UKG Pro and ADP are two platforms that combine enterprise payroll software with human capital management (HCM) tools. In this guide, we’ll compare and contrast UKG vs. ADP to help you figure out which one is a better fit for your needs.

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What is UKG?

UKG formed in 2020 when Ultimate Software Incorporated and Kronos Incorporated merged to form the Ultimate Kronos Group (UKG). UKG is one of the largest HCM platforms on the market and is geared towards midsize and large businesses looking for an all-in-one solution for their payroll and HR needs.

What is ADP?

ADP is a cloud-based HCM platform that combines HR, payroll, talent, time, taxes and benefits in one software. For the purposes of this review, we will be focusing on ADP Workforce Now, the plan focused on businesses with 50+ employees. ADP Workforce Now is a more comparable alternative to UKG than ADP Run, which is a more limited plan targeted to small businesses with less than 50 employees.

UKG vs. ADP: Comparison table

Starting priceCustom quoteCustom quote
Payroll and tax complianceYesYes
Benefits administrationYesYes
Recruiting toolsYesYes
Performance managementYesYes
Time and attendanceYesYes

UKG and ADP pricing

UKG pricing

UKG Pro doesn’t share pricing publicly, so you will need to contact their sales team to get a quote. Users say that you should also expect to pay a one-time implementation fee, which varies depending on company size and features needed. UKG does not offer a free version or free trial so will have to decide based on a live demo alone. See our full UKG Pro review for more information.

ADP pricing

ADP offers three pricing tiers for Workforce Now, but doesn’t actually disclose the costs for any of them — you still need to contact their sales team to get a quote. The three ADP Workforce Now pricing tiers are Select, Plus and Premium. ADP also does not offer a free version or free trial so will have to decide based on a live demo alone. See our full ADP review for more information.

Feature comparison: UKG vs. ADP

Payroll and tax

UKG’s payroll platform (Figure A) promises flexible and automated payroll that will also handle tax filing and complex pay-related processes such as Wage Attachments disbursements, W-2 filings and more. If you need expert help to ensure compliance, UKG’s Pro Payment Services will pair you with an expert who will help you to address your unique business needs.

Figure A

An example of UKG’s pay statements.
An example of UKG’s pay statements. Source: UKG.

ADP is known for its payroll platform (Figure B), which helps you avoid costly mistakes with error detection and syncs deductions for federal, state and local taxes to ensure compliance. Plus, the self-service employee mobile app lets them access their pay wherever they are. HR teams can even automatically add new employees to payroll from the native application tracking system (ATS).

Figure B

A payment profile on ADP’s app.
A payment profile on ADP’s app. Source: ADP.

Benefits administration

UKG’s benefits administration tools (Figure C) offer flexible plan options, benefit calculations and employee communication tools. Employees can set filtering preferences, compare plans side by side and edit beneficiary and dependent information in the self-service portal. To help employees choose between plans, Pro Benefits Administration offers educational videos and a document library and can also provide personalized plan recommendations.

Figure C

UKG’s benefits administration.
UKG’s benefits administration. Source: UKG.

ADP Workforce Now (Figure D) streamlines open enrollment for your HR team and also allows for life event changes outside of the enrollment period. The benefits plan creation wizard lets you customize multiple benefit plan types, and employees can make their final selections using the website or mobile app self-service portals. ADP’s benefits administration also integrates and automates the compliance process to support compliance with changing laws and regulations, including the Affordable Care Act.

Figure D

ADP’s benefits administration.
ADP’s benefits administration. Source: ADP.

Talent management

UKG offers recruiting tools to help your hiring team find candidates that match your qualifications and evaluate them quickly. Once new hires are onboarded, managers can use UKG to set performance and development goals and track progress over time (Figure E). With the UKG Talk employee engagement tool, employers can gather feedback and recognize achievements while promoting inclusivity.

Figure E

UKG’s talent dashboard.
UKG’s talent dashboard. Source: UKG.

With ADP, you’ll get a custom career website as well as automated review and resume sharing to speed up the hiring process. Learning management tools support employee training and development as well as meeting compliance goals. Performance management tools encourage regular check-ins and give managers real-time data to support decision-making.

Time, attendance and scheduling

UKG helps teams automate time collection, timesheet approval, PTO request responses and exception corrections. It also minimizes compliance risk by automating calculations for hours, overtime and holidays. Additionally, notifications help your team make adjustments before errors can occur, and the system will even make proactive recommendations based on your business.

In the ADP app, employees can clock in and out (Figure F), view their schedules, swap shifts and request time off. Managers can automate alerts, rules, overtime calculations, timecard approvals and more actions to cut down on repetitive work. Scheduling and time off collection is also automated, and it syncs with Microsoft Outlook.

Figure F

ADP’s time clock capabilities.
ADP’s time clock capabilities. Source: ADP.

UKG pros and cons

Pros of UKG

  • Comprehensive payroll and HR tools.
  • Customized setup tailored to your business.
  • Excellent reporting and analytics tools.
  • Relatively easy to use.

Cons of UKG

  • Lack of transparent pricing.
  • Scaling up or down is cumbersome as it requires a custom setup.
  • No free version or free trial.
  • Partners with external parties for international payroll.

ADP pros and cons

Pros of ADP

  • Simple, easy-to-navigate dashboard.
  • Employee mobile app and self-service features.
  • Effective, automated payroll tool.
  • In-house international payroll available.

Cons of ADP

  • No free trial or forever free plan.
  • Lots of add-on features will increase the price.
  • Customer support could be improved.

Review Methodology

To compare UKG and ADP, we looked at their payroll, benefits administration and HR management tools. We weighed additional factors such as pricing, user experience and ease of use. We consulted product documentation, user reviews and product demos during the writing of this review.

Should your organization use UKG or ADP?

Since pricing for both UKG and ADP is fully quote-based, it’s hard to make a direct comparison between the two. Both of them offer payroll capabilities combined with comprehensive HR features. Whether you need to run payroll, hire new employees, plan for open enrollment or create a training course, you can do it all in both of these platforms.

Your choice will likely come down to what precise features your company needs and how much each platform will charge you for that particular combination. Come prepared to the live demo with specific use cases so that you can be sure either software will meet your needs effectively.

That being said, if you’re an international company, or plan to hire in other countries in the future, we do recommend ADP over UKG. That’s because ADP keeps all their payroll functionality in-house and doesn’t partner with local providers the way UKG does, which is a reason why ADP made our list of the best international payroll software. This creates a more seamless experience in ADP and also reduces the odds of payroll being delayed.

Still not sure if either UKG or ADP is right for your needs? Check out our roundup of the best payroll software overall to see what your options are.