OnPay Vs Gusto Comparison

Do you know what it's like to manage employee time cards and payroll checks by hand? In the past, this was one of the most major aspects of a company accountant's job. Fortunately, payroll automation software has taken a lot of the headache, hassle, and human error out of paycheck distribution.

With an automated system, a computer keeps track of employee wages and distributes checks. Many of these systems can also set aside funds and automatically pay taxes on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis. Payroll automation leaves room for accountants to focus on more pressing matters.

Two of the most popular payroll systems are OnPay and Gusto. These are both computerized software options with different payroll features, optimized for businesses with anywhere from one to one thousand employees. But there are some key differences that I've outlined here to help you decide which better suits your business.

Overview of OnPay and Gusto

Shared Features

  • Payroll software that automates payment and accounting.
  • Available on-premise or through the cloud.
  • Good for businesses with less than 1,000 employees.
  • Free trial available for full subscription options.
  • Online and phone support available.
  • Online knowledge base and video tutorials.
  • 401k tracking.
  • Advanced security and encryption.
  • Advanced payroll management.

Unique OnPay Features

  • Available in Spanish.
  • 1099 preparation.
  • 401 tracking.
  • Administrative reporting.
  • Annual reviews.

Unique Gusto Features

  • In-person training available.
  • Webinars available.
  • ACH payment processing.
  • Many specific third-party integrations.



OnPay comes with a truly impressive suite of features. In addition to all the basics, you also get features including:

  • Six different user permissions levels.
  • Lifetime accounts for every employee.
  • Functional mobile app for smartphone and tablet accessibility.
  • Filing and remitting of payroll taxes.
  • Free direct deposit for wage employees and contractors.

The system also allows you to sign up for a variety of dental and health benefits. There are plans available for all fifty states. You can add disability, vision, and life insurance to your employee benefits at any time, as well as administration of workers' compensation.

OnPay vs Gusto

You can have all of your 1099s and W-2s generated through the software. For a fee, OnPay will distribute these directly to your employees.

The employee files have all important personal, contact, payroll, and tax information for your employees. In addition, you can generate over 40 tax and payroll reports. That said, your options for customizing reports do tend to be limited.

OnPay vs Gusto

Payroll is offered for all fifty states in the US, so you can manage multi-state payrolls without needing to pay an additional fee. There are options to allow employee onboarding or to enter employee information yourself.

Multiple HR tools are available, including:

  • HR templates.
  • Compliance tools.
  • Creation software for organizational charts.
  • Time tracking and PTO approvals.
  • Offers of employment letters.
  • New hire reporting.
  • Resource libraries.

There's no extra fee for bonus checks or commission checks. It's also possible to assign multiple employee rates, and the system automatically calculates and administrates necessary overtime pay.


There are all of the basic features you'd need to automate your payroll process. Some of the included capabilities are:

  • Reporting for new hires.
  • Flexible scheduling.
  • Unlimited bonus payrolls and off-cycle payrolls.
  • Payments for contractors.
  • Tracking payrolls across multiple states.
  • Direct deposit support with no additional cost.

During the initial program setup, you can work with a software employee to be guided through the process. The company helps you learn how to automate and manage your payroll system, plus it includes administration of retirement and healthcare plans. You also get total access to resources and HR professionals with the Concierge plan.

OnPay vs Gusto

Gusto includes a comprehensive employee onboarding feature. It lets your employees access your payroll system and complete the onboarding process themselves. You need to enter their name and email, but then Gusto can email them so they can complete the process.

There are also comprehensive functions to process your payroll taxes so you don't have to generate forms by hand. Some of the forms that the software will prepare for you include:

  • Form 941 to report taxes withheld, tax deposits, and employee wages.
  • Form 940 to report all financial information related to federal unemployment taxes.
  • Form W-2 to give to your employees so they can file their tax returns.
  • Form 1099 for any contractors your company hires.
  • Local and state tax preparation for all of your employees.
OnPay vs Gusto

The software can administer different benefits accounts including:

  • Healthcare plans.
  • 401(k) retirement plans.
  • Health savings accounts.
  • Flexible spending accounts.
  • College savings accounts.
  • Life insurance.
  • Disability insurance.

The AutoPilot system lets you automate payroll completely from week to week when you have a system that doesn't change much.

Since each employee can create an account in the system, they have access to digital pay stubs. You also have ideal reporting options. It's easy to view the year-to-date earnings of any employee, a summary of employee benefits, a summary of your contractors, balances for time off, and a complete payroll journal.

You can customize different reports by year and export or save them. There are also many third party software integrations for nearly every mainstream accounting software used by small businesses.

Winner: OnPay

OnPay comes with a more comprehensive suite of features that make payroll administration and tax filing super easy. That said, Gusto does have more customized reporting options.

Ease of Use


OnPay is extremely easy to use, with a dashboard that lets you navigate between payroll, tax, and employee information. Outstanding offers and pending tasks are easily divided.

OnPay vs Gusto

There are several customization options during setup to help you automate the process, import your existing information, and decide how much control to give employees over their data.

It's easy to find the functions and features. Should you get stuck, you can click on the question mark to see the knowledge center.


Gusto is a very easy software to use. Even if you've never managed payroll before, the interface is intuitive enough that you can find everything you need. There are also helpful reminders on the dashboard to complete pending tasks.

OnPay vs Gusto

You can use the vertical menu bar to find all the different features and pages. This is also where you'll find the help center, which gives you detailed instructions for setting up and using the different available features.

Support is offered through phone, email, and one-on-one chat during normal business hours.

Winner: OnPay

OnPay wins because of how much easily-readable information is displayed on the dashboard. Both systems are very easy to navigate and learn, though, even if you're a complete beginner.

See Full Review of - OnPay | Gusto

Pros and Cons of OnPay


  • The pricing structure is super transparent and easy to navigate.
  • Comprehensive HR resources are available without any extra cost.
  • The software is available in both English and Spanish and includes administrative tracking features.


  • There are more steps to using the payroll system than there need to be, which can make the process time-consuming for businesses with a lot of employees.

Pros and Cons of Gusto


  • The software has highly scalable options with three main pricing plans available.
  • There are tons of specific third-party integrations with a variety of popular accounting products.
  • The system comes with the capacity for employee onboarding.


  • The pricing structure can be too much for small businesses to handle, especially since many of the most important features aren't available in the basic plan.

Final Thoughts: Which is Better?

Both payroll management systems are geared toward businesses with less than a thousand employees. They both come with easy options for automating payments and keeping track of financial resources.

OnPay works best for small businesses that only have a handful of employees. It comes with affordable options for a small business budget, and it has the basic features you want in a payroll management system. You can also use a number of different HR resources without increasing your costs.

Gusto is a better management software for larger operations. The employee onboarding process is very streamlined, and payroll setup doesn't take as many steps. That makes it good for people managing dozens of employees. It tends to be fairly pricey, but it can integrate with the majority of complex accounting software options used by entrepreneurs.


Official Top 5 Review Team
Official Top 5 Review Team

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