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In the past few years, there have been a handful of startups that have sought to change the way we think about payroll, HR, and benefits. Instead of separating each of these services, these startups have sought to unify them. For companies on the hunt for a new payroll provider, this means an opportunity to carry out all aspects of employee management in one place.
But with a number of startups offering integrated payroll, HR, and benefits, it can be tough to know which solution is right for your company. To simplify the hunt for an integrated system, we’ve conducted a head-to-head comparison of two Canadian providers: Knit and Rise People. To find out how they compare, we’ll look at Knit vs Rise People on the basis of software, payroll features, HR and benefits, customer service, and cost.
Note: You might have noticed we’re writing about the difference between our service and someone else’s. We’ve done our best to give them a fair shake because we want you to make an informed decision. That said, we think we offer the best payroll service in Canada. Want to give Knit a try? Find out how to get started here.
Knit vs Rise People: An Overview
When searching for a full-service payroll, HR, and benefits provider, it's important to consider the software itself. Not only how the software looks and feels, but the overall user experience as well.
Both Knit and Rise People are cloud-based programs. This means that instead of storing information on a single computer, information is stored over the Internet—much like online banking. This means that you can access your data from virtually anywhere, at any time, as long as there is an Internet connection. Rise also offers the added bonus of a mobile app, which provides a quick summary of current time-off balances, personal documents, access to the company directory, and more.
Both Knit and Rise People offer intuitive user interfaces. Both companies are relatively young, which means they have created sleek, modern platforms that are meant to provide a great experience for both payroll administrators and employees who use the self-serve portals.
While both Knit and Rise People might have a similar look and feel from a software perspective, they differ when it comes to specific payroll features.
Though Rise People positions itself as more of an HR platform, Rise People has also built out its own payroll module. This payroll module is designed to automate the payroll process by running payrolls, calculating payroll taxes, and then filing and remitting those taxes to the CRA. While Rise People can take care of most small business payrolls, the platform does lack some more advanced payroll features such as auto-run for salaried employees, payment processing for third party payees, and payroll processing notifications.
Like Rise People, Knit is designed to take the pain out of payroll for small and medium-sized business owners. However, unlike Rise People, Knit positions itself as more of a payroll-forward platform. As a result, Knit offers a more robust payroll platform that is equipped to handle more complex payrolls. For instance, Knit offers auto-run for salaried employees so you can essentially “set it and forget it.” Knit can also handle setting up multiple pay groups, bonus payments, union dues, and payments to third party payees such as RRSP management companies. While not all companies will need these additional payroll features, certain users, such as accountants and bookkeepers, may appreciate the flexibility of Knit’s payroll platform.
HR & Benefits
As mentioned above, both Knit and Rise People offer integrated payroll, HR, and benefits. But while both companies offer all three services, the specific features that they offer are somewhat different.
Rise People bills itself as an HR platform first, and a payroll platform second. As a result, Rise People offers extensive HR management solutions for small to medium-sized companies. In addition to basic HR functionalities such as an employee directory, Rise People offers other HR features such as cloud document storage, custom reminders, PTO and vacation tracking, and a self-serve employee portal. Rise People also offers comprehensive HR reporting so that employers can leverage data to drive organizational improvements.
Although Knit’s primary product is not its HR software, Knit does boast its own proprietary HR module, which integrates directly with payroll. Some of Knit’s standout HR features include an employee database, e-signature documents, employee performance reviews, employee self-onboarding, and vacation tracking, and more. Knit also offers custom HR reports for greater control over employee management.
In terms of benefits, Knit works with its preferred partner Jones Deslauriers Blevins to create custom benefits plans for each company, while Rise People works with all the major Canadian benefits providers.
Although both Knit and Rise People are fairly small companies, each goes to great lengths to provide exceptional customer support.
Rise People employs in-house experts who are PCP certified and available via phone, email, or live chat. The company also has an extensive library of support documents to help users answer common questions without the need to call into the support line.
Similarly, Knit also employs in-house payroll experts, including licensed accountants and bookkeepers. Beyond phone and email support, Knit also boasts an extensive library of support documents that can guide users through most FAQs.
When choosing an integrated payroll, HR, and benefits platform, the final consideration is cost.
Though Rise People does not publish its full pricing structure online, the company does note that it offers a free payroll plan for all businesses in Canada with 20 employees or less. However, it’s important to note that the free Rise Lite platform is limited in its payroll features. It is also important to note that Rise’s paid plans are priced per pay run (rather than per month), which can be more expensive for companies running frequent payrolls.
In contrast, Knit makes its pricing structure publicly available online. Knit’s payroll platform and a lite version of its HR platform is available for $39 plus $4 per employee, per month. For payroll and the full HR suite, the price is $39 plus $6 per employee, per month. These prices include unlimited pay runs, which means that companies that run frequent payrolls or often find themselves running off-cycle pay runs won’t incur any additional fees. Knit also offers a discounted package to accountants and bookkeepers running payroll for their clients.
The Bottom Line
Both Knit and Rise People offer integrated HR, payroll, and benefits. However, Rise People is primarily an HR provider offering the option to add payroll services and other management tools such as time-tracking and group benefits.
On the other hand, Knit is a payroll-forward platform with more robust payroll features. The platform is ideal for accountants and bookkeepers running payroll for their clients, or small and medium-sized businesses looking for a comprehensive payroll solution.
To find out how Knit stacks up against other payroll providers, read our full Guide to the Best Payroll Software in Canada.