Payroll software will help you pay your employees in full and on-time. The best payroll software should make it easier to calculate wages, pay employees through their preferred method such as a printer check or direct deposit, and handle tasks such as tax filing.
Every small and medium business understands that payroll is an unavoidable part of running the business. And when over 40% of businesses spend 1.5 hours/week or more on running payroll, it’s no wonder they are looking to find automation via payroll software. With so many options out there that differ on price, ease of use, available tax documents, and state requirements, it can be hard to know which will work for your business.
To help you find the best solution, we’ve conducted research and put together a collection of our 2020 best picks for payroll software.
Patriot Software offers a simple payroll solution that lets you run unlimited payroll, print checks or deposit pay directly into employees’ bank accounts, set pay schedules, and print W-2 forms. Staff can also use the employee portal to see their paystubs and access other payroll info they need.
The most attractive part of Patriot Software for small businesses is the price. The base price starts at $10/month with $4/month extra for each additional user.
OnPay is one of the top small business payroll solutions. The base package lets you assign tasks to your payroll staff, track deadlines, and can sync with your primary accounting solution such as QuickBooks or Xero. The online platform goes beyond payroll by providing benefits administration such as health insurance deductions and 401(k) contributions.
A payroll system for your small business like OnPay will ensure you have the features you need to pay your employees on time. Most payroll solutions bill on a per employee/month basis, meaning the bigger you get, the more you’ll pay. OnPay charges one of the lowest per employee rates at $4/month.
Payroll4Free is a forever free payroll solution, making a great choice for start-ups and small businesses looking to save on operating costs. All basic services are free as long as you have less than 25 employees. Payroll4Free does have small ads placed inside the software in order to justify the program being free, but remains a fully-featured program to let you pay you employees.
Features include paying employees and contractors, tax calculations and forms, and vacation time tracking. Direct deposit is available, however you’ll have to use your own bank to transfer direct deposit funds to your employees, or face a $12.50/month charge.
Gusto is one of the most widely used online payroll options that lets users log in from anywhere using a web-browser or mobile device. It’s payroll capabilities include deductions and filings, direct deposits, W-2s, and 1099s. It also includes additional HR features such as onboarding, benefits management, and time tracking with paid time off.
There are 3 plans available for Gusto that are dependent on the feature set your business needs. Advanced features available in higher plans include permissions, onboarding capabilities, time-off requests, and an employee directory with surveys.
CheckMark Payroll offers both a Mac and Windows version that operate exactly the same, meaning one version receives the same updates and attention as the other. In a world where a large percentage of payroll solutions are intended to be used on PCs or are web-based options, this is a relief for those loyal to their Mac operating system.
Automatic updates keep the software operating with the latest patches for enhancements, tax updates, bug fixes, and more. The software provides a free trial and an easy transition into their paid package. Unlike many tiered software, CheckMark provides all available features with their base product. The difference between their Pro and Pro+ is the amount of included support.
Denali Payroll from Cougar Mountain Software is a mid-market solution capable of handling the payroll for companies with as few as 1 employee and as many as 1,000 employees. It can handle multiple compensation types such as hourly, salary, per-diem, contract, and more. It can also easily pay employees via direct deposit or check-printing methods.
Offering payroll services to your clients is a great way to create workload for your accounting firm. For accountants just starting to provide these services to clients, Denali Payroll has all the needed features and also lets you add on specifics if your payroll calls for it. The software easily handles multiple companies, letting users easily access the company they wish to process payroll for. Denali Payroll also offers tax tables for all 50 states.
Paymate Clarity is an integrated payroll and human resource solution. The core module is the payroll functionality, but the solution also has optional inclusions to manage HR tasks. This includes things such as time & attendance tracking, benefits administration management, disciplinary tracking, vacation/sick day entitlements, and more.
Since employee compensation is linked closely to talent management and benefits administration, an integrated HR and payroll software such as Paymate Clarity provides a complete suite to manage it all. Paymate Clarity is best used by medium to large businesses due to the human capital management features it provides along with the advanced reporting.
Payroll software helps you not only write paychecks but calculate and track employee salaries, wages, bonuses, tax withholding, and deductions. Payroll software applications can centralize your key payroll data and make processing paychecks much more efficient. Printing employee paychecks and creating payroll reports can be a tedious, labor-intensive process, but with the right payroll software, it doesn’t have to be.
This guide provides information on the following topics:
Payroll software is designed to manage all elements of executing employee compensation, including wage calculation, check printing or direct deposit, and payroll tax management. Payroll software remains the key financial focus of all HR software packages, and a necessary tool for payroll departments, or more broadly, human resources.
Payroll software calculates and tracks employee salaries, wages, bonuses, tax withholding, and deductions. It prints employee paychecks, provides reports to better manage employee pay records, and generates complete weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual payroll tax-related forms and reports.
Critical business benefits of using effective payroll software include:
Compared to a manual payroll method, the following benefits are likely to remove the most frustration caused without a payroll system in place:
Whether your organization is a small business, a non-profit organization, or a multinational corporation, you must have an accurate and timely way to account for payroll expenses, withhold and pay government taxes, and generate the proper reports required by law. This, more often than not, means the implementation of payroll software into your accounting system. Without payroll software, the detailed elements involved with this task could quickly become overwhelming.
Payroll is an available add-on for Intuit’s QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online. It is also available as a standalone payroll option to use alongside an alternative accounting program.
QuickBooks Payroll is one of the least expensive options on the market, starting at $24/month plus $4/employee/month. It can also be billed annually for additional savings.
The below video from QuickBooks demonstrates how you can set up Payroll as a feature that integrates in with your accounting.