Top 6 ADP alternatives & competitors (in-depth comparison)

Chances are, you started your business because of a passion for your trade — not a passion for paperwork. That’s why you’re looking for HR software that can take some tedious admin tasks off your hands.

Perhaps you came across the leading solution, ADP, after a quick Google search. But on further look, you realized it didn’t suit all your needs.

At least now you have a better idea of what you’re looking for — a platform similar to ADP with a few key changes to suit your needs.

To help you refine your search, we’ve compiled a list of the top ADP alternatives. We’ve researched* and compared them on their key features, pricing, and user experience. That way you can find an HR and payroll platform that ticks all your boxes.

*The information in this piece is based on our research on ADP alternatives. All user feedback referenced in the text has been sourced from independent software review platforms, such as G2 and Capterra, in May 2023.

What is ADP and what is it used for?

ADP (which stands for Automatic Data Processing) is a software company that offers HR, accounting, and employee management solutions. Businesses can use it to:

  • Schedule and track employee hours
  • Recruit new workers
  • Consult on HR and compliance matters
  • Run payroll and file taxes
  • Manage benefits, insurance, and compensation packages

Although ADP has a global presence, most of its customers are medium to large US corporations. The software is especially popular in the IT and accounting industries.

Why might you choose an ADP alternative?

Although ADP is one of the leading software companies in its industry, it’s not for everyone. You may be looking for an alternative for one of the following reasons.

Better suited to salaried workers

ADP is designed for salaried workers in low turnover industries. However, small businesses tend to operate in industries with high turnover and hourly work like retail, hospitality, and food services. That means your employees are more likely to prioritize good pay and convenience over long term benefits like retirement plans and promotions. The quick turnaround also means your staffing needs will frequently change and you won’t be able to commit to long-term programs.

As one of ADP’s main features is benefits management, you may end up paying for tools you don’t need.

Steep learning curve

Small businesses have tight profit margins so you can’t afford to have a week of lost productivity while you onboard a new software. That’s why you need a solution that lets you hit the ground running. But ADP users say “implementation is a lot of work” and there are “too many options to learn” which means it may be a while before you reap the benefits. It may not be the best for your small business unless you’re especially tech-savvy.

Too complex for small business management 

Managers often turn to HR software to simplify tasks and save time. But ADP is a complex system that requires a degree of familiarity with advanced software. Customers say it’s “sometimes hard to find what you’re looking for” and “not the most user friendly”. By using ADP, you can add to your workload and stress instead of reducing it.

Key features to look for in an ADP alternative

Now we have a clearer idea of what you don’t want, let’s clarify what you do. Here’s a list of the features a good payroll and HR software should provide.

  • A variety of compliance tools: Small businesses usually don’t have the budget for dedicated HR personnel but still risk the same penalties as larger companies. Software is a great workaround because it helps you comply with regulations at a fraction of the cost of a monthly salary. So, it’s worth looking for a platform with a combination of document, attendance, and policy management.
  • Employee management tools: Compliance often depends on the quality of your schedule, time, and attendance management. For instance, if you don’t notice missed breaks or adjust the rate for overtime, you could get a fine. That’s why the best platforms have built-in scheduling and time tracking tools with triggers and alerts to warn you when you’re about to violate a regulation.
  • Payroll: Accounting can be time consuming but you have to get it right to pay your employees on time and avoid tax fines. When you use payroll software, you can automate this process. That way, you can do all your accounting with a few clicks and not have to worry about errors.
  • Recruitment tools: If you run a small shop or restaurant, you probably rely on seasonal workers during busy periods. But hiring and onboarding a dozen staff while managing your business can be a struggle. Good HR software streamlines the recruitment process with job ad templates, applicant tracking, and digital onboarding. 
  • HR consultation services: Labor laws are constantly changing and can be hard to navigate. But the best HR software will keep you updated and provide you with expert guidance on regulations specific to your business.
  • A wide range of integrations: Depending on your industry, you may use other software like inventory management and point of sale (POS). When you choose an HR platform that integrates with all the most popular apps, you can sync data seamlessly across platforms.
  • Affordable and flexible pricing: Although cost shouldn’t be your only consideration, HR software should suit your budget while allowing you to grow. You want a platform that charges a competitive rate and lets you add on features as you need them.

Top 6 ADP alternatives

  1. Homebase: Best all-in-one solution
  2. Paychex: Best for employee reporting and analytics
  3. BambooHR: Best for performance management
  4. QuickBooks: Best for its range of accounting products
  5. Square: Best for tip management
  6. Gusto: Best for international businesses

1. Homebase: Best all-in-one solution

A screenshot of a Homebase schedule.
Homebase offers a holistic approach to running your small business with HR, payroll, and employee management tools.

Homebase is an affordable, all-in-one solution. Designed with small businesses in mind, it combines employee management, HR, and payroll. It also offers a range of pricing options so you can find a plan that suits your needs whether you’re a small team that’s just starting out or opening your fifth location.

HR and compliance tools

A screenshot of a missed break alert.
Homebase alerts you when there’s a possible compliance issue like a missed break or an employee approaching overtime.

Homebase is one of the few platforms to offer a consultation service for its customers. That means you can get specific, professional advice when you need it on topics like HR for restaurants, hiring minors in your state, or wrongful terminations. We also alert you when the labor laws change in your area and offer a bespoke employee handbook service.


A screenshot of Homebase's payroll dashboard.
Homebase’s payroll is cost-effective and tailored to businesses with hourly workers.

If you use an in-house bookkeeper, the cost of payroll can be prohibitive. Software can help you reduce expenses but many tools only cater to salaried employees. Homebase understands this and that’s why we offer a payroll feature specifically for small businesses. It automatically calculates wages and taxes and sends the correct payroll payments to employees, the state, and the IRS. Plus, we only charge per active employee so there are no unnecessary costs.

Employee management

A screenshot of a published schedule.
Homebase has all the tools you need to schedule, track, and pay your team.

Many platforms offer payroll and time tracking tools but don’t include scheduling. But Homebase is a holistic solution that gives you control over different aspects of managing employees — from assigning shifts right through to paying them. That way you avoid switching between apps and keep your processes as simple as possible. We also offer a range of scheduling and time tracking tools including:

  • Autopopulation and template tools
  • Self-scheduling features so employees can arrange swaps and covers
  • Open shifts for team members to claim
  • Availability management
  • An integrated chat feature to update and coordinate staff
  • Schedule conflict alerts
  • GPS time clock verification
  • Automated timesheets
  • Data syncing between schedules, timesheets, and payroll

Homebase pricing and user rating

Homebase’s scheduling and timesheet tool is free. But for maximum efficiency, we recommend one of our four plans:

  • Basic. Free for one location and up to 20 employees. It has scheduling and time tracking, team communication, point of sale (POS) integrations, and email support.
  • Essentials. $24.95 per month per location. Everything in Basic plus performance tracking, integrations with popular payroll apps, advanced scheduling and time tracking tools, and access to live support.
  • Plus. $55.95 per month per location. Everything in Essentials plus time off controls, hiring tools, and departments and permissions.
  • All-in-one. $99.95 per month per location. Everything in Plus, with HR and compliance, onboarding tools, business insights, and labor cost controls.

Users can save 20% on the paid plans by committing to a year’s subscription.

As of May 2023, Homebase has a 4.2/5 rating on G2 and a 4.6/5 rating on Capterra.

2. Paychex: Best for employee reporting and analytics

Screenshot of the Paychex payroll tool
Paychex’s stand-out feature is its employee benchmarking data and analytics tools. Source

To hold onto your star employees, you have to offer a better deal than your competitors and stop problems before they start. Paychex can help you with its range of data and analytics features. Its benchmarking tools let you compare yourself to other businesses and see where you might be falling short. And its analytics help you spot patterns in attendance and resignations that indicate unhappy staff.

Main features

  • HR consultation
  • Recruitment
  • Payroll
  • Time tracking
  • Benefits management

Pros and cons

Although Paychex has a wide range of tools, it’s not a comprehensive solution. It lacks a scheduling tool which means you have to download a separate app and won’t be able to manage all your features in one place.

Paychex pricing and user rating

Paychex plans start at $39 per month plus $5 per employee. You have to contact them for a custom quote.

As of May 2023, Paychex has a 4.2/5 rating on G2 and a 4.1/5 rating on Capterra.

3. BambooHR: Best for performance management

Screenshot of BambooHR's employee dashboard.
BambooHR lets you record employee progress with its performance review feature. Source

Managing disciplinary action like extra supervision, reduced hours, and terminations can be risky. If employees file a lawsuit, and you don’t have sufficient evidence of their misconduct or poor performance, you could receive a fine. That’s why good HR software lets you track attendance and late arrivals. BambooHR goes a step further and lets you manage performance reviews so you have a complete record of where team members are excelling and where they’re not meeting standards.  

Main features

  • Payroll
  • Compliance tools
  • Recruitment
  • Performance management
  • Time tracking

Pros and cons

The main advantage of BambooHR is its self-service feature which lets employees request time off, update their own information, and receive announcements.

But similar to Paychex, BambooHR doesn’t have a scheduling feature. At the same time, many essential tools like payroll and time tracking aren’t included in the main plan which means you have to pay extra for them.

BambooHR pricing and user rating

BambooHR doesn’t publish its prices but they have two plans and the following add-ons:

  • Benefits
  • Payroll
  • Time tracking
  • Performance management

As of May 2023, BambooHR has a 4.5/5 rating on G2 and a 4.6/5 rating on Capterra.

4. QuickBooks: Best for its range of accounting products

A screenshot of QuickBooks' payroll interface.
QuickBooks is well-known for its variety of sales and bookkeeping features. Source

Businesses like legal firms and nonprofits often have complex accounting needs. They may have to manage many different payment types including funding, retainers, and billing. Plus, there are higher stakes if a manager makes an accounting error as this can delay court proceedings and charitable services.

If this applies to your business, QuickBooks might be a good fit. Its variety of accounting tools lets you do everything from sending custom invoices to organizing receipts and managing project budgets. 

Main features

  • Payroll
  • Inventory management
  • Invoicing
  • On-demand training
  • Employee management (available as the QuickBooks Time add-on)

Pros and cons

The main benefit of QuickBooks is its large number of products and integrations. However, it doesn’t include all the essential features for small businesses in its lowest-cost plans like Homebase does. That means you may end up paying more than other ADP alternatives on this list to access all the tools you need.

QuickBooks pricing and user rating

There are four QuickBooks plans:

  • Simple start at $30 per month for basic sales and cash flow management.
  • Essentials at $55 per month for everything in Simple Start plus bill management.
  • Plus at $85 per month for everything in Essentials plus inventory management and profitability reporting.
  • Advanced at $200 per month for everything in Plus and invoice management and training.

Payroll and employee management are available as separate add-ons.

As of May 2023, QuickBooks has a 4/5 rating on G2 and a 4.3/5 rating on Capterra.

5. Square: Best for tip management

A screenshot of Square Payroll's labor cost history.
Square has a tip management tool to help you split gratuities more easily. Source

If tipping is a major consideration when it comes to payroll, Square might be a good option for you. This software automatically pools tips and distributes them equally between everyone on a shift. Square also has the option to require employees to declare cash tips when they clock out. That way you can make sure everyone gets paid a fair amount without spending hours longer on paperwork. 

Main features

  • Employee management
  • Payroll
  • Point of sale
  • Inventory management

Pros and cons

Like Homebase, Square is one of the few ADP alternatives on this list to offer a free plan. But the software only has a limited range of HR tools so it may not meet all your needs. For instance, it has break tracking but no policy or document management.

Square pricing and user rating

Square has three plans:

  • Free with no cost for sales management. 
  • Plus at $29 per month, which includes a range of employee management and POS tools targeted to your industry.
  • Premium with custom pricing which provides you with a plan tailored to your specific needs and discounts on processing fees.

There are also the following add-ons for an extra fee:

  • Payroll
  • Marketing
  • Loyalty scheme management

As of May 2023, Square has a 4.6/5 rating on G2 and a 4.7/5 rating on Capterra.

6. Gusto: Best for international businesses

A screenshot of Gusto's payroll interface.
Gusto assists you with international payments to employees in other countries. Source

Now it’s easy to work online, businesses are no longer restricted to their local area. But that means you may have to pay employees abroad. Gusto takes care of this by letting you run payroll in over 120 countries and even setting up recurring payments if necessary.

Main features

  • Payroll
  • Compliance tools
  • Recruitment
  • Benefits management

Pros and cons

Similar to Homebase, Gusto is one of the few HR platforms to offer a consultation service. But the downside is that Gusto’s starting price is higher than some competitors — and they charge per employee. This makes it a less cost-effective choice than some others.

Gusto pricing and user rating

Gusto has three plans available:

  • Simple for $40 per month plus $6 per employee for basic payroll and benefits management.
  • Plus for $80 per month plus $12 per employee for everything in Simple plus employee management tools.
  • Premium with custom pricing for businesses with over 25 employees. This includes everything in Plus as well as consultation, performance reviews, and compliance alerts.

As of May 2023, Gusto has a 4/5 rating on G2 and a 4.6/5 rating on Capterra.

Choose the right HR and payroll software for you

HR and payroll software can give you more time to focus on the big picture by simplifying and streamlining cumbersome tasks. But which platform is right for you?

The answer depends on your type of business. If you have employees in different countries, Gusto can help you pay them. And if you handle multiple types of payment, QuickBooks can help you handle complex financial management.

But for an all-in-one solution that suits most small businesses, choose Homebase. We bundle all the essential employee management tools like scheduling, time tracking, and communication with our HR and payroll features. Plus, we’re one of the few low-cost solutions to offer consultation as part of our plans. That means you get all the benefits of expert HR guidance without having to pay an extra salary.

Remember: This is not legal advice. If you have questions about your particular situation, please consult a lawyer, CPA, or other appropriate professional advisor or agency.

Related posts

How to write a restaurant business plan

If you’re thinking about starting an eatery, the first big step is making a restaurant business plan. A good plan…

Read article

How to create a retail store business plan

A successful retail business starts with a well-thought-out retail business plan. While you may think you have your business ideas…

Read article

Business plan, strategic plan, operational plan: why all 3 are important

When you’re in the early stages of running your business, it’s easy to get lost when thinking about all the…

Read article

5 effective timesheet reminders for employees and how to automate them

Whether you’re an entry-level employee, contract worker, or manager, remembering to track your time is a pain. Not only does…

Read article

The 10 best small business apps to manage your daily operations

Running a small business is an exciting journey, but means juggling customer management, expenses, inventory, and team coordination — all…

Read article

Small business clocking in and out policies (+ a free sample)

It’s the end of the month, you’re doing payroll, and you notice that one of your employees logged ten hours…

Read article
Effortlessly schedule and track your team's time with Homebase.
Try our basic plan free, forever.
Try Homebase for free