The best payroll software for small business is QuickBooks Pro because of its comprehensive set of tools and a clean interface that allows for full automation. The platform covers everything from timesheets and payroll calculation to direct deposits and tax computations. Moreover, the platform is available at affordable and flexible rates.
Payroll processing is one of the most tedious aspects of managing a business. In fact, according to the 2017 Small Business Taxation Survey, 30% of small companies in the United States still spend over 6 hours each month to accomplish their payroll tasks despite having an external company to handle payroll administration.
Luckily, there are tons of payroll software available out there to accelerate the process from time tracking and pay computation to direct deposits and tax filing. All you’ll need to do is choose one that can meet the needs of your company without breaking the bank.
To narrow down your choices, we have compiled the 20 best payroll software for small businesses. We paid special attention to each platform’s usability, unique functionalities, as well as the inclusions of their subscription packages so that you get a better idea of which one will give you the most bang for your buck.
In the past years, over 26% of businesses spend more than 10 hours preparing their taxes and plenty of companies had to pay IRS penalties because of erroneous tax filing. With payroll software, some users reported completing their payroll in minutes while avoiding common mistakes associated with manual computation. Accountants were also able to automate a wide variety of repetitive tasks such as tracking accounts payable and accounts receivable through accounting AI.
It is because of this that many experts and business advisers recommend that you get payroll software while your business is just starting out, even if you just have one employee. As you can see in the graphics below, a new small business that starts with payroll software which handles all the basics get to prepare for the future, when the time comes that the company expands, hires more employees, and managing its workforce becomes more complex.
By having this kind of software at your disposal, you can simplify and automate the process of paying your employees. From computing deductions and employee benefits to producing payslips and filing employment taxes, these SaaS products will allow you to reduce cycle times while ensuring calculation accuracy.
What’s more is that, nowadays, these payroll software systems can be acquired or subscribed to with SaaS and cloud-hosted options at affordable rates. Some are even offered for free which can handle basic payroll functions. Should you be interested in this type of payroll platform, you can check out our list of top free payroll software here.
Without further ado, we’ll now go over the best payroll software options for small businesses so that you can get a better idea of which kinds of tools will work best for your operations. Included below will be an overview of the features and benefits of leading payroll products. This way you can determine the best ones that match your requirements, making it easy for you to decide on your final pick.
Gusto is a cloud-hosted platform that brings together payroll, benefits administration, HR and compliance functionalities in a single, simplified package. It is targeted for small businesses looking to manage their workforce’s core HR needs. Moreover, it provides users with a solid set of payroll features, well-designed user interface, and automation capabilities, which is why it landed the top spot on our list.
By using Gusto, you can streamline and automate the calculation, payment, and submission of a company’s local, state and federal payroll taxes. It is also regularly updated to ensure compliance with year-end forms and taxation to avoid critical errors. Moreover, as a modern HR solution, this allows you to not only perform payroll computations but also keep your time tracking data and employee information in sync for better record keeping.
If you wish to try out its features for yourself, you can easily sign up for Gusto free trial here.
Lowest price: The Core Plan (one of three full-service payroll plans offered) goes for a base price of $39/month, plus $6/month per person.
QuickBooks Pro is the best payroll software for small businesses for it has scalable tools that allow users to autonomously handle their own payroll needs. QuickBooks Pro offers a Self Service Payroll Plan that provides robust tools for the simple, manual, and autonomous handling of payroll.
For small businesses that want to focus on core functions while accurately handling payroll needs, a Full Service Payroll Plan is also available. Here, full automation and top accuracy are guaranteed together with a team of dedicated QuickBooks experts.
Small businesses will appreciate how QuickBooks Pro streamlined the entire payroll process with timesheet integrations and time tracking. All users can take full control of their labor expenses as real-time labor costs are always accessible.
Small businesses often face a roadblock when it comes to the complicated and confusing processes for tax compliance. This will cease to be a concern with QuickBooks Pro, as it has built-in tax features that ready data and information pertinent to instant and error-free filing. W2 forms are also easily accessible and print-ready.
To give its features a try, you can sign up for a QuickBooks Pro free trial here.
Lowest price: The Simple Start Plan (one of four full-service payroll plans offered) goes for a base price of $18/month, plus $4/month per person.
Sage 50cloud is an accounting software from the reputable UK-based Sage Group. While primarily designed for handling financial management processes such as cash flow monitoring and invoicing, this platform also offers robust add-ons for payroll management and tax preparation. With these features, you can automatically compute income tax returns, file your reports online, and directly send your employees’ pay using the software, making the entire process faster and more convenient.
What you get with by choosing this product is a comprehensive system for accounting, cash flow management, financial consolidation, revenue recognition, order management, sales monitoring, payroll management, financial reporting, and more. It is also fully cloud-based, so that you can get easy access to your data whenever you want, wherever you may be.
Should you feel like this platform would be a good fit for your operations, be sure to sign up for a Sage 50cloud free trial here.
Lowest price: They offer a Sage 50cloud Pro Accounting plan that provides essential accounting features at $46.83.
OnPay is an easy-to-use yet robust payroll solution that offers scalable features for small and medium-sized companies. This cloud-based platform automates payment workflows and tax filing, and streamlines payroll processes. You can easily enter payroll data such as hours, bonuses, reimbursements, and tips.
In addition its slew of payroll functionalities, the system also incorporates benefits (401(k) retirement and health insurance) and compensation insurance for workers who are employed on pay-as-you-go basis. This cost-effective solution also facilitates unlimited payroll runs for 1099 monthly contract workers and W-2 employees for your convenience.
If you are interested in learning more about what this software can do for you, you may sign up for a OnPay free trial here.
Lowest price: The base fee is $36/month and users (contractors and employees) can be added for $4/month per user.
ADP Workforce Now is a web-based HR application from American firm Automatic Data Processing, a provider of HR management software and services. Created for small to mid-sized companies, this platform combines all of the HR functionalities you need in a single interface. This way, you can easily manage employee payroll, time and attendance, and benefits without having to rely on multiple software solutions.
In addition to these basic payroll management functionalities, ADP Workforce Now is also equipped to minimize administrative duties by providing tax filing capabilities. With this, you get access to updated forms and ensure that your income tax returns are being calculated properly. Moreover, the vendor can also provide you with ACA compliance support to streamline the management of benefit plans.
Lowest price: Subscription prices are quote-based so be sure to contact the vendor for more information.
Founded in New Zealand in 2006, Xero is a multi-awarded, cloud-based accounting software used by companies worldwide. Designed for small and medium-sized businesses, it comes with enterprise-grade functionalities that handle invoicing, inventory management, bank reconciliation, and expense management for multiple currencies. Aside from that, the platform is also known for its advanced payroll features that allow users to sync their employee productivity data, automate payroll computations, as well as prepare income tax returns.
The only downside to this platform is that while it is made available in over 180 countries, its payroll feature is available only for the U.S. and Australian markets, and comes as part of the more full-featured plans. For Australian clients, Xero offers a built-in payroll processing system that include timesheets, leave management, compliance management, and self-service portals. Meanwhile, for US clients, Xero is integrated with Gusto to provide you with payroll functionalities.
Lowest price: Prices vary per region/country but in the United States, subscription rates start at $9/month,
Wave is an enterprise-grade accounting software that brings together features for accounting, invoicing, and receipt scanning in one compact package. It also offers a payroll management module that is equipped with automatic payroll documentation, benefit calculations, and direct deposit management. To top it all off, Wave is a free software, making it one of the most ideal solutions for small business and self-employed professionals.
Aside from its comprehensive set of functionalities, Wave is also built for usability. It comes with a very navigable dashboard where everything you need is easily accessible. With this at your disposal, you can streamline accounting processes and eliminate the intricacies of monitoring expenses, chasing payments, and managing employees and taxes. The system even helps users create and send out professional looking invoicing, estimates, and receipts in a matter of moments.
Lowest price: Wave is completely free. However, for credit card processing and payroll services in select countries, they have a pay‑as‑you‑go payment scheme for enterprise pricing purposes.
Dayforce HCM is a cloud-based platform for workforce management, payroll and tax, analytics, benefits, document management, talent management, and HR management. With this unified and fully-integrated platform, you get access to real-time data across all areas of human capital management, manage compliance better, as well as improve HR recordkeeping.
Another great thing about Dayforce HCM is that it offers multi-currency and multi-language support for companies with employees residing abroad. The platform is also built to be compatible with all popular browsers so that you can access it using both desktop and mobile devices even when you’re out of the office.
Lowest price: Dayforce HCM is only available by quote. Be sure to get in touch with the vendor to learn more.
Zenefits is an online platform designed to help small and medium businesses handle HR administration including complex payroll management processes. It carries features such as business intelligence, employee directory, insurance benefits, payroll sync, customer support, hiring and onboarding, ACA compliance, mobile optimization, and many others.
This software unifies all of your company’s HR functions into an easy-to-use online dashboard, giving you greater control, allowing your employees greater access, and providing your business greater confidence in its compliance. You can automatically stay up to date on earnings, deductions, and taxes since the system pushes any changes to HR, benefits, hours, and time-off straight into payroll, greatly simplifying the task.
Lowest price: Zenefits has a Standard plan that costs $5/employee per month plus a base fee of $40/month. Add ons such as the Payroll app cost an additional $6/employee per month.
Namely is a comprehensive human resources suite that combines functionalities for payroll, benefits, and talent management. As the HR software of choice for some 400 companies worldwide, this cloud-based platform allows you to manage compliance and streamline processes such as calculating paychecks that accurately shows deductions for taxes and benefits contributions.
In addition to the abovementioned, Namely also has functionalities for employee performance review, time off tracking, goals, team planning, reporting, and more. It is one of the most highly configurable solutions that you can scale to match your business requirements. Moreover, Namely utilizes a permissions engine to enable layered access levels to specific information, reports, views, and functions for better control over your data.
Lowest price: Namely is only available by quote. Get in touch with the vendor for more information.
Intuit QuickBooks Payroll is from a company that develops and sells financial, accounting and tax preparation software as well as related services for small businesses, accountants, and individuals. The platform is built as a worry-free solution for payroll management, allowing accountants and business owners to make payrolls efficiently and accurately, automating tax calculations, and even generating unlimited paychecks.
Aside from providing users with all the essential tools for payroll preparation, it also has the ability to integrate with QuickBooks for robust accounting and improving the cash flow of your business. With this, you can ensure that you are compensating your workers accurately. However, Intuit QuickBooks Payroll does not save your payroll data, so you’ll have to input the billable hours, regular rates, and other information each pay period.
Lowest price: Intuit QuickBooks Payroll offers a self-service plan with a base rate of $35/month and a fee of $4/employee per month.
Keka HR tags itself as an “employee experience platform” that takes care of HR, payroll, and talent management for employee-centric companies. Trusted by hundreds of customers including global brands like Honda and Nokia, the solution automates basic and tedious HR and payroll tasks, enabling HR teams to work better, faster, and more accurately.
With Keka HR, enterprises and organizations can process payroll, manage their workforce, and get top talent through a blend of traditional and innovative features. These include automated payroll capabilities that can support small to large workforce; configurable payroll processes to fit various businesses while staying 100% compliant; and modern applicant tracking system to enable HR staff to find the most qualified people.
Lowest price: The Foundation plan goes for around $46 (converted from Indian rupee) per month which covers 50 employees, and $0.47/month per additional employee.
Kronos Workforce Ready is a cloud HR management solution developed by Kronos, Inc., a U.S.-based multi-national workforce management software and services company founded in 1977. The company holds the distinction of having one of the longest records of growth and profitability as a public company in software industry history, second only to Microsoft.
Kronos Workforce Ready features full human capital management capabilities, ranging from time and attendance, payroll, scheduling, to employee engagement, applicant tracking, and talent acquisition, all from a single solution. The platform uses a single employee record that is shared across all its tools, allowing users to easily pull out reports from the database and implement workflows across the organization. The solution’s capability to update data in real time lets HR managers make quick but informed decisions using the latest and accurate information.
Lowest price: Pricing is quote-based, so get in touch with the Kronos Workforce Ready representatives for more information.
Justworks is a solution designed to simplify HR processes and ease the workload on managers and HR officers by getting rid of back-end complexities. It offers payroll automation for employee benefits, salaries, leaves and anything workforce-related as well as HR tools to manage time off, keep track of employee info, and safely store all of your documents.
Justworks can also handle payroll and payments for your business, allowing you to promptly pay all your full-time and part-time employees, contractors, and vendors via direct deposit. It can also take care of payroll documents and filings, like W-2s and 1099s. You can even easily undertake one-off payments such as expense reimbursements, commissions, and bonuses to one person or whole departments.
Lowest price: Basic plan goes for $49/per employee per month if you have 25 to 99 employees. This gets you payments, payroll, compliance, reports, and HR management tools.
Touted as an all-in-one HR system, Paybooks allows users to not only manage the entire employee lifecycle but also to simplify the payroll management process. It is equipped with powerful features that include employee onboarding, attendance management, payroll processing, and tax calculation. Moreover, it comes with a handy self-service application so employees can check the status of their pay.
In addition, this platform integrates with a wide variety of popular business systems such as Zoho, QuickBooks, Oracle, and Securax. With this feature, you can easily extend the features of the platform or use your existing software solutions alongside it effortlessly. The downside to Paybooks, however, is that it only caters to India-based enterprises and organizations.
Lowest price: Paybooks has a base fee that starts at $11/month (converted from Indian Rupee) plus a rate of 0.73/employee/month (converted from Indian Rupee).
SurePayroll is a comprehensive payroll management system designed for freelancers and small businesses. With it, you can automate the process of salary computation and tax preparation, giving you more time to focus more on running your business. It even comes with record keeping functionalities so that it is easier for you to document your finances.
What’s more is SurePayroll comes with time clock integration that lets you instantly calculate the billable hours of your employees and an accounting integration that simplifies cash flow management. In addition to these, the platform provides users with an intuitive self-service system where your employees can review any information related to their payroll such as their leaves, benefits, and taxes.
Lowest price: SurePayroll’s subscription plans are only available on a by-quote basis. Kindly get in touch with the vendor for more information.
Comprehensive Payroll Company provides a compact suite of modern and custom workforce management solutions. It is a modular solution which allows customers to mix and match feature sets based on their business requirements. The software also boasts of paperless management and secure data processing, as well as the variety of integrated modules that cover different end-to-end employee payroll and HCM needs.
CPC is entirely cloud-hosted and equipped to provide fully scalable and digital workforce administration, reducing burden on your IT or HR team. The software is able to handle all aspects of HCM from an integrated dashboard and database, and have your data stored in cloud which can be readily accessed from your mobile device.
Lowest price: Pricing is quote-based depending on the modules that you use.
Microkeeper is a cloud-based payroll software purpose-built for companies looking to graduate from manual computations. Its core functionalities include timesheet management, payroll automation, and online payslip generation. It even comes with a roster management tool that lets you consolidate payroll data from multiple locations. Lastly, it can seamlessly integrate with various third-party systems such as Xero and SuperChoice for a more streamlined operations.
Lowest price: Microkeeper is available for free if you only have 1 employee. However, for small businesses with 2 to 7 staff members, you can get this platform for only $24.50 AUD +GST.
Kevit Payroll is an enterprise-grade payroll management system that is built for companies of all sizes. Equipped with essential features like attendance monitoring and pay computation, this platform also offers advanced functionalities like arrears calculation, data auto-fill and loan management. It also gives users the option to generate PF, ESIS, PT, or income tax management reports.
Lowest price: Kevit Payroll offers quote-based subscription packages. To learn more about their rates, get in touch with the vendor.
SumoPayroll is a cloud-based payroll and human resource management tool for businesses of different sizes. It offers time management functionalities, employee self-service, payroll computations, expense tracking, leave management, and employee management. The platform also comes in handy for mobile teams as it comes native iOS and Android applications that let you access your payroll and HR information from anywhere.
Lowest price: SumoPayroll has a free plan that can accommodate up to 10 employees. Meanwhile, their lowest paid plan is available at $19/month (converted from Indian Rupee). This can accommodate up to 25 employees.
As an entrepreneur, you know that you won’t always save more money by opting for the cheapest product. Moreover, the best software is not always the one with the most functionalities.
If you want to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to payroll software, it is best that you choose the platform that can handle your unique processes and scale up to the changing needs of your growing business. With lots of options available on the market, this task can be overwhelming but the good news here is you can make this task easier by simply understanding what you should look for in a payroll software. Here, we have listed down some of the most essential payroll management features to help you out:
To sum it up, finding the right payroll software for your small business does not have to be complicated. All you have to do is have a good grasp of what your company needs for payroll processing and have the patience to dissect the offerings of your prospective solutions.
If you are still not sure about which platform to pick, we highly recommend that you check out Gusto as it is one of the most comprehensive payroll platforms on the market. With it, you not only get access to fully compliant payroll automation and tax calculation tools, you also get core HR functionalities. You can even sign up for Gusto free trial here if you would like to test out how it works.
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