15 Best Payroll Software Systems

Category: B2B News
What is the best payroll software?
The best payroll software is QuickBooks Pro. QuickBooks Pro gives you a robust payroll platform with a strong eye for streamlined payroll administration and compliance. It packs useful innovation tools and automation system behind a simple interface design, making this a deservedly well-balanced top pick of the bunch.

A 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. Poor payroll handling undermines employee confidence and opens up major risks that could bring down your best business intentions. If it also frees you of mundane, repetitive tasks, then the better.  If you are on a limited budget, find one that offers the best features you could afford, and start to move up from there. But finding the best payroll software could prove to be a headache given the forest of offerings out there.

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. Note down the needs of your business that are of specific concern. You will see that many of these applications often share similar features, but keep mind that the clincher might just lie in a few areas that really matter for your business.

payroll software systems

Payroll management software can be used by companies to perform tasks such as calculating staff members’ salaries and deductions, generating paystubs and tax forms, depositing the salary directly into employees’ bank accounts and more. The application helps to minimize manual errors and cycle times. It offers benefits such as efficient management of staff data, secure financial transactions, and detailed reports on employee payroll. If you are looking to invest in a good payroll software solution, we can help you.

Is your business still relying on decades-old payroll system as 29 percent of businesses do? If so, then you should consider current payroll developments that could drastically affect your business.

One of these is the increasing acceptance of bitcoin and blockchain in financial transactions, including payroll payments. A payroll software designed more than a couple of years ago would be hopelessly out of tune in this development. Originally created to handle cryptocurrencies, Blockchain offers a revolutionary distributed ledger technology (DLT) that makes it easy to administer worker payments while providing stringent privacy and transparency in terms of financial records, processing and data sharing. 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. The system is fast, user-friendly and cost-effective.

Closely related to this recent payroll development is the rise of the gig economy. When 75% of the 10.6 million people who work for short contracts with independent contractors are the target for health insurance, it pays to have a software that is future-proofed to provide programs anticipating the need to address these underserviced independent contractors.

1. Gusto

Gusto dashboard example

Gusto is a robust platform that combines payroll software, compliance, and benefits administration features. It is designed for small businesses in the US and helps these companies easily manage their staff members’ HR needs. The application offers solid payroll features, a well-designed user interface, and impressive automation and innovation tools. 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.

Gusto’s stated mission is to simplify business processes such as payroll, benefits, and HR for modern companies. This software is used by more than 40,000 businesses in the US and the company has offices in San Francisco and Denver. You can avail this solution by paying a monthly price of $39 per month plus $6 per user. Features include unlimited payroll runs, year-end W-2s and 1099s, direct deposit, new hire reporting and more. There is no need to sign a contract and you can suspend your account any time. After you suspend, Gusto will file and pay any outstanding payroll taxes and also generate year-end W-2s and 1099s for your employees.


An award given to products our B2B experts find especially valuable for companies

Gusto won our Expert's Choice Award for 2017

Our score
User satisfaction

2. QuickBooks Pro

QuickBooks Pro dashboard example

QuickBooks Pro helps to simplify and streamline the entire payroll system. As an accounting software that has a full range of managing financial business workings, QuickBooks Pro was designed to remove all the cause of delay and process flaws when it comes to getting employees paid. All its tools are direct, straightforward, and instant.

For starters, users are given the option to choose if they want to handle payroll on their own or let QuickBooks experts execute all necessary transactions. The latter option is possible for running the software requires no advanced technical skills when it comes to accounting. SMB owners can simply do everything by themselves.

You can check out its features firsthand when you sign up for a QuickBooks Pro free trial here.

Opting for a full-service payroll has its perks for it fully removes payroll management tasks off of your hands. If you’re a meticulous business owner who wants to know all the particular payroll details, the self-service plan is for you. But if you want more time to handle your business, you can opt for the hassle-free full-service payroll.

Users will appreciate QuickBooks Pro tools that boost the entire payroll process. It has a built-in pay distribution tool that makes the receipt of payment significantly faster. Its one-click credit transfer works hand in hand with a real-time invoice status tracker so users really get the whole picture when it comes to their labor costs. It can also accurately handle tax computations.

QuickBooks Pro integrates with third-party apps like PayPal, Square, and Shopify. Pricing is dependent on the number of employees enrolled for payroll.

3. OnPay

OnPay dashboard example

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 a myriad of highly-scalable applications. This cloud-deployed system has the ability to 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 runs monthly for W-2 workers and 1099 for 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. This capabilities and more make OnPay one of the most cost-effective payroll tools around.

The vendor offers a great free trial that lets you try out all key features first. You can easily sign up for OnPay free trial here.

4. Sage 50cloud

Sage 50cloud dashboard example


Sage 50cloud provides accounting, inventory and payroll management for businesses of any size. Sage offers a payroll stand-alone application for the United Kingdom. Full Sage Payroll Services are available in the US. 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. 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.

Sage 50cloud empowers your business and employees with handy self-service features. 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 a peace of mind about the risk of sensitive information falling into the wrong hands.

If you want to test-drive the application, you can sign up for a free trial here.

5. ADP Workforce Now

ADP Workforce Now dashboard example

ADP Workforce Now is a web-based HR solution designed for midsize businesses. This application collects and automates all of your company’s HR processes into a single dashboard. You can create added user permissions for your staff members to enable them to manage multiple HR functions. The system also helps you to manage your employees’ benefits and holidays, and easily produce insightful reports. The vendor offers video tutorials, a demo, and online support.

ADP Workforce Now offers HR capabilities such as benefits management, payroll, talent management, and time and attendance. It also offers a benefits plan creation wizard that can be configured for the onboarding processes of your organization. Top features include HR outsourcing services, global human capital management, employee wellness, cloud-based storage, and analytics.

6. Xero

Xero dashboard example

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 helpful 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 by non-expert users. This usability is the main reason why we rate Xero as the 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. This accounting app is used by more than 475,000 solo accountants and businesses. Pricing packages are affordable and start from $25/month. Top features include powerful add-ons, bank reconciliation, invoicing, purchase orders, and free, unlimited email support inventory.

7. Dayforce HCM

Dayforce HCM dashboard example

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 data on human capital management (HCM). There are no user interfaces and one user experience. 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. The system is web-based and flexible, and compatible with all widely used browsers. Key features include touch time clock, mobile app, document management, dashboards, and performance management.

8. Wave

Wave dashboard example

Wave Apps is a well-integrated business solution that combines accounting, invoicing, and receipt scanning in one package. It is a good choice for small businesses and self-employed professionals such as consultants, freelancers, and entrepreneurs.

The app is easy to set up and use. It offers a simple and very navigable dashboard that displays everything you need. Wave simplifies accounting and invoicing processes and enables users to easily manage employees and taxes, track expenses, and chase payments. You can use the system to create and send out invoices, estimates, and receipts quickly. Plus, the tracking features can help you to stay on top of your processes. Key features include direct credit card payments, direct deposit, yearly record keeping, tax calculations and deductions, and payroll.

9. Zenefits

Zenefits dashboard example

Zenefits is an online platform that offers HR services for small and medium-sized companies. The solution removes the stress and complexity of HR administration for managers. Plus, it enables businesses to utilize their resources smartly to manage complex payroll processes. Main features include mobile optimization, ACA compliance, hiring and onboarding, customer support, payroll sync, insurance benefits, employee directory, and business intelligence.

Zenefits integrates all HR functionalities in one easy-to-use online dashboard, giving the business owner better control, its employees easier access, and the business enhanced confidence in its compliance. HR managers can use this app to keep track of their team. The best part is the service is free for use and is therefore an ideal choice for startups and small businesses.

10. Zoho Payroll

Zoho Payroll dashboard example

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 United States. Zoho Payroll gives you peace of mind with a system that complies with both legal regulations in the two countries indicated. It offers unlimited payruns 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 the 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.

11. Intuit Payroll

Intuit Payroll dashboard example

Intuit Payroll is a robust yet affordable payroll solution that offers three pricing plans to suit various business budgets and needs. Each plan has its limitations except the premium product, the Full Service Payroll in which all tax and payroll processes are managed by the software. Businesses can use this app to easily pay their employees on time without spending too much time on the process.

Companies can use Intuit Payroll to settle payments with their employees accurately and efficiently. You can generate unlimited paychecks while automating payroll tax calculations. Plus, the vendor offers reliable support from live experts. Top features include poster compliance service, workers’ compensation, hiring tips and tools, and step-by-step help for setup.

12. Namely

Namely dashboard example

Namely is a comprehensive HR suite that combines payroll software, talent management, and benefits. This solution is used by more than 400 companies and it has managed more $2.5 billion in annual payroll. It is a cloud-based app that enables businesses to manage compliance and streamline HR processes such as talent management, benefits, and payroll.

Namely is designed for mid-market companies and it helps them to handle the processes of managing employee information and calculating paychecks to accurately show deductions for taxes and contributions for benefits such as health insurance. Key features include workflows, roles and permissions, resources, calendar, reporting, time off tracking, and organizational charts.

13. Sage HRMS

Sage HRMS dashboard example

Sage HRMS is designed for small to mid-sized organizations and provides an extensive suite of HR tools. Companies can utilize these tools to fully optimize the total life cycle of their employees, from recruitment to talent management. The app also offers payroll functionality and is designed to support the payroll requirements of businesses in multiple industries including agriculture, construction, manufacturing, retail and others.

Sage HRMS is an efficient HR and payroll management software that offers businesses the tools and capabilities they need to attract and recruit top talent, improve employee engagement, and train their employees to become useful assets to their companies. Main features include decision support, paperless HR, time management, risk mitigation and compliance, and recruiting and onboarding.

14. BambooHR

BambooHR dashboard example

BambooHR is an online HR software system designed for small and mid-sized businesses. Primarily an HRIS, this platform is also equipped with robust payroll management tools that let you prepare taxes, keep track of salaries, as well as facilitate direct deposits. With this at your disposal, you can reduce the amount of time spent on time-consuming payroll tasks as well as lessen the risk for human error.

BambooHR offers a sleek and modern interface with an attractive color template. Plus, its comprehensive feature suite includes personnel data modules, key HR functions, tracking capabilities, and advanced reporting tools. This platform is ideal for decentralized and remote teams as it is compatible with popular operating systems.

15. UltiPro

UltiPro dashboard example

UltiPro is a product of Ultimate Software which provides human capital management (HCM) solutions. The company was founded in 1990 in Weston, FL, and its products are utilized by thousands of global customers in multiple industries. UltiPro offers HR, payroll, talent, compensation, and time and labor management features that connect users with the info and resources they need to work effectively.

UltiPro delivers strategic HR features in one global system. You can track all human capital management details about your staff members including personal information, employment history, benefits information, performance history and more. Plus, the app handles the payroll requirements and computations for employees in the US and Canada in just a few simple steps. Other benefits include talent management, business intelligence tools,   employee portal, time management, and performance management.

So which payroll software should you choose?

These 15 leading payroll software should have given you a good idea which one to select for your business. Before making that 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 Gusto free trial here. The same goes for the other entries in the list. If budget is tight and you’re looking for free payroll apps, check out our Free Payroll Software for Small Business in 2019 guide.

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.

Related posts

Leave a comment!

Add your comment below.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

Back to

Why is FinancesOnline free? Why is FinancesOnline free?

FinancesOnline is available for free for all business professionals interested in an efficient way to find top-notch SaaS solutions. We are able to keep our service free of charge thanks to cooperation with some of the vendors, who are willing to pay us for traffic and sales opportunities provided by our website. Please note, that FinancesOnline lists all vendors, we’re not limited only to the ones that pay us, and all software providers have an equal opportunity to get featured in our rankings and comparisons, win awards, gather user reviews, all in our effort to give you reliable advice that will enable you to make well-informed purchase decisions.