Gusto vs. QuickBooks Payroll: Comparison Guide for Business Owners

Sections of this topic

    Gusto and QuickBooks are payroll platforms designed to make it easy for small business owners to automate several functions of their businesses. If you are comparing Gusto vs. QuickBooks Payroll, consider pricing, features, and customer service. Both platforms perform various vital duties, including setting and processing payroll, filing payroll taxes, and managing employee benefits.

    While both platforms are functional, Gusto is best for medium-sized businesses that plan to expand to more than 50 employees in the future. Its human resource capabilities and features are good for companies with more extensive HR needs. QuickBooks Payroll is best for smaller businesses who want the flexibility to run payroll through the mobile app or the online platform.

    Gusto logo

    Gusto: Best for Medium-Sized Businesses 

    Gusto is a payroll management service that offers many HR functions. The application is used by more than 40,000 small business owners nationwide. It has convenient payroll features, a customer interface, and numerous innovation tools. The platform is great for growing businesses that have more than 50 employees because of its ability to automate many functions.

    Gusto makes the employee onboarding process simple for business owners. After entering in a few pieces of information, the platform automatically sends an email to the worker to gather the needed information. Gusto also makes things easy for employers who pay taxes in multiple states.

    Gusto’s pricing scheme is fairly straightforward and easy to understand. It offers three plans that are designed to perform different functions to meet various needs. The most affordable plan is the Core Plan, which costs $39 a month plus a cost of $6 per employee. It is a basic plan but still comes with all the features you need to run payroll and perform many HR functions. The most expensive plans feature extra administrative tools.

    Gusto’s plans come with features that include automation payroll tools, direct deposits, tax filings, independent contractor services, and unlimited payroll runs. Business owners can also offer health insurance to their employees in most states.

    • Free trial option for small business owners
    • Simple and quick to run payroll and benefits for numerous employees
    • Multiple customer service options
    • Business owners cannot run payroll via the mobile application 
    • Calculating employee deductions is cumbersome 
    • No weekend customer service options
    QuickBooks payroll logo

    QuickBooks Payroll: Best for Small Businesses 

    QuickBooks Payroll is an excellent choice if you want to integrate your payroll software with an existing QuickBooks Online account. This platform is formulated for businesses with less than 50 employees. It integrates with QuickBooks Online and allows owners to offer same-day direct deposit for employees. Similar to Gusto, QuickBooks Payroll has three plans and enables owners to upgrade or add more services at any time.

    However, this is not the best payroll option for paying remote teams. If you have employees or independent contractors in multiple states, you’ll end up paying more in the long run. There are extra monthly fees if you have workers in more than one location.

    QuickBooks Payroll’s Core Plan is $45 per month plus an extra cost of $4 per employee. This plan provides comprehensive payroll services, including forms and automated taxes. You can integrate your subscription with QuickBooks Online and set up automatic payroll. This plan also comes with the option to offer employee health benefits.

    The Premium Plan is $75 per month plus $8 per employee. This level comes with everything in the Core Plan plus extra features, including workers’ compensation administration and same-day direct deposit services. The most expensive option is the Elite Plan, which costs $125 per month plus a monthly fee of $10.

    • QuickBooks Online integration feature
    • Same day and next business day direct deposit options
    • Extended customer service hours 
    • Extra tax filing fees for Premium and Core plans
    • Limited HR features for numerous employees
    • QuickBooks Online integrations are somewhat limited 

    Gusto vs. QuickBooks Payroll Pricing & Features Comparison 

    Millions of small businesses worldwide use Gusto and QuickBooks payroll to perform payroll and HR functions. Both allow owners to establish and run employee payroll, manage employee benefits, submit payroll taxes, and complete other accounting functions. Both offer three plans that provide various features for businesses with different needs.

    While QuickBooks Payroll’s plans are more expensive, the platform can be integrated with QuickBooks Online to make a comprehensive payroll and accounting system. Gusto is designed for businesses with more than 50 employees, while QuickBooks is best for small companies with fewer workers.

    Key Features


    Core Plan: $39 monthly plus $6 per employee

    Complete Plan: $39 monthly plus $12 per employee

    Concierge Plan: $149 monthly plus $12 per employee

    Core Plan: $45 monthly plus $4 per employee

    Premium Plan: $75 monthly plus $8 per employee

    Elite Plan: $125 monthly plus $10 per employee

    Tax Filing and Payments

    Federal, state, and local taxes; no multiple state filing fees

    Federal and state tax filings

    HR and Benefits Features

    Comprehensive features including worker profiles and employee offer letters

    Limited HR features

    Portal Access for Employees

    Mobile application

    Online platform


    Any third-party software

    Only QuickBooks Online

    Mobile Application

    No mobile app to run payroll

    You can run payroll on the app

    Tax Filings & Payments

    The government requires all businesses to pay taxes and file returns at the state and federal levels. Companies need to file additional taxes if they conduct business in more than one state. Each company must follow specific tax regulations informed by its location, structure type, and business activity. Using payroll software makes it easier to satisfy tax filing and payments requirements.


    Business owners can calculate and file federal, state, and local payroll taxes with Gusto. All three plans come with this service. The software pays dues automatically once taxes are filed and accepted. If you need to file and pay taxes in more than one state, there are no fees.

    QuickBooks Payroll 

    All three QuickBooks Payroll plans calculate, file, and pay federal and state payroll taxes. Only the Elite and Premium plans allow owners to file and pay local taxes. Only the Elite Plan enables business owners to pay taxes in multiple locations.

    Winner: Gusto. It’s much easier to use Gusto to file local, state, and federal taxes.

    HR & Employee Benefits

    Managing HR and employee benefits are essential functions for any small business. Effective HR is an integral part of any company culture, from recruiting talent to onboarding employees to administering health insurance. Gusto and QuickBooks both have automation tools that make it easy to perform essential HR functions and keep track of employee data.


    Gusto has more HR tools than QuickBooks payroll because it is designed for companies with more employees. Its features include employee directories, personalized worker profiles, automated offer letters, employee surveys, and company organizational charts. Gusto’s most expensive plan comes with tools for business owners who want more tools, including unlimited access to HR experts and a dedicated customer service team.

    Gusto also has more employee benefits than QuickBooks Payroll. You can offer your employees a range of benefits, including health insurance, college savings accounts, health savings accounts, and commuter compensation.

    QuickBooks Payroll 

    QuickBooks Payroll does not have as many HR features, but its Premium Plan includes an HR resource center and other essential elements. Owners who upgrade to the Elite Plan can access a dedicated HR advisor. Other features include employee handbooks, job descriptions, and onboarding checklists.

    Winner: Gusto. You get a lot more HR features and tools with a Gusto plan (and for far less money per month) than with QuickBooks Payroll.

    Employee Portal Access

    Remote work is more important than ever before, and workers need to access essential features on an online portal or platform. Most companies have eliminated on-site customer time tracking and payroll systems in favor of more flexible options. Both Gusto and QuickBooks allow employees to access portals.


    Employees can download the Gusto Wallet application on their phones to access paycheck information, view W-2 data, and manage working hours.

    QuickBooks Payroll 

    Called the Workforce, QuickBooks Payroll’s employee platform allows workers to view pay stubs, PTO balances, and W2 information.

    Winner: Tie. Both Gusto and QuickBooks Payroll give employees access to important paycheck and tax information through easy-to-use portals.


    Most small business owners want a comprehensive accounting and payroll system. Companies need to integrate Gusto or QuickBooks with an accounting service to achieve this. Viewing payroll and accounting details on one integrated platform streamlines everyday tasks.


    Gusto is superior to QuickBooks Payroll because it can be integrated with any third-party accounting, point-of-sale, or time tracking software. Gusto can even be combined with QuickBooks Online.

    QuickBooks Payroll

    You can only integrate QuickBooks Payroll with QuickBooks Online. If you use another third-party software, you will need to enter your accounting transactions manually.

    Winner: Gusto. There are more integration options available with Gusto than QuickBooks Payroll, so you can extend Gusto’s functionality.

    Mobile Application

    Having a mobile application to perform basic payroll transactions is a significant benefit for owners who often travel or do not always have access to a laptop computer. While both Gusto and QuickBooks Payroll are mobile-friendly, QuickBooks offers more features.


    Gusto’s platform is mobile-friendly, but owners cannot run payroll on the mobile application.

    QuickBooks Payroll 

    QuickBooks offers a no-cost mobile application that can be downloaded on iOS and Android devices. Owners can view reports, file taxes, and run payroll via the mobile app.

    Winner: QuickBooks Payroll. Although Gusto’s site is mobile-friendly, QuickBooks Payroll offers a mobile payroll app. 

    Gusto vs. QuickBooks Payroll Customer Service

    Gusto and QuickBooks Payroll let customers talk to live agents via phone and chat. Both platforms also allow customers to send emails to customer service and receive a response within 24 hours.


    Gusto’s limited customer service hours may be a drawback for business owners. Gusto offers phone, chat, and email support from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT Monday to Friday. Unfortunately, agents are not available on the weekends.

    QuickBooks Payroll

    QuickBooks offers round-the-clock chat support and weekday and weekend customer service options. Live agents are available Monday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from
    6 a.m. to 3 p.m. PT. QuickBooks is the clear choice for business owners who want more customer support options.

    Winner: QuickBooks Payroll. This is a narrow win for QuickBooks Payroll because it offers longer hours of support for customers.

    Gusto vs. QuickBooks Payroll Customer Reviews

    Gusto and QuickBooks Payroll are both established companies with solid customer satisfaction ratings and many good customer reviews.

    Gusto Customer Reviews

    Most customers are happy with Gusto’s excellent HR features, affordable plans, and convenient-to-use platform. However, Gusto’s limited customer service hours are a common customer complaint.

    QuickBooks Payroll Customer Reviews

    Most customers love QuickBooks Payroll’s integration features, excellent customer support options, and add-on features. However, some customers prefer cheaper plans and more HR features. Out of almost 700 online votes, QuickBooks Payroll has an average rating of 4.5/5.

    Winner: QuickBooks Payroll. Overall, QuickBooks Payroll gets more favorable reviews than Gusto.

    Alternative Payroll Software Options

    If you are looking for payroll business software alternatives, there are others on the market.

    Paychex logo


    From $39

    Paychex offers some great features not available on other payroll platforms. It is a good option if you want access to worker verification services, pay cards, and employee financial wellness programs.

    There are three plans with different pricing levels. The basic plan is Paychex Flex Essentials, which costs $39 monthly plus an additional $5 per employee. Two higher-tiered plans are available and are custom-priced. Read the Paychex review to know more about this tool.

    • Comprehensive HR and payroll features
    • Employment verification services
    • Custom-priced plan options
    • Some plans do not come with same-day or next-day payroll options 
    • No free trial periods 
    • Limited customer support options on weekends

    RUN Powered by ADP is a good option for businesses that want to customize the features they receive. Owners can mix and match features based on company size and other platforms. All plans include employee onboarding services, workers’ compensation resources, and marketing assistance. You can also offer health insurance and retirement plans through this platform.

    RUN has customizable plan pricing, starting at $59 monthly plus $4 per employee.

    • Custom pricing options based on the company’s desired features
    • Integrates with various third-party platforms
    • Features include retirement plans and attendance tracking
    • Many plan prices not available online
    • Limited HR functions on lowest-tired plans
    • Less-than-intuitive platform
    Patriot Software logo


    From $30

    Patriot offers significantly more affordable plans than competitors such as QuickBooks Payroll. The platform also provides HR features, including time tracking tools, 1099 filing services, and guaranteed tax filing accuracy. It is an excellent option for small business owners on a budget.

    Patriot’s base plan is the Full-Service Payroll plan, which costs $30 per month plus an additional $4 for each employee. Keep in mind that you will be charged $12 a month if you file payroll taxes in multiple states.

    • Affordable monthly plans
    • Free setup options with all plans
    • Many HR options for companies with many employees
    • No same-day or next-day direct deposit options
    • Extra fees for filing payroll taxes in multiple states
    • Limited customer support options on the weekend

    Gusto vs. QuickBooks Payroll: Final Thoughts 

    When comparing Gusto vs QuickBooks Payroll, there are several factors to consider. Both payroll software choices offer payroll services that can be integrated with an existing account platform to give you a fully functioning system. While both platforms are functional, we prefer Gusto because of its affordable plans and extensive HR features. 

    Gusto is meant for businesses with more than 50 employees and comes with several excellent features, including convenient payroll options, a customer interface, and numerous innovation tools. Gusto is also a perfect option because it can be integrated with multiple third-party platforms.