What’s the best payroll software for your business?
Well, what’s the best side of the pool for diving?
Depends. (“Deep ends”—get it?)
If you’re looking for a new payroll system, we’ve got you covered. From basic payroll to advanced payroll, from tax filing to managing employee benefits, here are 14 of the best payroll software tools you should consider for your small business.
1. Deskera People
Deskera People pegs its software not just as an easy solution but as the “easiest online payroll software for small business.” With it, you can run payroll, submit claims and expenses, handle hiring management, and manage leave and time-off with little to no learning curve.
- 3-step payroll processing with unlimited and off-cycle pay runs
- Flexible pay schedules that allow you to pay all employees assigned to a certain schedule quickly and easily
- Custom earning and deduction components, including bonuses
- A drag-and-drop pay stub, pay slip, and salary slip designer
- A super simple 3-step process for migrating your data to Deskera
- An easy-to-use user interface that makes managing payroll simple and quick
- Includes payroll reports and an in-depth dashboard that shows last-month and year-to-date payroll costs, upcoming runs, cost estimates, etc.
- Available on-the-go on Android and iOS, both for employers and employees
- Deskera mainly offers email and chat support—it’ll be an adjustment if you prefer to hop on a call when you need customer support
- Currently, built-in statutory and tax compliance are only available for the USA and Singapore
Best for: In the company’s own words, Deskera People offers “enterprise-level features [at] small business pricing.” So it’s great for startups and small businesses but also up to the challenge of serving growing mid-sized and enterprise companies.
Pricing: You can try Deskera People free for 15 days with no commitment. After that, it’ll cost you anywhere from $49 to $229/month per user (or $39 to $199/month per user if annual plans are your thing).
As far as all-in-one tools go, Agiled is one of the best. You can run payroll (of course). But you can also do a ton of other things like keep track of your contact via the CRM, create contracts, send invoices, keep your finances in order, and manage employees.
If using 201 tools to manage your business drives you mad, Agiled can help you get that number down to one or, at most, a few.
- Payroll processing in three steps with options to use attendance logs, include or exclude expense claims, mark absent days as paid or unpaid, etc.
- Payment details, timesheets, and employee documents in one place thanks to teammate profiles
- A white-labeled employee portal
- Agiled is an all-in-one business management tool, so if you’re interested in features beyond payroll and HR, this one’s got you covered
- Integrates with tools like QuickBooks, Xero, Zoho Books, Wise (formerly TransferWise), and TimeCamp
- The payroll features are simplistic compared to alternatives
- Payroll is only available in Premium and Business plans
- Compared to more in-depth resources from other payroll software companies, Agiled’s help documentation doesn’t get to the nitty-gritty
Best for: Medium-sized businesses that don’t need many bells and whistles.
Pricing: For access to payroll features, you’ll need a Premium or Business plan, which will run you $45/month or $79/month respectively. Even better, you can grab the AppSumo lifetime deal for as little as $69—it’s a steal!
Gusto is used and loved by over 200,000 businesses. While it’s not quite as decked out as Agiled, it does handle more than payroll. It helps with HR too, and it does a great job. In February 2022, it was recognized by Nerdwallet as the best HR and payroll platform.
- Unlimited payroll that you can process in a few clicks or run automatically with Payroll on AutoPilot™
- Automatic filing of local, state, and federal payroll taxes
- Built-in time tracking and benefits that automatically sync with your payroll
- Self-setup employee portal with built-in financial tools like savings and emergency funds
- Full-service payroll system that integrates with tools like Xero, Clover, and QuickBooks Time to handle time tracking, workers’ comp, PTO, and more
- Ability to administer small business medical, dental, and vision health benefits in Gusto
- Ability to pay contractors in an impressive 80+ countries, meaning you can tap into global talent
- Some users have mentioned that customer service and the onboarding experience could use some work
- Reporting features could be simpler
- Compliance support may be lacking, especially when issues come up
Best for: Gusto is a great choice for all sorts of small businesses and nonprofits, whether they have simple salaries, wages, and pay schedules or more complex payroll and HR needs.
Pricing: Gusto’s pricing plans start at $39/month, plus $6/month per person.
Patriot is another great payroll software that can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year. Just like with Deskera, you can run payroll in just three steps.
Plus, each new tax calculation goes through 20,000 tests before it hits Patriot’s software. So, you can rest easy knowing that your payroll reporting is as accurate as can be.
- Free payroll setup and unlimited payrolls
- A net-to-gross payroll tool
- Local, state, federal, and year-end tax filing (accuracy guaranteed)
- User-friendly, which makes it great for non-accountants (it’s mobile-friendly, too!)
- Support for businesses with multiple locations
- Easy to pay by department
- Ability to customize hours, money, deductions, pay rates, and pay frequencies
- You’ll have to shell out some extra moolah for e-filing 1099s and additional state tax filings if you file in multiple states
- Benefits administration and HR services aren’t part of the deal like they are with other software such as Gusto
- Payroll reports are fairly basic and not very customizable
Best for: US-based small businesses that want a simple payroll solution that won’t break the bank.
Pricing: The Basic Payroll plan is $17/month plus $4 per employee or contractor, and the Full Service Payroll plan is $37/month plus $4 per employee or contractor. You can take the software for a free test drive for 30 days if you’re not sure which plan you need.
5. QuickBooks Payroll
If you’ve ever used or considered using TurboTax, you’re familiar with the company behind QuickBooks—Intuit. Since QuickBooks is one of the most popular tools for accounting, using its payroll services is a no-brainer for many users. Especially since, you can also “access HR and benefits with the #1 payroll service provider.”
- Same-day and next-day direct deposit
- Auto payroll
- Auto forms and taxes to save you time (and frustration)
- 24/7 Support for customers including expert setup
- Access to employee services including HR support, workers’ comp, health benefits, and 401(k) plans
- An accuracy guarantee and tax penalty protection of up to $25,000
- Doesn’t have many integrations or add-ons beyond other Intuit products so you’ll have to pair it with QuickBooks online if you want more integration options
- Transferring data from another platform is risky—the QuickBooks team only checks data for accuracy on the Premium plan and only transfers data on Payroll Elite
Best for: QuickBooks Payroll is for US-based small or mid-sized businesses and nonprofits, including accountants. It’s best if you already use QuickBooks for your accounting.
Pricing: QuickBooks Payroll plans start at $70/month plus $4/month per employee (but you can often snag a half-off deal on their website).
OnPay—backed by payroll experts—has one of the most flexible solutions on this list. The software is “designed to be accurate for everyone” from startups and entrepreneurs to medium-sized businesses to the accountants serving those businesses.
If you don’t want to spend time hunting for the perfect solution, you can make OnPay what you need it to be.
- Unlimited payroll runs and multistate payroll (available in all 50 states)
- Pay by direct deposit, debit card, or check with multiple pay rates and schedules available
- Lifetime employee self-service accounts with self-onboarding
- Report designer and custom reporting
- Special payroll services
- Truly full-service, offering all the payroll features a small business would need plus HR tools and benefits administration
- Integrates with 10+ leading tools for accounting, time tracking, HR, compliance, and more
- Customer support can lend a helping hand with free account migration and integration setup—accuracy guaranteed
- OnPay isn’t recommended for employees outside the US
- No mobile app so you’ll have to do everything on a desktop
Best for: OnPay is best for small or large US-based businesses with special payroll needs—including nonprofits, restaurants, and companies with more than 500 employees.
Pricing: OnPay’s pricing couldn’t get any simpler. There’s one all-inclusive, affordable pricing plan—a $36 monthly fee plus $4/month per person.
7. Square Payroll
Square has made quite a name for itself among small brick-and-mortar businesses. But you can do a lot more than just accept payments with it.
With Square Payroll, you get access to full-service payroll, automated tax filings, and employee benefits within this one tool. Plus, you’ll have access to live payroll specialists whenever you need them.
- 5-step and multistate payroll processing for employees and contractors
- Integrations for timecards, tips, and commissions
- Hourly, salary, or custom amounts
- Local, state, and federal payroll tax filing
- No long-term commitments, so you’re never locked in
- Integrates with Square POS, Team Management, and other Square products
- Integrates with other products including QuickBooks Online and timecard tools
- Payroll specialists available to answer questions
- No option to customize payroll dates
- Some users say the employer dashboard is basic compared to similar software
- Custom service response times are sometimes a little slow
Best for: Square Payroll is a no-brainer for brick-and-mortar businesses that use Square as a POS, small businesses that only hire contractors, or businesses where employees clock in and out.
Pricing: Square Payroll has different pricing options for those only paying contractors and those paying both employees and contractors. Pay Contractors Only starts at $5/month per person, and Pay Employees & Contractors starts at $35/month plus $5/month per person.
In the company’s own words, Rippling is “payroll so powerful it can run itself.” Giving the quote, unquote “easiest” tools a run for their money, Rippling runs payroll in not much more than a minute. Literally.
Since time is of the essence, especially when you have a million other business tasks to take care of, Rippling is a good (and speedy) payroll option.
- Global payroll services for employees and contractors worldwide
- HR data syncing enables you to run payroll with the touch of a button
- Automatic compliance and tax filing
- Prebuilt and custom reports
- Rippling is lightning-fast, with an average time of 90 seconds to process payroll
- Customizable workflow templates to help you automate hundreds of payroll-related to-dos
- More than 400 integrations to simplify your workflow and keep all your data synced
- Currently no simple way to change tax exemption and filing status, which can cause you to overpay—or worse, underpay—your taxes
- Some users prefer the desktop version because of difficulty finding their way around the mobile app
Best for: Rippling is ideal for small to mid-sized businesses wanting a modern software that offers payroll control and a wide variety of HR integrations with single sign-on (SSO) functionality.
Pricing: Rippling starts at $8/month per user, but depending on the product you’re interested in, there may be a base fee, too. If you contact the Rippling team, they can fill you in on Payroll pricing.
9. Wave Payroll
Wave is an easy-to-use, reliable money management tool for freelancers and small business owners. So it’s no shocker that Wave Payroll is an easy-to-use, reliable tool for making sure your team gets paid. If you’re doing business in the US or in Canada, this one is definitely worth checking out.
- Direct deposit
- Automatic payroll journal entries
- Self-service pay stubs and tax forms
- Payroll processing, reporting, time tracking, and workers’ compensation designed for small business owners
Source: Wave Payroll
- Payroll and accounting tools are connected and sync automatically, meaning there’s way less manual bookkeeping to do
- Only pay for active employees (unlike other platforms where you may have to pay for employees whether or not they are active)
- There are no setup fees or hidden charges and you can try it free for 30 days
- Automatic state and federal tax filing aren’t yet available in all (or even most) states
- Currently only chat and email support are available
Best for: Wave Payroll works well for small business owners who run their bookkeeping on Wave and want to add seamless payroll features.
Pricing: In the 14 states where tax payments and filings are available, pricing is $35/month plus $6 per active employee or contractor paid. In self-service states, it’s $20/month plus $6 per active employee or contractor paid.
10. Sage HRMS Payroll
Wisely, Sage doesn’t claim to be an easy breezy solution because it is more complex than others on this list. However, timeliness and accuracy are centerpieces of the company’s marketing. So, if you want to be sure that your payroll management is “flawless,” don’t count Sage out.
- Sage Payroll CheckPrint for “out-of-the-box ready-to-print checks”
- Custom check creation with SAP® Crystal Reports
- Payroll tax forms and e-filing to prevent tax filing errors and non-compliance with state or federal reporting and payment requirements
- Payroll timecard automation for easy-breezy importing and validation of time and labor data
Source: Sage HRMS
- Sage HRMS is available as a standalone solution or as part of Sage 50 cloud Accounting, which includes HR and payroll solutions, plus small business accounting and finance tools
- Streamlines the process of accurate, timely in-house payroll management
- Lots of help resources including Sage University to help you use the software like a pro
- A bit of a learning curve when it comes to getting set up and using the tool to its full potential
- Some users have been disappointed at being unable to file local taxes with Sage, although the software does simplify other taxes
Best for: Sage works best for small to medium-sized businesses that manage their own payroll in-house.
Pricing: Contact the Sage team for pricing info.
Zenefits is a simple, intuitive platform that cuts down on the time you devote to payroll administration. The company claims to be able to address the unique situations of all sorts of businesses “from one-man shops to thousand-person enterprises.”
But, ultimately, Zenefits lets users be the judge by offering personal demo accounts. That way, you can see if the software really will meet your unique needs.
- Unlimited pay runs, pay previews, and dynamic pay stubs
- Multiple pay rates and labor codes for analyzing data by role, department, location, etc.
- Garnishment withholding
- Automatic federal and state filing, new-hire state filing, and tax compliance
- Integrates with tons of apps and platforms you already use like Xero, QuickBooks, Zapier, and more
- Has a team of payroll experts who offer advisory services
- Choose between using your own broker or one of Zenefits’ broker partners to administer employee benefits
- Payroll is an add-on so you’ll need a base Zenefits plan to use it
- Some users have mentioned slow response times from the support team
Best for: In Zenefits’ own words, “From one-man shops to thousand-person enterprises, our payroll is built to address your unique situation.”
Pricing: The Payroll add-on is just $6/month per employee. Base monthly pricing ranges from $10 to $27/month per employee.
Wagepoint keeps it real. The company acknowledges that, for small business and accounting firm owners, payroll administration probably wasn’t part of their business ownership dream. It’s a chore.
Wagepoint’s payroll software solves that problem by automating the process, so you can check it off of your to-do list with the touch of a button.
- Automated income, deduction, and other calculations
- Automatic tax calculations and remittances
- Online employee portal where pay stubs, tax forms, and direct deposit info can be accessed any time
- Painless electronic filing of year-end docs like 1099s and W2s
- Pay-as-you-go workers’ compensation
- Complete payroll solution that helps with everything from onboarding new hires to making payments to prepping records of employment (ROEs)
- Industry- and bank-grade security to keep all sensitive information protected
- Great customer support team to answer questions and help you navigate the software
- Setup can take longer than alternatives
- Some users say they’d like more customization options to meet unique business needs
- Has fewer integrations than other software like Zenefits
Best for: Wagepoint’s online payroll app is built for the small business and can be used in-house or by accounting and payroll pros serving small business clients.
Pricing: Wagepoint’s pricing is based on the number of employees you have and how often you pay them. According to its pricing calculator, the cost per payroll for 5 employees paid bi-weekly is $30. And the great thing is, you can explore the software free—no credit card required—until you run your first payroll.
Focused on US-based employees, BambooHR provides a simple way to pay your team on time, every time. No one likes a late paycheck. But you want to avoid spending hours running payroll to pay the team on time (or hours filing taxes).
So BambooHR reduces the manual work you have to do, keeping both you and your team happy.
- An employee self-service portal where employees can access their payroll info including pay stubs and direct deposit accounts
- 100+ detailed reports available instantly so you’re never in the dark about labor costs
- Top-tier data security including a three-tier backup redundancy plan, advanced data encryption, continuous monitoring, and diversified data centers
- Wages, hours, account numbers, benefits, deductions, and withholdings sync from BambooHR to payroll so that your data is never outdated
- Android and iOS apps give employers and employees access to the info and features they need on any device
- BambooHR takes local, state, and federal taxes totally off of your hands to save you time and make sure you’re meeting all tax requirements
- Users have requested user interface changes and improvements like better search capabilities and the ability to organize employee documents by folder
- Onboarding support and documentation on how to use the software also seem to be lacking
- Not as flexible or customizable as some other online payroll software solutions
Best for: BambooHR is great for US-based businesses that are short on time. One user even said, “I have been doing payroll for more than 25 years. I have never worked with a payroll system that is as consistent and provides this level of service. Moving from a competitor to [BambooHR] has saved me one full day each payroll period.”
Pricing: You’ll have to request a quote if you’re interested in this software. But don’t worry—the quote is free!
14. RUN Powered by ADP®
Last up, there’s RUN, which is used by close to 800,000 small business clients. It’s received 10+ awards over the years, including one for its employee mobile app. The app alone has more than 2 million ratings with a 4.7 overall rating in the App store and 4.5 overall rating on Google Play.
Not only can this software make your life easier but it can do the same for your employees. Everybody wins!
- Recurring payroll, multijurisdiction payroll, and flexible pay options
- AI-powered error detection that flags potential errors before they cause problems
- An employee mobile app for easy access to pay, scheduling, and benefits info on the go
- Payroll tax calculation, filing, depositing, and reconciliation done for you
- Flexible packages that scale with you so you’re covered whether you just need payroll basics or the whole nine yards
- RUN is like the TurboTax of payroll and HR, with step-by-step screens, guidance, and tips for important tasks
- AI learns your business, anticipates your needs in advance, and checks your payroll for accuracy
- Some users have mentioned that certain reports are tricky to access and could be more customizable
- Even if your payroll hasn’t been processed yet, there’s no time frame after submission for correcting errors or making edits
- RUN can cost a pretty penny for truly small businesses
Best for: RUN is great for businesses managing payroll in-house and want smart features to make the process painless.
Pricing: Get in touch with the ADP team and they’ll get you a quote.
Time to pick your new payroll software
You don’t want to stress out over running payroll and your employees don’t want to stress out over payday. So, a small business payroll system can help you both breathe easier. But there are a million payroll providers out there, including many not mentioned here, like Paychex Flex, Xero, and Paycor. How do you choose?
AppSumo can help you compare your options at a glance and get the info you need to make the right choice for your business. Not to mention, if you can snag an annual or lifetime deal for the software you need in the AppSumo store, you can save a ton of money. We’re always updating the store with new solutions so keep your eyes peeled for payroll processing tools!