Paylocity vs. ADP 2021 Comparison Review

For business owners, few things are more important than paying your employees on time and correctly. To help you stay on top of payroll, free up your time, and reduce the likelihood of error, you may want to consider payroll software.

Payroll software automates the process of paying your employees. Plus, most systems also offer other HR-related tools, as well. While there are many options on the market, two choices you may have come across are ADP Payroll and Paylocity. If you’re not sure which one is best for your business, we’re here to help. In this Paylocity vs. ADP comparison, we’ll break down the details of each platform, including features, pricing, and user reviews, so you can determine which is right for you.

Paylocity vs. ADP: Overview

Before we get into the details of Paylocity vs. ADP Payroll, let’s first compare them on a high level.

Both Paylocity and ADP are cloud-based payroll systems, meaning you can access your account anywhere you have an internet connection. Whereas ADP offers several different plans based on the number of employees and features you’re looking for, Paylocity doesn’t have plans per se; rather you can choose from a variety of features and work with the Paylocity team to create a custom plan for your business.

Paylocity ADP Payroll
Do It Yourself, Run, Workforce Now
Payday preview, payroll adjustments, new hire templates
Tax filing, new hire onboarding, employee discounts, HR assistance
Mobile App
Yes; Android and iOS
Yes; Android and iOS
Free Trial
Do It Yourself plan only
300+ across 20 product categories

Paylocity Features and Pricing

Paylocity doesn’t have different plans like ADP does; rather they offer a variety of services that you can choose from. They also don’t offer upfront pricing for their services. While this makes it more difficult to compare to other services, you can expect to build a custom plan with Paylocity based on the number of employees you have and the features your business needs. In this way, you can ensure you’re not paying for any tools you won’t actually use, which can often be the case when you have to choose a premade plan.

However, as far as pricing for payroll and HR services go, you can probably expect to pay a monthly base price plus an additional monthly cost per employee. With that said, let’s explore some of the features you can utilize with Paylocity.


Of course, payroll services will be one of the most important aspects of whichever software you choose. With Paylocity, you can expect:

  • Preview, correct, and verify your register prior to processing payroll
  • Option for employees to access a portion of their paychecks before payday
  • Expense reimbursement tools to track and organize expenses, automate reimbursement, and simplify approvals
  • Data integration for benefits like 401(k)

Paylocity also features a compliance dashboard to help you stay compliant and manage your taxes with Paylocity. They also offer tax filing services as a registered reporting agent and can file your payroll taxes for you, including IRS Form 941 for quarterly taxes.

Human Resources

Paylocity also offers human resources management tools that can help you keep everything in order without having a fully built-out HR department in-house. Some features include:

  • New hire and quick-edit templates to simplify onboarding
  • Employee action forms for any change in compensation or position
  • Custom checklists
  • Track, report, and maintain data
  • Access to dedicated HR team for any questions or updates
  • Employee self-service dashboard

With the employee self-service portal, your staff can access all of their pertinent HR information, including pay stubs, benefits info, company info, more.

Benefits Administration

Both you and your employees will be able to login to the Paylocity dashboard to see their benefits elections and make changes during the appropriate times. You can also easily administer third-party benefit services like FSAs, HSAs, and COBRA, as well as supplement your standard plans with complementary programs to offer your employees a comprehensive benefits package.

ADP Payroll Plans and Pricing

Like Paylocity, ADP is also a cloud-based payroll and HR management software platform with quote-based pricing.

ADP does, however, offer separate plans based on the number of employees you have and the features you need. While this can make it easier to compare your options, you can also likely work with ADP to add or remove features to customize your plan. Below, we’ll look at ADP’s solutions for small and midsize businesses: Do It Yourself, Run, and Workforce Now, as well as the plans within each of these.

Get Started With ADP Payroll

Do It Yourself 

The “Do It Yourself” plan from ADP was made for businesses with fewer than 10 employees on payroll. Unlike their other plans, Do It Yourself has upfront pricing of $59 per month and then an additional $4 per employee per month. Features of this plan include:

  • Unlimited payroll runs
  • Tax filings (ADP will also pay any fees you incur based on their filings)
  • W-2 and 1099 management
  • Option for direct deposit
  • Payroll and accounting experts for support
  • Unlimited chat support 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET Monday through Friday
  • Employee access
  • New hire reporting
  • 24/7 access for your accountant

If you have fewer than 10 employees and are interested in this plan, take advantage of their check free trial to see if it’s the right fit.


Of course, if your company has 10 or more employees, the DIY plan won’t work for you. The next step up is ADP Run, which is designed for businesses with one to 49 employees. Within the Run program, there are four plans for you to choose from.

Each plan increases in features, building on the previous ones and adding even more functionality. The Essential and Enhanced plans cover mainly payroll, while the Complete and HR Pro plans also include HR features. Again, each plan is quote-based so you’ll have to work with ADP directly for pricing information. Here’s a rundown of the features you can expect with each of the four ADP Run plans (remembering that as you move down the line, the upper-level plans include all of the features in the previous plans).


  • Direct deposit
  • Payroll delivery
  • Robust reporting
  • General ledger interface
  • New-hire reporting
  • W-2s and 1099s
  • Tax filing
  • Mobile app
  • ADP employee access
  • HR tips and newsletter
  • State and federal forms and resources
  • HR checkups


  • Check signing and stuffing; secure check
  • Poster compliance
  • State unemployment insurance (SUI)
  • Garnishment payment services


  • ZipRecruiter
  • Employee handbook wizard
  • HR HelpDesk
  • New-hire onboarding
  • Background checks
  • Job description wizard
  • HR forms and documents
  • HR training and toolkits
  • HR compliance database and alerts
  • Document vault
  • HR tracking
  • Alerts and notifications

HR Pro

  • Enhanced employee handbook support
  • Enhanced HR HelpDesk support
  • Employee discount program
  • Work-life employee assistance programs
  • Training for employers and employees
  • Legal assistance from LegalShield

Workforce Now

ADP’s midsize solution is Workforce Now, which is designed for businesses with 50 to 999 employees. Like their other plans, this is also a cloud-based HR management option that can help you with payroll, HR management, benefits, talent, and more. Again, this service is quote-based. Here’s a rundown of the plans within Workforce Now and the features you’ll receive.


  • Real-time processing
  • Payroll dashboard with error detection alerts
  • Prorated and retroactive pay adjustments
  • Expert tax filing and payment services
  • Unmatched library of built-in reports
  • Custom report builder
  • General ledger interface
  • DIY hours, earnings, and deductions
  • Batch import capability
  • Payroll preview before submitting
  • Compliance management and reporting
  • Fully integrated onboarding experience
  • Guided new hire and termination workflows
  • Secure and reportable HR recordkeeping
  • Policy acknowledgments
  • Employee development tracking
  • Custom report builder
  • Employee self-service tools
  • Global HR system of record
  • Customizable employee portal


  • Compliance guidance and reporting
  • HR document and policy toolkits
  • Job description support
  • Employer HelpDesk staffed by HR professionals
  • Employee handbook wizard
  • Job description templates and wizard
  • HR doc library, alerts, and tools
  • Federal and state compliance reporting
  • HR toolkits: guides, forms, and policies


  • Flexible plan configuration and management
  • Mobile enrollment for employee benefits and life events management
  • Library of benefits reports
  • Compliance management and reporting
  • Open enrollment management dashboard
  • Flexible rate structures
  • Invoice auditing and carrier connections
  • Dependent and beneficiary tracking
  • ACA services including administrative dashboard
  • Integration with leading job board sites
  • Insights to key metrics: sourcing efficiency, cost, and time to hire
  • Seamless onboarding integration
  • Talent communication and nurturing
  • Requisition process and reporting
  • Mobile career site for candidates
  • Candidate talent communities
  • Interview scheduling and offer letter management
  • Customize performance goals and reviews
  • Dashboards to easily view trends
  • Employee self-evaluation support
  • Customizable review templates
  • Notifications for upcoming deadlines
  • Performance and compensation tracking
  • Configurable merit and budget guidelines
  • Payroll integration for award allocation


  • Easy access to key metrics and trends
  • Mobile view of valuable C-suite insights
  • Quick team, department, and timeline comparisons
  • Actionable insights on turnover, overtime, and more
  • Simply customize and share reports
  • Apply thresholds to align and monitor performance
  • Benchmark metrics against largest HCM data-set (optional)

As you can see, as you dive into the higher-level ADP plans, you go from a simple payroll solution to an all-encompassing HR management tool to cover everything from hiring and onboarding new employees to administering payroll and benefits company-wide.

Paylocity Pros and Cons

Any product has its pros and cons, most of which will depend on your individual business and what you’re hoping to get out of this software. That said, here are some highlights and lowlights of Paylocity to consider.

Paylocity Pros

  • Integrations: Paylocity offers over 300 integrations across 20 product categories, including applicant tracking, insurance, time and attendance, and more. This means you’ll likely be able to link any other business management systems you use to share data between platforms and reduce the need to manually import anything. This also allows you to further customize your software to get the most out of it.
  • Streamlined processes: Beyond their standard offerings and integrations, Paylocity also has a push notification feature known as webhooks, so you can create a custom notification system triggered by certain events, including new hires, termination, time-off approvals, or other changes. This means less manual work for your team, as well as less of a chance that something falls through the cracks.

Paylocity Cons

  • Pricing: This is actually a con for both Paylocity and ADP as neither provides upfront pricing on their websites. While we’re wary of quote-based pricing since there’s no way to know whether you’re getting the same price as a similar-sized business with the same HR needs, it may be to your business’s benefit to work directly with the provider to create a custom solution. However, we recommend getting quotes from several sources before you decide on one to ensure that you are getting a competitive price.
  • Customer support: Even users who rave about the Paylocity product say their customer service can be lacking. Users note that it can take a significant amount of time for a customer service representative to get back to you. And as any business owner can tell you, if an issue causes your payroll to not go out on schedule, you’ll definitely want a quick solution.

ADP Pros and Cons

Now, let’s explore the pros and cons of using ADP.

ADP Pros

  • Scalability: With so many plans to choose from—for businesses with fewer than 10 employees all the way to enterprise-level companies—ADP will definitely be able to scale with your company. Their products are designed with business growth in mind and can easily grow with your business, making them a potential lifelong partner.
  • Customer support: Unlike Paylocity, ADP has fairly well-received comprehensive customer support. They offer support 24/7 to both employers and employees by phone or email.

ADP Cons

  • Pricing: Once again, the lack of transparent pricing available from ADP is a drawback—unless you’re interested in their DIY plan, which does have upfront pricing.  Again, we recommend getting quotes from several products to fully compare your options.

The Bottom Line

Now that we’ve covered everything there is to know about Paylocity vs. ADP payroll and HR services, hopefully, you’re feeling a bit more confident and capable of making a decision about whether one of them is the right choice for your business.

If you’re looking for an option that can grow with your business, ADP may be the solution for you. They’re a trusted name in HR management and truly offer a solution that can handle any business’s needs. However, if you’re looking for a simpler solution that can pair well with the other business management tools you use, Paylocity could be the right fit.

It’s clear that both offer a wide array of features, so the decision will come down to what your business needs the most, how large your business is, and what you can spend.

Contributer at Fundera

Nina Godlewski

Nina Godlewski is a former staff writer at Fundera.

Nina worked to help make complicated business topics more accessible for small business owners. At Fundera, she focused on complex topics ranging from payroll management to launching a business. She was previously a staff writer at Newsweek covering technology, science, breaking news, and culture. She has also worked as a reporter for Business Insider and The Boston Globe.

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