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With so many different payroll services available, figuring out which one is right for you is tough. You know you want to save time, reduce the risk of errors, and improve the accuracy of tax fillings without having to carry the cost associated with delivering that service in-house, but need to figure out which provider is best. I've got you! In this post I'll help make your choice easy, sharing the results of my research across dozens of different providers, with my picks of the best payroll services for small businesses.

What are payroll services for small businesses?

Payroll services refer to external providers capable of handling your payroll processing needs. These services assist in various payroll-related functions, including payroll processing, bookkeeping, and the facilitation of direct deposits into employees' bank accounts.

The main objective of these services is to relieve you of the time-consuming responsibilities associated with managing compensation, deductions, and adhering to location-specific tax regulations.

Overviews Of The 10 Best Payroll Services For Small Businesses

Here are my recommendations for the best small business payroll services:

Best for global teams

  • Free demo available
  • From $49/user/month (billed annually).
Visit Website
Rating: 4.8/5

Deel is a robust workforce management tool that can help you manage your global payroll. The payroll platform is available in over 150 countries, helping you hire globally and stay compliant. You can hire and pay both employees and contract workers using Deel.

Why I picked Deel: I chose to include this platform because it makes it easy for remote and global teams to manage their payroll. It's also helpful if you're interested in scaling your workforce globally, but worried about staying compliant with complicated tax systems, local laws, or confusing international payroll.

Deel Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include the fact that local country experts work in-house at Deel running their clients’ global payroll. You can feel secure knowing that local taxes and laws for international hires are being handled by a specialist in their region.

Integrations include Quickbooks, Xero, Netsuite, Workday, Workable, Expensify, Greenhouse, Hibob, BambooHR, Ashby, OneLogin, and Okta.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • 24/7 online support
  • 10+ payment options for clients
  • Off-cycle payroll available

Cons:

  • Limited customization options
  • Some add-ons have confusing additional fees

Best for customizations

  • 30-day free trial
  • From $6/employee/month + $40/month base fee
Visit Website
Rating: 5/5

With its cloud-based system, OnPay helps businesses with up to 100 employees manage their payroll and basic HR needs.

Why I picked OnPay: OnPay works well if you have multiple pay schedules, as it allows unlimited pay schedules.

OnPay can automatically calculate and file payroll taxes and manage employee benefits. It also has specially designed functionality for certain businesses, including restaurants, farms, and religious institutions.

OnPay Standout Features and Integrations:

Features include customized reporting and built-in HR tools. OnPay also offers free account migrations, unlimited payroll, multiple payment methods, garnishments, unemployment insurance, and multi-state payroll.

I really like how employees can enter their own information into OnPay and lighten your management team’s workload. Employees can also track their own PTO and manage their pay stubs and tax records.

Integrations include QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Desktop, Xero, QuickBooks Time, Deputy, When I Work, Mineral, and PosterElite.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Unlimited payroll runs
  • Transparent pricing
  • Can run payroll for W-2 and 1099 employees

Cons:

  • No time-tracking tools
  • No scalability as businesses grow

Best for running payroll within minutes

  • Free demo available
  • From $8/user/month
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Rating: 4.8/5

Rippling is a unified workforce management platform that offers HR, IT, and finance solutions all in one place, allowing businesses to automate employee lifecycle management, securely configure IT remotely, and control and report on spending in a single platform.

Why I picked Rippling: Rippling's payroll services are quick and efficient thanks to its automation features. The platform offers a comprehensive payroll processing system, including tax calculations, direct deposit, and compliance with local and federal regulations. It supports both US and global payroll, allowing companies to pay their entire workforce in their local currency within minutes with the click of a button.

Rippling Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include onboarding and offboarding capabilities, training management, timesheets, performance management, IT management, global hiring services, and recruiting tools.

Integrations include Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, Brex, Checkr, Jira, Carta, PayPal, QuickBooks, GitHub, Salesforce, Zoom, and over 500 more apps.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Global workforce support
  • Automated payroll for a hands-off approach
  • Customizable workflows

Cons:

  • Could have simpler plans for small businesses that don't require all features
  • Potential learning curve when unifying finance, HR, and IT modules

Best for full-service global payroll

  • From $25/user/month (billed annually).
Visit Website
Rating: 4.4/5

Remofirst provides advanced payroll services including payments for global employer of record (EOR) hires, international payroll, and compliance support.

Why I picked Remofirst: I chose Remofirst for payroll services because it addresses the intricacies of global employment, including adherence to local labor laws and managing a diverse workforce. They cater to the complexities of hiring and managing remote teams across over 180 countries, positioning themselves as a leading solution for global team management due to their same-day onboarding capability and competitive pricing.

Remofirst Standout Features and Integrations:

Features include tools to hire internationally without establishing a local entity, and tools to manage global payroll, ensure compliance with local tax laws and regulations, and generate contracts and invoices, alongside tools for workforce management. Other services offered include support with the visa application process, obtaining work permits for employees, and background checks. Remofirst also offers RemoHealth, which provides health insurance options for remote teams.

Integrations include Google Workspace, Microsoft Office 365, Slack, and Zoom. An API is also available to support custom integrations, as well.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Customizable to different organizational needs
  • Offers expertise in navigating international employment laws
  • Supports multiple currencies and localized payment methods for convenience

Cons:

  • Services may be priced higher than simpler, domestic-only payroll solutions
  • Limited flexibility in certain features

Best for complying with local laws

  • Free trial available
  • From $499 to $599/employee/month (15% discount for annual)

Agile Hero is a global employer of record (EOR) that provides a suite of services designed to assist businesses in managing their international workforce. Aside from helping companies hire and manage international talent, Agile Hero offers a platform with solutions for global employment outsourcing, payroll management, mobility services, recruitment, and HR consulting and advisory.

Why I picked Agile Hero: This platform offers features to help teams ensure that their payroll processes and practices comply with relevant laws and regulations, reducing the risk of legal issues and penalties. This includes accurate withholding and reporting of taxes for employees. Furthermore, Agile Hero supports global mobility with corporate immigration services, relocation assistance, tax and compensation guidance, and cultural adaptation programs.

Agile Hero Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include compensation management, an employee database, payroll outsourcing, payroll reporting, reporting and statistics, and a self-service portal. It also supports multi-country payroll management to handle payroll across different jurisdictions.

Integrations include Microsoft Office Suite, Slack, Trello, JIRA, Salesforce, and Google Workspace.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Compliance with international and local laws
  • HR management functionalities combined with EOR service
  • Global mobility support

Cons:

  • Services primarily support the English language
  • May be expensive for teams with limited budgets

Best for growing teams

  • From $5/user/month + $29/month base fee
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Rating: 4.4/5

Square offers payroll services for small and growing teams that includes automated tax filing and managing employee benefits. Square Payroll is easy to integrate if you’re already using Square for payment processing.

Why I picked Square: Square Payroll has flat-rate pricing that gives you full-service payroll features for both contractors and employees, tax filing and payments, unlimited payroll runs, and live customer support.

Square Standout Features and Integrations:

Features include employee time tracking, instant payments via Cash App if you have a balance with Square, automated tax filing, team management, and payroll specialists on call when needed.

I really like that Square payroll only charges $6 per month for each independent contractor for businesses that don’t have full-time employees.

Integrations are limited to other Square products.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • No monthly fee for the contractor-only plan
  • Instant payments via Cash App
  • Automated tax filing

Cons:

  • Lackluster reporting and integration options
  • Only one plan if you have employees

Best for automations

  • 30-day free trial
  • From $40/month plus $6/staff member
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Rating: 4.3/5

Gusto is a full-service payroll service with reasonable prices and many integrations. Gusto caters to companies in the hospitality industry and companies working with freelancers. It can track wage levels and get new hires onboarded quickly.

Why I picked Gusto: Many of Gusto’s payroll features are automated, including payroll taxes, compliance, and finding tax credits. Current users say they save an average of 5 hours per month on payroll using Gusto.

Gusto Standout Features and Integrations:

Features include an autopilot option that will automatically run payroll for you based on the schedule you set. Gusto also offers advanced reporting, new hire forms, contractor payment capabilities, time tracking, automated payroll taxes, multi-state payroll tools, compliance check-ups, and unlimited payroll runs.

I like how other HR information, such as health insurance, worker’s comp, 401K, and PTO, automatically sync with the app.

I also like the automatic tax filing feature. Gusto can calculate your taxes, fill out payroll tax forms, and file them with the appropriate government agency.

Integrations include Xero, Clover, Trainual, TSheets, and QuickBooks.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Affordable pricing
  • Autopilot option great for companies with salaried employees
  • Good customer support

Cons:

  • Per-person pricing expensive for larger businesses
  • Advanced features limited to higher tiers

Best full-service solution

  • Free demo available
  • Pricing upon request
Visit Website
Rating: 4/5

TriNet offers full-service payroll and HR management services that include up-to-date compliance expertise, risk mitigation, and talent acquisition.

Why I picked TriNet: As a Professional Employer Organization (PEO), TriNet helps business owners manage employees, payroll, and benefits.

TriNet Standout Features and Integrations:

Features include TriNet's Performance Management function to help with the performance review process, so you and your employees can align goals and communicate more effectively.

The Risk Management solutions provided by TriNet help you make sure you’re in compliance with ADA rules, and employee benefit, wage, and labor laws. It can help you understand any new legislation and make sure you’re within the guidelines.

Integrations include Carta, Lattice, Xero, QuickBooks, Oracle, Sage, Okta, Google Workspace, Greenhouse, and Bamboo HR.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Simple interface
  • Professional Employer Organization (PEO)
  • Easy to set up and use

Cons:

  • PEO structure can limit your say in certain areas
  • Opaque pricing

Best for resource management features

  • Free demo available
  • From $59/employee/month

Justworks helps business owners spend less time on back-end tasks by offering payroll, contractor payments, employee benefits, and PTO management options. In addition, Justworks is a PEO offering enterprise-level access to benefits and professional HR specialists available to answer your questions.

Why I picked Justworks: As a PEO taking care of over 70,000 of its clients’ employees, , Justworks provides payroll services and tools to help manage employee benefits. I think it works best for new business owners or those without vast HR experience who prefer to hand the tasks over to professionals at an affordable price.

Justworks Standout Features and Integrations:

Features include automated payroll, employee benefits deductions, and tax withholdings. It also offers time tracking and access to high-quality employee benefits and pre-built reports. In addition, Justworks handles all tax filing and ensures your HR-related data is compliant.

Integrations include QuickBooks, Xero, and Greenhouse Recruiting, among other third-party software systems.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • 24/7 customer service
  • Compliance support and automatic tax filing
  • Services for hiring and onboarding remote teams

Cons:

  • Online version only, no mobile app
  • Monthly costs are high

Best value for money

  • Up to 6 months
  • From $19.99/month + $4/month/employee

SurePayroll offers two options—a plan with automated tax filing and one without. With SurePayroll, you can get set up in minutes, taking the complexity out of handling payroll. In addition, they offer a 100% guarantee and automatic payroll features.

Why I picked SurePayroll: I like Sure Payroll’s do-it-yourself option for small business owners who want some payroll support but can’t afford the high cost of fully outsourcing their payroll and HR functions.

SurePayroll Standout Features and Integrations:

Features include manual and automatic payroll, HR management tools, tax calculation and filing options, customizable reports, same-day and next-day payroll, automated payroll, and payroll on the go.

I really like the onboarding wizard, which gives you step-by-step support for onboarding new employees and setting up their payroll.

Integrations include Freshbooks, AccountEdge, Xero, Sage, QuickBooks Online, and ZohoBooks.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Option to file taxes yourself
  • Works with many accounting platforms
  • Simple onboarding

Cons:

  • Not scalable
  • Complicated employee portal
Tools Price
Deel From $49/user/month (billed annually).
OnPay From $6/employee/month + $40/month base fee
Rippling From $8/user/month
Remofirst From $25/user/month (billed annually).
Agile Hero From $499 to $599/employee/month (15% discount for annual)
Square Payroll From $5/user/month + $29/month base fee
Gusto From $40/month plus $6/staff member
TriNet Pricing upon request
Justworks From $59/employee/month
SurePayroll From $19.99/month + $4/month/employee
Preview Image - <h2 class="c-block__title b-summary-table__title c-listicle__title h3" > Compare Software Specs Side by Side</h2>

Compare Software Specs Side by Side

Use our comparison chart to review and evaluate software specs side-by-side.

Compare Software

Other Options

I found an additional five payroll companies for small businesses options to consider. While they didn’t make the top list, they are worth considering.

  1. WAVE

    Best for online support

  2. Deluxe

    Best for a range of features

  3. ADP Run

    Best for integrations

  4. Paychex Flex

    Best for beginners

  5. Paycor

    Best for complex projects

  6. QuickBooks Payroll

    Best customer service

  7. Patriot Software

    Best for ease of use

  8. Payroll4Free

    Best free payroll service

  9. Block

    Best for technical support

  10. APS Payroll

    Best for data accessibility

Selection Criteria for Payroll Services for Small Businesses

Here’s a short summary of the main selection and evaluation criteria I used to develop my list of the best payroll services for small businesses for this article:

Core Functionality

While reviewing the different payroll services on the market, I made sure each option that made my list included the following basic functionality:

  • Automatic payroll calculations, wage garnishments, and withholding
  • Direct deposit capability
  • Multiple payment options
  • Online or cloud-based access
  • Integrations with popular accounting solutions
  • Employee access to paycheck history

Key Features

Once the bare bones are accounted for, highlighted important features for a quality payroll system include:

  • Tax services, both ensuring compliance and doing the filing.
  • Time clock and scheduling functions
  • Payroll customization options, like how and when people are paid
  • Interpreting data about hours, KPIs, and so on
  • Employee management, like onboarding and managing benefits

Usability

Small businesses value helpful resources and educational materials, not to mention a strong customer service team to help them work through any hiccups. I highlighted options that prioritize small business owners’ need for simple and efficient software.

People Also Ask

Still have questions about payroll services for small businesses? Check out my answers to some common questions people ask.

How much do payroll services for small businesses normally cost?

The cost of payroll services for small businesses depends on the plan you choose and your company’s needs. Basic services start from $25 a month, but more intricate plans can cost hundreds of dollars a month, plus a flat fee per employee, usually $5 to $10.

What are the benefits of using a payroll service compared to doing payroll for yourself?

A payroll service can help make sure your employees are paid on time, and the correct amount, while ensuring compliance with applicable labor and tax requirements. Many programs can also automatically file payroll taxes, provide tax guarantees, and help you stay up-to-date on the latest laws.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of outsourcing payroll is that it can help lighten some of the administrative burden that comes with managing payroll and HR processes on your own.

What is the difference between payroll processing and outsourcing services?

Payroll processing still keeps the job in your lap. You control the information provided to the payroll service and can log in and see the data in real time. Outsourcing services requires handing over control of your payroll to a third party.

What are the most important features I should look for in payroll services?

It’s tempting to choose the most affordable option, but it’s important to carefully weigh your existing tools and needs with the software’s capabilities and features.

Do you want key payroll services to be automated? Are you on a tight budget? Is simplicity a priority?

Every company needs different payroll services, but at a minimum, look for compliance, tax filing, and automated time management to reduce the risk of fines and penalties.

What should a payroll service for small businesses include?

Payroll service providers offer tools that can help with different aspects of payroll processing and administration, or they can take over and manage your entire payroll process.

Small businesses use payroll services to ensure employees are paid the correct amount, and that they receive their paychecks on time. Payroll services also ensure that employee paychecks have appropriate taxes and benefits withheld.

What’s Next?

There you have it, the top payroll provider services for small businesses. I’ve provided you with some great options to consider alongside your business’s needs and your personal preferences.

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By Simon Litt

Simon Litt is the Editor of The CFO Club, where he shares his passion for all things money-related. Performing research, talking to experts, and calling on his own professional background, he'll be working hard to ensure that The CFO Club is an indispensable resource for anyone seeking to stay informed on the latest financial trends and topics in the world of tech.

Prior to editing this publication, Simon spent years working in, and running his own, investor relations agency, servicing public companies that wanted to reach and connect deeper with their shareholder base. Simon's experience includes constructing comprehensive budgets for IR activities, consulting CEOs & executive teams on best practices for the public markets, and facilitating compliant communications training.