If you’re starting your first business, you probably haven’t given much thought to which payroll provider you should choose. But while it may be easy to simply go with the cheapest option available, there are a few other factors you should consider.

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 Standard Payroll 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.

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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 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 Standard Payroll. To see how Knit compares to QuickBooks Online Advanced 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 Standard Payroll: An Overview

  Knit QuickBooks Online Standard Payroll
Cost Starting at $39 + $4/employee per month $20/month + $2/paid employee per month
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 ✘ (assisted, but not automatically filed)
Auto-Run for Salary Payroll

Bonus Handling

Stat Holiday Pay Calculations (Automated)

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  ✔ ✘ (only assisted remittances)
WSIB Remittance
HR Modules
Performance Modules
Recruitment Modules
Benefits Management
Time-Tracking ✔ (TSheets) ✔ (TSheets)


Software

When considering a new (or your very first!) payroll provider, it’s important to start with the software itself. Even if your payroll needs are fairly straightforward, there are a few basic things to look for when it comes to payroll software.

 

One of the first things to consider is whether you need a cloud payroll solution or a desktop program. Both Knit and Quickbooks Online Standard 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

Although the software itself is important, the main thing you want to know about a payroll program is to know will it actually handles payroll. At its most basic, payroll software is designed to take care of the math for you, so that you can stay on top of your taxes and ensure that your payroll is accurate. While both Knit and QuickBooks Online Standard Payroll take care of those tricky payroll calculations for you, there are major differences between how each program handles payroll.

 

QuickBooks Online Standard Payroll is a no-frills payroll solution, meaning it only takes care of the most basic payroll functions. QuickBooks Online Standard Payroll will help you calculate your payroll taxes, however, it does not actually file and remit those taxes automatically. In other words, QuickBooks Online Standard Payroll takes care of the calculations, but you still have to do the work of filing and paying taxes each time payroll is run. This not only means a bit more work on your part, but also more vigilance to ensure your remittances are properly taken care of.

 

In contrast, Knit is designed to handle the entire payroll process from start to finish. Not only does Knit calculate your payroll taxes, but it also automatically files and remits payroll taxes, such as EI and CPP, to the CRA every time they’re due. Knit also takes care of year-end forms such a T4s for you, and automatically prepares and files ROEs for you when an employee leaves. This auto remittance feature not only means less work on your part, but it also makes the payroll process easier, faster, and more accurate.

 

Beyond remittances, Knit also boasts a number of other useful payroll features that QuickBooks Online Standard Payroll does not include. 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 payroll needs.

HR & Benefits

Both Knit and QuickBooks Online Standard 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, 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 Standard Payroll does not offer integrated HR and benefits. For companies with just a handful of employees, this may not matter. However, having HR integrated with payroll can make it easier to sync up data about each employee and their salary.

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 Standard 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.

 

At just $20 plus $2 per paid employee per month, QuickBooks Online Standard Payroll is one of the most affordable payroll options on the market. However, as mentioned above, it is also one of the most basic payroll solutions. QuickBooks Online Standard Payroll does not automatically remit your payroll taxes, and does not offer many standard payroll features such as auto-run for salaried employees, accrued vacation pay, WSIB remittances, bonus handling, or contract payments (T4As). QuickBooks Online Standard Payroll also lacks any integrated HR or benefits features. 

 

At $39 plus $4 per employee per month, Knit is certainly more expensive than QuickBooks Online Standard Payroll. However, Knit offers a far more robust payroll system that can handle everything from very basic payroll to more complicated payrolls. Knit’s pricing also includes most of its HR features, giving companies a more comprehensive system for managing their employees and eliminating the need to purchase additional HR software.

The Bottom Line

When everything from the software to monthly fees is taken into account, Knit offers a more robust payroll solution with integrated HR and benefits. This makes Knit a reliable and affordable payroll software solution for companies with anything from 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 Standard Payroll is a less expensive, but more basic payroll solution. With its limited payroll features and a lack of HR or benefits integrations, QuickBooks Online Standard Payroll is best for companies with fairly straightforward payroll needs and 10 employees or fewer.