Payroll may not be the most exciting part of running a small business, but it’s certainly an important part. Therefore, it’s important to find a payroll software that makes the process quick, easy, and worry-free. The only tricky part is knowing which payroll software is the right choice 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 longstanding provider, Payworks, and the newer software startup, Knit. To find out how they compare, we’ll look at Knit vs Payworks on the basis of software, payroll features, HR and benefits, customer service, and cost.

 

Looking for more options? Download our free 2020 Guide to the Best Payroll Software Solutions in Canada.

Download Free Guide

 

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 Payworks: An Overview

  Knit Payworks
Cost Starting at $39 + $4/employee per month Pricing varies
Direct Deposit
Option to Pay by Non-Direct Deposit
Payday Emails to Employees
Accrued Vacation Pay
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

Custom Excel Exportable Reports

Unlimited Off-Cycle Pay Runs (No Additional Cost)

Multiple Bank Accounts ✔ (up to 5)
Can Pay Contractors ✔ (T5018s yes, T4As no)
Employee Self-Onboarding
✘ (administrator only)
Accountant/Bookkeeper Dashboard
Self-Serve Employee Portal  ✔  ✔ (basic information only)
The Provider Automatically Remits to CRA  ✔
WSIB Remittance
HR Modules ✔ (add-on)
Performance Modules ✔ (add-on)
Recruitment/Talent Modules ✔ (add-on)
Benefits Management ✔ (add-on)
Time-Tracking ✔ (TSheets) ✔ (very basic, internal system)
QuickBooks Online Integration ✘ (manual entry into QBO)


Software

Even if the idea of software comparisons make you want to yawn, it’s important to take a few key features into consideration when choosing a payroll platform.

 

One of the most important features in a modern payroll software is whether the program is a desktop-based solution or cloud-based. Both Knit and Payworks are cloud-based programs. This means that instead of storing information on a single computer, your information is stored over the Internet—much like online banking. 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, 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 Payworks offer the protection of 256-bit SSL security and regular backups. Both companies also store their data in Canada 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 never leaves the country and it is protected with the same measures used by Canada’s national banks.

Payroll Features

Beyond software basics, choosing a new payroll provider should also involve looking at each platform’s payroll capabilities. Both Knit and Payworks 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 payroll needs of most small and medium-sized businesses. However, the platforms differ when it comes to payroll features for specific types of users. 

 

Having been around since 2001, Payworks has developed a fairly robust payroll platform that can handle payroll for all provinces and territories, including Quebec. In addition to supporting Quebec payroll, Payworks also includes specific payroll features for franchisees and franchise owners. This includes the ability to manage multiple locations in one database, the ability to import data from POS systems, and a mass wage functionality. As a result, Payworks is a top choice for both franchisees and franchise owners. 

 

In contrast, Knit does not currently handle Quebec payroll or offer specific features for franchisees. However, Knit does offer some unique features for accounting professionals. Unlike Payworks, Knit offers a dedicated accountant dashboard so that accountants and bookkeepers can coordinate and manage the payroll for all of their clients in one place. Knit also offers employee self-onboarding, self-serve employee portals, and emailed paystubs, which lightens the workload of accountants and bookkeepers. Access to all of these features can also be controlled by the accountant or bookkeeper themself, thereby giving accounting professionals greater control and flexibility when it comes to client payrolls.

.

HR & Benefits

However, it is not just payroll features that differentiate Knit from Payworks. Both Knit and Payworks offer different solutions when it comes to HR, benefits, recruitment, and other employee management features.

 

With Payworks, all services beyond payroll are optional add-ons. This means that companies can choose whether to add HR, applicant tracking, time management, absence management, or other modules. This a la carte structure is designed to give companies the flexibility to pick and choose only the features they need. However, it also means that pricing can vary wildly and companies that do not pay from additional services will not have access to certain functions, which may become an issue if a company begins to scale.

 

In contrast, Knit was created 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 onboarding, a document repository, and vacation tracking. The benefit of this structure is that each company’s employee information is integrated with Knit’s payroll platform to allow for easy employee management and to remove the burden of double data entry.

Customer Service

Customer service is an important consideration when it comes to any business solution. However, it is particularly crucial when it comes to time-sensitive tasks such as payroll.

 

Both Knit and Payworks employ customer support teams of trained payroll specialists, who are available via dedicated support emails and phone lines. Knit also offers the option of support via live chat.

Cost

The final consideration when choosing a payroll software is cost. When comparing the cost of different providers, it is important to note whether the provider charges per month or per pay run. This is an important consideration because companies that run weekly payroll or frequent off-cycle payrolls often find that paying per pay run can be extremely costly.

 

Payworks does not make its payroll pricing publicly available, which means you will need to contact the company in order to receive a quote. This quote will vary based on which features you need, with additional costs for HR, time tracking, and more. It’s also important to note that Payworks charges per pay run, which can add up quickly for 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. This pricing is all-inclusive monthly fee, which means that 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. It’s also important to note that Knit offers a further discounted price to bookkeepers and accountants.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to payroll, both Knit and Payworks are equipped to handle the payroll needs of most small and medium-sized businesses. Both also offer additional features such as HR, benefits, and time tracking, which may be useful for employee management purposes.

 

Beyond small business owners, both Payworks and Knit offer addition features for specific users. For companies based in Quebec or for franchisees specifically, Payworks offers more comprehensive payroll features. On the other hand, Knit is better suited to the needs of accountants and bookkeepers running 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.