. Here, we compare their most popular plans. ADP Run has an edge due to its additional features, such as new hire reporting and paycheck delivery.
(One to 49 Employees)
Unlimited Pay Runs
Yes, plus check signing and stuffing
Next- and same-day
W-2s and 1099s
Payroll on Autopilot
Workers’ Comp/State Unemployment Insurance Management
New Hire Reporting
ADP Run vs QuickBooks Payroll: What Users Think
- QuickBooks Payroll: It has 3.6 out of 5 stars on G2 and 4.5 out of 5 stars on Capterra. Users praised its ease of use, and many compared it to ADP Run, saying that for payroll, it was as good but far less expensive. Complaints included the need for a better mobile app and some customer service issues.
- ADP Run: G2 has this platform at 4 out of 5 stars, while Capterra has it at 4.5 out of 5 stars. Managers said the interface made running payroll easy, while employees said the interface was great for accessing their information. Nonetheless, the most common complaint was difficulty finding particular information, which varied by user, but implies that the system can be complex when you dig in.
Both QuickBooks Payroll and ADP Run can help you get your employees paid correctly and on time. They offer direct deposit and checks, file your payroll taxes, and can process salary, hourly, tip, and contractor payments. With either, you can stay compliant with payroll regulations.
When it comes to the power of software and service, ADP Run is the clear winner in this comparison. However, with greater power comes higher pricing and more complexity. For businesses needing HR, it could be less expensive than purchasing two separate programs and making them work together. So, if you are a growing business or need HR functionality in addition to payroll, ADP Run may be the best choice. Sign up today to get three months free.