Purchasing payroll software is an inevitable part of running a small business. However, that doesn’t mean you need to break the bank by signing on with a costly payroll provider. Luckily for today’s small business owners, there are a number of emerging payroll startups that offer affordable payroll solutions—it’s just a matter of finding the right fit.

To make the process of choosing a new payroll provider a little easier, we’ve conducted a head-to-head comparison of two of the most cost-effective payroll solutions on the market: Knit and PaymentEvolution. To find out how they compare, we’ll look at Knit vs PaymentEvolution 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.

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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 PaymentEvolution: An Overview

  Knit PaymentEvolution
Cost Starting at $39 + $4/employee per month Starting at $22/month for the Business plan (up to 25 employees)
Direct Deposit ✔ (50¢ per transaction with Business plan)
Option to Pay by Non-Direct Deposit
Payday Emails to Employees
Customizable Pay Schedules
Accessible on Any Web Browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer)
The Provider Files ROEs and T4s
Auto-Run for Salary Payroll

Bonus Handling

Stat Holiday Pay Calculations (Automated)

Multiple Pay Groups

Multiple Bank Accounts
Can Pay Contractors ✔ (T5018s yes, T4As no)
Employee Onboarding
Accountant/Bookkeeper Dashboard
Self-Serve Employee Portal  ✔  ✔
The Provider Automatically Remits to CRA  ✔ ✔ (source deductions only)
WSIB Remittance
HR Modules
Performance Modules
Recruitment Modules
Benefits Management ✔ (only available with Business+ plan)
Time-Tracking ✔ (TSheets) ✔ (TSheets, FreshBooks)


Software

Even if you’re on a tight budget, there are a few basic features to look for in a payroll software.

 

One of the most important software considerations is whether the program is desktop-based or cloud-based. Both Knit and PaymentEvolution are cloud-based payroll programs. This means that instead of storing information on a single computer, information is stored over the Internet—much like online banking. This is a great feature for small business owners in any industry because it means that their data is accessible from virtually anywhere, at any time, as long as there is an Internet connection. It also means they can run payroll at home, in the office, or even on vacation if they need to.

 

Another feature to look for when choosing a payroll software is security. Both Knit and PaymentEvolution offer the protection of 256-bit SSL security and regular backups. Both companies also store their data in secure data centers with state-of-the-art biometric access controls, constant video surveillance, redundant power feeds, generators, fire suppression, and climate control measures. This means that your data is just as safe with either of these two payroll providers as it is with any major bank.

Payroll Features

Beyond software, your main consideration should be how a specific platform handles payroll. Both Knit and PaymentEvolution are designed to run payroll, calculate your payroll taxes, and then file and remit those taxes to the CRA. But while both programs can handle these basic functions, they differ when it comes to more complex payrolls. 

 

PaymentEvolution is often considered a no-frills payroll solution. This means that the system is primarily designed for straightforward payrolls and can handle some of the more complex functions such as custom deductions and pay rules, T4As for contract employees, and bonus handling. However, PaymentEvolution lacks many of the features that today’s business owners look for. For instance, the only automated remittances PaymentEvolution supports are source deductions. This means that all other remittances, including WSIB and EHT, must be done manually. PaymentEvolution also lacks other time-saving functions such as auto-run for salaried employees and employee onboarding. As a result, there may be more manual input required to run certain payroll functions with PaymentEvolution.

 

Knit goes a step further than PaymentEvolution, with a number of advanced payroll features. For example, Knit offers auto-run for salaried employees so you can essentially “set it and forget it.” Knit can also handle automated WSIB remittances, union dues, and payments to third party payees such as RRSP management companies. While not all companies will need these additional payroll features, companies with more than a few employees or businesses that are beginning to scale will likely find that they need a more comprehensive system like Knit to handle their changing payroll needs.

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HR & Benefits

Like many other payroll providers on the market, Knit and PaymentEvolution offer more than just payroll services.

 

In the case of Knit, payroll, HR, and benefits are all synced to the same platform. Some of Knit’s standout HR features include an employee database, e-signature documents, employee performance reviews, employee onboarding, a document repository, and vacation tracking. All of this is integrated with Knit’s payroll platform to allow for easy employee management and to remove the burden of double data entry. As for benefits, Knit works with its preferred partner Jones Deslauriers Blevins to create custom benefits plans for each company.

 

In contrast, PaymentEvolution offers benefits management, but not integrated HR. For benefits coverage, PaymentEvolution works with carrier partners Canada Life, Empire Life, and Manulife, to create custom plans tailored to each company's specific needs and budget. PaymentEvolution also offers live interactive quotes, which makes it easy for companies to gauge their benefits costs.

Customer Service

Great customer service is important when it comes to any small business solution, but it’s particularly important when it comes to time-sensitive processes such as payroll. 

 

Both Knit and PaymentEvolution are well aware of the importance of addressing payroll concerns as soon as possible. Both companies employ customer support teams of trained payroll specialists, who are equipped to handle virtually any issues. Both Knit and PaymentEvolution offer 24/7 email support and phone support during regular business hours Monday through Friday.

Cost

As mentioned above, most small business owners are on a tight budget, which means that cost is a key factor when choosing a payroll provider. Fortunately, both Knit and PaymentEvolution offer highly affordable payroll software for small and medium-sized businesses.

 

There is no question that PaymentEvolution is one of the most affordable payroll platforms available for Canadian businesses. For businesses with less than 25 employees, PaymentEvolution charges just $22 per month (although there is an added fee of 50¢ per direct deposit transaction). PaymentEvolution even offers a limited version of its payroll platform for free to companies with less than five employees (with the same 50¢ fee per direct deposit transaction). However, it is important to note that for companies with 26 employees and up, PaymentEvolution’s monthly fee jumps to $50, plus $1.50 per employee, per pay run. As a result, PaymentEvolution can become a pricey option for slightly larger companies that run frequent payrolls.

 

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. While Knit’s monthly fee is higher than PaymentEvolution’s basic Business plan, Knit charges no additional fees for direct deposit or off-cycle pay runs. Knit’s pricing also includes access to HR software, which can be a major bonus for some businesses. Moreover, Knit also offers a further discounted pricing package to bookkeepers and accountants.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to payroll, both Knit and PaymentEvolution are equipped to handle the payroll needs of most small and medium-sized businesses. However, PaymentEvolution lacks some useful payroll features and integrated HR tools, making it best for small companies with fairly straightforward payroll needs.

 

On the other hand, Knit offers extensive payroll and HR features for an affordable monthly fee. This makes Knit an ideal choice for small and medium-sized companies that are growing or have more complex payroll needs.