Both ADP and QuickBooks Payroll are among the best payroll software platforms. They similarly excel at making payroll a breeze.

But only QuickBooks Payroll reveals its pricing. ADP keeps costs under wraps. The latter also targets larger businesses and boasts better scalability, among other nuanced differences.

Let’s nail down which payroll software is right for your business.

ADP vs. QuickBooks Payroll: Comparison table

ADPQuickBooks Payroll
Our rating4 out of 54.1 out of 5
Starting priceCustom quote$75 + $6 per worker, monthly
International supportYesNo
Includes accounting featuresNoYes
Advanced analytics included?YesNo
Best forAdvanced needs and global operations with generous budgetsMore modest entities wanting accounting features and simple, easy-to-use functions
Visit ADPVisit QuickBooks Payroll

ADP vs. QuickBooks Payroll: Pricing


ADP is well-known for its customized payroll solutions tailored to each business’s specific needs. But while this customization allows for a great deal of flexibility, it also means ADP does not disclose pricing upfront. To get a quote from ADP, you’ll have to talk to a sales agent directly.

Taking the time to customize a plan with a sales agent could be inconvenient for small business owners who are short on time. This time-consuming approach ensures you pay for only what you need, but it makes it challenging to quickly assess whether the platform fits your budget.

QuickBooks Payroll

QuickBooks Payroll offers a more straightforward approach to pricing. Plans start at $75 plus $6 per employee each month. Higher-level tiers cost more than double at $170 and $8 per person monthly.

Unlike ADP, the title focuses on providing one-size-fits-all subscription plans. Only larger businesses get personalized treatment (for a fee).

ADP vs. QuickBooks Payroll: Feature comparison


Winner: ADP

ADP stands out for its highly personalized payroll solutions. Businesses can work with the vendor to tailor things to their exact requirements. Some available add-ons include time and attendance tracking, HR management and compliance services. Plus, you can add your company’s branding and color scheme, among other finishing touches.

This level of customization makes the title perfect for those with unique payroll needs or entities seeking a comprehensive, all-in-one solution.

QuickBooks, on the other hand, is an excellent out-of-the-box solution with some add-ons and a wide variety of features. But it doesn’t quite compare to ADP when it comes to customization.

User experience

Winner: QuickBooks Payroll

QuickBooks Payroll is renowned for its user-friendly interface and easy setup. The title’s interface emphasizes plain English and point-and-click simplicity. Most functions are readily accessible without needing special knowledge. Plus, there are lots of support resources available, including company-monitored message boards.

Bottom line, if you’re looking for a quick, no-fuss payroll solution, QuickBooks is the easier option. However, ADP has also been praised by users for its user-friendly interface — the setup might just take a bit longer with a customized plan.

International growth

Winner: ADP

For businesses looking to expand internationally, ADP offers comprehensive worldwide solutions. The title supports global payroll and HR management in over 140 countries. And if you don’t have a presence overseas, don’t sweat it. Employer of Record (EOR) services are available to make multinational hiring a breeze.

While some competitors also support international payroll, ADP goes a step further with its focus on legal compliance. The platform is regularly updated to incorporate changing laws and regulations in every country it serves. So, you can sleep well at night knowing you’re adhering to complex mandates in other locales.

QuickBooks does offer international accounting, but it doesn’t currently offer global payroll. The closest you can get is integrating with a compatible global payroll software through your accounting software. So if you’re currently paying international employees or are looking to expand into other countries soon, QuickBooks Payroll probably isn’t the right fit for your business.

Accounting tools

Winner: QuickBooks Payroll

It’s no surprise that Intuit’s contender triumphs with accounting solutions. Although you can connect QuickBooks Online for a full range of financial tools, Payroll still includes plenty on its own.

Hallmark offerings like mileage tracking, expense reimbursement, receipt scanning and double-entry accounting records are supported with QuickBooks Payroll. And when you’re ready to file your tax return, you can seamlessly send this data to TurboTax for processing. With ADP, you may have to pay extra, depending on plan customizations.

So, if simple accounting functions are all you need, then QuickBooks Payroll conveniently delivers.

Comprehensive capabilities

Winner: ADP

ADP is hands down the better pick if you need every payroll and HR need solved. QuickBooks Payroll simply can’t compete with sheer power.

For example, ADP allows you to run payroll in multiple U.S. states. It also boasts expert-level analytical tools like DataCloud, which reports actionable insights gained from the company’s enormous client base.

QuickBooks Payroll, on the other hand, lets you run payroll in only one state as part of your initial pricing. You’ll need to pay $12 apiece for each additional state if you plan to run payroll in multiple states. And the title lacks the military-grade analytics seen in ADP.

ADP also offers less-obvious features not available with QuickBooks Payroll. These perks include advanced state unemployment insurance tools, elaborate full-service onboarding support and a top-notch portal for accountant access. There are also staff-facing perks too, like an employee handbook wizard, engaging online training courses, regularly updated labor law posters and a reward program for workers.

ADP pros and cons

Pros of ADP

  • Customizable solutions.
  • Additional services, like human resources management, tax filing and legal compliance assistance.
  • Global payroll services, capable of handling multi-country payroll complexities, adhering to local tax laws and providing support in various languages.
  • Robust reporting and analytics.
  • Live support from seasoned HR professionals.

Cons of ADP

  • Undisclosed pricing.
  • Can be overwhelming for smaller businesses.
  • Longer setup time.

QuickBooks Payroll pros and cons

Pros of QuickBooks Payroll

  • Intuitive interface and straightforward setup process, along with simple payroll processing.
  • Transparent pricing.
  • Seamless integration with QuickBooks’ accounting software.
  • Automatic tax calculations and filings.
  • Employees can receive their pay via direct deposit, pay cards or traditional checks.

Cons of QuickBooks Payroll

  • Limited customization.
  • Might not be as scalable for larger organizations or those with rapid growth.
  • Benefits are most pronounced when used within the QuickBooks ecosystem.

Should your organization use ADP or QuickBooks Payroll?

Choose ADP if:

  • You’re looking for a highly customizable payroll solution that can be tailored to your specific needs.
  • Your business requires comprehensive payroll and HR services beyond basic payroll processing.
  • You value having access to professional support and compliance expertise.

Choose QuickBooks Payroll if:

  • You prefer a straightforward, user-friendly payroll solution with transparent pricing.
  • You’re already using QuickBooks for accounting and want seamless integration.
  • Your business has straightforward payroll needs and doesn’t require extensive customization.


We carefully researched each brand’s features, pricing, ease of use, customer support and scalability. We considered feedback from customers and common complaints. We also examined each title’s suitability for small businesses and those with growing needs, among other factors.

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Stay up to date on the latest in technology with Daily Tech Insider. We bring you news on industry-leading companies, products, and people, as well as highlighted articles, downloads, and top resources. You’ll receive primers on hot tech topics that will help you stay ahead of the game. Delivered Weekdays