Unified formulations (UF) have been increasingly used to analyze laminated plates and shells. A huge number of works was carried out via in-house software, but only few contributions were presented using UF linked to a FE commercial software. In addition, the implementation of a UF within a FE commercial software remains a black box. This work aims at unlocking the difficulties on implementing a UF within the FE software Abaqus. Therefore, an eight-node plate element is developed via a UF and implemented as a User Element subroutine (UEL). In order to evaluate potentialities and limitations of the implemented UEL subroutine, benchmarking cases are evaluated investigating laminated plates under concentrated and distributed load. The displacement fields and, mainly, stress profiles are predicated by three different approaches: i) in-house Matlab framework; ii) standard shell and solid finite elements from Abaqus; and iii) from self-developed finite elements using CUF (via UEL).