ADP Payroll Solutions review

Panoramic solutions from a long-time industry leader

ADP Payroll Solutions
(Image: © ADP Payroll Solutions)

Top Ten Reviews Verdict

ADP is generally recognized as an industry leader in payroll software. Its offering of multiple plans that suit many types and sizes of business is definitely a leading draw, and versions run from relatively simple plans suitable for small businesses to ones that can handle the most intricate and panoramic needs of a multinational company. Its industry-leading reputation is backed up with robust features such as accounting integrations, new-hire reporting and HR services. Some the pricing structures can be somewhat oblique as each customer is quoted a bespoke price and their customer service has drawn some complaints.


  • +

    The included features are numerous and robust, and rival any payroll software

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    Its scalability is in-built and it can easily grow with your business

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    ADP is an industry leader, and has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau


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    The pricing structure can be opaque at first, and fees are charged per payroll processed rather than a flat fee as found with other brands

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    Customer service has been flagged up by some people as unresponsive or not completely satisfactory

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ADP has been around as a payroll processing company since the late 1940s, and so it’s bringing decades of experience to the table. It reports that around 600,000 businesses, of all sizes and across an impressive variety of industries, use ADP Payroll Solutions.

ADP Payroll Solutions is hosted in the cloud, meaning that installation and maintenance costs are avoided, everything being accessed online. ADP Payroll Solutions does not publicly release pricing information as it tailors quotes to each customer, but typically offers a couple of months free trial and then there are price tiers within each plan, dependent on requirements.

ADP Payroll Solutions confidently touts its software’s intuitive interface described as ‘streamlined’, the advantages for small business owners especially being that they are then freed up to concentrate on more critical aspects of running their business. Payroll can be run from any device and there’s a good mobile app so that features can be accessed from outside the office.

First time users will encounter the Company SetUp Wizard as they log on, where basic information is uploaded – the payroll calendar, tax details, worker’s compensation, etc – and it’s easy to link up a company bank account. The next step is to enter all the employee and contractor profiles, including personal information, pay rates, payment preferences, and their tax withholding status. After this, it’s possible to begin to process payroll – the software calculates deductions for tax, benefits, retirement contributions and the like.


  • A Payroll Tax option that can handle the tax requirements of the company
  • Integration with most of the main accounting software brands
  • Compliance features (included in the more advanced plans)
ADP specs

Payroll processing: payrolls can be processed online, with the mobile app and over the telephone

Payment options: choose from several ways to pay employees, from direct deposits to paper checks to prepaid Visa debit cards

Payroll tax: the software handles all payroll tax necessities, including completion and filing of essential forms. ADP guarantees their tax filing integrity and will pay any fines incurred.

Payroll reports: No matter which plan the user subscribes to, there is access to a range of payroll reports.

New-hire reporting: The software will report any new hires to the relevant state and federal agencies.

Operating Systems – iOS, Windows and Android

Hardware – none

Free Trial – Offered to new customers, typically two months

Payment Options – Billing based on payment per payroll processed

Support – 24/7

Here are the available plans, each with discrete pricing tiers within them, subject to the needs of the company.


ADP Run is deigned for small businesses with 1-49 employees. Within ADP Run there are four plans, each offering a different range of features.

Essential Payroll is the most basic payroll solution. It offers a selection of ADP’s core payroll processing features including tax calculations, withholdings, and filings. Other useful features include check delivery, integration options, new-hire reporting features and annual W-2 and 1099 delivery. Employees can also be given access so that they can view their paychecks and update any changes in their tax information. There are also some basic HR tools, assistance with worker’s compensation, retirement and healthcare and access to essential government forms and documents.

ADP Run’s Enhanced Plan has all the features of the Essential Plan but has a range of alternative payment delivery options and enrollment into ADP’s Labor Law Poster Compliance Update Service. This offers companies assistance with state unemployment insurance and wage garnishment, among other things.

One tier above this is the ADP Run Complete plan, which has all the payroll features in the two previous plans plus a host of additional, helpful HR features. It can help create an employee handbook, for example, set up automated background checks and there’s also access to a range of HR training modules.

Finally, ADP Run’s HR Pro Plan has even more HR features, including employee work-life assistance programs and employee legal services. The company also gets access to a team of ADP’s HR business advisers.

ADP Workforce Now

ADP Workforce Now is aimed at companies with 50-1,000 employees. As such, it is a versatile and varied plan that ADP representatives will help the business create, helping them select the features that they need and removing the ones that they don’t for a completely bespoke payroll solution.

All the essential payroll features are presented online: payroll reporting tools, automated tax services, wage garnishment assistance, new-hire reporting, employee self-service, and a mobile app. Beyond these, there’s a veritable wealth of HR assistance features, including, but not limited to, time tracking, performance management, and benefits management.

ADP Vantage

ADP Vantage is designed for large companies with over 1,000 employees. Its main additions in terms of payroll solutions include multinational flexibility so businesses can comply with local tax and pay regulations. There is also enhanced access to ADP’s payroll staff.

ADP Streamline

ADP Streamline is designed for global businesses, and has enhanced compliance and scalability features as well as country-specific data access, with company information standardized across the necessary global locations.

Obviously the range of plans means that there is a hugely diverse range of user experiences possible, but to focus on first-time, small business users, the much-vaunted intuitive nature of setting up the very first processing of the payroll is very accurate. The Company Setup Wizard is accessible even for people without any previous payroll experience and the screen and various steps are easy to follow – it’s really just a matter of basic data entry, and once the relevant details are inputted, the software does all the rest.

Its automatic calculations can really help with heavy workloads around tax filing times, and the ability to work with a range of delivery payment options is very useful. Depending on the plan and tier, having ADP’s experts at the end of the phone is also a huge boon. For a small business owner, the benefits beyond the efficient payroll processing are at least twofold – there’s no need to employ a payroll specialist and the automated features mean that valuable time can be spent on other company matters.

(Image credit: ADP)

Design and usability

  • Quick and easy access to information across multiple devices
  • Cloud-hosted system, no special software to install or maintain
  • Customized alerts and employee access

The usability of ADP Payroll Solutions definitely benefits from the assisted set up, with ADP representatives helping customers choose the features that they need, meaning that they should be able to focus on the tasks that matter rather than being distracted by unnecessary ephemera.

The Company Setup Wizard has very intuitive and easy to navigate screens, and inputting data – employee information, etc – couldn’t be easier. Once that’s complete, accessing said information and records is very straight-forward, as is making any adjustments that might crop up.

Usability doesn’t deteriorate on the mobile app, either, and setting up took about a minute in total. Outside of payroll administrators, employees should also reap the benefits as they can easily access their payroll information as well as vacation and benefits, saving a lot of company time that might otherwise be taken up with internal enquiries.

ADP Run is very quick and easy for what will presumably be small business owners and not necessarily payroll professionals. The bigger, more expansive and involved packages for larger and global companies will likely be being utilized by experienced, qualified payroll professionals. That said, across the board, it’s an intuitive, pleasingly designed program.


  • Payroll processing available in just minutes
  • Automates many payroll and tax processes
  • Email reminders and good employee access

On the ADP Run plan, once employee details have been entered, when it comes to processing payroll, we simply click on the Run Payroll icon on our homepage, which takes us to a Start Payroll link. Here, we can easily review all of our employee timecards and the like, and there’s ample opportunity to make any changes manually at this point. We can check all the relevant W-2 data, as well as look at any one-off or recurring payments to freelance employees or contractors.

After checking the totals, it’s a simple case of clicking the Approve Payroll tab, which confirms that the process has indeed taken place and shows us the amount of funds necessary to fulfill those payments and on which day they need to be available. The email reminders and so forth are set up when we set up the account and the plan, and can obviously be amended going forward.

Any banking changes at company level or security changes will trigger alerts, and again, these can be changed or updated at any time. In short, once the initial set up process is complete, what we have is an incredibly efficient payroll processing performance, and one that should only need maintenance when personnel details change.


Whatever the size of the business, buying a plan with ADP Payroll Solutions means that customers are buying into a software system created through decades of payroll experience which has made ADP an industry leader. The cloud hosting makes setting up incredibly simple, as well as keeping down expense and time installing software.

The ADP customer service team will have already consulted with the payroll administrator to create a bespoke payroll processing plan, and so familiarization is relatively quick as any surplus features don’t even come into play. The set up screens and stages are very intuitive and don’t assume experience with running payroll, at least with the entry-level packages. The information necessary to run payroll is clearly presented, as are the financial requirements to fulfill payroll successfully.

The employee access across a range of devices means that queries can be undertaken by whomever is making them, and questions about pay rates and vacation time and benefits don’t have to be directed at otherwise busy HR staff or small company owners who wish to focus on more immediate company business.

The range of plans and the ability to create a bespoke package within the plans themselves is a huge boon. Also a big plus is the fact that the plan structure is very amenable to growing as the business grows, and so there should be very little grinding of gears when rapid expansion or fundamental changes in the payroll take place. The pricing may be slightly above some of the competitors, but it is backed up with high quality customer service and that decades-long experience.

Paul Oswell

Paul Oswell is a US-based freelance writer for the Guardian, Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Times and more. While working for Top Ten Reviews, Paul has written about a broad range of subjects, but many of these concern money and tax. You'll find his bylines on articles from tax software to payday loans to create your own Will software.