What’s better for your business in 2023?

Gusto and TriNet Zenefits logos.
Image: Rebecca Olason/TechRepublic

You want software that will help you process your payroll and taxes accurately, and you want software that offers attractive benefits to your teams and increases employee retention. It may seem like you’re asking a lot, but you’re in luck: the right payroll software solution can provide the tools to support your business in multiple areas.

While Gusto and Zenefits are both leading competitors in the payroll software world, the products have unique approaches to provide different features and capabilities. We compare the key features of Gusto and Zenefits so you can choose the ideal payroll solution for your business.

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What is taste?

Gusto logo.
Image: Gusto

Gusto provides a cloud-based, full-service payroll software solution with HR tools that help businesses hire and provide compensation and benefits to their employees. The company offers its payroll software through three tiers of products that include automated payroll capabilities, benefits integrations, and other organizational features. You can customize Gusto’s plans with add-on options to access more payroll and HR tools.

Gusto’s hiring tools and talent management features can help HR managers find and manage their employees. The platform’s insights and reporting capabilities support decision-making.

What is Zenfits?

The TriNet Zenefits logo.
Image: TriNet

Zenefits offers a People Ops platform in the form of cloud-based software with features to manage payroll processes, health insurance coverage, and other HR operations. The software-as-a-service solution is offered in three plans, each billed monthly based on the number of employees in your company.

You can use automation software to manage multiple aspects of your teams, from onboarding new hires to conducting performance reviews. The software also allows users to offer comprehensive health plans and other benefits to their employees, and it offers features that help management improve their compliance, team productivity, and employee experience.

Gusto vs. Zenefits: feature comparison

features gusto Zenefits
529 college savings plan Yes no
Integrated employee scheduling functions no Yes
Service brokerage in-house Yes no
Mobile platform app no Yes
Custom admin permissions Yes no
Health coverage in all 50 states no Yes

Gusto vs. Zenefits: Payroll Features


With Gusto’s full-service tools, companies can easily handle unlimited payroll processing. The solution has built-in time tracking, which means employees’ hours are automatically synced with their payroll data. The automated nature of the integrated solution also means that other payroll-impacting factors such as health insurance, 401(k), employee compensation and PTO are properly managed.

Gusto can manage payroll no matter where your employees are located. In addition, the payroll solution can process contractor payments in more than 80 countries and handle the tax registration process for employees in all 50 US states. For hourly workers, geolocation time tracking ensures business records remain accurate and compliant.

Gusto also automatically files payroll taxes with the appropriate government agencies. Employees can view payslips and W-2s on the system and quickly access their salary via Gusto debit cards.


You can process unlimited salary runs through Zenefits’ easy-to-use platform. Its automated features simplify payroll with automatically synced time off, benefit deductions, scheduling data and salary information updates.

Zenefit’s Admin and Payrun features help you manage payroll tasks with automatic reminders. Features like automatic prorated payments for new hires, salary previews, and the ability to capture reported tips are beneficial to ensure accurate payments and compliance.

Zenefits enables businesses to process multiple deductions and automatically processes federal and state tax returns, including new hire filings and 1099 filings with the IRS. Garnishments are not a problem as the platform calculates and sets aside garnishment retentions.

Zenefits may make direct deposits to any employee, including full-time employees, contractors, freelancers, or consultants. Employees have mobile access to their dynamic payslips, so they can see their deductions and salary information even after they leave the job.

Gusto vs Zenefits: Pros


Gusto acts as a broker, helping employers provide health and financial benefits to their employees. These affordable benefits include competitive employee benefits, commuter benefits, and HSA and FSA options. In addition, the premium Gusto plan gives users access to 401ks and management of dental, eye and health insurance. Gusto allows users to integrate existing brokers and eligible health plans for easier management.

Several free perks are offered to employees, such as: B. the renewal functions for open registrations and budgeting tools. For example, the Gusto Wallet app allows employees to manage their paychecks and they can set up automatic savings with the Gusto Cash Accounts. The app allows employees to split their wages between their accounts and get budgeting insights.


Zenefits’ automated system helps companies provide medical, dental and eye care services in 49 states. Additional benefits include FSA, 401k, life and disability, HSA, commuter and supplemental benefits. In terms of ACA regulations, the platform keeps up with the latest updates and automatically adopts compliance.

Employees can register for benefits directly on the platform. In the Zenefits app, employees can view their balances, entitlements and plan information from their mobile devices. By integrating the Zenefits app with other apps, employees can connect and apply their benefits on the go.

Gusto vs. Zenefits: Coverage, Insights and Analysis


Gusto lets you view and share a variety of payroll, benefits, employee, and tax reports. For example, non-working time data can be organized by date, department, or employee, allowing you to create the right reports for your needs.

More expensive plan levels give executives and decision makers access to more reports and holistic insights into tax and payroll data. Gusto even allows businesses to create custom reports using its templates, allowing them to glean the data and insights they need.

Another reporting benefit available through the more expensive Gusto plans is the ability to create reports on employees. With anonymous employee surveys, you can improve your employees’ experience by gleaning actionable insights from them and analyzing survey results over time. Project tracking and labor cost reports can also provide insights into team productivity and labor budgeting.


Zenefits can track multiple aspects of the business through the platform’s reporting capabilities. For example, Zenefits can create payroll schedules and general ledger reports to help you understand your compensation expenses. You will also find out how the wage costs are distributed among your individual types of work.

Additionally, Zenefits makes tax reporting a breeze as the software offers extensive ways to visualize and manage your finances through reports including tax liability reports, tax payment overviews and garnishment reports.

People Analytics features allow you to view payroll, HR, and benefits data. This data can be viewed as reports used to curate visualizations and can be shared with others.

How to choose between Gusto and Zenefits

When choosing between Zenefits and Gusto, you should consider the features that are most important to your business. Download this TechRepublic Premium payroll services comparison tool to help you make your decision.

If you’re looking to streamline your payroll with business insights, Zenefits might be a better choice, as Zenefits offers a far wider range of reporting capabilities and BI visualization options than Gusto. Zenefits enables reporting on payroll details, tax summaries, and other payroll data so executives and employees can quickly get relevant payroll information. Business leaders and decision makers using Zenefits can easily visualize a variety of datasets, allowing them to gain more actionable insights through reports that summarize historical data, income, deductions, contributions and tax information for each run.

Gusto’s payroll solution takes a more hands-on approach to employee benefits. While Zenefits only allows companies to work with benefit brokers, Gusto acts as a broker for its users and offers the ability to integrate with existing brokers.

Finally, consider integrations when deciding on a software system for your business. Choosing a solution that interfaces well with the third-party solutions your organization uses can make a significant difference in functionality. For example, Gusto does not offer integrated employee planning, but it can be integrated with common planning solutions. If scheduling capabilities are essential to your business needs, make sure the scheduling software you use is supported by Gusto.

If you want to explore more payroll software options, read about Best Payroll Software for Small Business, 8 Top Payroll Services for Small Business, Gusto vs. Justworks, Gusto vs. QuickBooks, and Rippling vs. Gusto.


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