Top Alternatives To Payroll Software

Category: B2B News

There is much to say in favor of payroll management software and why you too would use such, especially if you’re not running the dream team of transaction control efficiency. Don’t worry, though – payroll happens to be a nightmare even in the most proficient environments, and the sooner you automate it, the better it will affect your overall productivity.

What does payroll software stand for? The term brings together all systems and technologies designed to automate employees’ payments, and includes both standalone accounting-based solutions and integral payroll modules of popular HR suites and ERP packages. What these systems can do for you is to calculate salaries with all deductions and withholdings being accounted for, process your direct deposits, and generate all types of financial statements and tax forms. With a system like this in place, companies cut approximately 50 % of manual transaction errors, and reduce significantly their payroll’s cycle time.

Which is the right payroll system for you? This will depend on several factors, including the salary schedule you already have in place, taxation forms and provisions you must abide to, and the level of expertise your team has to offer in managing similar expectations. With a developing business undergoing its first encounter with market’s requirements, for instance, your best shot is to outsource all payroll operations to a compact automation suite, and make use of comprehensive support and expert advice. High-tier enterprises, on the other hand, may prefer a system that integrates other valuable features, as for instance benefits administration and full HR management.

In order to help you make the right choice, we’ve collated the top alternatives to payroll software, and explained them in detail. Check what each system can do for you, and pick the best one for your needs.

Top Alternatives To Payroll Software

1. Gusto

If you are looking for a modern and leading payroll automation solution, our Gusto alternative has you covered. The billion-dollar startup is the current market’s leader of payroll automation, known for expert assistance, instant and effortless compliance, and its one-of-a-kind combination of HR, payroll, and benefits administration features. Gusto is one of the very few systems that make 401 (k) retirement plans and 529 college savings available in small and medium companies, while making sure that they will comply with HIPAA, ACA, and ERISA standards, and taxation laws in the respective state. The vendor also offers a great free trial if you’d like to try out the key features of the software first. You can easily sign up for Gusto free trial here.


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Gusto activates full payroll automation, meaning that once your data is entered in the system, it prepares paystubs, tax forms, and W-2s independently. A kit of useful training materials and expert advise will be in place for first-time users to prepare their payment schemes and manage time-offs. A very specific feature of this system is that employees have undisturbed access to their data, and will hence be able to modify independently from their executives. Gusto also simplifies benefits administration with accent to health care, and manages all basic HR operations and reporting activities.

2. OnPay

OnPay is an easy-to-use payroll platform that delivers its core features in a straightforward manner. It is perfect for small businesses that need a simple yet resourceful payroll software which is not packed with unnecessary functionality they will never use. You get full value for your money with main features like HR tools, payroll compliance, and employee management. Check the features for free when you sign up for OnPay free trial here.

A major benefit of this solution is it helps employees with 401(k) retirement planning by automating withholdings bolstered with contribution matching and secure harbor plans. Plus, your staff members get 401(k) education and onboarding to enable them to understand the benefits of this special account type. You will be hard pressed to find a better OnPay alternative.

OnPay is very affordable while offering a great array of features, government compliance, and a number of integrations. Plus, it is scalable so you can start with basic features and escalate the capabilities as your needs grow. The best part is the vendor doesn’t charge anything for filing payroll taxes, debit cards, direct deposits, cancellations, and changing plans, and there are no annual fees.

3. Xero

Xero stands for one of the leaders in the accounting software arena, and offers payroll automation services as an integral part of its large productivity kit. Designed around an interesting financial collaboration methodology, Xero meets the requirements of both small and large teams, and has a flexible pricing scheme that supports its applicability in different environments.

Why Xero? The system known to add value to any business is also regarded as non-accountant friendly, allowing even non-experts to conduct complex operations such as double bookkeeping. Even without an experienced bookkeeper behind the wheel, Xero will provide you a certified assistance to help you manage your payroll and close accounting gaps. There is nothing Xero has reinvented, except of the traditional error-prone and time-consuming accounting operations. When it comes to savings, there will hardly be a more suitable Xero alternative to consider.

How does Xero work? More than 475,000 businesses worldwide rely on Xero to simplify transactions, as this system meets all of their purchasing, payroll, and inventory management needs. Using it, you can create and keep detailed possession records to add automatically to your transactions. All of these records are robust, and contain details such as tax status, purchase costs, committed quotes, and relevant descriptions. What is even better is that Xero gives you the full picture of your business’s financial health, and pulls off several types of standard and custom statements such as Balance sheets, Income statements, and Cash Flow records.

What you will also appreciate about Xero is connectivity, as this systems works in synergy with many popular software providers, among which Evernote, Stripe, PayPal, Expensify, ADP, Harvest, Carbon Analytics, and many more. The tool is fully optimized for mobile usage, and offers a flexible pricing scheme with plans as low as $25 a month.

4. ADP Workforce Now

ADP Workforce Now is one of the most compact HR management suites equipped for payroll management, designed predominantly for midsized businesses looking to coordinate different HR functions on a single platform. Our experts recommend the ADP Workforce Now alternative because of its unique capabilities combination, which brings together HR kits and benefit plan creation wizards, and lets you personalize them in line with your business specifications. At the same time, ADP Workforce Now is one of the few systems that is fully COBRA-compliant, and thus follows premiums, deductions, beneficiaries, covered dependents, coverage levels, and enrollments.

Why ADP Workforce Now? With this system installed, you will have a single, comprehensive dashboard to manage payroll, benefits, bonuses, commissions, time and attendance, employee health statistics, and talent management. This way, you can make your work more transparent, and keep all employees satisfied. The software also displays analytics in real-time, and lets you report on your financial activities in a fashion similar to Xero. Another similarity between the two systems is full mobile optimization, which makes it possible to access data, control operations, or even perform audit from a mobile device. Tax filling is also made easy with these error-free and real-time payment calculations, especially knowing that the vendor offers some of the best expert advice and onboarding assistance.

Plus, ADP Workforce Now won’t be that much of a burden to afford – pricing is calculated upon request, which means that the vendor prepares individual and function-oriented plans for each user. Before you get a quote, you can also check their free trial and confirm that they have the right solution for you.

5. Dayforce HCM

Dayforce HCM is a Ceridian suite developed to handle workforce management, payroll and tax, analytics, benefits, document management, talent management, and HR management. Due to such diverse offer of capabilities and features, it won’t be easy to find a similar Dayforce HCM alternative that covers all day-to-day operations, and requires no third-party system to support its operations.

Why Dayforce HCM? Alongside its well-known multitasking powers, this system delivers more functionality for your employees, and lets them stay in control of their work-related transactions and profile information. Each employee will have a separate record, and all records will be available to executives in different departments to minimize errors and to ensure transparency. Basically, Dayforce can help with all garnishments, tax filings, and other payroll-related activities, and is even offered in different languages to meet the needs of delocalized teams. In such circumstances Dayforce will also support multiple currencies, and put in place advanced modules such as web conferencing. The same as Xero and ADP Workforce Now, Dayforce is offered to desktop and mobile users, and well-connected to popular third-party systems and applications.

6. Wave

Wave is the most compact accounting & payroll software suite that is offered for free. The powerful platform encompasses accounting, invoicing, and receipt scanning into one compact and straightforward package, and simplifies both payroll automation and expense management in a manner similar to enterprise-grade solutions. The target group of this platform are small and developing companies, as it requires no accounting expertise or compulsory training.

Our Wave alternative makes sense to all businesses looking to take out manual data entry from the equation, and streamline each and every accounting operation without compromising accuracy. This means that Wave will prepare your business for upcoming tax seasons with no hassle at all, and make sure your work complies with all standards and provisions that apply in your industry. At the same time, this system lets you pay your dues from all devices and at any point of time, including paystubs and direct deposits for your team. You can also rely on it to save time with automated billing & invoicing, set reminders for unpaid items, and accept convenient payments via credit cards.

7. Zenefits

Unlike the systems we discussed so far, the Zenefits alternative is one that specializes in payroll management, and thus offers an array of advanced functionalities that will rarely appear in other systems. It was developed as a streamlined HR service for small and medium businesses, but learnt overtime from its users’ biggest struggles related to payroll management, and came to be a compact payment control system. The same as Wave, Zenefits is offered for free.

What should you expect from Zenefits? This system offers business intelligence, employee directory, insurance benefits, payroll sync, customer support, hiring and onboarding, ACA compliance, mobile optimization, and many other valuable features. It ensures greater control on the employer’s and the employee’s side, which makes the payroll management process more transparent and fully compliant with all standards and requirements. With Zenefits, you will also be able to do time entry and approval processes, reduce errors, monitor and manage time offs, and ensure that your hourly employees are paid accurately and on time. Zenefits also pulls off reports as e-files, and allows you to send them directly to the authorities without any further validation.

8. Namely

More than 400,000 businesses worldwide have chosen the Namely alternative to manage vital payroll operations, and that’s because of the unique combination of payroll features, talent management, and benefits administration. This cloud-hosted service streamlines both basic and complex HR processes, and helps companies from different industries impose themselves on the talent markets with attractive compensation & benefits plans.

What Namely brings to the table is accurate payroll, benefits administration, a robust HRIS, 360° performance reviews, time off tracking, goals, team planning, reporting, and much more. Put into perspective, the system unites all valuable HR data in a single location, and even lets you customize operations in a business-specific manner. Namley users also get a dedicated account manager and 24/7 support, and have the peace of mind that their sensitive data is protected using enterprise-grade mechanisms. In fact, they are invited to build their own multi-layer access scheme, and prevent all intrusions and unwanted access without professional help.

9. Sage HRMS

The Sage HRMS alternative, on the other hand, works better for medium businesses looking to control the total lifecycle of their employees, including recruitment, acquisition, talent management, and similar activities. The well-reputed system also provides payroll functionality, targeting specifically industries such as retail, manufacturing, construction, and agriculture, to mention a few.

Sage HRIS efficiently combines vital payroll and benefits administration components with applicant tracking and employee self-service, and integrates all similar activities in a single hub. In such way, it cuts down both the costs and the administrative efforts of the company, and lets managers focus on acquiring and maintaining talented performers. The system is also known because of its powerful analytics suite, and providing businesses with all necessary insights to improve workforce management. Alongside paying employees accordingly and in time, the manager will also be able to identify personnel that require development and training, depict negative performance trends, or even distinguish talents that are ready for promotion.

10. Intuit Payroll

QucikBooks users and fans will probably opt for the Intuit Payroll alternative without questioning other systems, and there’d be nothing wrong with that. Observed either independently or through the prism of Intuit as a top provider, this system does an amazing job settling employees’ payments, generating unlimited paychecks while automating payroll tax calculations, and fulfilling mundane HR tasks.

To start with, this powerful payroll automation kit keeps up with existing mandatory policies, including poster compliance in accordance with Federal and State labor laws. It means you will always stay on the safe side, both when you’re distributing payments and completing transactions, and when choosing and onboarding a new employee.  Intuit Payroll is also known for reliable service and support, and provides top-class expertise for your business to expand its reach and retain full control of its cash flow. As expected from an Intuit product, the system will also be available to use on mobile devices, and seamlessly integrated with different QuickBooks versions.

By Louie Andre

B2B & SaaS market analyst and senior writer for FinancesOnline. He is most interested in project management solutions, believing all businesses are a work in progress. From pitch deck to exit strategy, he is no stranger to project business hiccups and essentials. He has been involved in a few internet startups including a digital route planner for a triple A affiliate. His advice to vendors and users alike? "Think of benefits, not features."

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