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Comparing Payroll Companies: QuickBooks Vs. Complete Payroll Solutions

by Chris Gallivan on Feb 11, 2021 7:03:02 AM

If you’ve been handling payroll on your own but have grown to the point where it’s too burdensome and time-consuming, you may be thinking about outsourcing payroll. But you may be worried about making the right choice when it comes to a vendor.

When it comes to outsourced payroll providers, there are lots of options to choose from. As you start to research vendors, you’ll quickly see that QuickBooks is one of the most popular vendors for small to medium-sized businesses. But if you’re here, it means you’re also considering Complete Payroll Solutions.

Complete Payroll Solutions has been providing outsourced payroll services to clients throughout the Northeast for over 15 years. We understand that may make us a little biased when it comes to comparing payroll providers. But we also know that we’re not the right solution for every business. With that in mind, we know it’s valuable to provide an honest comparative evaluation so that you’re able to feel comfortable in making the right decision.  

To help you evaluate QuickBooks versus Complete Payroll Solutions to decide what’s best for you, in this article, we’ll address how these two providers compare in terms of:

  • Cost of Payroll
  • Included Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Customer Support
  • Guarantees

After reading this, you’ll understand key points about QuickBooks and Complete Payroll Solutions to help you make the right choice for your business.  

QuickBooks Vs. Complete Payroll Solutions

When deciding between QuickBooks versus Complete Payroll Solutions, you’ll want to do a detailed comparison of the offerings.

Cost of Payroll

QuickBooks and Complete Payroll Solutions both offer a range of plans designed to fit the needs of varying company sizes and budgets.


QuickBooks has three plans for payroll – Core, Premium and Elite – that start at $45 a month plus a fee of $4 Per Employee Per Month (PEPM). If you choose the Core option and have 10 employees, the price would be $85 a month

All three plans offer payroll processing plus automated tax filing and forms. As the cost increases, you unlock additional features.

For example, while the Core plan offers next-day direct deposit, the Premium and Elite options provide same-day direct deposit. We’ll get into a more detailed discussion on the features included next.

If you have multi-state payroll, it’s important to understand that the fees for QuickBooks’ Core and Premium plans only include one state filing. If you file taxes in more than one state, each additional state is $12/month.

Complete Payroll Solutions

At Complete Payroll Solutions, we offer four payroll plans. These include Xpress, which is the most basic option, and costs a flat fee based on the number of employees you have. So, if you have up to 10 employees, it costs $69 a month; for 11-20 employees, the price is $89 a month.

Our other three options are Workforce, Workforce Plus, and Complete Benefits. These start at $70 a month plus a PEPM fee of $12 a month. Like QuickBooks, the additional features included in these plans generally increase with the price.

If you prefer to have us run your payroll instead of using automated payroll, we also offer an option that allows you to submit your payroll by phone, fax, or email. That costs $23 per pay period and $2 per check but will adjust based on pay frequency.

Included Features

Both QuickBooks and Complete Payroll Solutions offer similar services for payroll processing. Here’s a quick side-by-side look at the two options for the most basic payroll plans that could be suitable for a company with up to 10 employees.

Features QuickBooks Core Complete Payroll Solutions Xpress
Online payroll
Unlimited payroll
Automated tax filing and forms
Direct deposit
Employee self-service portal
1099 eFile and pay
Workers’ compensation  
Benefits administration  


With all of its payroll plans, QuickBooks offers full-service payroll. That means in addition to paying your team, it also includes automated tax filing and forms. In addition, all QuickBooks plans include health and retirement benefits administration. However, these services are outsourced to third parties, SimplyInsured and Guideline respectively.

As you increase in price, the additional two QuickBooks plans, Premium and Elite, offer more services.

For example, with Premium, you get workers’ compensation administration, time tracking, and access to an HR support center. With their most robust solution, the Elite plan, you’d also get an added level of setup support, your personal HR advisor, and tax penalty protection.

Complete Payroll Solutions

At Complete Payroll Solutions, all of our plans include online payroll, tax filing, and electronic/paperless pay options. One way we’re different from QuickBooks is that workers’ compensation is included in all of our packages, while QuickBooks only integrates it in its Premium and Elite packages.

Like QuickBooks, we also add more features as you step up to higher-level packages. For example, with Workforce, for $70/month, you get a basic HRIS, onboarding, HR consulting, COBRA administration, and a handbook builder. By comparison, QuickBooks only offers a personal HR advisor with its $125/month Elite plan.

However, only our highest level plan, Complete Benefits, includes health and retirement benefits administration whereas QuickBooks offers that service in every package. With Complete Benefits, we handle the administration in-house versus outsourcing it.

Depending on your requirements, with either company, you can start with a more basic and less expensive plan and upgrade as your workforce needs and budget change.

Ease of Use

QuickBooks and Complete Payroll Solutions offer automated payroll so it’s fast and easy on your part. Essentially, all you have to do is:

  1. Select the pay period
  2. Adjust salaries if necessary to take into account earnings adjustments like overtime
  3. Enter any vacation or sick days
  4. Review and submit


With QuickBooks, even though it’s a do-it-yourself (DIY) model, you get guided payroll set up. QuickBooks’ website says you’ll be able to set up and run your first payroll in as little as an hour if you’re a company with one or two employees. And, once set up, you’ll be able to pay your team in less than five minutes.

Complete Payroll Solutions

As a new client with Complete Payroll Solutions, it will take about 2-3 days to get your first payroll set up. Once you’re up and running, using the same 10-employee company example from earlier, it will take less than 15 minutes to complete your payroll each pay period.

Customer Support

Payroll providers are in the service business so their goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to run your payroll.


As a new customer, QuickBooks will help you transfer any existing payroll information, but you’ll handle set up yourself. However, QuickBooks offers expert product support with all three of its solutions. There’s chat support available 24/7 plus US-based phone support available Monday through Saturday.

Complete Payroll Solutions

At Complete Payroll Solutions, a dedicated New Client Team will handle all the steps required to get you set up correctly to avoid any costly tax errors. This hands-on support is one way we’re a little different than QuickBooks.

Once you’re a client, we offer a dedicated account manager and phone support Monday through Friday. In addition to providing payroll assistance, our professionals can also help you with compliance, reporting, and tax-related updates like the Massachusetts Paid Family Medical Leave program.


If you’re new to outsourcing payroll, it can be helpful to know that you’re not locked into any vendor in case you decide you’re not happy with the approach.


As a QuickBooks customer, you can sign up for a free trial for 30 days. To take advantage of this offer, the first 30 days from the date of enrollment is free. Thereafter, you’ll be charged on a monthly basis until you cancel.

You can cancel at any time and your cancellation becomes effective at the end of the monthly billing period.

Complete Payroll Solutions

With Complete Payroll Solutions, we offer a 6-month, money-back guarantee. That means if you’re not happy for any reason, we’ll refund the fees you’ve paid for payroll.

Like QuickBooks, there’s no minimum contract and you can cancel at any time.

With either provider, if you decide to switch to another payroll vendor, the process is pretty easy and quick.

Is QuickBooks or Complete Payroll Solutions better for me?

As you determine the best payroll provider for your business, you’ll quickly see that both QuickBooks and Complete Payroll Solutions have their advantages and disadvantages.

QuickBooks may be a good choice if you:

  • Already use QuickBooks and want one software platform that handles your accounting in addition to payroll
  • Do a lot of job costing and want to be able to track payroll expenses by job and integrate the data directly into your P&L
  • Want the option to integrate with a wide variety of third-party tools

Complete Payroll Solutions could be right for you if:

  • If you have employees who work in multiple states
  • Want additional features like benefits and HR support all handled under one roof versus by a third party
  • Would rather leave set up and tax registration to certified industry experts instead of navigating the process on your own.

If it sounds like Complete Payroll Solutions may be a fit for you, visit our payroll solutions page for more details on our payroll options.


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