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14 Best Payroll Software for Small Businesses of 2022

Discover the best payroll software for small businesses, for large enterprises, and sole proprietors, so you can optimize your payroll processing.

Paycheck concept vector illustration

Calculating the payroll of your employees manually is a strenuous and unnecessarily long activity. Most small businesses spend a whopping 40 plus hours in a year, sorting out payroll issues.

Payday is a joyful time for employees and a tiring time for the payroll administration. The cost in terms of resources spent on payroll can be more effective in other areas.

With the right payroll software, you can decimate payroll costs, eliminate errors in calculation, increase efficiency, and boost productivity. The best payroll software frees 40 plus hours yearly for small businesses.

These days, the problem is not the lack of payroll software (there are over 200 available) but the tough decision of selecting the best out of the bunch.

What is the Best Payroll Software for Small Businesses?

  • OnPay
  • Wave Payroll
  • Gusto
  • SurePayroll
  • QuickBooks Payroll
  • Square Payroll
  • Patriot Software
  • Wagepoint
  • Paychex
  • Workful
  • Sage Payroll
  • Xero
  • Zenefits
  • ADP

1. OnPay

Best Payroll Software for Small Businesses with the Simplest Setup.

Onpay for Small Businesses with the Simplest Setup

OnPay is a cloud-based payroll software that helps simplify managing employees' payroll, including filing taxes. It is a fantastic option for small businesses that have workers' strength of up to 10.

The software makes it possible to manage payrolls across different devices such as desktops, laptops, and smartphones. Its interface is friendly and easy to navigate. Users can easily update employers' records and other relevant information on the dashboard.

OnPay has a virtual guide that shows you how to create your employees' payroll. It guides you where you are to input employees' records and how to make alterations to them.

The software automatically files your W-2s and 1099s. It allows for easy integration with accounting and time tracking software such as ThinkHR, Xero, and TSheets.

If you run into problems with the software, it has responsive customer support via phone, email, and live chat.

The software is best suited for paying hourly and contract workers. After inputting employees' and contractors' data, it shows how much you pay and does your tax filings. It pays out employees within minutes.

It also offers services beyond the basics such as unlimited payrolls, withholding unemployment insurance, amazing payroll templates, several payment options to employees (direct deposit, debit cards, or checks), and enhancing wages.

The company is popular for having the simplest setup. You get a trained professional to help you customize your payroll.  

Recently, it improved its mobile experience and added additional features such as a dashboard for Human resource (HR) and improved employee portals. It also incorporates COVID-19 related benefits such as the FFCRA (Families First Coronavirus Response Act).


Onpay pricing

OnPay has only one plan; it charges a basic fee of $36 per month. The basic fee gives you access to all its features and benefits, including its customer support.

You enjoy a free trial period of a month on activation. For each employee added, you pay $4. Only employees you pay in a particular month will add to your monthly billing.


  • Automates your payroll taxes and filings
  • Adds extra perks for retaining workers such as health insurance, 401k retirement plan, and workers' comp' plans.
  • Accurate tax filings and records.
  • Fast payments of employees and workers.
  • Integrates with software such as TSheets, QuickBooks Online, WhenIWork, QuickBooks Desktop, ThinkHR, Xero, and PosterElite.
  • Easy PTO tracking.

2. Wave Payroll

Cheapest Accounting Software Integration to Synchronize Payroll Management.

Wave Payroll is an affordable payroll software

Wave Payroll is an affordable payroll software for small businesses. It takes away the stress and time needed to make payroll accounts from employers and handle it within minutes! The only human intervention you need to do is to put in the correct data and set the payment schedule.

It helps small businesses track taxes and deductions better to remain compliant with the rules. You can also track employees' benefits, such as vacations and healthcare.

Automated payroll software solves most of the small businesses' accounting problems. It offers accurate stubs and reports, invoicing, track income and expenses, tax forms, timesheets, generating receipts, and converting currencies.

As cloud-based software, you can manage it from any location as long as you have an internet-connected device. You can get it as stand-alone software or as part of the Wave accounting suite. It integrates seamlessly with all the software in the suite.

Wave Payroll supports automated filings and payments for employees in Canada and the United States. Employees can view their payment information online, such as work and vacation hours.

The tool allows for secure collaboration between HR and bookkeepers, thanks to the 256-bit encryption technology.  

As part of its payment options, it supports direct deposits into employee's bank accounts.

The customer support is on hand to help new users learn how to use it. Wave Payroll has a vibrant community that offers all kinds of support. It also offers video guides.


Wave Payroll offers a 30-day free trial. There is no credit card required for activation.

According to the state, the cost varies with plans starting from a $20 basic fee plus $6 per employee monthly. Some states such as California, Florida, North Carolina, Illinois, Washington, and Virginia charge a $35 basic fee plus $4 per employee monthly.


  • Error-free tax and deduction calculations.
  • Automatic fillings and payments
  • Integrates seamlessly with the Wave Accounting suite, granting small businesses access to free accounting tools
  • Easy setup and navigation
  • Automated payroll reminders
  • Direct deposits to bank accounts
  • Secure transfer of data with 256-encryption or Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption.
  • Tracking of overtime and vacation
  • Accurate reports and statistics
  • Scalability–easy to add new and remove employees to or from payroll

3. Gusto

All-Inclusive Payroll Software

Gusto Home page

Gusto, formerly Zen Payroll, is all-in-one payroll software that offers top services for small companies. It is a comprehensive cloud-based service that makes it easy for small businesses to pay and track the payment records of workers. 

The software has a beautiful design and offers full-service payroll and HR services. It is easy-to-use and requires no major learning curve. Over 100,000 employers currently use the online payroll platform to keep their teams happy.

It offers a free COVID-19 resource for users to help them track tax changes and the Paycheck Protection Program. Gusto handles the employer's payroll needs, making it look easy. It requires little human intervention and helps small businesses save money and time spent on calculation payroll for employees and contractors.

One of the biggest issues with payroll management for small businesses is adding new employees and their personal information to the company's data. Gusto makes it easy with its employee self-onboarding feature.

New employees can log in and fill in their personal information, including their bank information. The service sends reports immediately to the government agency about the new hire. Employees receive their pay stubs by email.

With the online payroll, filing of payroll taxes, deductions, and other calculations are automatic. The customer support is exceptional, with lots of wonderful guides and help offered to users.

It is easy to integrate several employment benefits into Gusto. Benefits such as health insurance, 401(k), and life insurance are easy to add to existing payroll or a new one. It helps small businesses set up an attractive benefit-filled package to attract and keep workers.

You can easily integrate other accounting software you use such as QuickBooks, Xero, or Freshbooks to your Gusto account. 


Gusto pricing procedure

Pricing at Gusto starts at $19 per month base price plus $6 per month per employee. It has no freemium plan; however, all its plans have a free trial period of 30 days.

The core plan starts at $39 per month base price, plus an additional $6 per employee. It offers employee onboarding tools, accounting, and time tracking integrations, and document management, which are not part of the basic plan.

Gusto has a complete plan that starts at $39 per month plus $12 per person. It offers all the benefits of the basic and core plans, plus employee directory and surveys, time tracking, project tracking, and workforce costing.

The last plan is the Concierge plan that costs $149 per month plus $12 a month per person. It is a comprehensive and intuitive plan, offering all the benefits of the Basic, Core, and Complete plans. On this plan, employees enjoy access to Certified HR pros and HR resource center.


  • Automated payroll tax filings for local, state, and federal Time Tracking
  • Unlimited payrolls
  • PTO (paid time off) tracking
  • Integrates with other software such as Xero, TSheets, QuickBooks, Trainual, and Clover.
  • Accurate and auto-calculations
  • Workers' compensation such as child support garnishments.
  • New hire reporting to the government
  • Paperless employee onboarding
  • Quick access to payroll from any mobile device.

4. SurePayroll

Best Customer Support with Six Days a Week Availability 

SurePayroll  is an affordable software service for small business owners

Sure Payroll is an affordable software service for small business owners with a limited budget for accounting. The company focuses on helping small businesses stay on top of their payroll and tax-related accounts. It is fantastic for businesses with a worker size of less than 10.

With the cloud-based software, you do not have to worry about miscalculating or evading your federal, state, and local taxes. It keeps you up to date with the latest task laws and ensures compliance. If there is an error in your taxes from using the software, the company addresses the resulting cost. 

Customer support is the best feature of SurePayroll. The award-winning company has enough staff on hand to handle customer complaints for extended periods during the day and weekend hours.

Sure Payroll has over 20 years' experience in the payroll management industry. It is a proven service with a track record of processing and managing payroll and tax obligations for small businesses.

The speed of its online enrollment is another strength that makes it attractive for small businesses. It takes only ten to fifteen minutes to complete.

It has some drawbacks such as the extra $4.99 it charges for accounting software integration and extra charges for W-2s and 1099 forms for contractors.


SurePayroll’s pricing
Source : fool

Sure Payroll has two plans: self-service and full service. It does not offer a trial period, but if they do not satisfy you after six months, you get your money's worth as returns. 

The self-service plan is a simple plan that allows you to run unlimited payrolls. It costs $19.99 a month and an extra $4 per employee. Note that this plan does not include automated tax filings.

The full-service plan has all the features and benefits of the self-service plan plus tax filings. It cost $29.99 per month and an extra $5 per employee.

Surepayroll price customize option

You can also customize your plan to suit your taste with accounting software integration, time clock integration, local tax filings, and tax filings in multiple states for varying fees.


  • Automated tax filings for federal, state, and local taxes.
  • The company bears the cost of inaccurate tax filings (for the full-service plan only)
  • Fast online enrollment not exceeding fifteen minutes.
  • Flexible payroll with workers' compensation, 401(k) plans, and health insurance.

5. QuickBooks Payroll

Fast and User-Friendly Payroll Software

QuickBooks Payroll Home page

QuickBooks is a cloud-based payroll software that makes payroll management easy for small businesses. It does not require a learning curve; the interface is simple and clear to use immediately with no prior experience.

The online payroll software integrates seamlessly with the QuickBooks accounting software. With it, you can keep and attract workers by offering benefits such as health care, workers' compensation, 401(k) plans, and quick direct deposits for payment.

It has a mobile app that makes payroll management a lot easier for small businesses. The app's interface is friendly, you can perform all payroll activities with it. 

The payroll service also automatically files and pays your taxes to the authorities. However, if there is any filing error, it will only accept responsibility if you are using its elite plan. Other online payroll services do not charge as high for an expected guarantee.

QuickBooks is a popular payroll service in North America and quickly gaining ascendancy in other parts of the world. It has an employee self-service portal which makes it easy for employees to enter their information into the payroll.


QuickBooks Payroll pricing offers

QuickBooks Payroll offers a free 30 days trial. Currently, they have a 50% discount for the first three months, thus making payroll cheaper for small businesses.

It has three plans: the core, premium, and elite. The core plan covers the basic payroll services such as auto payroll and benefits for the team. It costs $45 per month. With an extra $4 per employee.

The premium plan covers all the features and benefits of the core plans and adds its distinct features, such as HR support and Expert setup review. It costs $75 per month, with an extra $8 per employee.

The elite plan covers both the core and premium plans and offers tax penalty protection. It costs $125 per month, with an extra $10 per employee.


  • Preparation of payroll taxes
  • Track company's benefits
  •  Processes payroll quickly
  • Organizes employees' information
  • Offers HR support

6. Square Payroll

Best Payroll for Contract Workers 

Square Payroll home page

Square Payroll is an affordable online payroll service suitable for paying contractors. It is also useful for paying full-time employees, albeit at a higher cost.

Workers can use the service to put in their information for easy automation and payment. While you still have to make input to the payroll, it reduces the workload and time spent uploading all your employee records.

The service is a cheap solution for small businesses that depend on part-time workers to thrive. It is useful for paying freelancers and other contract workers for work done.

Square Payroll integrates well with the point of sale solution and other accounting services from Square. It also syncs with QuickBooks Online and other third-party software.

It offers automated tax filings quarterly and annually for its users, relieving small businesses of the stress of calculating their tax returns.

You can track the payroll activities from your phone by downloading the Sure Payroll mobile app on it.

The customer support team at Square Payroll comprises payroll specialists equipped with the knowledge to help make your experience with the tool smooth sailing.

When you are inactive for a particular period, you can pause the billing to prevent you from paying fees for periods not used. 


Square Payroll pricing plan

Square Payroll has two payment plans, one for payment of contractors only, while the other is for payment of employees and contractors. There are no free trial periods available for Square Payroll.

The Pay Contractors Only plan is the cheapest of the other payroll options discussed in this article. It does not attract a base fee. Monthly payment of $5 per contractor employed is the only expense your small business pays. There are no hidden charges.

The Pay Employees and Contractors plan cover both part-time and full-time workers. It does not require any commitment from you; you are free to cancel and freeze the plan at your discretion.

Square Payroll's Pay Employees and Contractors plan costs a $29 monthly subscription fee plus an extra $5 per employee or contractor paid.


  • It covers employees and contractors for payment.
  • Organize your payroll efficiently and automatically file your taxes on your behalf.
  • Cheap pricing for small business owners.
  • Offers advanced employment benefits to workers such as health care and 401k. 

7. Patriot Software

Affordable Self-Service Payroll for Small Businesses

Patriot Software Home page

Patriot Software is a time and cost-saving service for small businesses that do not have the resources to handle their payroll effectively.

Get all your workers paid quickly and accurately with the Patriot Software. It is an affordable plan for small businesses with up to 100 workers.

The cloud-based payroll is convenient and easy to run, you can access it on both mobile and desktop devices.

With Patriot Software’s full-service option, you enjoy automatic tax filings for your federal, state, and local taxes. Concentrate on other aspects of your business, while Patriot deals with your taxes.

It has phone support which users can contact for setup guidance or address any issues with the service.

Simplify your payroll by running payrolls for both your employees and contractors. The beauty is that you can add up five multiple pay rates for your employees.

It protects its servers with the latest firewalls and Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology used by banks to prevent hackers from stealing crucial information about your business and workers from its database.

It has a free employee portal that grants them access to pay stubs and history. They can also enter their payroll information on the portal.

Pay your workers on-time, accurately, and with no charge with its free direct deposit. There is also the option of cash payment, and paychecks.


Patriot Software pricing plan

Patriot Software offers a free 30-day trial period. It is a simple and affordable payroll service that helps small businesses efficiently manage their payroll.

It has two monthly subscription plans: the basic payroll and the full-service payroll. The basic payroll offers you all the essential payroll features bar helping you handle your payroll taxes. It costs $10 a month with an extra $4 per employee. The basic payroll plan is suitable for a small workforce.

A larger workforce can go for its full-service payroll. It helps you run your payroll, including filing your taxes and offering a tax filing accuracy guarantee. It costs $30 a month with an extra $4 per employee.


  • Easy to set up and use
  • Free expert support through live chats, phone, and email.
  • Tax filing accuracy guarantee (for the full-service plan).
  • You can use it on any device including desktop and mobile.
  • Free direct deposit, an employee portal, Time-off accruals all in the same software.

8. Wagepoint

The Most User-Friendly Online Payroll Software for Convenient Payroll Management

Wagepoint The most user friendly Online Payroll Software

Wagepoint is a simple online payroll service that small businesses can maximize to pay their employees and contractors. It is renowned for its aesthetically appealing user interface and friendly customer support team.

It integrates with other accounting software: QuickBooks Online, Xero, and others. Wagepoint tracks, syncs and manages time spent working and paid time off.

Free up more time to concentrate on the productive aspects of your business, while leaving your payroll activities for the online payroll software to handle.

Achieve minimal data input by opening up the online portal for your employees to submit their information, such as banking and address change. From the portal, they can also access their W-2s, W-1099s, and pay stubs.

Use its free direct deposit to buy your workers. Keep them happy and motivated by providing workers' compensation, health, and 401(k) benefits.

Worry no more about missing or under-calculating your tax payments. Wagepoint calculates and accurately pays your taxes. Besides this, it also sends reports about new hires to the authorities.

You can access the cloud-based software conveniently from any location and device. The site is friendly and full of in-built tips and guides. Easily contact its professional support team for payroll help.


Wagepoint pricing plan

Wagepoint Payroll is an online payroll service for North American businesses. It does not have a free trial period. However, it offers free services for your first ten payroll tax payees.

There is only one available plan for both Canadian and US users. It costs a base price of $20 a month plus an additional $2 per employee.

You can also pay weekly at a base cost of $10 plus an extra $2 per employee. It also has bi-weekly and bi-monthly payment options, each cost a base price of $20 monthly and $2 per employee.


  • Quick processing and payment of your small business hourly and salaried payroll.
  • Easy to use the navigation
  • Excellent security protocols to protect users' records.
  • On-the-go access to payroll from any internet-connected device.

9. Paychex

All-In-One Payroll and HR Service for All Industries 

Paychex Home page

This highly value-driven payroll service combines both payroll and HR features to afford small businesses more room to concentrate on their business success.

From the software, you can set up your payroll, including employee financial wellness programs. It makes your payroll tax administration easy by calculating, filing, and submitting your federal, state, and local taxes.

The award-winning HR and payroll service offer 24/7 phone and chat support for its users. You get access to its team of experts, which includes 200 plus compliance experts and 600 plus HR professionals.

With its HR solutions, it helps small businesses to hire, onboard, and manage employees. Employees get paid automatically and on time through direct deposit and paycards. It also reports your new hires, keeping you in compliance with the law.

It has a free mobile app for all its packages except the Paycheck Go. The app makes it easier for small businesses to track and manage their payroll.

You can track employee time using the automated time tracking feature to improve worker's productivity. Employees can log in their work time from anywhere through the online employee self-service portal.

Keep and attract quality employees to boost the productivity of your small business with its health and 401(k) benefits. 


Paychex pricing plan

Paycheck has three packages: the Paychex Go, Paychex Flex Select, and Paychex Flex Enterprise.

The Paychex Go is the simplest plan and attracts a base fee of $59 per month plus an extra $4 per employee.

It is a limited plan suitable for small businesses who do not want to enjoy HR support and other benefits such as mobile app, workers' compensation reports, garnishment payment services, Employee Financial Wellness Program, and Employment and Income Verification Services.

Paychex Flex Select and Paychex Flex Enterprise do not have a public price. Request a quote, fill in your company name and number of employees to receive a price quote.


  • Access to dedicated compliance experts, payroll, and HR professionals
  • Complete payroll service that covers everything including the filing of taxes, benefits for workers, and HR services
  • In-depth reporting and analysis of your payroll and HR data
  • All-round solution for paying different employees working under different terms (contract and salaried workers)
  • Offers cyber liability insurance and digital marketing services.

10. Workful

Smart Payroll and Employee Management Software for Small Businesses

Workful home page

Workful is an easy-to-use online payroll software that helps small businesses handle their payroll and HR needs so they can devote more time and resources to their businesses.

Pay workers on time and accurately from any location with Workful. It is easy to use and has a quick setup time of five minutes.

Track time and attendance for the hourly, contract, and salaried workers. It has affordable and simplified pricing that helps small businesses cut down on payroll administration costs.

With the cloud-based payroll, you can create and view detailed reports about your business payroll such as tax liability, time mileage, federal, and state unemployment insurance liability, and others.

Workful Reports simplifies the decision-making process for small businesses concerning payroll and HR. At a glance, your dashboard contains a summary of your business' payroll activities.  

This platform takes over the administrative work of filing paperwork on your behalf. It calculates your taxes (federal and state) and reports new hires. With the software, you get accurate tax calculations and stay compliant with the law.

The HR feature allows you to communicate easily with your employees and manage your employees' time off. It is a secure software that uses SSL encryption technology to protect users' information. You can use it as a safe warehouse for documents such as employee handbooks and general working policies. 


Workful payment plan

Workful has only one payment plan. It costs a basic price of $25 plus $5 per employee monthly. The plan offers access to all its payroll services. Everything you need to improve your small business payroll efficiency is in this plan. You get a free 30 days trial to test the software. 


  • Integrates with QuickBooks and other accounting software.
  • You can use it for multiple pay rates for hourly, contract, and salaried employees.
  • Safe warehouse for keeping vital documents for employees
  • Payroll and employee tools such as employee onboarding and PTO tracking.
  • Friendly customer support available by phone, live chat, and email
  • Direct Deposit to employees bank accounts

11. Sage Payroll

The Best Secured Payroll Software for Small Businesses

Sage Payroll home page

Sage Payroll prides itself on its strong cloud-based encryption system that keeps small businesses’ data safe from cybercriminals.

As a small business owner, your responsibility is unlimited but resources limited. The cloud-based software helps your small business handle your payroll responsibilities, freeing time, and resources to spend on other core areas.

The cloud-based payroll software allows for easy accessibility. You can connect to the software to view your payroll from any location as long as you have internet access.

Sage Payroll manages your payroll process, ensuring you pay your employers on time. The process is automatic. Employees can get their payments through checks, direct deposits, or paycards. It also offers direct deposit services that protect small businesses and their employee information from falling into the wrong hands.

Set up your payroll and let Sage take care of all aspects of your payroll including calculations, deductions, payment, and tax filings (for its Essential Plus and Full-Service plans). This software keeps your small business tax compliance at all times.

It is a versatile software that integrates with accounting software such as QuickBooks and Xero, HR management, and payment platforms.

Get access to the Sage Advice community when you join its extensive network of users. If you are unsatisfied with the service after six months, you get your money back. 


Sage payroll pricing

Sage Payroll has two pricing plans: The Sage Payroll Essentials and Sage Payroll Full Service. It offers a free demo for 30 days.

The Sage Payroll Essentials plan is brilliant for small businesses with up to 10 employees. It covers all the essential payroll services such as customer support, reporting, time, and attendance, and others while offering HR support features. The plan costs $49.95 per month.

The Sage Payroll Full service is a brilliant plan for small businesses with over 10 employees. It offers businesses unlimited access to their payroll and HR services. Unfortunately, there is no custom price available on its website. Request a quote and fill in your employee strength to a custom price for you.


  • 24/7 employee access service, which includes legal and financial advice.
  •  Accurate payroll calculations, payments, and reports
  • Integrates with accounting software like Sage People and QuickBooks
  • The 256-bit encryption technology used by banks to keep your payroll data secure
  • It ensures tax compliance by updating employee tax records regularly

12. Xero

All-in-All Payroll and Accounting Software Solution for Small Businesses

Xero All in All Payroll and Accounting Software Solution

Xero is a full accounting suite that offers both payroll and other accounting services for businesses. It has an attractive design and price for small and emerging businesses.

The web-based accounting software offers many features such as inventory tracking and asset management capabilities to provide top-notch accounting services for small businesses.

With this software, small businesses spend less time and money on accounting. It enables them to devote time and resources to increase their productivity.

You can use it to run simple payroll for your employees and contractors. All you need to do is to set payment frequency, duration of the job, and payment day, and Xero will do the rest. It processes your payroll automatically and keeps records online for reference purposes.

Xero also generates email or printable payslips for every payroll payment it makes on your behalf.

Get on-demand reports about your payroll insights on your Xero Payroll dashboards. You can also view detailed breakdowns of specific payroll made.

This software uses multiple layers of encryption technology to protect users' information from any breach. It recognizes the large number of vital information small businesses put on the platform such as bank account details, email, and tax numbers.

Xero mobile app makes it easy for users to access and manage their payroll from anywhere. There is no limit to the number of people that can view the payroll information.


Xero Payroll pricing offers

Xero Payroll offers a free trial period of 30 days. All its plans contain both the payroll and accounting essentials that small business needs to grow.

It has three plans: the early, growing, and established. The early plan is available for $5.50 monthly for the first two months before it reverts to the normal price of $11.

The growing plan is available for $16 monthly for the first two months before it returns to its normal price of $32.

The established plan gives you access to all of Xero's payroll and accounting features. It is available at a promo price of $31 for the first two months before it reverts to the normal price of $62.

You can cancel any of its plans with a month's notice ahead. There is an optional full-service payroll add-on called Payroll with Gusto, which costs $39 per month plus an extra $6 per user.


  • View all your accounting records in one place
  • Unlimited users can access the payroll information
  • Mobile access with the Xero Me app
  • Integrates with payroll and accounting solutions such as Xero’s other software and Gusto.
  • Secure your payroll date with top-notch online security

13. Zenefits

Fast and Most Comprehensive Payroll Software

Zenefits Home page

Zenefits is a comprehensive online payroll software that offers amazing benefits for small businesses. It has comprehensive HR tools that make it easy for small businesses to track and manage their employees.

This software allows small businesses to offer employees benefits like health care plans. With such benefits, small businesses can keep and attract the best talents.

The online payroll software has integration for all accounting activities such as PTO tracking, time and scheduling, and employee tracking and management.

The payroll dashboard is easy to navigate and reflects an overview of your payroll activities. It prepares an accurate payroll and calculates the hours spent and the rate, the total cost, deductions, and net worth on your behalf.

Zenefits massively reduces the time spent on payroll and HR activities for small businesses. It does them (payroll, HR, scheduling, and benefits) for its users all in one platform.


Zenefits pricing

Zenefits offers a free demo for 14 days. It does not have a credit card requirement attached to its free demo offer.

It has three premium plans: Essentials, Growth, and Zen. All the plans grant you access to core HR, time and scheduling features, integrations, and a downloadable mobile app for easy usage.

Essentials are the affordable plan that offers the basic HR and payroll coverage for small businesses. It costs $8 per employee monthly.

Growth adds the compensation and performance management features. It is the most popular plan and costs $14 per employee monthly.

The Zen plan covers the features of the Essentials and Growth plans, plus well-being, employee engagement surveys, and people hub. It costs $21 per employee monthly.


  • All your employee accounting activities in one place.
  • Intuitive interface
  • Ensures you stay compliant with your taxes
  • Improves productivity by allowing employees to select their desired benefits
  •  Multiple pay rates for employees

14. ADP

Online Payroll and HR Solution for Small Businesses  

ADP Home page

ADP Payroll is a web-based platform that combines payroll and HR services. It has an intuitive user interface with an easy setup.

Small businesses enjoy perks like employee onboarding, printing and mailing of paychecks, direct deposit, new-hire reporting, regular HR checkups, and automatic payroll tax filings. It also offers HR services such as checking employee backgrounds, employee hiring, and payroll support.

ADP online payroll software is flexible. Small businesses can access them via devices such as computers, smartphones, and tablets. It has a user-friendly mobile app available for free download.

ADP payroll offers employee time tracking and workforce management features. It tracks time worked and time-off data, and syncs with the software for accurate payroll payments.

Strengthen your small business capacity to keep and attract the best talents with ADP. It offers employee benefits such as retirement and health care. There is also available business insurance for small businesses.

With the online payroll software, you can integrate ERP and other HP systems.


ADP Payroll pricing plans

ADP Payroll has four plans: the essential, enhanced, complete, and HP Pro. It offers a 3-month free trial, which is subject to its terms and conditions.

The essential and enhanced plans are suitable for small businesses with not over 49 employees. Both plans offer only payroll services. The complete and HR Pro plans offer both HR and payroll services.

There is no direct pricing available on the website, request a quote to get one.


  • Easy, fast, and reliable payroll services for small businesses
  • Keeps you tax compliant at all times
  • 24/7 payroll support
  • Access to HR services

What is Payroll Software?

stages of payroll processing

Payroll management software is an automated application used to organize employee information and take care of their payroll. These payments are done according to the instructions of the employing company. 

No matter the size of an organization, division of labor is implemented to achieve more efficient results. Small business owners do not have the luxury of efficiently employing people into all the necessary departments an organization is meant to have.

Calculating payroll efficiently is a daunting task for small businesses. To do it properly, they have to spend resources on hiring accountants or bookkeepers. Hiring these professionals are costly and can eat into the profits of small businesses.

Big companies also use payroll management software to simplify their payroll activities and reduce their working costs.

Payroll management software is better than human beings employed for the same task because they are faster and more accurate. Humans tend to make mistakes, and this can result in underpaying employees or overpaying employees. While it doesn’t happen frequently with the right professional, there is a slim chance it can happen.

With the software, the only error in the calculation will be that made by humans during the input stage.

Payroll management software is a tool made by a third-party individual or organization for easy employee payments. These programs register and organize the names of employees according to the companies' operational structure. Extra specifications such as bonuses and taxes are calculated accurately with these tools without having to pay more.

Although payroll management programs differ from each other, choosing any over a human employee would certainly be beneficial. The different tools suit different business sizes but speed and accuracy are always guaranteed. Minimal human interference reduces errors.

Over the years, the employment of payroll software has helped employers minimize costs without having to sacrifice productivity. Employee dissatisfaction is also reduced drastically with the timely payment of salaries.

Benefits of Using Payroll Software

benefits of payroll outsourcing

Payroll management tools have transformed the way small businesses handle their payroll activities. It makes the traditional way of calculating payroll look expensive and time-consuming.

Small businesses can use this payroll management software to handle all aspects of their payroll, including tax filings, while they devote more resources and time to other areas of their business. They are valuable for businesses with a limited budget.

Here are some benefits payroll management software brings to small businesses.

1. Faster Payroll Processing

One major advantage brought about by the use of automated computing for payroll is the speed at which these programs execute tasks. With payroll management software, employees get their salaries in the blink of an eye.

Spend no extra time calculating every bit of information one after the other with the chance of making a mistake. It handles all calculations for you with no errors.

The data inputted at the onset of registering names of the beneficiaries are used to make payments to them without having to go through the time-consuming exercise of collating all this information again. You do not have to go all the way to a bank or have to make payments one after the other.

2. Higher Accuracy

Payroll software manages payroll accurately. Human error is the only drawback of any computing process, but where the data is correct and vigorously crosschecked, programs work as perfectly with 100% accuracy.

Payments get sent to the exact individual. They get their exact pay, with no room for errors. Incidents like overpayment or underpayment are not an issue.

3. Cuts Cost

Payroll is easy and cheaper when you use payroll management software. The other option is to have humans do the task for you. Because it is rigorous work that requires accounting competency, the amount you will spend on buying these individuals is high.

With payroll management software, employers can buy these programs one-off and will not have to worry about regularly reimbursing any individual or whole department set aside for this function.

The software executes all the functions associated with the compilation, organization, and disbursement of salaries at a cheaper cost.

4. Handles Complex Payroll Tasks 

Any function related to the financial aspect of an organization has difficulties attached and usually reserved for trained individuals to sort these complexities out.

According to Zenefits, a whopping 82 million U.S workers, roughly 54% of the U.S workforce experience payroll problems.

With payroll management software, the payroll software handles these complexities in seconds, faster than humans can do.

Employers can set instructions, sit back, and bask in the comfort derived from using payroll management software, knowing they don't have to go through the entire process of specialized calculation every single time.

5. Automatic Implementation

It is well-known that with wages comes tax. Governmental policies on tax collection change at intervals to achieve the best formula suiting the current societal trends.

With payroll management software, any change in governmental policy gets adjusted automatically, with the approval of the employers. There is no need for widespread adjustments manually and with a chance of error.

6. Top Security

biggest cloud security concerns

Using the information of individuals comes with a lot of security risks including theft, alteration, and even destruction of these records. According to Statista (2020), data loss or leakage is the biggest cloud security concern.

With payroll software equipped with the latest security firmware, employee information is safe from the dangers of keeping physical records.

Access to the information compiled by this program can be restricted to certain trusted individuals and also stored on cloud-based storage, completely eroding losing information.

7. Reliability

The execution of payroll requires both accuracy in the process of computation and the results. Human error faults the whole manual process of collating and distributing salaries. However, the use of payroll management software offers this comfort highly sought for.

Compilation and organization of payroll information get done accurately and its results are reliable. All the accuracy involved with the use of computers should be expected and employers can wholeheartedly plan based on these computations and results.

Features to Look For in Payroll Software Tools?

Payroll management software helps organize employee information and execute the disbursement of wages and salaries. 

Any software used by an organization to function must fit into the organizational structure seamlessly and execute its role to the best of results possible.

Considering the differing needs of any organization regarding automated payroll, here are the essential features to look out for when selecting a payroll software:

1. Efficient Payroll Management

This is the most important feature to look out for in any payroll software. Efficiency as stated here isn't just about which software can handle the most amount of information but associated with the software program that best suits the organizational structure and requirements of the employers of labor. 

Certain programs are best suited for small-scale businesses and payment schedules such as OnPay. Some for mid-sized businesses such as ADP, while some are for large businesses such as EPAY Systems. 

A lot of attention has been given to matters concerning the wellbeing of every human being and laws are formulated to protect everyone.

Non-compliance with these laws attracts serious legal sanctions initiated by either employees or even the government. Sanctions are seriously harmful to the operations and development of any organization.

This is why any company looking to employ the use of a payroll management tool must ensure that all legalities are very much complied with.

Minimum wage compliance is updated and controlled through this software, payment mediums are fully legitimate, employee information is protected and used appropriately, among others.

This would ensure the needed satisfaction of employees, allowing them to give their best and would also give the employers complete rest of mind in their staff payroll management.

3. Inherent Tax Filing Services

The whole procedure involved in implementing government taxing policies can be one of the most tiring financial exercises. 

Getting updated with the ever-changing taxing scheme, while having to process the different levels of tax for the different employees makes it all the more tiring. 

Good payroll software should take care of taxation with absolute ease and the most minimal of human interference. 

Also, it should cover the government institution. A software made for the American taxing system cannot be implemented effectively in the UK. 

The taxing schedule and services provided by payroll management software is one very important aspect to consider while choosing a program.

4. Adaptive Pay-out Channels

The platforms through which money gets disbursed to employees should also be a top consideration. The more dynamic the payment methods, the lower the problems arising. 

A payroll management software should not only be for the convenience and benefit of the employers but should also provide options to the employees on what payment method best suits each individual. 

An employee may prefer direct cash transfers to their bank accounts, others may prefer payment in cryptocurrency while yet some others may prefer payment into popular cash holding platforms. 

Payroll management software that covers a wider range of payment methods is always going to be a better choice.

5. Workload Capacity

Payroll management software that can process a sizable amount of information is also a very important factor to take into consideration. 

While some tools work best with a small amount of data, others can efficiently manage a sizable amount of data with relative ease. 

Measuring your information size and which type of program is suitable for it is a step in the best direction. 

6. Human Resource Integration

Employers need to constantly keep tabs on each staff's attitude to work. Either to grant bonus packages to hardworking employees or the criticism of employees working below expectations.

An excellent payroll program helps compile data and give information for employee rating according to the standards set by the employers. 

Records for attendance,  project submission, expenditures on company resources, and even times of exiting the workplace can be compiled easily through a good payroll management software and provided to the appropriate personnel for evaluation. 

This makes the general management of staff a whole lot easier.

7. Security Architecture 

The compilation of personal information of individuals comes with a lot of security risks. Different unruly individuals or groups intending to steal user information for fraudulent purposes roam freely in the tech space. 

A leaking security structure is always a target for these harmful groups, so any payroll management software with the best of anti-theft technology should be chosen over anything.  

It is to protect the employees registered on the payroll and also avoid any legal complications arising from these thefts.

8. Ease of Navigation

One purpose of making use of payroll management software is to skip the prerequisite of having the training and expertise to organize and manage the payroll of a company. 

The user interface of any payroll management software must be as friendly and easily navigable as possible. 

The expertise of trained personnel shouldn't be required to run this software as this ruins the whole idea of acquiring a cost-effective, automated payroll tool. 

9. Customer Service  

Payroll management tools are created by third-party developers who have the skills and expertise in payroll management and software programming. 

These companies roll out updates for these software programs and help solve any problem arising from the use of the program. 

In choosing a payroll management software, interested parties are to be well informed about how helpful and responsive the customer service unit of a payroll software developing company is. 

A delay in the payment of employee salaries or the updated implementation of a recently changed financial policy would be very harmful to the operations of an organization if an immediate response cannot be quickly sought.

Payroll Software FAQ

Why Do Companies Use Payroll Software?

The execution of employee payroll responsibilities has always been tiring and plagued by human error and unforeseen circumstances. 

The cost of employing an entire department to specialize in this activity is not only expensive but also time-consuming. Companies, therefore, have made use of these automated computing programs to cut costs and also try to prevent human error from impeding their operations. 

The amount of data involved is taken care of with absolute ease and payments are made to all employees and beneficiaries as quickly as possible. 
Physical records taking up a lot of office space get boycotted and information kept on small physical storage devices or cloud-based storage systems. 

The embedded security architecture makes the use of payroll management software the most efficient payroll execution method.

What is the Best Payroll Processing Company?

The existing payroll management companies offer the common service of taking care of the payroll execution of an organization. However, it is their dynamism and efficient payroll management methods and perks that have set them apart. 

By a large consensus, Automatic Data Processing Inc, popularly known as ADP, is the best payroll management company. The company provides a range of services suiting both small-scale and large-scale businesses. 

Originally run on a cloud-based system, the company has expanded its storage capacity to accommodate over 600,000 clients worldwide. It provides all the features needed in a good software management program. 

Proper end-of-year taxing provisions, trusted security architecture, employee tracking services, ultra-dynamic payment methods, and substantial international coverage. These have helped it cement a place for itself as one of the best payroll management services available to many companies.

Who is the Largest Payroll Company?

With its revenue of over $13 billion, $3.3 billion operating income, over 600,000 clients all over the world, and 40,000 using its Human Capital Management (HCM) software, Automatic Data Processing Inc., popularly known as ADP, can be easily regarded as the largest payroll management company. 

It is the most popular in the US and boasts an array of top clients because of its established efficiency.

Certain companies such as Paychex also offer large-scale management options to their customers.

What is the Best Payroll Software for Small Businesses?

When talking of small-scale businesses, sole proprietorships or businesses with employees less than 100 in number are put into consideration. 

OnPay is the best payroll software choice for small-scale businesses. With its low cost and free 30-day trial, it offers small businesses an opportunity to test payroll management software and organize their payment methods around this medium. 

OnPay also provides a virtual and professional guide for new users and a very responsive customer service team that can be contacted through Email and even live chats. 

With its simple user interface and very accurate tax filing system, the software has proven to be the best for small businesses of up to 10 employees.

Ready to Automate Your HR Operations?

Payroll management tools are the best mediums for the payment of staff salaries. Implementation cuts through small, medium, and large-scale businesses with programs offering different approaches to easing out employee payroll. 

Using this automated system has most definitely allowed a lot of companies to cut costs while effectively and accurately navigating the payroll of employees. Government tax policies are automatically implemented and a wide range of payment methods available.

Although every software included in this write-up is wholeheartedly recommended, the top-rated payroll software programs are

  • Gusto – for sole proprietors
  • OnPay – for small-scale businesses, and
  • ADP for large-scale businesses.

All these provide the best features for the different business sizes and the best extra perks for all clients.

Using a payroll management tool is the easiest way for companies, small or large, to effortlessly, speedily, and accurately take care of payroll responsibilities.

Written by
Anastasia Belyh
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