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Quickbooks vs Whirks: Which is Better for You?

December 30th, 2021 | 4 min. read

By Gia Rolen

Some of us love working on our house. We enjoy painting the rooms, retiling the bathroom, or sprucing up our backyard, relying on our local hardware store and YouTube for guidance. 

But others prefer to call in help because there’s too much risk involved. Instead of potentially making a huge mistake, they would rather call an expert to rewire an outlet or install a backsplash. 

Quickbooks is for you DIYers who enjoy rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty. Your business is your baby. You’ve learned enough over the years about processing payroll, taxes, and compliance that it’s second nature to you. 

But if you don’t have the time to study up on potential risks and how to avoid them, or spend hours training on Quickbooks, you may need to consider choosing a payroll partner to help you avoid a disaster. 

We know Quickbooks is an excellent tool for experienced small business owners who have fewer employees to manage. But it might not be the right tool for a growing team that requires more compliance. 

We’re committed to helping small businesses choose a service that helps them get one step better every day. So let’s explore the difference between Quickbooks and a payroll partner to see which one gives you more peace of mind and time to focus on your team.  

Customer Service 

You’re processing payroll and you run into technical difficulty. It’s already been a stressful week and your team is on the edge. Staying on the phone for hours (and possibly not being able to pay them on time) doesn’t sound like a great way to end your day. 

With Quickbooks, your customer service depends on the package you purchase. If they are handling the majority of the work, they will guide you through the technology and provide excellent customer care. 

Even though you won’t speak to the same customer representative every time, they do have a wealth of great reps who offer support via phone or online. Their resource center contains articles and blogs about commonly asked questions that you may find useful. 

An independent payroll partner will assign you to a specific customer care representative (at Whirks, we call them our Client Success Specialists). This dedicated team member will be your contact for all of the questions and concerns you may have. 

This is usually the deciding factor for switching providers or leaving Quickbooks - the pain of being stuck on hold for hours, never talking to the same representative, or trying to research the answer yourself wastes valuable time. 

However, most independent payroll companies do not have 24/7 customer service - while larger providers do. Even though you have a dedicated customer care rep, you won't be able to contact them any time of day. 

Because payroll issues usually are time-sensitive, it's important to explore which option suits you and your business better. You may have to wait on hold with Quickbooks, but you also may have to wait until the next morning with a smaller provider. 


Payroll is pretty easy to understand: hours x rate - deductions & taxes. If you have a history of using QuickBooks and you manage a few employees, it’s a great solution. 

The software is user-friendly and generally inexpensive, and if you understand payroll and tax, it is a straightforward, easy process. 

The challenge with any small business software is learning it. Keep in mind that Quickbooks won’t tell you when you are doing something wrong. Unless you’re familiar with tax compliance, understand state and local jurisdictions, and enjoy doing it yourself (we thought it was just us), you may receive a tax notice at some point. 

With an independent provider, you will not file your own payroll taxes, nor report your new hires to the proper workforce agency, or handle garnishments or child support notices. For you, the price of outsourcing may outweigh the risk of being non-compliant and paying penalties you might not know about.

Great HCM software will process payroll and integrate HCM solutions like onboarding, timekeeping, and benefits administration. 

A payroll provider will help streamline your back-office processes and allow for easy tax filings. It’s one less worry for you, and one more way you can win as a business. 


From a payroll provider’s standpoint, QuickBooks pricing is cheaper on a per-year basis. They offer packages tailored to your needs. However, you do need to watch out for buried fees in your contract (e-files vs. paper files, print checks vs. direct deposits, etc) and potential third-party add-ons. 

Independent providers will price their packages in many different ways. For example, at Whirks we use a PEPM pricing model - meaning we charge you per employee per month. This is based on the number of your active employees and the services you want.

Your price is contingent on what your business needs now, which probably includes payroll, time and attendance, benefits administration, and onboarding. As your business grows, you can add on other services to help you manage your employees and strengthen your company culture. 

Choose what’s best for you right now.  

Quickbooks is a great option for small business owners. You’ve been doing this for years, you’re familiar with compliance and tax, and you’ve always paid your employees on time. In the end, you’re in control of the process, and you're saving money. 

If your business is starting to grow, though, it’s usually best to start with the end in mind. If you’re planning on hiring several more employees, you may want to start considering an independent payroll provider, especially if you’re not familiar with Quickbooks. 

Leading your team and focusing on why you started your business is more important than stressing out about payroll or staying up late trying to figure out taxes. Sometimes it’s best to leave it to the experts and reduce the risk. 

Whether Quickbooks or Whirks is the right fit, make sure it helps you apply your passion to what matters: your culture, your team, and your vision. Pick a solution that helps you support the essential functions of your back office and gets you to get one step better every day.