Compliance-aware, full-featured payroll software that allows you to prepare accurate employee salaries and dispenses payments in multiple ways is a crucial foundation of any business that seeks to pull ahead and achieve growth. However, poor payroll handling undermines employee confidence and opens up major risks that could bring down your best business intentions.
In this article, our payroll software experts have done the important task of surveying the field and assessing 15 of the more relevant ones based on features, prices, vendor reliability, quality of customer support, offered channels for integration, and scalability, among others. By going through any of these, you should have a good idea which one to pick at the end.
Is your business still relying on decades-old payroll system as 29% of businesses do? If so, then you should consider current payroll developments that could drastically affect your business. Apart from helping you avoid the risk of compliance and solve inconsistent decentralized systems, payroll software can now do more what they were designed for.
Accuracy and timing of inputs21%
Inconsistent decentralized systems15%
Vendor dissatisfaction with outsource provider11%
Outdated or limited systems9%
Tracking and reporting mobile employees8%
Source: DeloitteDesigned by
One of these is the increasing acceptance of bitcoin and blockchain in financial transactions, including payroll payments. It’s proven to be cost-effective, and many admire how easy it is to implement.
Blockchain was originally developed as an accounting system for cryptocurrencies. Today, this revolutionary system that uses distributed ledger technology (DLT) has been enhanced to manage employee payments, while maintaining privacy and transparency in the documentation, processing, and sharing of payroll data.
Gusto is a robust platform that combines payroll software, compliance, and benefits administration features. It is designed for small businesses in the US to help them grow. Also, it allows these companies to easily manage their staff members’ HR needs. Furthermore, the application offers solid payroll features, a well-designed user interface, and impressive automation and innovation tools.
The platform allows users to simplify their business processes and has everything under one roof. This is from payroll to benefits. Additionally, you can automate calculations, payments, and even the submission of the company’s payroll taxes. This can help you comply with internal and external standards and regulations with ease.
If you want to investigate the features closely, you can easily do so when you sign up for a Gusto free trial.
Today, more than 40,000 businesses in the US use Gusto for their payroll needs. It also integrates well with many business systems and applications, including Deputy, Receipt Bank, FreshBooks, Xero, QuickBooks, and Bamboo HR, among a host of others.
There are three pricing plans to consider. First, the Core plan, the lowest-priced plan, is designed to help smaller teams. It has a base price of $39 per month plus $6 per user. Secondly, there is the Complete version, which is priced for $12 per user a month with an additional base cost of $39 per month. This is a more advanced version designed for busy and growing businesses. Lastly, the Concierge plan is the premiere version designed for enterprise use. It is complete with certified HR support, including certified HR professionals. Its base price is $149 per month, plus a $12 additional charge per user.
Detailed Gusto Review
OnPay is easy to use and has rich functionalities, making it one of the most popular solutions in the category. The product is designed to cater to small and medium-size companies as it has myriad highly-scalable applications. This cloud-deployed system can streamline not only payroll processes but also automate tax filing and payment procedures. Payroll data like hours, tips, reimbursements, and bonuses are easily entered into the system, which can also manage separate processes like compensation and benefits insurance.
This robust platform is capable of managing unlimited monthly payroll and adapts to the requirements for W-2 and 1099, whether for full-time or contract employees. Depending on user preference, one can choose to pay through check or direct deposit. However, to be able to avail of this feature, users have to apply for it and pass a risk assessment test first. These capabilities and more make OnPay one of the most cost-effective payroll tools around.
The solution integrates well with many business systems ranging from accounting software platforms, timekeeping, and HR like Xero, TSheets, Vestwell, Zenefits, and Magnify, among many. The pricing starts with a $36 base fee per month and charges $4 per user per month. Thus, for five people, it is priced at $56 per user per month.
Detailed OnPay Review
Patriot Software is a cost-effective payroll solution that simplifies payroll and regulatory compliance processes for its users. All the basic requirements are covered, like printing W-2s and other year-end reports. Also, you can track the payment to employees. It doesn’t matter whether it went out through printed or handwritten paychecks, cash, online bill payment, or direct transfer. Patriot Software offers a wide range of payroll software features, including the tracking of reported tips.
Patriot Software’s Payroll solution is offered in two versions. Firstly, the Basic Payroll package provides you with a web-based application that helps you run payroll operations using a simple three-step process. However, the more advanced plan Full-Service Payroll includes other services such as managing collections, deposit, and filing of taxes. All end-of-year payroll tax filings are taken care of by the Full Service Payroll plan.
The Basic Payroll Plan is not just basic. It contains a comprehensive reporting module. Capabilities include Paycheck History Report, Deduction History Report, To-Date Entries Report, and Check/Deposit Payment Detail Report, among others. Furthermore, it has a free employee portal where staff can view relevant information such as paycheck and tax updates. However, for business owners that are busy and do not have the resources to handle payroll tax deposits and filings, they should go for the Full Service plan.
The service is integrated with other systems such as QuickBooks, Plaid, and other Patriot software products.
The Basic Plan has an affordable base price of $10 a month, plus $4 a month per employee. A time and attendance module can be added for $5 per employee a month. On the other hand, Full Service Payroll plan has a $30 base price, with the same $4 per employee per month rate. Both include free payroll setups and free US-based expert support via phone, email, or chat.
Detailed Patriot Software Review
Sage 50cloud provides accounting, inventory, and payroll management for businesses of any size. The solution offers a stand-alone payroll application for the United Kingdom. Full Sage Payroll Services are available in the US. On the other hand, the UK version provides accurate and automatic payroll generation and management, with an eye for ensuring full compliance with UK payroll, tax, and pension laws. Moreover, an optional Pensions Module is offered to automate major tasks, which should save you a large amount of time while barring the risk of human errors.
Also, Sage 50cloud empowers your business and employees with handy, self-service features. Moreover, you can invite employees to sign up on the cloud application, and they can then view their payslips and submit necessary timesheet information. Since access is protected by tight security, you and employees can have peace of mind about the risk of sensitive information falling into the wrong hands.
The platform integrates seamlessly with QCommission, Realtrac, Skype, Microsoft products, and many more. Also, it has native applications for Android and Apple devices.
The Pro plan costs for $44.97 per month, while the Premium plan sets you back for $69.62 per month. Then, the advanced Quantum plan is priced at $175.87 per month.
Detailed Sage 50cloud Review
Paycor is a comprehensive Human Capital Management (HCM) platform with robust payroll solutions and powerful HR management capabilities rolled into one. As one of the top HRIS systems today, Paycor covers your bases from recruiting and onboarding to tax compliance, payroll, reporting, and everything in between.
The dashboard is highly intuitive, and features can be highly customized to your organizational needs. Furthermore, you can manage your worker’s compensation, payroll and tax compliance, and HR management processes, all under one roof. Thus, with its powerful reporting tools, you can track employee time and other important details.
Since 2005, Paycor has been used by more than 30,000 SMBs because of its comprehensive features.
With Paycor, you can integrate and expedite your employee-related processes in a scalable manner. Also, the platform integrates with other business systems such as ESR, PayCard, WageWorks, Ameritas, and many others. Furthermore, it has native Android and iOS apps to keep you connected with your business all the time, anywhere.
Paycor is tailor-made to business needs. Thus, it is offered via a private quote.
Detailed Paycor Review
EPAY Systems is a comprehensive HCM solution with robust payroll management and tax and regulatory compliance management modules. It combines these with work and time management. Thus, it is an integrated HCM platform handling processes that range from hiring employees to processing their retirements and everything in between.
For payroll, users can track and manage time, attendance, and organizational compliance to internal and external standards and regulations. It helps you with these by not just providing an intuitive dashboard, but also making everything simple. Also, the platform’s layout and design help you manage payroll processes, even if you don’t have formal training. Additionally, you can process payments, file taxes, and so much more in the EPAY Systems.
Moreover, the platform allows you to manage employees by pay group and generate reports easily. You can even let it generate benefit plans and manage your taxes for you. Additionally, it can adapt to different pay rules, such as overtime policies. It is also flexible to contracts and supports shift differentials. EPAY contains a deep knowledge base of labor regulations and reports to keep you compliant and up to date.
Also, the platform accommodates standard benefits packages like COBRA, FMLA, and FSA/HSA. Also, it has native apps for Android and Apple devices. EPAY Systems is deployed according to your business needs. This is why it is only available through quote-based plans.
Detailed EPAY Systems Review
Designed for restaurants, the Toast Payroll helps restaurateurs and managers streamline their labor and payroll processes. The software also offers features that ensure compliance with government regulations.
The software ensures that you and your team can maintain accurate timesheets even without manual calculations. Toast Payroll seamlessly syncs information between Payroll to POS, ensuring the accuracy of data.
Toast Payroll also offers powerful calculation tools for the computation of different pay rates, even with taxes and overtime considered. This way, you can be sure that your staff’s payments are always accurate. For added convenience, the platform can also file tax returns on your behalf.
Moreover, Toast HR consultants can assist you with the complex processes associated with state and federal labor regulation compliance.
Detailed Toast Payroll Review
There is a QuickBooks Payroll module that works inside QuickBooks Online. It has a fast and free 24-hour direct deposit, where you can submit payroll for your whole team until 5 PM the day before payday. Furthermore, they recently rolled out a new same-day direct deposit capability.
Like many QuickBooks modules and products, the user interface is very intuitive. Moreover, it is also fitted with a comprehensive set of features for payroll and tax compliance. The module also gives you automatic tax updates. It smartly monitors the latest state and federal tax rates to keep your payroll accurate. Furthermore, you can file and pay taxes right in the platform easily. Moreover, the tax forms are made readily available.
However, if you only want a full-service payroll system, Intuit also has a QuickBooks Payroll standalone service. This includes the same-day direct deposit capability and expert help from US-based payroll experts. But, it does not include the QuickBooks suite.
The platform integrates well with Intuit products such as manufacturing accounting software, nonprofit accounting software, and many others. Of course, it integrates with all QuickBooks products. Additionally, QuickBooks Payroll has native Android and iOS applications. The standalone Full Service Payroll solution has a base price of $24 per month. Currently, this is a discounted price cut down from $80. Also, each user is charged $4.
Detailed QuickBooks Review
ADP Workforce Now is a cloud-based HR solution for midsize businesses. It comes with good payroll and benefits management modules. Also, these are tied up with other core HR functions such as time and attendance tracking and onboarding. Furthermore, it has a benefits plan creation wizard.
Aside from the advantages of cloud-based payroll processing, the solution also offers a COBRA events module that notifies employees on how they can meet requirements under COBRA. Also, it makes compliance easy by having IRS forms ready. Additionally, the solution can generate useful reports for you to get actionable insights. These are easily seen in a well-designed dashboard.
Also, the platform allows you to get status and confirmation reports regarding deductions, premiums, beneficiaries, dependents, enrollments, and coverage levels. Furthermore, there is a self-service application for employees. They can access information like pay and benefits from their PCs or on mobile apps for Android or iOS.
It seamlessly integrates with Cronforce, Performance Pro, and iCIMS, among others. Lastly, ADP Workforce Now is only offered by a tailor-made quote by the vendor.
Detailed ADP Workforce Now Review
Xero is a leading financial collaboration app that is designed to meet the needs of small businesses regardless of their industry. Accountants term this solution as one of the handiest assets for managing financial activities. Our experts found Xero to be usable and friendly, and the platform offers features that help close important accounting gaps.
Even lay users without any accounting knowledge will find Xero easy to use as it converts even complex financial concepts into an enjoyable experience. For example, it simplifies double bookkeeping and makes it easily manageable for non-expert users. This usability is the main reason why we rate Xero as a top application on our list. Another advantage is if you have not hired the services of a bookkeeper, you can benefit from the guidance of Xero’s certified advisors.
Xero is a New Zealand-based company that was founded in 2006 and today has 20 offices in different parts of the world. Currently, it integrates with business systems such as Bode Tree, Harvest, Synergy 8, and Carbon Analytics, among many more. Also, it has native apps for both iOS and Android devices. Pricing packages are affordable and start from $20 monthly for the Starter Plan. The Basic Plan costs $30 per month while the Premium offering is only $40.
Detailed Xero Review
Dayforce HCM is a cloud-based system for HR management, talent management, document management, benefits, analytics, payroll and tax, and workforce management. This app provides businesses access to real-time HCM data. There are no difficult user interfaces, and you get one intuitive user experience. Moreover, companies can utilize this solution to find and hire the right talent, manage benefits enrollment, process pay, maintain HR records, manage compliance, schedule the work-life balance of their staff members, and more.
Ceridian’s Dayforce HCM offers useful HCM features in a unified suite. You can utilize the product to manage payroll, benefits administration, onboarding, core human resources, and more. Also, the system is web-based and flexible and compatible with all widely used browsers. Additionally, it supports integration with payment cards.
Moreover, it has native applications for both iOS and Android devices. Also, it is offered in personalized quotes.
Detailed Dayforce HCM Review
Paybooks is a web-based payroll solution that helps users streamline payroll processes and related workflows. It simplifies these with a mix of robust functionalities and intuitive UI design. Also, the platform has a smart dashboard equipped with a wizard to make payroll tasks and processes easier. However, it is designed for use in India. So, if you have a branch in India, this should work well for you.
Aside from providing the benefits of payroll software, the platform ensures that you comply with Indian laws and regulations. These include leave rules. Also, you would get in-country support for all your payroll needs. Furthermore, you can also generate compliance reports right from the system like Provident Fund, Professional Tax, ESI, Form 16, and Income Tax, among many. Moreover, it has a partnership with ICICI Bank. Thus, Paybooks users can pay workers directly from the Paybooks system securely.
Furthermore, it integrates well with these systems: Securax, Zoho, and Intuit QuickBooks, among others.
The regular plan will set you back for ₹1,800 per month for 20 employees and a ₹50 for additional employees. This is equivalent to $25 and change. On the other hand, the Premium plan costs ₹3,000 per month for up to 20 employees, with a charge of ₹75 for extra employees. In dollars, it is around $42 for the base plan and charges you around $1.10 for additional employees.
Detailed Paybooks Review
Like the previous solution, HRAPP is an HR software designed for small businesses in India. Again, this is perfect for those businesses with Indian employees and branches. It makes payroll and other HR processes easier through simple controls, a clean dashboard, and powerful functions. Also, it integrates all HR-related processes under one centralized hub.
One unique feature of HRAPP is that it allows you to not only track productivity and process salaries. Furthermore, it allows you to manage loans and even process advanced salary. Also, you can manage allowances inside the system as well.
The system supports multiple formats for payrolls required by banks. Also, the platform integrates well with ICICI Banking services. Thus, you can directly pay your workers without getting redirected to the ICCI portal. Therefore, you get to pay them right from the system.
Furthermore, HRAPP helps you with your compliance to local Indian tax regulations and standards.
Additionally, it has native apps on Google Play for Android devices. The Lite Plan costs $250 per month for 25 employees. An additional employee will cost you $5 per month. The Pro Plan starts at $500 a month for the same amount of employees. However, additional ones cost $7 monthly. Lastly, the Enterprise Plan costs $700 for 25 employees, and it charges $10 per additional employee monthly.
Detailed HRAPP Review
Zenefits is a web-based solution helping small and medium businesses HR processes, including payroll management and more. Also, it has business intelligence, insurance benefits, customer support, and onboarding’, among other things integrated as well. It fits all these robust features into an intuitive dashboard that’s easy-to-understand and use.
Moreover, the platform allows you to automate different business processes and store all relevant information in one place. Also, you can stay up to date with deductions, earnings, taxes, benefits, employee hours, and leaves, among other things. It simplifies HR management, and it makes it all very convenient.
Zenefits integrates well with different business applications from financial to performance management solutions. The extensive list includes Salesforce, Slack, Carta, Abacus, Appraised, Zugata, Intuit QuickBooks, and Uber, among many others. Moreover, there are native apps for Android and iOS devices.
The pricing plan starts with Essentials at $8 per month for every employee supported. This includes basic features like time tracking, scheduling, and benefits management. Growth, the most popular plan, is priced at $14 per employee per month. This includes compensation management and performance management modules. Lastly, the Zen plan costs $21 per employee monthly. It includes a well-being management module.
Detailed Zenefits Review
Part of Zoho’s business software solutions, Zoho Payroll makes it easy to prepare and manage both salaried and hourly employee payroll. Zoho is offered as a stand-alone program in India and as a module of Zoho Books in the US. Zoho Payroll gives you peace of mind with a system that complies with both legal regulations in the two countries indicated. Furthermore, it offers unlimited pay runs and enables automatic payments, one of the most important features of a payroll software platform.
Zoho Payroll provides an employee self-service portal, so you don’t have to do all the payroll works yourselves. All you have to do is ask employees to create their own accounts. Once they do, they can then get to their pay stubs, verify their taxes and W-2s without the need to see the physical HR or accounting office. Moreover, you can even set your own policies for sick leaves and vacations. Plus, you get notified of tasks and get insightful reports.
The solution integrates well with other Zoho products as well as other business systems. Moreover, Zoho solutions’ native apps on Android and iOS devices allow you to manage payroll on the go. The Indian version’s price is ₹50 a month. On the other hand, the vendor prices Zoho Books version for the US containing the module at $9 a month for a Basic plan. The Standard Plan is at $19 per month, while the Professional version costs $29 per month.
Detailed Zoho Payroll Review
These 15 leading payroll software should have given you a good idea which one to select for your business. Before taking the plunge, however, try to do one last thing if it’s offered by the vendor: go for its free trial offer. For Gusto, for example, you can easily sign up for a free trial offered by the vendor.
The same goes for the other entries on the list. However, if budget is tight and you’re looking for free payroll apps, check out our Free Payroll Software for Small Business in 2020 guide.
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