If you want to know how to do payroll for your business the easy way, use payroll software. You can automate everything from gathering employee information on tax forms to calculating, paying, and filing payroll taxes with a quality payroll software solution.
Invest in a payroll processing solution that suits your needs to save yourself the trouble of running into payroll mistakes and paying FLSA fines and tax penalties. We researched the market for the best payroll software and shortlisted a handful to make the pick easier for you.
Best Payroll Software for 2023
- Gusto – Best Overall
- Rippling – Best for Mid-sized Businesses
- Paychex Flex – Best for Scaling Businesses
- Paycor – Best All-in-One Solution
- OnPay – Best for Restaurant Payroll
- ADP – Best for HR Features
- Intuit QuickBooks – Best for Fast Direct Deposits
- Square Payroll – Best for Contractor Payroll
- Patriot – Best for New Businesses and Startups
Unlimited Payroll Runs
Direct Deposit time
Automatic Tax Filing
Starts at $39/mo. + $6/employee/mo.
2-4 days (Next-day deposit for advanced plans)
Available Monday – Friday from 8 am-5 pm MST
Quote-based – Starts at $35/mo. + $8/employee/mo.
Email and live chat support. Live phone support costs extra
Starts at $39/mo. + $5/employee/mo.
24/7 phone and chat support
Starts at $36/mo. + $4/employee/mo.
Available Monday – Friday 9 am-8 pm ET
Starts at $99/mo. + $5/employee/mo.
Available Monday – Friday from 8 am-8 pm EST via phone
Available on phone
Starts at $35/mo. + $4/employee/mo.
Same-day direct deposit
Online resources, lacks live chat or phone support
Starts at $35/mo. + $5/employee/mo.
Available via phone, live chat, and email
Starts at $10-30/mo. + $4/employee/mo.
Only with Full Service Payroll plan
Available Monday – Friday 9 am-7 pm EST via phone and live chat
Gusto is a robust platform that unifies payroll, benefits administration, HR, and compliance functions into a single, easy-to-use package. Read our Gusto review for an in-depth analysis of the software.
It’s made for small firms who want to remain on top of their employees’ basic HR needs. Many businesses in the United States use the app owing to its robust collection of payroll functions, a well-designed user interface, and automation possibilities.
Gusto includes unlimited pay runs and basic reporting in all its plans, providing everything a small business needs in a payroll software. Its core plan offers full-service payroll including employee tax forms, benefits management, and integrations with a range of other tools.
Why we chose it: Gusto includes unlimited pay runs and basic reporting in all its plans, providing everything a small business needs in a payroll software. Its collection of features also makes it suitable for mid-sized and large companies.
- More affordable than similar platforms
- Offers unlimited payroll runs and PTO tracking
- Available in all states
- Dedicated support is exclusive to higher-tier subscribers only
- Next-day direct deposits available only with Complete and Concierge plans
- No time tracking features offered in Core plan
Pricing: Gusto offers three different plans for businesses with permanent W-2 employees and a Contractor Only plan for businesses that hire independent contractors only.
- Contractor Only Plan: No base fee. $6/mo per person
- Core Plan: $39/mo + $6/mo per person
- Complete Plan: $39/mo + $12/mo per person
- Concierge Plan: $149/mo + $12/mo per person
Rippling offers a great mix of HR and payroll functionalities, making it a great option for mid-sized businesses as it simplifies personnel management.
Users may sync data from other personnel management systems to automate data entry and guarantee that each employee receives pay as soon as feasible with this platform. It also includes task management tools, personalized alarms, and a built-in unified personnel database, as well as reporting capabilities that allow HR teams to analyze salary trends.
Rippling offers loads of integrations with accounting, time tracking, attendance, and other tools. Its integrations are one of the biggest factors that makes it an attractive option. You can streamline your payroll and get your employees paid as quickly as possible with this payroll software.
Why we chose it: Rippling’s offers a depth of service and flexibility which make it a great choice for companies with complex payroll needs. Although its price and user experience appeals to small businesses, we recommend it for mid-sized companies employing more than 10 employees.
- Offers a decent price point for mid-sized and small businesses
- Can pay any employee anywhere on the globe
- Can be integrated with hundreds of apps
- Pricing isn’t transparent
- Gets pricey as you add more features
- Limited customer support
Pricing: Rippling has a quote-based pricing plan where you can get a custom price by setting up an appointment with a Rippling advisor. That said, here’s what you should expect it to cost:
- Core: $35/mo. + $8/employee/mo.
Paychex Flex offers a variety of reporting features and gives users upgrade options, which is vital for scaling businesses. It offers around 160 different kinds of reports so you can have a better look at your business’ expenses. If you prioritize data and reports to gain insight into your business operations, Paychex has everything you need.
Although it’s one of the more costly payroll services in this guide, its features make up for the cost. Paychex offers automatic federal, state, and local tax filing for your business. It offers next-day direct deposit even with the basic plan, plus new hire reporting, a mobile app, and a library with HR resources.
If you opt for advanced plans like Select and Pro plans, you get extra features including a dedicated payroll specialist to help you out with tax and payroll problems. Integrations are an important aspect of quality payroll software and Paychex does well in this department. It integrates with Xero accounting and QuickBooks, health insurance and benefits, time tracking, and attendance apps.
One drawback is that pricing isn’t transparent on the Paychex site. This makes it a little difficult to compare its services.
Why we chose it: Paychex Flex is recommended for business owners who want to have insightful reports on their company’s payroll. Plus, it’s an excellent option for scaling businesses as it lets you easily upgrade to advanced plans as needed. Read the Paychex review to learn more about it.
- Interface is quite user-friendly
- HR add-ons are available
- Reporting feature is quite robust and useful
- Additional fees for payroll tax administration
- There are some hidden fees when it comes to initial setup
- Additional fees for third-party software integration
Pricing: Paychex’s payroll service is divided into three categories. The most basic option costs $39 a month plus $5 per payee. Paychex Flex Select and Paychex Flex Pro are two other Flex plans offered by Paychex.
- Paychex Flex Essentials: $39/mo. + $5/mo. per employee
- Paychex Flex Select: Quote-based
- Paychex Flex Pro: Quote-based
OnPay is a cloud-based payroll solution that offers a comprehensive set of payroll and HR features. It’s a great choice for small businesses looking for simple and affordable payroll management.
OnPay provides highly scalable apps with easy-to-use features which makes it ideal for SMBs with the potential to grow. This cloud-based service can automate tax filing and payment while improving payroll operations.
Additionally, it has several features specifically for restaurateurs such as overtime calculations and minimum wage tip makeup which makes it the best restaurant payroll software. But at the same time, it lacks features like automatic payroll, fast direct deposits, and offers limited integrations. This can make running payroll with OnPay much more tedious and time-consuming.
Because it has a simple interface, you can enter payroll data such as hours, reimbursements, tips, and bonuses with ease. Other responsibilities, such as benefits and compensation insurance for employees who work on a pay-as-you-go basis, can also be administered using the system. OnPay doesn’t have a dedicated mobile app, but it has a mobile-friendly website for on-the-go payroll runs.
Why we chose it: OnPay has a really simple pricing structure that involves no hidden fees or costs for added features. We chose it for its simplicity and scalability which makes it perfect for small businesses, especially restaurants.
- No hidden fees
- Unlimited monthly pay runs
- Great user experience
- Limited integrations
- Doesn’t offer fast direct deposit
- No mobile app
Pricing: OnPay’s pricing structure is one of the simplest out there. It comprises a single plan with one base fee and a per-employee fee that increases the cost as you pay more employees. The site has a slider feature that lets you calculate the exact cost of running payroll according to the number of employees you pay each month.
- OnPay Pricing: $36/mo. + $4/employee/mo.
Note that everything is included in this price and OnPay won’t charge you additional fees. Plus, it only bills you for the number of workers you actually pay in a month.
Paycor is a great choice for small businesses that need help with HR and payroll tasks but can’t afford to have an in-house HR department. With a wide range of tools, Paycor is an all-in-one solution. It can help you handle recruitment, onboarding, employee management, benefits management, payroll, and other aspects of HR and payroll effectively.
Paycor is a unified human capital management (HCM) solution that keeps employee data in one place (online database), eliminating the need to move platforms, access various systems, or re-key data. The software consolidates employee payroll and HR data, making it easier to manage human capital without switching systems.
When it comes to payroll, Paycor offers full-service payroll including tax calculation, withholding, and filing, real-time payroll analytics, and employee self-service. It also has a mobile app to help streamline payroll for you and your employees.
Users may use Paycor to automate repetitive tasks, reduce compliance risk, increase efficiency, empower staff to manage their own finances, and obtain a better knowledge of their organization through sophisticated analytics and insights.
Why we chose it: Paycor stands out because it’s not just payroll software. Its range of HR services makes it a great all-in-one solution for businesses that can’t afford to hire an in-house HR professional.
- Offers plenty of options for training and support
- Can be deployed via desktop, mobile, and cloud platforms
- Offers recruiting and HR solutions in addition to payroll
- HR tools not included in basic plan
- More expensive than other payroll software
- Doesn’t have native time tracking
Pricing: The Paycor pricing plan that applies to you depends on the size of your business. The plans mentioned below apply to you if you’ve got less than 50 employees. But if you’ve got more than that, you can get a custom quote and get to try out the service free for three months.
- Paycor Basic: $99/mo. + $5/mo. per employee (no setup fee)
- Paycor Essential: $149/mo. + $6/mo. per employee (setup fee waived)
- Paycor Complete: $199/mo. + $7/mo. per employee (setup fee waived)
- HCM: $199/mo. + $12/mo. per employee (setup fee waived)
ADP is one of the oldest players on the market. With more than 70 years of payroll experience under its belt, ADP offers you the knowledge and expertise you can trust. It offers a wide variety of plans to choose from for both small and large businesses. You will certainly find a plan that suits your needs from this payroll software.
ADP makes its mark with its ability to meet your needs as your business grows. If you’re a small business, it does a good job of handling payroll, taxes, and compliance for you. But as you grow, its advanced plans have additional features that help make things simple for larger, more complex businesses. These include HR support, recruiting, and onboarding.
ADP’s more costly plans include employee background checks, ZipRecruiter help, and specialist HR assistance if you need more than the HR fundamentals to support your expanding workforce.
Direct payment, automated payroll tax filing, and W-2 submissions are included in all ADP payroll system plans. It also has an employee portal for employees to view their pay stubs and change their information as required. All plans give you access to customer support that is available 24/7, so you can get answers and assistance whenever you need it.
With ADP Payroll, you can’t see the cost of all plans upfront to compare them. You must first request a quote after answering some questions about your business to see the pricing structure.
Why we chose it: Apart from a top-quality payroll processing service, ADP’s powerful HR features make it an excellent substitute for an in-house HR professional. If you plan to grow with ADP or already need an HR department, ADP can meet your needs with ease.
- 24/7 customer service availability
- Customizable for growing companies
- Mobile access
- Difficult to access pricing without requesting a quote
- Hidden and additional fees
- Interface may be overly complex for small businesses
Pricing: ADP has four pricing plans for its payroll service, Essential Payroll, Enhanced Payroll, Complete Payroll & HR+, and HR Pro Payroll & HR. The cost of each of these plans remains unclear as ADP employs a quote-based pricing model. You can get your quote by entering your company size and details on the ADP website.
If you currently use QuickBooks for accounting, QuickBooks Payroll is the simplest choice to set up because it integrates seamlessly. One of its best features is fast same-day direct deposit, which allows you to make quick payments. Also, you can expect automated functions and a user-friendly interface.
Because the training and knowledge base is so comprehensive here, you’re unlikely to need to contact support for assistance. If in doubt, a short search on the internet will lead you to a plethora of walkthroughs.
Why we chose it: QuickBooks Payroll is a great choice if you already use QuickBooks for accounting and want to integrate your payroll software with it. Go for it if you’ve got less than 50 employees. Plus, its same-day direct deposit is one of the biggest reasons why we chose it as it lets you pay your employees as quickly as possible.
- QuickBooks Online integration feature
- Same day and next business day direct deposit options
- Extended customer service hours
- Extra tax filing fees for Premium and Core plans
- Limited HR features for numerous employees
- QuickBooks Online integrations are somewhat limited
Intuit QuickBooks payroll software comes in four different pricing plans. They only have a base fee and no extra charges per person paid.
- Simple Start: 12.50/mo.
- Essentials: 25/mo.
- Plus: 40/mo.
- Advanced: 90/mo.
Square Payroll is an excellent option for businesses that just need to do contractor payroll. While any of the payroll software on our list should be able to do this, Square Payroll is the most cost-effective solution.
We recommend Square Payroll if you already use Square POS. The two integrate very well which means paying employees is much easier. That said, this payroll software is not a good option for larger teams.
Because Square Payroll doesn’t charge a price for inactive months, it’s also a good option for seasonal firms that don’t work every month of the year. Read our complete Square Payroll review to learn more about it.
Why we chose it: Square is a top-quality payroll software that offers a range of features that make running payroll a cakewalk. It’s a great option if you hire contractors only since you only have to pay $4 per worker. Furthermore, if you already use Square POS, then look no further. This is for you.
- Low pricing
- Easy to use
- Integrates with other tools
- Basic HR functionality only
- Slow customer support
- Basic payroll reports
Pricing: Square offers two pricing plans for its online payroll processing service:
- Pay Employees & Contractors: $35/mo. + $5/mo. per employee
- Pay Contractors only: $5/mo. per employee
Patriot is an excellent option for budget-conscious startups and small companies because it has one of the most affordable pricing plans. It’s also extremely easy to use, making it ideal for new users.
Patriot’s Basic Payroll plan is only $10 per month and $4 per employee, making it the most affordable payroll software on our list. This is a fantastic deal on payroll software since it allows you to conduct limitless payrolls at any frequency without costing you an arm and a leg.
However, if you want Patriot to handle your tax filings, you’ll have to upgrade your subscription to Patriot’s Full Service Payroll package.
Why we chose it: Patriot has a simple, intuitive user interface and easy-to-follow training materials making it suitable for business owners who are new to payroll. Plus, it has one of the most affordable plans so if you’re on a tight budget, go for Patriot.
- Very user-friendly, especially for beginners
- Offers excellent payroll flexibility
- Employee portals are decent
- Limited pay types
- Add-on fees for some features
- Payroll runs slower than competitors
Pricing: Patriot payroll software offers two pricing options, Basic Payroll, and Full Service Payroll. The Basic plan assists you with running payroll but you have to do your taxes yourself. With the Full Service plan, Patriot handles your taxes for you.
- Basic Payroll: $10/mo. + $4/mo. per employee
- Full Service Payroll: $30/mo. + $4/mo. per employee
Methodology for the Best Payroll Software
If you try doing payroll yourself, you’ll learn that it’s one of the most complicated admin tasks. You have to take care of a variety of things from paying employees on time to calculating payroll taxes and filing them on time.
You’ve got a range of aspects to take care of to stay in compliance with payroll laws, and this is why we always recommend you use payroll software instead. But choosing the right payroll software isn’t much easier either.
We consider multiple factors from pricing to quality of service and customer support to bring you the best payroll software on the market. Here are the criteria we use to evaluate our picks.
- Cost: We understand that wise spending is crucial for a small business’s success. This is why payroll software pricing carries the most weight in our methodology. If price is the most important factor for you, you might also want to consider free payroll software.
- Quality of service: When it comes to payroll processing software, quality of service comprises the speed of payroll, fast direct deposits, tax filing for all states, and integrations. These aspects are essential to give users a hassle-free payroll experience.
- Ease of Use: Entrepreneurs invest in payroll software to take the load off their shoulders and be able to pay their employees with ease. This wouldn’t be possible without an easy to use payroll software. We ranked software with a simpler and more intuitive user interface higher than those that have a bit of a learning curve.
- Features: HR tools, reports, analytics, available payment options, a mobile app, and an employee self-service portal are some important features a payroll software should have. Each payroll software offers a distinct range of features, so we considered them to identify which software suits different businesses. By identifying the solutions available from each provider, we were able to categorize our top picks based on their strengths.
- Customer Support: When picking a software solution, good customer service is one of the most important considerations for many people. You never know when you’re going to run into a payroll issue, but responsive customer service makes sure you can resolve any issues right away.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Best Payroll Software
Here are some of the more common questions about the best payroll software.
Conclusion – The Best Payroll Software
While all of the best payroll software on this list are pretty good options, nothing quite beats Gusto. In addition to top-notch full-service payroll capabilities, Gusto covers everything from health insurance to tax accounts to HR to team management.
Pricing is affordable, and the interface of Gusto is extremely user-friendly. This modern and robust online platform is the best payroll software for small businesses as well as larger teams. Gusto currently offers a completely free one-month trial.