Looking for the best payroll software for your small business? Check out our top picks for 2023 and read our in-depth analysis.
We may be compensated by vendors who appear on this page through methods such as affiliate links or sponsored partnerships. This may influence how and where their products appear on our site, but vendors cannot pay to influence the content of our reviews. For more info, visit our
Small businesses must often work with lesser pools of resources than their larger counterparts, especially due to smaller working budgets and teams. Fortunately, the right technology makes it much easier for small business owners to manage their companies at a fraction of the cost of big corporations. In many cases, the “right” technology is still within budget and scope for small businesses.
The software you choose for your small business can significantly impact its operations and financial health. As such, the best payroll software for your small business should be simple, cost-effective and scalable, so it can grow with your business. These are some of the best payroll solutions that meet these requirements for small businesses.
Intuit QuickBooks: Best for quick direct deposit
is a cloud-based payroll solution from Intuit that is designed to help small and medium-sized businesses manage their employee pay and tax obligations. It provides small businesses with a cost-effective way to manage payroll.
With an intuitive user interface that’s easy to navigate, it integrates seamlessly with other QuickBooks products to get the complete picture of your business’s finances. Although QuickBooks Payroll can be used as a stand-alone product without using any of Intuit’s other accounting programs, there are additional benefits for users who combine QuickBooks Online Accounting with QuickBooks Payroll.
Auto-run payroll for all eligible employees
Garnishments and deductions management
Easy-to-create and download documentation, including payroll history, bank transactions, contractor payments, paid time off and tax reports
Health benefits and 401(k) plans available
Fast payment deposit
Tax penalty protection of up to $25,000
Automated tax payments and filing
Full-service payroll available with all plans
No time tracking feature in the core plan
Can be expensive for companies with high employee headcount
Intuit QuickBooks offers three main pricing plans:
: $37.50 per month, plus $5 per employee per month
: $50 per month, plus $5 per employee per month
: $80 per month, plus $8 per employee per month
Additionally, QuickBooks has an ongoing promotion offer of 50% off the base price for the first three months.
is a leading full-service payroll provider with payroll software designed specifically for small businesses. This tool automates both basic and more advanced payroll tasks for employees and contractors easily and without extra work required of business owners.
They also offer benefits like disability insurance coverage and dental insurance for your employees, which can be tailored to suit your needs and budget. In addition, Gusto is designed to handle most small businesses’ HR-related needs, including tax filing and reporting requirements, time tracking, expense tracking, scheduling shifts, and employee onboarding.
Cross-border payment capabilities for international contractors in over 95 countries
Unlimited payroll runs per month
Gusto Wallet app helps employees track, save and access their money
Support for employees to open a spending account with a debit card included
Lifetime employee access to digital pay stubs and W-2s in their Gusto accounts
A contractor-only plan is available
Appealing user interface
Easy onboarding of contractors and W-2 employees
Positively-reviewed customer service and support
Direct deposit may take two to four days
The simple plan isn’t feature-rich
Gusto is priced affordably, depending on your specific needs:
: Starts at $40 per month, plus $6 per month per employee
: Starts at $80 per month, plus $12 per month per employee. Users can currently save 25% for six months.
: Pricing for this plan is available upon request
Paychex: Best for human resources management features
is a leading human capital management provider that offers a range of products and services to meet HR department needs. With payroll, benefits, workers’ compensation, insurance administration and compliance, and talent acquisition solutions, Paychex provides small business owners with the resources they need to manage their employees more effectively.
Paychex is ideal for small businesses that are growing rapidly or those that want an easy-to-use platform they can access from anywhere. Paychex can manage over 1,000 employees’ payroll and also comes with a mobile app option.
Used to calculate, file and submit payroll taxes
Support for hiring, onboarding and managing new employees
Paychex Voice Assist for secure and hands-free payroll processing support
Time and attendance tracking capabilities
Federal, state and local payroll tax management
Mobile app available
Resource center for users
Intuitive self-service portal and other features
Auto deductions and remittance to the appropriate agencies
Support can be improved
Some users infrequently experience software glitches
There are three different plans to choose from with Paychex:
Paychex Flex Essentials
: $39 per month, plus $5 per employee
Paychex Flex Select
: Pricing information available upon request
Paychex Flex Pro
: Pricing information available upon request
is a leading cloud-based HCM service provider that offers HR, payroll, talent, time, tax and benefits administration. Founded in 1949, ADP is one of the largest payroll processors in the U.S., serving over 920,000 clients. ADP has a longstanding history of providing innovative solutions that help small businesses better manage their payroll and automate back-office tasks such as compliance reporting, tax payments and benefits management.
ADP automatically creates and sends W-2 and 1099 forms to your employees and contractors, so you can focus on running your business. Businesses in complex industries like construction or manufacturing need additional features like these, as well as timekeeping and scheduling, that aren’t available in many other payroll software packages.
For these businesses, it’s essential to find an HR software system that also offers robust features related to workforce management, such as automated timekeeping, schedule building and shift management tools. As your company grows or diversifies into new markets with different labor laws, regulations or benefit requirements, ADP provides the flexibility to accommodate these new requirements.
Reporting capabilities for viewing, accessing, customizing and printing payroll and HR reports online
State unemployment insurance management features
Employee handbook wizard for handbook design based on federal employment law
Payroll debit cards and multi-state payroll in all plan levels
Labor law poster compliance
Offers features and package levels for businesses of all sizes
Integrates with over 100 other tools
User-friendly and easy to navigate
All plans come with onboarding assistance
Same-day direct deposit
Not transparent with pricing
The user interface could be improved
Pricing is an essential factor to consider when choosing a payroll provider. ADP offers four payroll plans that allow you to find the one that’s right for your company’s size and needs. Pricing information is only available upon request from the ADP sales team.
OnPay: Best payroll processing for small businesses
is a cloud-based full-service payroll processing system with everything from payroll to benefits administration and tax filing.
OnPay automatically runs payroll based on a preset schedule, handles federal and state taxes, integrates with your accounting and time-tracking software, stores your employees’ information securely, and even tracks employee hours, so you can determine if they are eligible for overtime pay.
This tool allows you to perform unlimited monthly pay run cycles, which makes it perfect for small businesses with multiple payroll schedules for different employees. The tool can accommodate daily, weekly, biweekly and semimonthly pay run cycles simultaneously.
Pay employees by direct deposit, debit card or check at no extra cost
Withholds federal, state and local payroll taxes; pays taxes; and files Form 941 quarterly and Form 940 annually
Allows employees to onboard themselves, sign HR paperwork and request PTO
Can integrate payroll data with QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Desktop, Xero, FreshBooks and other business services, such as time-tracking applications
Unlimited monthly pay runs
Free W-2 and 1099 processing
Automated tax payments and filings
No add-on fees
One-month free trial available
Sometimes considered a less intuitive platform
No live customer support available on weekends
OnPay’s pricing structure is simple. It only has one plan that covers all of its services, so there’s no need to worry about paying extra for features you might not need. The OnPay monthly base fee is $40 per month, plus $6 per employee per month.
Rippling: Best for consolidating HR, IT and finance business functions
is a full-service employee management platform that streamlines the entire HR process. It lets you organize and manage employees, benefits, expenses, time off requests, devices and apps. The software also offers IT and security solutions such as app and identity management as well as device and inventory management to manage all business devices.
Rippling allows you to manage your global and local workforce from a unified system and includes rich reporting, customization tools and seamless integrations with cloud-based services. It delivers robust features for managing the business workforce across locations and functions. In addition, Rippling claims it takes approximately 90 seconds to onboard employees and contractors onto their platform.
Automates onboarding and offboarding process
Enables small businesses to pay employees and contractors in their local currency
Issues and manages corporate cards for employees
Provides unified workforce directory, analytics and policies
Supports professional employer organization (PEO) model
Available in all 50 U.S. states and internationally
Provides federal, state, local and international tax filings
Benefits administration for dental, vision, medical and 401(k)
Employee self-service features
No free trial is available
No standard subscription plan is available
Steep learning curve for new users
Rippling is a quote-based tool with no set subscription plans. Pricing starts at $8 per month per user.
Justworks: Best for professional employer organization model
is a PEO solution that helps small businesses manage their payroll, HR, benefits and compliance. Justworks allows you to schedule online payroll and automate direct deposits for full-time and part-time employees.
It also electronically files W-2s, 1099s and payroll taxes such as 940s and 941s. With the Justworks mobile app, it’s easy for employees to manage pay stubs, benefits and time off requests on the go. In addition, customers can reach support teams through multiple channels, including phone, SMS, email, chat or Slack.
Integrates with Xero and QuickBooks
Provides compliance support for workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance filings and ACA Filings (1094-C and 1095-C)
Automated direct deposit
IRS-certified PEO (CPEO) and ESAC accredited
Efficient customer support teams
Appealing user interface
24/7 customer support from experts at Justworks
Support for weekly and biweekly pay frequencies
Direct deposit may take two to four days to drop
Can get pricey for extremely small teams
Justworks has two plans:
: $59 per employee per month for a team of fewer than 49 employees. $49 for your 50th employee and beyond
: $99 per employee per month. $89 for your 50th employee and beyond
is a full-service human capital management solution that includes payroll and HR features. Founded in 1990, Paycor provides cloud-based, customizable HR solutions to thousands of clients throughout the United States.
With features like electronic onboarding and an employee self-service portal, this software has all you need to manage your employees’ compensation, benefits, performance reviews, training plans and payroll tax filing requirements.
Paycor serves businesses in various industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, restaurants, professional services and nonprofit organizations. The platform offers advanced analytics that gives managers insight into their workforce, allowing them to make better hiring, retention and promotion decisions.
Analytics and reporting
Employee performance management
Payroll and tax services like federal and state tax filing, direct deposit, check stuffing, auto-run payroll, and new hire filing
Library of standard reports, a custom report writer and scheduled reports
Paycor analytics features for benchmarking, diversity and inclusion metrics, prebuilt dashboards, and compensation insights
A+ rating from BBB
Offers advanced analytics and customizable reporting tools
Waived setup fees on all plans
On the pricier end of payroll solutions for small businesses
Employee self-service portal could be improved
Paycor provides four primary pricing plans for small businesses, based on the features you need and the number of employees you have:
: Begins at $99 per month, plus $5 per employee per month
: $149 per month, plus $7 per employee per month
: $199 per month, plus $7 per employee per month.
: $199 per month, plus $12 per employee per month.
Backed by an industry-leading payroll service provider — Paychex —
is one of the best payroll platforms for small businesses. With SurePayroll, you will have the essential features to manage your company’s paychecks for full-time, part-time, salaried, hourly and/or contracted employees. The tool also offers support for paying federal and state payroll taxes on time.
This solution integrates with other accounting software, including Intuit QuickBooks, Xero and Less Accounting. It also allows you to perform unlimited payroll runs at no extra cost. Business owners looking to save money on payroll processing can use the self-service option, which will enable you to pay employees with unlimited payroll runs and e-file taxes yourself.
FSA and HSA fund management
Offers direct deposit and online pay stubs
Tax calculation and filing
A+ from BBB
Easy to use
Payroll can be processed on the mobile app
Charges fees for integrations
Limited HR capabilities
SurePayroll offers affordable pricing plans to users. Currently, plan prices can be discovered by quote.
is a global payroll solution for distributed teams. They offer country-specific benefits packages, multi-currency support, and compliant data and reporting solutions to help you keep your business on track and on the right side of tax law, regardless of employee locale.
Remote also provides HR capabilities that allow small businesses to hire international employees or contractors without worrying about handling taxes and payrolls. With over 150 countries serviced, it’s a flexible way to manage payroll.
Automatically generates 1099s for U.S. contractors
Offers intellectual property and invention rights protection
Supports third-party software integration
Compliance with local laws
Easily onboard international employees
Offers contractors-only plan option
Customer support via email only
Lack of 24/7 support
Pricing for Remote varies depending on how many users you have and what services you need. Remote offers two primary pricing editions:
Employer of Record
: $699 per employee per month paid monthly or $599 per employee per month paid annually
: $29 per contractor per month
Pricing information for the Global Payroll and Remote Enterprise plans is available upon request.
Payroll software is a type of
that can be incredibly advantageous to small business operations, as these solutions automate and streamline many payroll-related tasks. These tasks include calculating wages and deductions, preparing paychecks, and sending them to employees electronically.
Key features for payroll software solutions
Comprehensive HR features and integrations
Payroll software is often offered as part of a larger human resources management system suite. For many small businesses, this is crucial to a more seamless workflow and improved IT tool sprawl.
Consider investing in an HRMS that offers payroll functionality alongside
, compensation management, time and attendance, talent management, performance management, and/or benefits administration. You should also consider payroll software that integrates with other software that is crucial to your business operations, such as accounting software.
The interface of your payroll software should be straightforward, allowing users to make changes intuitively and see what needs attention quickly. It’s essential that the design is intuitive, so users will feel comfortable navigating through it on their own.
Income tax forms
Payroll software must be compliant with all applicable income tax laws, ensuring the company avoids penalties or fines for noncompliance. Income tax forms help with this kind of compliance while also making it easier to export data directly into an online e-file application, thus saving time and reducing human error.
Many businesses give employees access to their accounts and permissions for data they can edit themselves, such as time off requests. Some even offer web portals for customer self-service. This means that clients who have purchased products from these companies can log in and check the status of their orders without having to call customer service.
Good payroll software has plenty of import and export features. The ability to import third-party pay information such as bonuses, pensions or commissions is a highly sought-after payroll software functionality. Having the option to generate W-2s and store them electronically is another top import and export capability that significantly reduces processing times.
Regardless of your business, staying compliant with government and industry regulations is crucial. Employers must ensure that whatever payroll solution they select satisfies any requirements specific to their industry. The best payroll software offers features for employment eligibility verification and other fraud-prevention measures.
Many smaller companies rely on outside partners for benefits management or HR services. When choosing a payroll solution, businesses in this position should make sure the software provider they choose integrates seamlessly with outside vendors to reduce redundancies and simplify the benefits administration process.
Support for time card management and other processes for hourly workers
If you hire and manage hourly employees, you’ll likely require a payroll solution that imports your employees’ hours in real time. This is especially true for companies that run their payroll biweekly, semimonthly or monthly.
Organizations may require different features and functions depending on their size, geographic location or number of employees. Being able to customize your payroll solution is essential to meeting niche compliance and operational needs.
Support for payroll tax requirements
You must understand how payroll taxes are handled for your location, so you can choose the best system for your situation. If you are located in a state that requires quarterly reports, it would be best to choose a payroll solution that accommodates this requirement. Other taxes to consider are unemployment insurance, Social Security and Medicare. Be sure to talk with your accountant about the best ways to handle these taxes and how they apply to your company’s location.
Benefits of working with payroll software
Working with payroll software is a great way to make sure your employees are paid accurately, on time and without hassle. Payroll software also eliminates the need for you to worry about federal and state regulations related to payroll and ensures all appropriate tax withholdings are accounted for in your employee’s paycheck.
Payroll software also allows you to keep track of working hours, calculate overtime wages, set up new hires and termination letters, pay taxes out at regular intervals or add individualized pay rates per position as needed, and calculate holiday payouts or accruals.
Employees can track their information, input information for vacations and other time off, and see what deductions will be taken from their paychecks for things like health insurance premiums and 401(k) contributions. With the right payroll software in place, your HR and finance teams will have automated support for the payroll process and your employees will have quick and simplified access to their earnings.
How do I choose the best payroll software for my small business?
The best payroll software for you depends on your business needs. The right choice can make managing your staff easier, reduce tax liability and help you stay in compliance with IRS regulations.
When shopping for the best payroll software for your small business, start by deciding which features are most important for your business needs. Take into account how much time and money you want to invest upfront, what you will need the system to do and how many employees you have on your team.
One thing to keep in mind is that payroll software might not be a one-time purchase. Make sure you budget for upgrades and add-ons over the course of your contract term, so you only end up paying what was expected.
The best payroll software for your small business in 2023
The best payroll software for your small business in 2023
Aminu Abdullahi is an award-winning public speaker and a passionate writer. He writes to edutain “Educate + Entertain” his reader about Business, Technology, Growth, and everything in-between. He is the co-author of the e-book, the ultimate creativity playbook. Aminu loves to inspire greatness in the people around him through his actions and inactions.
With so many agile project management software tools available, it can be overwhelming to find the best fit for you. We've compiled a list of 10 tools you can use to take advantage of agile within your organization.