Payroll software automates every step of the payroll process for small and large businesses. It helps you manage your employees’ payments by making it easy to set up direct deposit, withhold payroll taxes, and keep accurate records so you don’t get penalized.
All of these processes can be time consuming when done manually and it is easy to make a mistake. In 2020, the IRS imposed more than $ 4.9 billion in penalties for issues such as non-compliance and bad checks.1
To help you choose the right payroll software for your business, we’ve considered several payroll solutions. We looked at the cost, ease of use, important integrations, convenience, reporting features, and support.
Best Payroll Software Compared
|Providers||Starter Monthly Pricing||Calculates & Files Taxes||Unlimited Pay Runs||Standard Direct Deposit Time||Health Benefit Options||Files State New Hire Reports||Part of Larger Product Suite for Growing Businesses|
|Gusto||$39 + $6/employee||✔||✔||2-day||39 states||✔||✕|
|QuickBooks Payroll||$45 + $4/employee||✔||✔||Next-day||✔||✕||✕|
|OnPay||$36 + $4/employee||✔||✔||Depends on risk assessment (2- or 4- day)||✔||✔||✕|
|Patriot||$10 + $4/employee||✔||✔||4-day||✕||✕||✕|
|Square Payroll||$29 + $5/employee||✔||✔||4-day; Instantly with Square payments||✔||✔||✕|
|ADP Run||$59 + $4/employee||✔||Only in (Basic) Essential Plan||2-day||✔||✔||✔|
|Paychex Flex||$39 + $5/employee||✔||Only in (Basic) Paychex Go Plan||2-day||✔||✔||✔|
How we choose the best payroll software
We’ve tested and compared the best small business payroll software across industries; Most of them offer many of the same basic payroll tools with a few nuances of functionality, i.e. same day or two day direct deposit or unlimited pay cycles versus pay cycles. limited payroll with additional costs for more. Typically, the best payroll software offers direct deposit, tax reporting, and year-end tax reporting. Some even offer employee benefits and human resource support.
We were able to narrow our list from a dozen suppliers down to eight, with Gusto taking first place. It’s affordable, easy to use, and automates most payroll tasks. Additionally, the majority of user feedback has been positive, especially for their customer support. Click on the tabs below for a more detailed breakdown of our evaluation criteria.
Best Payroll Software of 2022
Best Overall Payroll Software for Small Businesses
Gusto ranked among its competitors for its comprehensive payroll service, benefits options, and affordable HR support. It allows small businesses to operate with the structure and amenities offered by some large businesses. In addition to running payroll on autopilot and offering direct deposit and payment card options, it sends an onboarding notice by email with every new hire, so they can complete the required paperwork. before entering the office. There are a variety of benefits available, and if you’re in one of the 39 states where it offers insurance, you can offer national health insurance plans to your employees.
- Affordable price for small businesses
- Employee self-integration portal
- Unlimited payment cycles
- Responsive customer support
- Without a dedicated payroll specialist
- Time tracking is only included in premium plans
- Health insurance is limited to 39 states
Basic package: $ 39 per month plus $ 6 per employee
Under the most popular plan (Core), Gusto would cost $ 99 per month for 10 employees, which equates to $ 1,188 per year, which is among the lowest and most expensive providers on our list.
If you need more than payroll and benefits management, like employee onboarding features or dedicated support, you can choose Gusto’s full or concierge plans, which range from $ 39 to $ 149. per month plus $ 12 per employee.
2. QuickBooks Payroll
Best Payroll Solution for QuickBooks Accounting Software Users
QuickBooks Payroll is the best choice for most QuickBooks Accounting users; it integrates seamlessly (accessed within the same system with a single click) and all information flows (no need to enter twice). Employers have full control over their payroll because QuickBooks allows you to approve your employees’ work hours before a payroll. It also automatically calculates, files and pays your taxes and manages your income and deductions. You can create and download a variety of reports, such as payroll history, bank transactions, and contractor payments.
Similar to Gusto, QuickBooks Payroll also gives your team online access to your pay stubs, W-2s, PTO balances, and payroll deductions. They can receive their salary through a deposit the same day or the next day, and you can allow them to have early access to your salary. It is also accessible in all 50 states. For errors made while using the software, in addition to helping you resolve them with the relevant government agencies, QuickBooks will also reimburse and cover penalty and interest charges if you enroll in a premium plan (Elite).
- Seamless integration with QuickBooks accounting software
- Easy to use with an intuitive interface
- Offers same-day and next-day direct deposit
- Guarantee without penalty
- Few integration options, except for Intuit products
- Automated reports on new hires only available with the premium plan
- Inconsistent customer service
QuickBooks Payroll Pricing
Basic plan: $ 45 per month plus $ 4 per month per employee
QuickBooks Payroll offers three plans: Core, Premium, and Elite.
The basic plan covers all the basics of payroll and charges $ 85 per month for 10 employees, or $ 1,020 per year. If you want a Workers’ Compensation Administration or Personal Human Resources Advisor, you can choose Premium or Elite for $ 75 to $ 125 per month plus $ 8 to $ 10 per month per employee.
3. Paychex Flex
Best for Multi-State Employers
Paychex is one of the most popular payroll software for small businesses, but also one of the most expensive solutions, mainly due to public demand. The buzz around the accounting department’s water cooler is that Paychex is robust but not straightforward, easy to use or set up.
This can be a very important factor for small businesses when looking for the best payroll software. Paychex needs a lot of personal information to get started, and running reports comes with its share of paperwork and additional costs.
- Large import and export capabilities
- Office, mobile, kiosk access
- Difficult to implement
- Bad customer service
Paychex offers two premium plans: Select and Enterprise (for very large companies). You must request a quote to get the pricing details for your business. If you enroll in the entry-level Paychex Go plan online, similar to ADP’s Essential plan, you will pay $ 59 per month plus $ 4 per employee per month.
4. ADP Run
Best for Scaling Startups That Need Flexible Plans
ADP Workforce Now is an efficient payroll system designed exclusively to manage the tasks of midsize organizations. ADP’s workforce accurately and efficiently processes all payroll data while including all displayed hours, unique functions, and work hours, among others.
Offers strong tax compliance for businesses and employees
- The software offers absolute tax compliance that, in addition to completing and submitting tax forms, also manages the paycheck deduction for state, federal, and local taxes.
- Provides additional customization where customers can request the omission or addition of specific functionality based on the organization’s requirements.
- The software comes with a data-driven approach and thus provides real-time analysis through custom reports, tables, graphs, and spreadsheets.
- Offers payroll in real time to minimize the administrative tasks of the human resources department
- The software also offers the service of compliance experts to process complex returns and avoid tax penalties.
- The app has some issues with leave policies, such as the correct accumulation of licenses for employees.
- It is not the best tool for beginners.
The software offers a free trial. After that, you need to request a quote to access your paid subscription.
Best for Agricultural Companies
OnPay differs from some providers like Gusto and QuickBooks Payroll in that it makes it easy for food and beverage companies to pay their employees and file their taxes. Fill out Form 943 and process payments and taxes for workers with H-2A visas. It also allows you to run payroll as often as you want and choose multiple pay rates and pay schedules for different employees.
You can still file the basic payroll tax forms, Form 941, 1099, W-2s, etc., and withhold your employees’ state and federal unemployment insurance payments and other contributions, so the average small business beyond agricultural companies would also find it usefu
- Form 943 files
- Supports multiple pay rates and payroll programs
- Several payment options such as direct deposit, manual check or debit card
- Payroll data load failures
- Few third-party integrations
- Customer service not responding
OnPay costs $ 36 per month plus $ 4 per employee or $ 76 per month for 10 employees; setup and your first month is free.
If you are looking for a simple payroll system for small businesses or households, SurePayroll is for you. The latest version of SurePayroll featured a host of tax and compliance updates that you can get at a heavily discounted base price.
The software’s low subscription cost makes it great value for money in the payroll market.
The software is best known for its excellent customer support, in-depth record keeping, and faster payroll processing capabilities.
- Provides a 100 percent tax return guarantee.
- Cloud-based payroll software is easily accessible from anywhere at work. Its intuitive smartphone application allows users to enjoy all of its functions easily on a smartphone.
- SurePayroll automatically sends details of new hires to the department in question, including the employee’s name, address, and Social Security number.
- You can pay the employee by direct deposit online or by check
- Allows employees to log into the mobile app to access their year-end tax documents and pay stubs.
- Managers can easily export the data to the general ledger after the payday of each month.
- Manage all tasks efficiently thanks to its interactive and customizable dashboard
- Supports multiple payroll formats
- Efficient recording and processing of payroll data
The user interface is cluttered and can overwhelm the new user.
It is one of the most profitable payroll software on the market for small businesses. However, to check the prices, you need to fill out a short form so that your customer executives can contact you. The good news is, you get a one-month free trial before you make your final purchase.
Best for Businesses That Need an All-in-One HR Payroll System
Paycor may not be the most affordable for small businesses, but it offers a robust set of software solutions to handle basic and complex payroll and human resources tasks for less than you would pay for a premium plan from ADP or Paychex. In addition to managing your pay and taxes, you can get help with recruiting, onboarding, time and attendance management, employee management, and benefits management without hiring a resource manager.
- Easy to set up and use
- Payroll and human resources functionalities are integrated
- Numerous training and help guides for users
- Payroll managers are available to provide support
- More expensive than other small business providers
- Customizable reporting tools are only available for premium plans
- Delays in customer service
Paycor has several plans depending on the size of the company. For small businesses (1-39 employees), it offers Basic, Essential, and Complete. Depending on the number of employees you have and the functions you need, you can request a quote for custom pricing details for your business.
- Basic: Starting at $ 99 per month
- Essential: Starting at $ 149 per month
- Full: from $ 199 per month
8. Patriot Software
Ideal for family businesses that want a DIY option.
Patriot Software offers a flexible option that the others on our list don’t: a choice between full-service payroll and a more affordable DIY version that costs just $ 10 per month plus $ 4 per employee, per month if you file your own taxes. . . Both plans come with unlimited payroll treatments using any device, an allocation of different pay frequencies and customizable hours, money, and deductions. And you can pay your employees by direct deposit or manual checks. Using the full service plan allows you to report and pay all federal, state, and local taxes, regardless of location, and offers a penalty-free guarantee.
Your employees can access a portal for their pay stubs, pay history, license balances, and electronic W-2 information. Once you’ve signed up, you can also get free setup and expert support via phone, email, or chat.
- Offers online and mobile payroll processing
- Unlimited payments
- No report on new government hires
- Local, state and federal tax filing is available only for the full service plan
- Limited reports
Patriot payroll prices
- Basic plan: $ 10 per month plus $ 4 per employee (payroll only)
- Full service: $ 30 per month plus $ 4 per employee (salary and tax compliance)
The full service plan at $ 70 per month for 10 employees would be $ 840 per year, the most affordable service on our list.
Small businesses need reliable payroll software to save time and money. Most providers calculate wages, offer direct deposit, and pay taxes; however, you should consider your business needs and budget limitations.
We found that Gusto offers all of the features that most small businesses need at a very competitive price. Users find it very easy to use and navigate, and the software is widely used in different industries. Sign up for a free trial today.
Can I do my own payroll for my small business?
If you don’t have extra funds to spend on a payroll service, the DIY approach can save you some cash. Doing manual payroll isn’t the most straightforward task, but armed with the right knowledge, time, and a sturdy calculator, you can do payroll for your small business yourself.
How much do payroll services cost for small businesses?
Small business payroll services typically have a monthly or per-payroll cost structure. With monthly plans, you pay a base fee and a per-employee fee. Base fees are usually $30 to $150 per month, and per-employee fees range from $2 to $15 per month.
Can I run my own payroll?
When you handle payroll on your own, you can either do everything manually or use software. Regardless of which method you choose, you must start by gathering some information. To run payroll for your employees, you first need information such as: Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)