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Free Payroll Software for Small Business in 2020

Category: B2B News
What is the best free payroll software for small business?
The best free payroll software for small business is SumoPayroll, primarily because it offers a free payroll plan. However, the features and functionalities that the tool offers are not limited to payroll; it can also take care of other HR processes. This is alongside its custom payroll models and consolidated employee information.

The IBM Systems Journal revealed that free software and proprietary systems are roughly equivalent in terms of security and reliability. This means choosing a free application over a paid one doesn’t necessarily equate to compromising quality.

This is as true for payroll as it is for other solutions. Payroll, one of the core processes of every business, is particularly expensive. Hence, a free payroll processor can be a huge weight off one’s shoulder when you’re just a startup. At this crucial time, you need to rely on more affordable options so that you can focus on earning a profit to help your business grow. This is where free payroll software, like the ones below, come in.

free payroll software

Are you still relying on spreadsheets when running payroll? Spreadsheets are prone to errors, especially when it comes to data entry. And because manual data entry will always entail mistakes, the practice often leads to employee complaints and, worse, discontent. In fact, nearly 90% of all spreadsheet documents have errors in them.

Payroll errors have a significant financial impact on your business, not to mention errors in tax deductions, which can get you in trouble. Fortunately, you have payroll software on your side. And what’s even better is that these solutions don’t need to be expensive. Some offer free plans with full features. This makes them especially attractive to startups and small businesses whose budgets are still relatively tight, even though large firms lead the way in cloud-based accounting software adoption, as you can see below.

Firms that use cloud-based accounting software

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Source: Accounting Today (2018)

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When looking at payroll processing software, it’s prudent to future-proof your investment by choosing a cloud-based one. This is when you take into account the fact that businesses with cloud-based accounting solutions have five times more customers than those without. This is why in today’s post, we’ve compiled the top 10 free payroll software for small businesses that you can access anytime, anywhere, on the cloud.

10 Free Payroll Solutions for Small Businesses

1. SumoPayroll

SumoPayroll dashboard

SumoPayroll is a cloud-based payroll and HR management solution. It’s meant to streamline and simplify payroll calculations in as few clicks as possible, with support for attendance and employee information management, performance evaluations, and other accounting tasks related to HR.

The software supports standard payroll models based on prevailing rates and internal policies, but you can also create your own custom payroll model with your company’s specific requirements in mind. Apart from these, employees can access a self-service portal to file administrative requests, where managers can view, approve, and modify them as needed—all online, without launching any other application.

SumoPayroll is a friendly payroll solution for startups. You can enjoy a completely free plan for companies with up to 10 employees. This plan has all the features of the software and has no limitation or expiry.

Key Features of SumoPayroll

  1. Centralized employee information. SumoPayroll consolidates all employee information in one platform, where managers and employees themselves can access their data. Attendance, billable hours, and performance reports are included, among other things, for easy perusal.
  2. Custom payroll computations. SumoPayroll supports standard payroll models that comply with existing tax laws and internal policies. You can, however, create a customized payroll model based on your company’s specific requirements.
  3. Employee self-service portal. Paper files have gone the way of the dodo. Any employee can access a self-service portal to request leaves of absence, tax statements, address changes, and other administrative functions.

Detailed SumoPayroll Review

2. Capshare

Capshare dashboard

Capshare, while not exactly a payroll software in the conventional sense of the word, allows shareholders to manage and analyze earnings from equity and stocks. This is particularly useful for startups as they can hire key employees using equity compensation. Capshare gives such employees and managers a way to consolidate all data regarding their equity and view them in one simple platform.

Properly classified as a cap table management software, Capshare allows users to see data they need about the health of their stocks. Managers can set specific permissions and access tiers to employees. Capshare also lets companies issue stock, accelerate computations, let shareholders interact with one another, and comply with any and all IRS equity regulations.

Capshare has a completely free plan. This is especially attractive for startups, as the software offers basic features free for up to 20 shareholders.

Detailed Capshare Review

Key Features of Capshare

  1. Easy shareholder management. Give value to your shareholders by managing cap tables, equity, tax and regulatory documents, certificates, and lawyers—all automatic and without a convoluted set of spreadsheets.
  2. Grows with you. Capshare is built to scale and adapt to your needs, whether you’re a startup or a multinational conglomerate. You can upgrade to Capshare’s more premium plans for additional features.
  3. Simplified record-keeping. Capshare can pull records and documents for each employee’s vested shares by creating a portal for each of them. If an investor asks for an up-to-date cap table, you can make another for them—with just the right kind of access.

3. Microkeeper

Microkeeper dashboard

Microkeeper is a payroll software with an integrated time tracking capability that can fit the requirements of any industry. This software is designed specifically to suit Australian markets, although it’s also built to accommodate the policies of other countries and regions.

As an all-in-one payroll solution that combines accounting capabilities with time tracking software, employees can clock in and out easily and let the software calculate their billable hours and work. Administrators, meanwhile, can view their workforce’s performance and approve leaves and other requests. It simplifies timesheets and payroll procedures by automatically generating pay statement based on work hours rendered, breaks, allowances, overtimes, absences, and leaves.

Microkeeper has a completely free plan for one user. It contains most features of the Standard plan and features unlimited use.

Detailed Microkeeper Review

Key Features of Microkeeper

  1. Integrated solution. Microkeeper integrates payroll with timesheets, unifying the entire HR experience, so you don’t need to migrate data to and from separate software or use separate HR software.
  2. Consolidated information. The advantage of a cloud-hosted software is that any user, whether an employee or employer, can track payroll-related information anywhere they need to. You can monitor absences, timesheets, and confirm attendance—all in one platform.
  3. Complies with Australian laws and regulations. If your industry is based in Australia, you’re in luck with Microkeeper as it supports Australian tax policies out of the box. Otherwise, Microkeeper can also be customized to comply with the regulations of other regions or your company’s internal policies.

4. NolaPro

NolaPro dashboard

NolaPro is an ultra-customizable payroll platform that can simplify your payout procedures right on the cloud. NolaPro is so designed that it grows with the needs of the company that deploys it. While being totally secure, it’s also transparent to all its users, whether you’re an employee or a manager.

The main advantage of NolaPro is that almost everything about it can be personalized. With over a hundred add-ons, plus tons of integrations, you can run this software the way you run your business. And it doesn’t stop there. If you need more functions or control that only makes sense for your business and that the software doesn’t support, you can ask the vendor to customize your copy for you. Not enough? How about tinkering with their source code so you’ll have a scalable, personalized payroll software that’s designed exclusively for you?

NolaPro has a free starter plan called Desktop, which is free for one user. It contains all the payroll features a starting business needs, even support for multiple languages.

Detailed NolaPro Review

Key Features of NolaPro

  1. Customizable solution. NolaPro can be customized to the fine details. It supports over a hundred add-ons and integrations and can even be modified to support functions for your company’s specific needs.
  2. Open-source. You can scale a payroll solution to even higher levels of customization by tinkering with its source code.
  3. Secure in the cloud. NolaPro protects your finances and accounts with numerous security methods. Plus, it backs up your data with multiple redundancies, ensuring you get secure, up-to-date data whenever you need it.

5. PaymentEvolution

PaymentEvolution dashboard

There is a reason PaymentEvolution is Canada’s largest payroll service. A simple but full-featured payroll system designed for startups, small businesses, accountants, and bookkeepers, it leverages the power and mobility of the cloud so it can be used anywhere and anytime.

PaymentEvolution simplifies payroll by integrating its features with other employee HR functionalities like records of employment and year-end tax slips. Plus, it supports all the modern requirements of a payroll software, including deductions like taxes, CPP, and EI, but you can also create custom rulesets for other deductions. Also, it’s updated all the time with the latest tax tables and automatically patches with no human intervention. And with a 5-minute set-up, what’s not to love?

PaymentEvolution’s Green plan is free for up to 5 employees and 1 user and can remember all transactions inside 3 years. It integrates with only one third-party app, though, so if you’re using other solutions, you may contact the vendor for the plan that suits your needs.

Detailed PaymentEvolution Review

Key Features of PaymentEvolution

  1. Built for Canadian markets. Canadian industries love PaymentEvolution because it supports Canadian tax laws and deductibles out of the box, including the Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance.
  2. Custom deductions and payroll models. It’s not just Canadians who should be using PaymentEvolution as well, because it can support custom deductions and rulesets, depending on your company’s needs.
  3. Secure your data. PaymentEvolution’s state-of-the-art security employs 256-bit SSL encryption. Plus, their physical data centers are equipped with video surveillance, biometric access, redundant power supply, climate control, and fire suppression systems, with backups in multiple sites.

6. Payroll4Free

Payroll4Free dashboard

Payroll4Free is a free online software solution that provides a full range of payroll services for small businesses. Offering the necessary tools to process checks for 25 people or less, it has a complete suite of features that you can enhance with different integrations.

Among the features, their subscription plan offers are payroll and tax calculations, vacation time tracking, detailed reporting, and direct deposits. It also has an employee portal, so your staff members can stay updated on their payroll information.

Key Features of Payroll4Free

  1. Seamless integrations. Are you using multiple software solutions for your accounting processes? Payroll4Free can be integrated with different programs, so you can easily export your payroll data. It also allows users to import employee hours from a time clock file.
  2. Simplified tax form filing. In addition to computing monthly salaries, Payroll4Free has a tax calculation and form filing feature. Whether you need to handle federal, state, or local taxes, this software can provide you with the tools you require to make it simpler.
  3. Vacation time tracking. Keeping tabs on employee vacations, sick leaves, and PTO time is no easy feat, especially once you start computing your employees’ billable hours. Luckily, the Payroll4Free system can calculate these factors for the correct number of work hours per employee. This way, you no longer have to make these adjustments manually.

7. HR.my

HR.my dashboard

HR.my is a free yet robust payroll software known for its ability to both import and export payroll information anytime, anywhere. It is essentially an online HR software that allows for an unlimited number of users while getting employees involved in HR matters. Key features include attendance management, leave management, and a time clock.

As a payroll software, HR.my provides you with everything you need in such a platform, from automatic data entry to the creation of payslips. Payroll runs can be done on a monthly, weekly, semi-monthly, weekly, or bi-weekly basis.

Key Features of HR.my

  1. Forever Free Software. HR.my is free for life as it is crowdfunded by a community of users. It also offers you the freedom to export any data even after you decide to discontinue your account.
  2. Impeccable Security. The developer puts due emphasis on security, protecting all connections using SSL protocol. Daily backups are also conducted to avoid data loss. It likewise safeguards data privacy through access restriction.
  3. Unlimited Users. Even as it comes for free, the software allows for an unlimited number of users. All one has to do is to sign up for its Employee Web Account. This way, employees also get to participate in HR functions.

8. Iris Rise Lite

Iris Rise Lite dashboard example

Rise Lite is a free payroll software created for small businesses in Canada with under 20 employees. Providing robust payroll automation and online reporting tools, you can pay employees faster, reduce errors in salary computations, and make tax computation a whole lot easier. It can even save you time by streamlining your T4, CRA remittance, and ROE filing.

Key Features of Iris Rise Lite

  1. Flexible pay scheduling. If for any reason, you wish to cancel the processing of a certain pay period, Rise Lite will allow you to do this without hassle. You can also use the app to make off-cycle payments and give bonuses on the spot without having to make tax calculations.
  2. Accurate data entry. Among the difficulties of running payroll is the laborious input of information. With Rise Lite, you can minimize manual data entry and ensure accuracy as the software offers payroll processing automation options. It can even create formulas to handle commissions, deductions, and bonuses as well as resolve payroll discrepancies to further lighten your workload.
  3. Powerful payroll reports. Sometimes, knowing how to compute your employees’ salaries is not enough. Business owners must also be able to determine if their income is sufficient to support their workforce as well as allow for certain bonuses and increases in allowance. This is why Rise Lite has a powerful payroll reporting feature that helps you get complete business insights as well as keep your payroll scheme on track.

9. Employment Hero

Employment Hero dashboard example

Employment Hero is an HR software with a flexible, easy-to-use, and compliant payroll system. It offers a free plan inclusive of essential payroll processing tools such as employee file management, independent contractor tracking, and paperless onboarding. Known for its highly configurable, user-friendly interface, it also serves as a repository for employment contracts, HR documents, and VEVO checks. Additionally, this freemium product allows access to its mobile app and knowledge base for your convenience.

Key Features of Employment Hero

  1. Customizable pay schedules. Whether you prefer paying your employees on a weekly, monthly, or fortnightly basis, Employment Hero has you covered. The system supports schedule customization, so you can set your salary timeframe however you want. It is also equipped with employee configuration capabilities so that you can program different salary conditions for full-time, part-time, and casual employees.
  2. Centralized system for multiple entities. Do you own different companies? Perhaps your firm has many branches? To help you manage all your employees in one convenient platform, Employment Hero serves as a centralized system for multiple entities. It even allows you to configure each business according to their set of payroll options, so you won’t have to spend money on different accounts.
  3. Streamlined work rules engine. Every business has its own pay conditions. By using Employment Hero, you can automate your payroll processes according to your company’s rules. Just set your overtime terms, conditional pay rates, allowances and penalties, auto pay increases, and leave templates, and the software will do the rest. In this way, you can lessen the time spent on adjusting salaries per employee and focus more on attention-demanding tasks.

10. Wave

Wave dashboard

Serving over 3 million users and still growing, Wave deserves a slot in our list of free payroll software for small businesses. It is a free integrated business software that offers accounting, invoicing, and receipt scanning capabilities. Ideal for small businesses, independent entrepreneurs, and freelancers, this platform also has a complete payroll system that can compute and keep track of employee vacations, bonuses, and benefits.

Whether a company follows a weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or semi-monthly payroll scheme, Wave can support it. With an easy-to-use dashboard and available customer support, this software can help users manage payroll information and access banking details quickly and securely.

Wave is completely free. It has an additional payroll module, and while paid, it is a value-added feature for software with a lot of free features other solutions would have charged for.

Detailed Wave Review

Key Features of Wave

  1. Streamlined computations. Businesses can easily calculate an employee’s vacations, bonuses, and benefits as well as regular pay using Wave. With this platform, team managers can compile attendance reports quickly to make sure that the accounting division rolls out accurate financial reports and pay stubs every time. This feature is especially effective for companies comprised of employees with wide-ranging pay grades.
  2. Direct deposit capability. Even for small businesses, having to bring thick wads of money to deposit in every teammates’ bank account is tedious, impractical, and risky, to say the least. There isn’t an absolute guarantee that everyone in your workforce will receive their salary on time either. By utilizing Wave, you free yourself from shouldering the burden of depositing your employees’ wages, making it easy for you to distribute their hard-earned and well-deserved monetary reward. To make this more convenient, employers can use Wave to pay their employees from anywhere.
  3. Self-service document printing. Instead of worrying about completing a mass printing task on time, you can take advantage of this platform’s self-service direct printing feature. Wave grants employees access to pay stubs, tax forms, and other banking information, so they can make sure that all of these details are correct. Also, they can print these documents at their convenience, which allows them as well as their team leaders to focus on their work.

Payroll Software: Where to Now?

Payroll solutions are indeed a staple for most organizations. They have remarkably improved the way businesses process payment, ensuring that all employee salaries and taxes are paid accurately and on time. A crucial factor when it comes to choosing payroll software, however, is the price of such solutions.

That said, your company’s budget should not hinder you from implementing different software solutions that optimize your payroll processes. With the vast selection of free programs, you are sure to find one that best suits your company’s needs. At this time, SumoPayroll is the obvious choice, with all the benefits that it offers apart from payroll processing. You can easily sign up for a free trial and get to know the features firsthand at no cost and without commitment.

Have a budget already for payroll software? Be sure to also check out our list of the top 20 payroll software solutions of 2020.

Jenny Chang

By Jenny Chang

Senior writer at FinancesOnline who writes about a wide range of SaaS and B2B products, including trends and issues on e-commerce, accounting and customer service software. She’s also covered a wide range of topics in business, science, and technology for websites in the U.S., Australia and Singapore, keeping tabs on edge tech like 3D printed health monitoring tattoos and SpaceX’s exploration plans.

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