Paycom vs ADP: Which Payroll Platform Is Best For Your Business?

Paycom and ADP are both leading providers of HR and payroll software solutions. The two serve a similar range of industries and business sizes and offer many of the same features. Because of the parity between the two systems, it may be difficult to decide which platform is better for your business needs.

So we’ll make it easy for you. Here is what you need to know:

How ADP and Paycom Compare


Paycom is an online payroll and HR software provider for medium-sized businesses mostly in IT and healthcare.


  • Comprehensive tax filing and payroll management
  • Self-service portal and app for employees to run their own payroll
  • User-friendly expense management
  • Solid third party integrations for workforce management and accounting


  • High learning curve to getting started
  • Does not scale well for enterprise-level companies
  • Can’t include U.S. and non-U.S. based employees same payroll system
  • Below standard scheduling and time clocks


One of the largest and oldest online payroll and HR vendors on the market, ADP mostly specializes in providing payroll solutions and HR analytics for small businesses.


  • Extremely scalable to any business size
  • Wide range of features and products synced together, only requiring a single sign on
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Reliable and fast payroll for small businesses
  • Extensive HR reporting and analytics for larger businesses


  • Overly complex features paired with outdated UI might intimidate smaller businesses
  • Tedious implementation process
  • Charges per pay run
  • Additional fees for many add-ons and services like tax filing and W2 generation

Generally speaking, Paycom’s strengths lie more so in its ability to provide efficient tax and payroll management for mid-market organizations, while ADP specializes in detailed HR management and straightforward payroll for businesses of all sizes.

While both platforms can indeed fulfill most of your human resource and payroll needs, there are certainly pros and cons to using both, as well as reasons for considering alternative solutions.

Paycom: Comprehensive Payroll & HR Software on an All-in-one Platform

Paycom is an online payroll and HR software designed to help businesses track, engage, and pay their employees efficiently. Beginning back in 1998, it is regarded as one of the first fully online payroll providers. As such, the company has needed to adapt its software to keep up with the times, especially with the dawn of cloud-based solutions.

Paycom offers vital administrative features for talent acquisition, performance management, onboarding, benefits administration, talent management, and payroll tax management. It also provides basic time clocks and scheduling features.

While Paycom undoubtedly levels up the speed and accuracy of payroll processing, its workforce management capabilities may not be robust enough for some businesses. Moreover, it is not always the best fit for enterprise-level organizations seeking high level reporting functionality.

Features and Benefits of Paycom

Okay, so we’ve given a pretty broad overview of Paycom. That’s all well and good, but we can’t simply stop there. Let's take a more detailed look at some of the main features Paycom is known for to see if it would be the right fit for your business.

Direct Data Exchange tool

Paycom recently developed a dashboard where both executives and employees alike can access live insight on various HR analytics. Executives and managers can see in real-time how, where, and when employees are utilizing the Paycom tools at their disposal to better understand how to eliminate efficiencies, increases usage, and maximize ROI. Through this tool, staff also have 24/7 access to their data, bolstering the system’s employee self-service capabilities.

Single sign-in platform

As an all-in-one solution for payroll and human resources, users need only worry about signing on to a single platform that syncs data across all systems. Whether it be over the app or desktop view, accessing the schedule or onboarding portal, or checking a benefits package, users can seamlessly switch between Paycom modules and services.

Data storage and reporting

Managers can pull reports on a wide range of items and make them easily accessible to benefit carriers, vendors, and staff who need access. This high-level reporting gives valuable visibility into payroll, tax, applicant tracking, and benefits data needed for enhancing HR operations and managing staff information.

Employee self-service app

Through the mobile app, employees can manage time-off requests, view benefits, edit direct deposits, upload reimbursement receipts, review paystubs, complete surveys, and even run their own payroll. The range of HR capabilities the employee app offers provides staff with a fairly user-friendly way to engage with management, democratizing many tasks often delegated to back-of-house administrators.

Efficient all-in-one payroll processing

Paycom’s payroll system handles everything from expense management, garnishment administration, and tax filing for simple payroll processing. Management has access to a detailed dashboard on which they can view a multitude of reports spanning their workforce, allowing them to pinpoint payroll inefficiencies and pay their employees on time.

What Are The Negatives of Paycom?

While Paycom has plenty of good things going for it, the software does come with a few downsides, mostly surrounding the implementation process, customer support, scheduling, and time tracking.

Scheduling lacks customization and automation

Like the rest of its workforce management, Paycom’s scheduling falls well below the industry standard. Its shift swapping functionality is not user-friendly, and its labor forecasting does not take into account metrics like foot traffic, historic demand, weather, and much more. Moreover, staff qualifications and certifications are not utilized by the scheduling tool, meaning unqualified staff can easily end up working roles they are not qualified for. Because of this, most businesses pair Paycom with a dedicated workforce management platform.

Quote-based pricing

Paycom does not provide any pricing information upfront. You need to first meet with the sales team to determine a quote based on your planned usage and needs. Due to the highly variable and hidden nature of their pricing, it is difficult to know what kind of budget you will need to work with. Moreover, this quote-based pricing often becomes quite frustrating when you have to restructure it due to higher than anticipated usage or when you want to gain access to additional features.

Initial setup can be difficult and time-consuming

Paycom has a fairly sluggish and complicated implementation process that requires lots of frustrating data re-entry for business owners. It takes a while to fully get the system in place, and even longer to get managers, staff, and new hires using it comfortably. This lack of agility limits how quickly businesses can achieve their desired ROI.

Long wait times for customer support

Customer support over the phone and email is sometimes quite slow, and training resources are minimal. Once the software is fully implemented, most users tend to find the ease of use below standard; this problem is only exacerbated by the limited availability of support resources and long wait times for assistance.

Poor alignment between time & attendance and scheduling

Paycom’s live workforce analytics are mostly outdated, offering limited real-time visibility into labor costs and wage variances on schedules and timesheets. Because time and attendance and employee scheduling are overly siloed in this way, you can’t accurately compare live sales data to staffing levels. You also won’t receive timely alerts and notifications about absenteeism and overtime.

HR analytics tools difficult to learn and unapproachable

With a severe lack of customer support and training materials paired with an outdated UI, some users find Paycom’s HR reporting features difficult to navigate. Small businesses may find these features daunting and unnecessary, while larger businesses may grow impatient with the time it takes to learn the functions.

Paycom Pros and Cons


  • Access to all employee data on a single payroll platform synced to HR
  • Self-service portal and app for employees
  • Full range of tools for human resources
  • Comprehensive tax and payroll management capabilities


  • Minimal pricing transparency and flexibility
  • High learning curve to getting started on the platform
  • Lack of real time absenteeism and overtime alerts
  • Long and complex implementation
  • Outdated scheduling and time tracking

ADP: Easy, Detailed, Integrated HR and Payroll

ADP began its journey all the way back in 1949. By 1961 they began developing punch-card machines, and now in 2022, they stand as one of the most prominent legacy systems on the market.

Like Paycom, ADP offers both HR management and payroll processing together in a single cloud-based suite. The full scope of ADP includes benefits and insurance management, talent acquisition, labor management, payroll processing, onboarding, and HR analytics.

You can choose from three distinct product offerings depending on the size of your business.

  • ADP Run: HR and payroll for small businesses
  • ADP Workforce Now: HR and payroll for small to medium-sized businesses
  • ADP Vantage: HCM and payroll for enterprise clients

While catering to any business size, most choose it due to the success of ADP Workforce Now with mid-market healthcare and IT companies. Like Paycom, however, ADP might not be the best fit for businesses seeking best in class scheduling, fast implementation, and consistent customer support.

Features and Benefits of ADP

At first glance, ADP may seem very similar to Paycom. Broadly speaking, the two systems are indeed similar, with both providing extensive human resources and payroll services. However, after looking closer, you’ll see how ADP differentiates itself.

Customizable packages for small, midsized, and large businesses

ADP offers more flexibility than Paycom with its three options of RUN, Workforce Now, and Vantage; this flexibility makes it better suited to take on clients of any size. With each package, you receive tools relevant to your business needs, and more often than not at a reasonable price.

Advanced benefits administration

ADP’s benefits and insurance management capabilities are extensive. You’ll have the ability to work with a wide range of insurance plans, and detailed benefits reporting provides valuable insight into opportunities and issues within your business.

Compliance tools and payroll tax capabilities

With ADP’s payroll processing, you’ll be covered by extensive compliance measures. The system stays on top of ever-changing rules and regulations surrounding wage and hour law so you’ll never have to.

Simple third-party integrations

Through open API, ADP integrates with many third-party platforms depending on your business needs and preexisting software stack. This is an area where ADP has a clear advantage over a Paycom system that only integrates with a select few providers.

HR management and consulting

On top of its detailed suite of HR management, and analytics tools, ADP also offers consulting services and support. ADP’s team of experts will analyze your current HR processes and offer guidance during major changes in your organization’s structure.

What are the negatives of ADP?

ADP is a platform that is very well suited for streamlining payroll, taxes, talent, and human resources in a single system across a variety of business sizes and types. However, like Paycom, ADP does not always perform well at functions it does not specialize in, the most prominent example being workforce management. Moreover, user reviews indicate the software suffers from complex implementation problems and inconsistent support services.

Inefficient scheduling

ADP is slow to catch up with other industry-leading hourly employee scheduling systems, requiring lots of manual entry and guessing games from users. The platform does not validate qualifications and struggles to efficiently schedule large amounts of staff across multiple locations. Moreover, the labor forecasting is very basic and does little to help managers control labor costs.

Slow onboarding process

Initial onboarding can be quite lengthy and lack seamlessness, resulting in delayed ROI and confusion all the way down to the end-user level.

Tedious report building

ADP’s reporting tends to be very difficult to set up due to its sheer complexity and inaccessibility. Collating valuable workforce and HR analytics takes a lot of manual lift and data re-entry, and limited training materials exist to help users get things up and running.

Lack of ongoing support and updates

Once implementation is complete, you'll most likely find yourself without the continued support and guidance needed to best utilize the software at your fingertips. Even more concerning is a severe lack of continual product updates. Even with the few updates that do occur, you’ll have to pay extra for them as add-ons.

Unintuitive PTO management

Employees often find it difficult to view and request PTO within the ADP system, resulting in limited user self-service capabilities.

Clunky UI

Many users report a distaste for ADP’s layout. Its lack of intuitiveness makes hard to use, with some even avoiding it as much as possible. The system often has technical errors that take a long time to be resolved, slowing down operations tremendously.

Manual and tedious implementation

Like Paycom, ADP follows an outdated method of implementation, subjecting clients to unnecessary timetables, endless amounts of data re-entry, and complicated final deployments that leave out end-user input.

ADP Pros and Cons


  • Scalability
  • Full HR & payroll suite
  • Benefits administration
  • Third-party integrations
  • Tax and Wage & Hour payroll compliance


  • Difficulty scheduling across multiple locations
  • Extremely difficult BI reporting
  • Inability to apply qualifications to shifts
  • Antiquated implementation process compared to alternatives
  • Confusing end-user PTO management
  • Poor UI Advanced Scheduling & Attendance, Synced to Payroll

On their own, both ADP and Paycom are great options for human resources and payroll. However, neither are best in class for workforce management. As such, businesses should avoid using them as all-in-one “silver bullet” solutions.

Specialized HR and payroll suites are not properly equipped to accomplish a number of things. For instance, they struggle to track overtime spend across teams and locations in real-time, hampering your ability to control labor costs. They also tend to separate leave management and labor law compliance from scheduling, limiting the amount of automation and user self-service possible.

Advanced scheduling and time tracking in one system makes up for where Paycom and ADP fall short. It's a dedicated workforce management platform for hourly employees that recognizes the importance of syncing your time clock with scheduling in a single system. You can compare actual vs scheduled wage costs in real-time, view variances, pinpoint time theft, receive overtime alerts, and allow shift swaps, all while curating the most efficient schedules and collecting the most accurate time. Through the software’s advanced machine learning, you can even automatically create schedules and approve timesheets in a single click.

High-quality third-party integrations works best when paired with a payroll and HR provider like Paycom or ADP. It acts as a complementary system, streamlining all scheduling, time tracking, and labor compliance functions. Through open API integrations, easily pulls employee information from your HR software, eliminating the need for data reentry. It also seamlessly generates and pushes timesheets directly to your payroll system for fast processing.


Use Paycom if you are a mid-market business looking for easy payroll, user self-service, and basic HR capabilities. If you are anywhere from a small business to an enterprise-sized organization looking for more in-depth HR analytics and rapid payroll processing, use one of ADP’s three product suites appropriate to your organizational requirements.

However, if you are looking for scheduling and time tracking in addition to payroll and HR, look beyond just Paycom and ADP. It is best practice to first choose a specialized workforce management solution like, then to find a payroll + HR provider and integrate the two systems together.

Want to find out more about how ADP and Paycom pair perfectly with Book a call today. We’d be happy to chat about it.