Whether you’re starting a small graphic design firm or you’re living out your dream of opening a gourmet cheese shop, payroll is about to become a big part of your day-to-day operations. However, if you’ve never run payroll before, it can be tough to know which software solution is right for you.

To make the process of choosing a new payroll provider a little easier, we’ve conducted a head-to-head comparison of one of the biggest players in the industry, Intuit’s QuickBooks, and the payroll software startup, Knit. To find out how they compare, we’ll look at Knit vs QuickBooks Online Advanced Payroll 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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It is important to note that QuickBooks offers two different cloud payroll options: QuickBooks Online Standard Payroll, which is designed for very small businesses of 10 employees or fewer, and QuickBooks Online Advanced Payroll, which is designed for slightly larger businesses of 50 employees or fewer. QuickBooks also offers a desktop program for those who do not need a cloud payroll solution. In this article, we look at how Knit stacks up against QuickBooks Online Advanced Payroll. To see how Knit compares to QuickBooks Online Standard Payroll, click here.


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 QuickBooks Online Advanced Payroll: An Overview

  Knit QuickBooks Online Advanced Payroll
Cost Starting at $39 + $4/employee per month $20/month + $2/paid employee per pay run
Direct Deposit
Document Repository
Printable Paystubs & T4s
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 Bank Accounts
Can Pay Contractors ✔ (T5018s yes, T4As no) ✔ (T4As yes, T5018s no)
Employee Onboarding
Accountant/Bookkeeper Dashboard
Self-Serve Employee Portal  ✔  ✔
The Provider Automatically Remits to CRA  ✔
WSIB Remittance
HR Modules
Performance Modules
Recruitment Modules
Benefits Management
Time-Tracking ✔ (TSheets) ✔ (TSheets)


Software

Even if you don’t consider yourself to be particularly tech-savvy, it’s important to think about your software needs when considering a new payroll provider.

 

One of the first things to consider is whether you need a cloud payroll solution or a desktop program. Both Knit and QuickBooks Online Advanced Payroll are cloud-based programs, which 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 business owners in any industry 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.


While most businesses appreciate the flexibility and security of a cloud payroll solution, there are some businesses that prefer to physically keep all their data in one place. In this case, business owners may prefer a desktop payroll solution, which stores all payroll information on one computer’s hard drive. QuickBooks does offer a desktop version of its payroll software called QuickBooks Desktop. To see a comparison of Knit vs QuickBooks Desktop, click here.

Payroll Features

Beyond software, your main consideration should be how a specific platform handles payroll. Both Knit and QuickBooks Online Advanced Payroll are designed to run payroll, calculate your payroll taxes, and then files 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. 

 

Though more robust than QuickBooks Online Standard Payroll, QuickBooks Online Advanced Payroll is still a fairly basic payroll system. The system is primarily designed for straightforward payrolls and can handle some of the more complex functions such as WSIB remittances, filing T4As for contract employees, and taxable benefits handling. However, QuickBooks Online Advanced Payroll still lacks many of the features that today’s business owners look for, such as auto-run for salaried employees, bonus handling, and employee onboarding. QuickBooks Online Advanced Payroll also lacks any integrated HR and benefits features.

 

Knit goes a step further than QuickBooks Online Advanced Payroll, 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 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, 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.

HR & Benefits

Both Knit and QuickBooks Online Advanced Payroll are designed to handle the payroll needs of small businesses. However, like many other payroll providers on the market, Knit goes a step further to integrate HR and benefits into 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.

 

On the other hand, QuickBooks Online Advanced Payroll does not offer integrated HR and benefits. For companies with just a handful of employees, this may not be an issue. However, having HR integrated with payroll can make it easier to sync up data about each employee and their salary—something that becomes increasingly important as a company grows.

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 QuickBooks 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. The QuickBooks Online Advanced Payroll support team is based in St. Catherine’s, while Knit’s support team is based out of Toronto, meaning both are able to offer quick and reliable support to Canadian customers.

Cost

While cost is not always a deciding factor, it is certainly an important consideration when it comes to choosing a new payroll provider.

 

The cost of QuickBooks Online Advanced Payroll is $20 plus $2 per employee per pay run. This per pay run pricing structure means that the more frequently you run payroll, the more expensive the platform becomes. For instance, if you have a team of 12 employees, and you run payroll twice per month, your cost works out to $88 per month. If you run weekly payroll, the cost for those 12 employees jumps up to $176. In other words, QuickBooks Online Advanced Payroll can be an affordable or a costly option, depending on how often you run payroll and the size of your team. 

 

At $39 plus $4 per employee per month, Knit may seem more expensive than Quickbooks Online Advanced Payroll. However, Knit’s monthly price includes unlimited pay runs for no additional fees. This means that if you have 10 employees and your run weekly payroll, Knit works out to just $79 per month. For the same number of employees, running weekly payroll with QuickBooks Online Advanced Payroll will cost you $160 per month. Not to mention, Knit’s pricing also includes most of its HR features, giving you even more bang for your buck.

The Bottom Line

When cost is factored into the equation, Knit is similarly priced, if not the cheaper option in many cases. This makes Knit a reliable and affordable payroll software solution for companies with anything from just a handful of employees, up to 100 employees. It is also a great solution for growing businesses, as Knit is capable of handling the changing payroll needs companies that are scaling.

 

In contrast, QuickBooks Online Advanced Payroll is best for companies with fairly straightforward payroll needs who do not run very frequent payrolls.


To find out how Knit stacks up against other payroll providers, read our full Guide to the Best Payroll Software in Canada.