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Top 3 Payroll Software: Comparison of Gusto, Sage 50cloud Payroll and OnPay

Category: B2B News
What is the best payroll management software?
The best payroll management software is Gusto. It offers a comprehensive package that includes payroll, accounting, and HR. It also provides employers with an easy way to provide benefits like health, 529 savings plans, and retirement plans.

Staying on top of your payroll makes sure that your employees are well compensated and taxes are paid accordingly. Using the right kind of payroll management software will help make sure that you stick to this goal and even offer benefits to your employees.

Gusto is one of the best payroll software in the market today. It offers a complete package for businesses. OnPay provides similar services, while Sage 50cloud Payroll is easy to use and provides compliant and comprehensive payroll service for small businesses.

In this article, you will get an in-depth look at the top 3 payroll management software and how they handle taxes, benefits, and employee attendance. It should help you make a better decision before purchasing it.

Best 3 Payroll Software

Top 3 Payroll Software Solutions

One of the most daunting tasks facing businesses with global operations is retaining control of payroll processes while ensuring compliance with local regulations. Before you hire new employees, for example, you need to identify the requirements and challenges. Otherwise, you could be facing stiff penalties and other risks associated with noncompliance.

This is further complicated by the emergence of new legislation, whether from the US or the host countries. You can imagine how payroll can easily miss meeting new laws and inviting the unwanted attention of tax authorities.

One of the ways to address this challenge is to partner with local providers in the countries you do business. Another way is to consider a capable technology that constantly updates with international payroll and tax regulations. Developers of this type of software make it their job to be updated in this area so their software clients could focus on what’s important for their businesses instead.

Source: EY

In the US, for example, a payroll solution could help you take care of funding the 401(k) of your employees without any glitch.

Offering these kinds of benefits is just one of the reasons to get a payroll software for your company. With it, you don’t have to worry about making mistakes when doing your payroll, whether in the US or any other country.

Looking over the best payroll management software should help you in managing all taxes and benefits accurately and on time. Here’s an overview of the top 3 payroll management software.

1. Gusto

Gusto dashboard

Gusto is a complete payroll option designed to integrate benefits and tax compliance all within a single system. It can be used for enterprises of all sizes. Some of the features you will find with Gusto is HR software as well as time-tracking capabilities.

You can also integrate health benefits to the system, so it automatically factors it in during the computation.

The vendor offers a comprehensive free trial to get you up to speed with the features. You can sign up for Gusto free trial here.


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In terms of the pros and cons of Gusto, it has a college saving fund employees can use for their family or themselves. Once the employee decides to pursue the feature, it automatically deducts an amount starting at $6 per employee.

The one downside of the software, however, is that its benefits administration is not available in all 50 states. As of the moment, benefits are available only in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington.

Gusto currently has three plans available starting at $39/mo base price and $6/mo per person.

Key Features of Gusto:

  • It comes with a 529 Savings Plan
  • Complete accounting and HR features for your company
  • Time tracking and time off features
  • Easy to use interface for employees

2. Sage 50cloud Payroll

Sage 50cloud Payroll dashboard

Created for small to medium-sized companies in the UK, Sage 50cloud Payroll eliminates the complexities of payroll. Easy to set up and sporting an intuitive dashboard, it also ensures you remain compliant with its HMRC-recognized system. This means that the software takes care of keeping up-to-date with critical payroll and pension legislation. This is a big plus, considering how new rules can easily escape your business radar.

As part of the whole Sage ecosystem, Sage 50cloud Payroll easily integrates with its sibling applications, including Sage 50cloud Accounts and Sage Payments. Hence, full accounting software capabilities are just within your fingertips when you need them.

The vendor has an appealing free trial where you can tinker with the features at no cost. You can sign up for Sage 50cloud Payroll free trial here.

There’s also Sage’s flavor of HR software, giving you an easy pathway to build a software ecosystem that works harmoniously from the start.

Sage 50cloud Payroll is available in two packages: standard and professional. The starting price of the standard edition is £19.50 per month and is good for up to 15 employees. Prices go up as more employees, core users, and companies are selected. Both are available in monthly and annual plans.

Key Features of Sage 50cloud Payroll:

  • Specially designed for small to medium-sized businesses
  • HMRC-recognized system for up-to-date compliance
  • Optional Pensions Module for automated pension processing
  • Easily integrates with the rest of Sage software ecosystem

3. OnPay

OnPay dashboard

OnPay is a payroll software that’s easy to use and is ideal for small to medium-sized businesses. The system is cloud-based and has dedicated apps for Android and iOS.

One of the things that make OnPay stand out is its simplicity. Users can run payroll in just a matter of minutes. Aside from payroll, it also comes with other features that make handling employees easier, like workers’ compensation as well as retirement plans like employee 401(k).

You can check the solution closely when you sign up for OnPay free trial here.

OnPay caters to all types of employees in your organization. It can effectively take care of payrolls of both full-time employees and part-timers who get paid by the hour.

For businesses that have branches all over the country, using OnPay ensures that everyone is well compensated and gets the right tax deductions. That’s because OnPay calculates all state and federal payroll taxes.

OnPay is available starting at $36/month base pay and $4/month per person.

Key Features of OnPay:

  • Correct federal and state payroll taxes in all 50 states
  • The first-month subscription is free
  • Automatic deduction for benefits and compensation
  • Payment through direct deposit, check, and debit card available

Comparison of Features

Payroll Processing

Opening screen, Gusto

Gusto sports a clean, intuitive opening screen.

Payroll software is designed to make payroll easier and faster. Gusto, OnPay, and Sage 50cloud Payroll offer just that. With Gusto, you can automatically sync team hours. You can then go over hours and pay to make sure that everything is in order before sending everyone their pay.

OnPay also prides itself on its easy-to-use payroll platform. The system allows you to easily make direct deposits, checks, or prepaid cards as needed. You are also able to fully customize the payment experience as needed.

Lastly, Sage 50cloud Payroll is specially designed for small to medium-sized businesses. It covers basic payroll for all employees and helps calculate everything from multiple pay rates to time off accruals.

All three software guarantees accuracy and security when it comes to handling your payroll. So, anyone of these can be used by your business, depending on size.

Verdict: All three payroll software guarantee accurate calculations. Sage 50cloud Payroll is the best option for those working with smaller teams, and Gusto or OnPay for those with growing ones.

Tax Management

OnPay and Gusto calculate, pay, and file all payroll taxes for you. OnPay has tax information on all 50 states, making it an ideal payroll system for companies with branches across the country. Both platforms also provide all the necessary forms related to taxes, so you are always sure that everything is in order.

On the other hand, Sage 50cloud Payroll takes care of tax requirements, automating the processes while ensuring you are on the safe side of compliance.

Verdict: All three solutions offer automatic tax management for a more accurate tax calculation and easy filings for every employee. Sage 50cloud Payroll handles compliance well, which is crucial for businesses, essentially owning this round.

Benefits Administration

Benefits screen, Onpay

OnPay screen showing payroll deduction, 410k and 403b.

When it comes to benefits, Gusto is the leader. The software offers health, retirement, and even a 529 college savings plan. It allows employers to easily provide these benefits to their employees at no extra cost.

Meanwhile, OnPay allows employers to input their benefits like insurance, 401(k), and insurance integrations including life, vision, disability, and more. Sage 50cloud Payroll automatically calculates statutory sick, maternity and paternity pay among others.

Verdict: Gusto offers the best benefits administration among the three payroll software, though Sage 50cloud Payroll is not far behind for UK workers.

Human Resources Feature

Aside from basic payroll, taxes, and benefits, another feature some payroll software has is HR software.

Gusto’s Concierge Plan offers HR tools. With it, you can make sure that your company stays compliant with everything related to HR. A dedicated team of experts sends law alerts to your HR team to inform you of any rule changes. In this way, you stay compliant and avoid fines along the way.

OnPay offers an HR library and comprehensive tools for HR. These include E-Syncing, Online forms, compliance audits, and automated onboarding flows.

Sage 50cloud Payroll offers basic HR functionality, which should be enough for many of its target markets, the small and medium-sized businesses.

Verdict: OnPay already has HR software features integrated with their payroll plan. It is the best option for companies looking for a payroll and HR software in one.


Integration screen, OnPay

You can easily integrate OnPay with QuickBooks and Xero, among other third-party applications.

All three payroll software offers integration with other applications. All of them are compatible with QuickBooks Online.

Sage 50cloud Payroll readily integrates with other Sage software solutions, prominent among which are Sage Payments, Sage NHS Pensions Module, Sage 50cloud Accounts among others. It also easily integrates with Microsoft Office applications.

Gusto and OnPay are compatible with many different types of software like Accounting, Time Tracking, HR & Compliance, and business tools.

OnPay is compatible with 401(k) software Guideline America’s Best 401k, and Veswell, as well as Small business lending partner Kabbage.

Verdict: If you’re already using other tools, OnPay offers the best integration options among the three. However, if you’re looking to use a single platform for your payroll, then Sage 50cloud Payroll is a better choice as it integrates seamlessly with other products from Sage.


Sage 50cloud Payroll is priced at £19.50 or US $25.52 per month for up to 15 employees for the Standard plan and £66 or US $86.36 per month for up to 50 employees for the Professional plan. For a solution that basically covers all payroll needs, compliance and other modern features, Sage 50cloud Payroll pricing plans are easily affordable for small and medium-sized businesses.

OnPay, on the other hand, starts at $36 base fee and $4 per employee monthly. OnPay offers everything you need to run payroll and accounting. It also comes with special payroll features to accommodate all types of businesses like restaurants, churches, and non-profit organizations.

Lastly, Gusto has the most expensive plan and has three plans currently available: Core, Complete, and Concierge. Core is their most affordable plan starting at a $39 base fee and $6 per employee monthly. It offers a full-service payroll, self-service for employees, as well as health benefits and worker’s comp administration.

The Complete plan starts at a $39 base fee and $6 per employee monthly. It has everything Core offers with additional features. These features are employee offers and onboarding, time tracking, PTO policies, as well as an employee directory.

Concierge is the most expensive plan. It starts at a $149 base fee and $12 per employee monthly. It has all Core and Complete features, plus certified HR pros and an HR resource center.

Verdict: Sage 50cloud Payroll provides the most reasonable price range among the three. But the best value for your money goes to Gusto. It has everything you need to handle employees for enterprises of any size.

Finding the Best Payroll Management Software for Your Business

After reading about the top 3 payroll management software, you should now be able to decide which features you need for your business.

Sage 50cloud Payroll is best suited for small and medium-sized businesses. It’s loaded with all the modern payroll features, with auto-compliance features to boot. 

Gusto fits growing businesses the best. Small teams can start with the basic plan and scale to more advanced features over time as the team grows. Overall, Gusto provides greater flexibility to expand, whether you’re a startup or a mid-sized business.

Whichever payroll management software you choose for your business, it is sure to help boost productivity and save you time along the way.

As the leading application in this review, Gusto pretty much covers all your payroll needs. Better still, it comes with essential HR solutions that eliminate the need to invest in another application. If you want to check its comprehensive feature set, you can easily sign up for Gusto free trial here

Louie Andre

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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