RUN Powered by ADP vs. QuickBooks Payroll: Pros, Cons, Differences


    If you choose between RUN Powered by ADP and QuickBooks Payroll left you at a fork in the road, don’t worry – it’s not a bad place. Either of these can be excellent choices, backed by reliable, market-leading companies.

    In the end, however, RUN receives our award for first choice. With more than 70 years of payroll experience for companies of all sizes, ADP cuts checks for approximately 22 million American workers. RUN (ADP’s flagship product for small businesses) offers a wide range of functions and a wide range of integrations. It’s especially good for larger small businesses that need recruiting tools and a variety of benefits for workers outside of health and retirement plans.

    However, if you are already using QuickBooks Online for bookkeeping and further planning, you can easily integrate QuickBooks Payroll into your existing plan and integrate the two products under one roof.

    However, unless you are a QuickBooks user, QuickBooks Payroll does not integrate with external accounting software, and this could be a problem for business owners who do not want to manually enter payrolls.

    • Premium and Elite plans include QuickBooks Time for time tracking.

    • Handy for QuickBooks Online users.

    • Automatic payroll for employees on direct deposit.

    • More accounting integrations and performance options.

    • Automatic payroll accounting for employees and hourly workers with uniform working hours.

    • Accounting integrations are limited to QuickBooks Online.

    • Time recording functions cost extra.

    Comparison of payroll software

    Get a 50% discount on the first three months or a free 30-day trial.

    • Core: $ 45 per month plus $ 4 per month per employee.

    • Bonus: $ 75 per month plus $ 8 per employee.

    • Elite: $ 125 per month plus $ 10 per employee.

    Offer-based. From $ 59 per month plus $ 4 per month per employee.

    Small businesses with 1-50 employees who use QuickBooks Online for bookkeeping; Companies that want to sign up for a plan online and get set up asap.

    Small businesses with 1-49 employees that need a strong HR component; Companies looking for customizable plans.

    Yes. QuickBooks automatically processes payroll taxes in all three plans.

    Yes. Tax calculation and filing is included in all four plans.

    Ability to manage employee benefits

    Well. QuickBooks Payroll offers benefits through SimplyInsured and pension plans through Guideline. They can be added to any plan.

    Excellent. With ADP, you can choose from several group health care options in addition to solutions to help employees pay off student loan debts and save on daily shopping costs. These can be pinned to any plan.

    Employee access to the portal

    Excellent. The workforce portal gives employees access to their salary history, W-2s and how much paid free time they still have.

    Excellent. Employees can track their salary history, see attendance, see W-2s from the past three years, and request leave.

    Well. The core plan includes messaging and call-me-back support Monday through Friday from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. PT. Premium and Elite plans offer 24/7 priority phone, messaging, and call-me-back support, plus options for video chat or scheduling callbacks.

    Well. 24/7 phone support.

    Excellent. Its user interface is intuitive and easy to use. It walks users through every step of the setup and offers time-saving automation options.

    Well. The user interface is straightforward and implementation staff can guide customers through the setup process. RUN plans also include options to automate payroll.

    What is the difference between RUN Powered by ADP and QuickBooks Payroll?

    Transparency: QuickBooks Payroll Wins

    While QuickBooks Payroll lists prices for each tier and you can sign up online, RUN’s supply-side model requires business owners to spend extra time entering their information and speaking to a representative before figuring out if the cost makes sense to them are. For pricing information, prospects provide their company’s number of employees, zip code, company name, email address, full name, and phone number. After you’ve entered the information, a pop-up window will say, “In just a few minutes, you’ll be hearing from an ADP expert to discuss your business needs.” If you don’t want to wait for a call, ADP provides a phone number that You can choose to speak to someone sooner.

    While greater transparency is preferred, RUN’s supply-side model can also mean you get a payroll plan that is better tailored to your company’s specific needs. You just have to be willing to spend the extra time getting the offer.

    Integrations: RUN wins

    In contrast to RUN, QuickBooks Payroll can only be integrated into QuickBooks Online for accounting. If you’re already a fan of QuickBooks’ accounting solutions and don’t want to switch to another accounting software product in the future, this shouldn’t be a problem. Conversely, RUN can be integrated into QuickBooks Online in addition to Xero and Wave. If you are using an accounting software product outside of the QuickBooks suite, RUN may be a better choice. However, make sure that the integration between your ADP payroll software product and your accounting software product receives positive reviews. Just because an integration exists doesn’t mean it’s strong, and nobody wants to waste time solving connectivity issues.

    While you can add guideline retirement plans and SimplyInsured health benefits to any QuickBooks payroll plan, RUN offers more options outside of the norm, such as telemedicine solutions, employee counseling, and family care options. Business owners using RUN can also have their employees subtract money from their paychecks and deposit it into a student loan account using the Gift of College add-on. While these aren’t strictly necessary, they could be nice if your company has a large number of employees.

    However, if health, vision, and dental plans are sufficient, it may be more helpful to compare key QuickBooks Payroll and RUN benefits and pricing. The former offers all health services through SimplyInsured, while RUN offers health plans through Automatic Data Processing Insurance Agency, Inc.

    QuickBooks Payroll and RUN Powered by ADP both offer HR support, but with more integrations available, RUN is better equipped to build a resilient HR ecosystem, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. RUN has released new return to work tools that set up contact tracking and help monitor how comfortable employees are returning to the office. Additionally, the expanded plan from RUN and above includes ZipRecruiter and background checks to aid in the hiring process. All plans also use HR checkups to help business owners learn which guidelines and manuals to consider.

    Mammoth, which has partnered with QuickBooks Payroll to provide HR support, provides an employee handbook and onboarding tools, as well as the ability to customize job descriptions and set workplace guidelines. Ultimately, both payroll software products come with powerful HR solutions – ADP gives you just a few more options.

    Choosing a Small Business Payroll Software

    Aside from integrations and price transparency, here are a few other features to consider if your small business is bigger or has the potential to grow.


    Thinking ahead is key when choosing any type of small business software. Every software product has its own learning curve, even if it is easy to use, and you hope you only have to go through this initial set-up process once. Make sure that your payroll software at least integrates well with your accounting and point of sale solutions and is equipped to provide the benefits and HR options you may need as your business grows. The same applies to automation options. As your team grows, investing in software that automatically does payroll for you can save you a lot of time. Both RUN Powered by ADP and QuickBooks Payroll offer these options.

    Time tracking

    If you have more hourly employees or contractors than you can manage yourself, make sure the payroll software you use has solid and affordable time tracking features. For business owners who create job costing reports and monitor projects in multiple locations, the ability to clock in, clock out and register the location on a mobile device is also ideal. Time tracking isn’t that important for small businesses with just a handful of employees.

    QuickBooks Payroll’s Premium and Elite plans come with QuickBooks Time, which is a huge plus. While RUN Powered by ADP can be integrated with QuickBooks Time and other options, these are considered add-ons and cost extra.


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