Today’s small businesses have more payroll software options than ever before. The only problem is, the more options available, the harder it is to find the right payroll software for your business needs.
To make the process of choosing a new payroll provider a little easier, we’ve conducted a head-to-head comparison of the Montreal-based payroll provider, Nethris, and the Toronto-based software startup, Knit. To find out how they compare, we’ll look at Knit vs Nethris on the basis of software, payroll features, HR and benefits, customer service, and cost.
Looking for more options? Download our free 45-page Guide to the Best Payroll Software Solutions in Canada.
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 Nethris: An Overview
|Cost||Starting at $39 + $4/employee per month||Pricing varies|
|Option to Pay by Non-Direct Deposit||✔||✔|
|Accessible on Any Web Browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer)||✔||✔|
|The Provider Files ROEs and T4s||✔||✔|
|Stat Holiday Pay Calculations (Automated)
|Unlimited Off-Cycle Pay Runs (No Additional Cost)||
|Multiple Bank Accounts||✘||✔ (up to 3)|
|Can Pay Contractors||✔ (T5018s yes, T4As no)||✔|
|Self-Serve Employee Portal||✔||✔|
|The Provider Automatically Remits to CRA||✔||✔|
|Supports Third Party Payees||✔||✔|
|HR Modules||✔||✔ (add-on)|
|Performance Modules||✔||✔ (add-on)|
|Recruitment/Talent Modules||✘||✔ (add-on)|
|Benefits Management||✔||✔ (add-on)|
|Time-Tracking||✔ (TSheets)||✔ (add-on)|
|QuickBooks Online Integration||✔||✔|
Even if you don’t consider yourself very tech-savvy, it’s important to take a few key software features into consideration when choosing a payroll platform.
Depending on the kind of business you’re running, you may be choosing between a desktop-based payroll solution and a cloud-based payroll solution. Both Knit and Nethris are cloud-based programs. This means that data is stored over the Internet—much like online banking—instead of on a single computer’s hard drive. While there are some cases in which a desktop-solution may make sense, cloud-based programs are often the best choice for small business owners because it means their data is accessible from virtually anywhere, at any time. It also means payroll can be run at home, in the office, or even on vacation if needed. Nethris also offers the added bonus of a mobile app, which employees can use to view their paystubs and other payroll information on the go.
Another feature to look for when choosing a payroll software is security. Both Knit and Nethris offer the protection of 256-bit SSL security and regular backups. Both companies also store their data in Canada and ensure all data transfers are encrypted using the same online security protocol as Canada’s banks. For some business owners, knowing that their data never leaves Canada may be important.
Beyond software basics and security concerns, choosing a new payroll provider will naturally involve comparing different payroll features. On the most basic level, both Knit and Nethris are designed to run payroll, automatically calculate payroll taxes, and then file and remit those taxes to the CRA. In short, each platform is well equipped to handle the payrolls of most small and medium-sized businesses. However, the platforms differ when it comes to specific payroll features that for certain users.
Nethris has been around for more than 40 years, which has allowed the company to develop a robust and reliable payroll platform. As a Montreal-based company, Nethris is particularly well equipped to handle Quebec payroll—a province that Knit does not currently support. Nethris is well-versed on Quebec payroll standards and can take care of the CCQ, Commission des normes du travail, CSST, and Solidarity Fund remittances. In addition to supporting Quebec payroll, Nethris also boasts some other unique payroll features such as the ability to manage support payments, alimony (in Quebec and Ontario), and wage garnishments.
In contrast, Knit does not currently handle Quebec payroll and does not support alimony payments. However, Knit does offer some unique payroll features that are appreciated by both small businesses and accounting professionals. Knit offers employee self-onboarding, automated paystub emails, and self-serve employee portals. All of these features are designed to lighten the workload of the Knit payroll administrator by removing the burden of time-consuming data entry. Access to all of these features can also be controlled by the administrator, thereby giving users greater control and flexibility when it comes to how payroll is managed—something that is particularly important to accountants.
HR & Benefits
However, it is not just payroll features that differentiate Knit from Nethris. Both Knit and Nethris also offer a number of additional features, such as HR, benefits, recruitment, and time tracking.
With Nethris, all services beyond payroll are optional add-ons, which means that companies can pick and choose whether to add additional modules such as HR, time management, benefits management, recruitment, employee self-serve portals, pre-employment services, and more. This a la carte structure means companies can select only the features they need. However, the downside to this pricing structure means that costs can vary wildly when all the extra modules are added in and companies that do not pay from additional services will not have access to certain functions such as self-serve employee portals or HR.
In contrast, Knit was designed specifically as a unified payroll, HR, and benefits platform. This means that even Knit’s most basic payroll plan includes access to HR features such as the employee database, e-signature documents, employee performance reviews, employee self-onboarding, a document repository, and vacation tracking. Having HR modules baked into the platform is beneficial for many companies because it means that all of a company’s employee information is integrated with payroll, allowing for easier employee management. It also removes the burden of double data entry.
When comparing payroll providers, few companies think about the importance of customer service until they really need it. In reality, customer service is something to think about before signing on with a company.
Both Knit and Nethris employ customer support teams of trained payroll specialists, and both offer email support and phone support during regular business hours. However, Nethris is a larger company with offices and support teams across the country. This is an advantage because it means that users on the west coast are able to call the Vancouver office during their regular hours, instead of working around east coast support hours. The same is true for east coast users who have the option to call the Halifax office. When it comes to time-sensitive issues such as payroll, having a local support team can be beneficial.
In contrast, Knit’s support team is solely located in Toronto, meaning that users in other provinces must work around the EST support hours. However, Knit offers a number of alternative to phone support, such as email support and support via live chat. Knit has also created an extensive library of support documents and videos to help users solve some of the most common issues.
The final consideration when choosing a payroll software is cost. When comparing the cost of different providers, it is important to consider whether the provider charges per month or per pay run. For companies that run weekly payroll or frequent off-cycle payrolls, paying per pay run can be extremely costly.
Nethris charges per pay run, which means the cost varies based on the number of employees you have and how often you run payroll. For example, companies with 5 employees running bi-weekly payroll will pay $28.40 per pay run (or $56.80 per month). However, this price only includes payroll services, which means that the cost rises even higher when you add additional features such as HR, time tracking, or recruitment.
On the other hand, Knit offers a more straightforward pricing model. For complete payroll and most of the HR tools, Knit charges $39, plus $4 per employee per month. For payroll and the full HR suite, Knit charges $39, plus $6 per employee per month. This pricing is all-inclusive, which means that Knit charges no additional fees for direct deposit or off-cycle pay runs. Knit’s pricing also includes access to HR tools such as self-serve employee portals, PTO and vacation tracking, e-signature documents, and more, at no extra charge. These tools can be a major bonus to some businesses, particularly as they grow and add additional employees. It is also important to note that Knit offers a further discounted price to bookkeepers and accountants who manage payroll for their clients.
The Bottom Line
Both Knit and Nethris are reliable payroll options for most small and medium-sized businesses. Both companies also offer additional features such as HR, benefits, and time tracking, which may be useful to business owners who intend to grow and expand their team.
In terms of specific business needs, Nethris is the ideal solution for companies based in Quebec. On the other hand, Knit is well suited to the needs of accountants and bookkeepers who run payroll for their clients.
To find out how Knit stacks up against other payroll providers, read our full Guide to the Best Payroll Software in Canada.
By Katherine Pendrill on Aug. 29, 2019