Payroll software is one of the most important tools your company will invest in as you begin to expand and grow. The technology ensures you can quickly and conveniently deliver wages to your employees at the end of each month, without unnecessary stress.
Unfortunately, choosing the right payroll software isn’t always easy. With a market size accelerating to around $15.37 billion by 2030, the landscape for payroll management software is huge. There are dozens of HR tools out there claiming to offer the best services, for the lowest price.
So, how do you choose? To help you make the right decision, we’ve created this list of some of the best payroll software solutions on the market, and what makes them so effective.
What is the Best Payroll Software?
The ideal online payroll software for your business will depend on a number of factors, from what kind of payroll strategy you’re going to use, to what kind of bonus features you need (like automatic tax calculations). Let’s take a look at some of the top contenders.
Gusto is one of the most popular payroll services on the web today, and a fantastic tool for all-around HR management. The solution supports everything from automatic end-of-year tax form filing to new-hire form filing and employee benefit management.
Gusto seamlessly integrates with a range of leading accounting, business operations, and collaboration tools, including Accelo, Asana, and Autobooks. What’s more, the service comes with phenomenal customer support, delivered by a dedicated team of professionals.
With comprehensive insights and reporting, and excellent talent management, Gusto has it all.
- Automatic filing: Automatic file your payroll taxes, and access forms for new hires or other HR processes. Automation makes managing finances easier than ever.
- Benefits and time tracking: Features for managing employee benefits and tracking the time remote employees spend on their workflows come built into the system.
- Excellent customer service: Gusto’s customer service is second to none. The company promises phenomenal guidance and support, without forcing you to pay extra.
- Clear and simple reporting: Not only is the Gusto interface clean and easy to use, but the reports and beautifully straightforward too. It’s ideal for beginners.
Gusto separates its pricing options into four distinct solutions, designed for different kinds of companies. Options include:
- Core: $39 per month plus $6 per person: Full service payroll, employee profiles, health insurance administration, financial benefits, accounting, and time tracking integrations.
- Complete: $39 per month plus $12 per person: All the features of Core with next-day direct deposit, time tracking, PTO management, hiring and onboarding and performance reviews.
- Concierge: $149 per month plus $12 per person with all the features of Complete plus a HR resource center, compliance alerts, certified HR pros and dedicated support.
- Select: Custom pricing for all the features of every other plan, as well as full-service payroll migration and direct access to an account manager.
There’s also a contractor-only package priced at $6 per month, per person.
Best for Growth
Another excellent tool for those in search of the best payroll software, Paychex supports over 700,000 businesses worldwide with an all-in-one payroll and HR experience. There are more than 160 in-built reports to provide a comprehensive insight into everything from taxes to turnover.
With Paychex, you’ll have access to advanced features you wouldn’t get from any other provider, including support from compliance experts, and knowledgeable guidance available for every brand. There are time and attendance tracking features, tools for managing 401(k) and retirement funds, and various solutions for health and benefits.
As an added bonus, Paychex offers different solutions for different sizes of businesses, from solo companies with just one person, to enterprise brands.
- HR and Payroll in one: Access automated tax payments, and fast payroll processing in the same environment as your onboarding and development tools for employees.
- Time and attendance tracking: Time and attendance tracking come included as standard, which makes this product ideal for remote and hybrid work.
- Exceptional customer support: With Paychex, you can get expert knowledge support from HR professionals and compliance leaders whenever you need guidance.
- Health and benefit tracking: Ensure you can attract the top talent for your company accessing benefits to make your wages more appealing
Paychex pricing is a little complex because they don’t actually have a pricing page. Instead, you’ll have to reach out to the company and request a price based on your specific needs, number of employees, and other factors.
Best value for money
Built to simplify the headaches of payroll and HR management, OnPay is an easy-to-use and affordable solution for growing brands. With a slick and streamlined interface, you can track everything from your next scheduled pay run, to your tax requirements. There’s even access to detailed online resources to help you get started.
Like many full-service payroll software solutions, OnPay comes with simple features like automated calculations and the ability to file your taxes automatically too. OnPay also comes with support for filing W-2 and 1099 worker information at no extra cost.
There are features to assist with hiring and onboarding new employees too, such as letter signing on the web, and automated onboarding. Plus, the service integrates with Xero and Quickbooks.
- Easy automations: The full-service payroll experience comes with a host of convenient automation options to simplify the process of paying employees, even on your phone.
- Expert support: OnPay has its team of experts look over your calculations for you before you file anything with the government, for extra peace of mind.
- Integrations: Accounting integrations with the latest accounting tools, like QuickBooks and Xero ensure you can capture information from throughout the business landscape.
- Report designer: The custom report designer makes it quick and simply to set up and save custom payroll reports to highlight the numbers that matter most.
OnPay does pricing a little differently to some of the payroll management software providers we’ve covered so far. The first month for your service is free, and there are no setup costs. After that, you’ll pay a $36 base fee per month, including a $4 fee for every person on your team.
To help you get an idea of what you can expect to pay, OnPay has a slider on its pricing page to calculate costs on your behalf.
Best for Hospitality Businesses
An award-winning provider of some of the best payroll software on the market, ADP has earned a fantastic reputation of the years. The company is well-known for delivering simple and convenient tools for growing brands, particularly in the hospitality landscape.
The solution comes with a compliance-ready ecosystem, designed to stay ahead of the curve with regulations, and everything is approved by groups like HMRC and BACS. The payroll services from ADP can also be complemented by professional services from team members within the company capable of checking over your reports for you.
ADP can integrate with a range of popular business software applications, including Xero, Quickbooks, Wave, and Oracle.
- Ease of use: Access local and global payroll management with self-service solutions available either on the web, or through a mobile app.
- Excellent support: Certified payroll and tax specialists are on hand to help you keep your business compliant and answer common questions.
- Automation: A variety of automation tools allows you to calculate and send payroll without any hard work. You can even automatically calculate and pay your taxes.
- Scalable integrations and outsourcing: Access a wide range of connections with external tools, and enhance your business with access to outsourced support.
Similar to some other online payroll software options, ADP doesn’t include a pricing page where you can see exactly what you might expect to pay for your software and support. Instead, you’ll need to reach out to the team for a personalized quote. The pricing plans can usually range from around $150 to $200 for a 10-person business, but your costs will depend on your company.
Best for Small Businesses
Quickbooks is probably one of the better-known accounting and financial software companies in the world. Offering a combination of incredible payroll tools, HR solutions, and systems for automatically tracking your expenses, Quickbooks can help any business to stay on track.
The Payroll services included with Quickbooks include access to benefits, project management, inventory, and contractor options. You’ll also be able to reach out to the team for expert support if you have any complex issues to address.
One of the biggest benefits of Quickbooks is how flexible the technology can be. Quickbooks integrates with Square, Shopify, PayPal, and a host of other well-known tools.
- Automation: You can save significant time on admin tasks with Quickbooks to handle payroll payments automatically on your behalf. You can also automate filing your taxes too.
- Benefits: integrated benefits solutions mean you can find a range of useful ways to attract and retain top talent in your team, like healthcare and workers’ comp plans.
- Excellent integrations: QuickBooks payroll integrates with the rest of the Quickbooks ecosystem for accounting, as well as a host of third-party popular tools.
- Expert support: Get access to expert accountants and tax professionals when you need assistance with filing taxes or managing payments.
There are two ways to access Quickbooks from a cost perspective. The first option is to invest completely in Payroll and nothing else. If you choose this option, you can expect to pay:
- Payroll Core: $45 per month + $4 per employee for basic features
- Payroll Premium: $75 per month plus $8 per month for HR support and employee services
- Payroll Elite: $125 per month plus $10 per employee for on-demand expertise
Alternatively, you can combine accounting and payroll with package options like:
- Payroll Core + Quickbooks simple start: $70 per month and $4 per employee
- Payroll Premium + Quickbooks Plus: $155 per month plus $8 per employee
- Payroll Elite + Quickbooks advanced: $305 per month plus $10 per employee
Best for Global Payments
Growing increasingly popular in the new age of remote work, Remote.com is the go-to solution for paying people in your team when they’re distributed all around the world. With this technology, you can easily manage international payroll in more than 60 countries, and access various useful onboarding features for your team members.
Remote.com makes it easy to hire employees from anywhere in the world with minimal risk. There’s also an extensive benefits environment where you can access distinctive and localized benefits for each member of staff. The Remote system will also take care of complex international taxes.
There’s an API available for Remote.com to connect to your existing apps and tools. What’s more the company has a series of legal and compliance experts available at all times to answer your questions and solve problems.
- Global payroll: Remote.com specializes in international payroll in the currency if your target workers. They can also handle tax and compliance in different countries.
- Unique benefits: Offering your employees amazing benefits has never been easier. With Remote.com, you can design comprehensive unique experiences, around the world.
- Excellent experience: The Remote team consists of a number of dedicated professionals available answer questions and help with your payroll needs.
- Security: The platform comes with a rock-solid infrastructure to minimize risk, and a powerful range of security tools for peace of mind.
Remote.com has a number of pricing options to choose from for today’s business leaders. You can sign up with your first employer for free, and manage international contractors with absolutely no monthly cost. If you want a comprehensive remote payroll experience, you need to contact the team for a quote.
Best for Self-Employed
BambooHR is a powerful tool for anyone in search of a convenient way to manage payroll without the stress. The service comes with a host of great features, like document storage, benefit tracking, time-off management, and an organizational chart with employee onboarding.
Simple and straightforward, the intuitive interface makes it easy for anyone to get started with an all-in-one environment that makes sense for your team. You can access comprehensive tools for reports, gathering the people data you need to expand your workforce.
BambooHR integrates with a number of great HR apps, compensation tools, and hiring and onboarding services, including Greenhouse, EmployeeCycle, and Papaya Global.
- Extensive insights: Bamboo HR provides powerful insights into employee data, from how much time your team members spend on the job, to what they’re paid.
- Easy HR features: Access a range of simple and effective HR features, like onboarding and offboard tools with e-signatures for remote employees.
- Error management: Bamboo HR includes features like double data entry tracking to reduce your risk of making mistakes with your taxes.
- Automation: Save time on managing your taxes and payroll by setting up custom workflows with Bamboo HR. You can even design custom reports with automated services.
Unfortunately, Bamboo HR follows a common trend in the payroll and accounting industry by not showcasing its prices on a transparent page. You’ll need to connect with the company directly to get a quote based on your unique circumstances.
The Best Free Payroll Software
A few of the top online payroll software options mentioned above will have free demos or features available for smaller companies. However, it’s worth noting most brands won’t be able to offer a comprehensive free payroll system for a number of reasons.
Payroll software relies on a number of complex and advanced tools to ensure you can track important information accurately, and avoid making catastrophic tax mistakes. The system also needs to be kept running by cloud servers at all times, which costs your provider money.
If you’re going to be working with contractors, there are certain tools like Remote.com which allow you to access basic services for free.
Alternatively, you can look at solutions like OnPay for exceptional value for money. You might not get this app for free, but you will be able to use it for a much lower price than most.
The Best Payroll Software for Small Businesses
When you’re searching for the best payroll software, it’s worth thinking about your specific needs and priorities. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to payroll tools. Some companies will need extra help for global payments from a service like Remote.com, so they don’t have to deal with international taxes and currency conversions on their own.
Other companies, hiring more local employees, might prefer to have direct access to a range of integrations that help them manage all of their HR and payment strategies in one place. Tools like QuickBooks are excellent for small businesses because they work with a range of other tools, and help you to file your taxes instantly.
Depending on the size of your business, you can also access solutions like OnPay, which allow you to pay only for the number of people in your organization, as well as a small base price.
Payroll Software Buyers Guide
What is Payroll Software?
Payroll software is simply a solution companies can use to manage, and automate payments to employees. You can use this software to send money to your team members all around the world, according to a schedule you establish during the hiring process.
Many payroll solutions come as part of a comprehensive kit of HR tools, and may come with access to onboarding features, offboarding options, benefit management, and time tracking tools to assist with paying your team members.
What Are The Benefits of Payroll Software?
The biggest benefit of payroll software is convenience. Without software, you would be responsible for managing and tracking all employee payments on your own. This can be extremely time consuming, and there’s a risk you’ll make a dangerous error.
Some of the biggest benefits of payroll software include:
- Save time: You can automate everything from paying your employees to calculating important tax payments with Payroll software, saving you time.
- Fewer errors: Automated systems use proven algorithms and intelligent tools to ensure you’re not making any mistakes with your reports.
- Data security: Most payroll systems will make it easier to track information about your employees and their payments in one place without security issues.
- Employee satisfaction: A payroll solution will ensure your employees get paid on-time, without errors. You can also use these tools to offer benefits to team members.
- Reporting and analytics: Insights into the reports offered by payroll software will allow you to make better decisions about how to grow your team.
What To Look For In The Best Payroll Software?
Choosing the ideal payroll software isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. You’ll need to consider a number of factors when selecting something for your team, including what kind of employees you’re dealing with (contactors, full-time, freelance), and what data you need to track.
Of course, there are some crucial features all companies will need. Some points to look for include:
Automation saves you and your business a lot of time, while reducing your risk of errors. With the right automations, you can ensure your team members are paid on time every month, without unnecessary mistakes. Plus, you can report your taxes on time, and send the right information to the government without risking fines.
Expert support from a payroll solution doesn’t just provide peace of mind when something goes wrong with the software. The right services can also help with things like making sure your reports are accurate. If you think you might need additional support, you can always look for companies with access to specialist outsourcing services.
To manage payroll and finances properly, it helps to have a tool capable of integrating well with the other services your teams use every day. In particular, you’ll need an online payroll software solution capable of integrating with the accounting and bookkeeping software you use. This will help you with managing cash flow.
A simple interface with plenty of customizable reports is often a must-have for a good payroll software. A good reporting system will give you plenty of insights into your employees, how they work, and what you need to do to stay ahead of the curve with taxes.
Payroll Software FAQ
Q: How Much Does Payroll Software Cost?
The amount you pay for your payroll software will vary depending on the kind of features you need, and the size of your business. Costs can range from $10 per month to the hundreds, depending on various factors.
Q: Is Payroll Software Necessary?
If you’re going to be paying anyone in your company, it’s generally better to use payroll software, rather than relying on yourself to calculate and track everything. Manually managing payroll increases your chances of mistakes and common issues.
Q: Is There Any Free Payroll Software?
There are some payroll solutions which will give you access to certain free features, like the ability to manage contractors or freelancers. However, the majority of payroll software providers will require you to pay a fee for access to the full set of services.
Choosing The Best Payroll Software – Summary
Finding the best payroll software can seem like a complex process at first, particularly with so many amazing options to choose from. In our opinion, Gusto is the payroll solution available today for all-around performance, our top 5 choices include:
- Gusto: The best option for all-around convenient and easy to use features
- Paychex: The ideal solution for rapid scale and growth in a business
- OnPay: The most cost-effective solution that grows with your business
- Quickbooks: The top tool for small businesses in search of integrations
- Remote.com: The ideal solution for teams with remote workers
What’s your preferred payroll software? Let us know about your experiences in the comments below.