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Best Payroll Services Shortlist

Here’s a quick overview of the best payroll services I’ll cover in this article:

  1. Gusto - Best for automations
  2. OnPay - Best for industry-specific payroll
  3. Paycor - Best for growing teams
  4. Paychex Flex - Best reporting features
  5. Deel - Best for global teams
  6. Buddy Punch - Best for employee time-tracking
  7. Roll by ADP - Best for small teams
  8. QuickBooks Online Payroll - Best for Quickbooks Accounting users
  9. Patriot Payroll - Best for small businesses
  10. RUN by ADP - Best for payroll and HR

Trying to figure out what payroll service provider is best for your business?

As the size of your team grows, so does the importance of managing payroll. A payroll service can help you to ensure you're paying your employees accurately, and on time.

What is a Payroll Service?

A payroll service is a third-party company that can manage or assist with various aspects of your company’s payroll processes. A payroll service will often simplify a variety of tasks and processes related to making timely and accurate payments.

Payroll services help streamline payroll runs and help manage and properly account for payroll taxes, workers' compensation, and other details.

Some payroll services also offer packages that include human resource support and benefits administration. However, the primary goal of a payroll service is to ensure employees receive the correct amount of pay and companies remain tax compliant.

Overviews of the 12 Best Payroll Services

Here’s a short summary of my top twelve payroll services, including an overview of each tool’s unique features, best use case, price, and notable pros and cons for each service.

1. Gusto - Best for automation

Screenshot of Gusto payroll service dashboard
Every time you run payroll, Gusto automatically calculates your taxes and files them with the right government agency. (Image Source)

Gusto’s automation features are some of the best available of any payroll software, which has made it one of the leading payroll providers since 2011 with over 60,000 customers worldwide.

Why I picked Gusto: The platform is easy to use for anyone even without previous payroll experience thanks to the fully automated payroll. I picked this one because it drastically reduces your workload when juggling the many complicated payroll tasks.

Compared to other platforms that are clunky or confusing, this tool simplifies anything and you certainly don’t need to have an accounting background to make sense of it all.

Gusto Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include a variety of ways to fully automate different payroll and HR tasks. I really like how you can set up your payroll to run automatically, with a simple reminder sent to you 24 hours beforehand. Gusto will also calculate local, state, and federal taxes, then, they’ll file and pay them automatically as well.

I also like Gusto’s self-service portal for your employees and contractors. It can automatically generate W-2s and 1099 forms for everyone at the end of the year. It'll even send out an email to let everyone know their tax forms are ready, and how to retrieve them.

Integrations include Carta, ClickUp, HubSpot, Cloudflare, Connecteam, Document360, Notion, BlueJeans, DocuSign, Pingboard, Zendesk, Amplitude, Checkr, Betterment at Work, Dynatrace, Fivetran, Flatly, Gorgias, and Hootsuite.

Pricing: From $40/month + $6/month/employee.

Trial: 30-day free trial.

  • Affordable full-service payroll service
  • Unlimited payroll runs in every state
  • Wide variety of integrations
  • All plans include basic reports
  • Next-day direct deposit isn’t offered in Simple plan
  • Limited support for Simple and Plususers

2. OnPay - Best for industry-specific payroll

Screenshot of OnPay payroll service main dashboard
OnPay makes it easy for small business owners to pay their employees and automate the confusing aspects of payroll. (Image Source)

OnPay is one of the best payroll services because they offer specific versions of their software based on your industry. Whether you’re in construction, restaurants, agriculture, or a nonprofit, you’ll have a payroll provider that’s custom-tailored to your specific business.

Why I picked OnPay: Some industries have unique quirks when it comes to running payroll. For instance, restaurants typically deal with various part-time and full-time employees. Some restaurants that have delivery only pay drivers as contractors. OnPay offers different versions of their payroll service for a variety of industries to ensure even the most unique payroll needs are met which makes them stand out from the crowd.

OnPay Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include in-house insurance brokers to help you set up dental, vision, and health plans with partner providers. It also comes with integrated benefits administration, drastically reducing the requirement to manually enter data before running payroll. In my opinion, one of the coolest features is the 401k integrations that automatically include employer matching and even profit sharing.

Integrations include When I Work, Xero, Deputy, Mineral, PosterElite, Magnify, Quickbooks, and for 401k platforms: Guideline, Vestwell, and America’s Best 401k.

Pricing: From $40/month (plus $6/employee/month)

Trial: 30-day free trial.

  • Easily integrated benefits
  • Easy to use
  • In-house insurance brokers
  • Great customer service during the week
  • No mobile app
  • No support on weekends

3. Paycor - Best for growing teams

Screenshot of Paycor payroll service payroll dashboard
Paycor simplifies the payroll process so you can pay your employees smoothly and on time. The software makes it easy to process payroll, saving you time in the process. (Image Source)

Paycor is payroll services software that also doubles as a human capital management solution. The platform is incredibly easy to use when it comes to handling payroll, time, attendance, and expense management.

Why I picked Paycor: Paycor is one of the biggest payroll and HR service providers in the world with over 2 million users. I picked them because they offer an incredibly wide variety of features, from payroll to HR to compliance, that small or medium companies can easily scale with.

Paycor Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include pay cards, direct deposit, and on-demand pay. You can also offer employees different payment options, which makes it convenient to provide more value to employees.

The platform offers in-depth compliance feedback so you can stay in line with your state’s employment laws. I think it’s really handy that Paycor offers a self-serve portal through its mobile app for employees to view pay stubs, choose benefits and request time off, reducing the workload on the HR department.

Integrations include Buddy Punch, Awardco, TravelBank, 7shifts, Deputy, Nowsta, SpotOn, GoodHire, WageWorks, Payfactors, ESR, Simple VMS, Ease, Employee Navigator, BerniePortal, Glassdoor, Juno, and Certify.

Pricing: From $99/month + $5/month/employee.

Trial: 90-day free trial.

  • Wide variety of integrations
  • Easy compliance management
  • Easy to scale your company with the platform
  • Unlimited payroll runs
  • Self-serve portal for employees
  • Time tracking is a paid add-on
  • Can be costly for small businesses
  • Initial setup fee

4. Paychex Flex - Best reporting features

Screenshot of Paychex Flex main dashboard
Paychex Flex is Paychex's most popular tool, offering businesses an all-in-one solution for HR, including payroll, benefits, time and attendance, and more. (Image Source)

Paychex Flex is a top payroll service created for small, medium, and enterprise businesses. You can choose from three plans: Paychex Essentials (for 1-19 employees), Select (for 10-49 employees), and Pro (for large businesses).

Why I picked Paychex Flex: Paychex Flex offers some of the best analytics and reporting of any payroll service provider. Not only do they offer a user dashboard with common reports, but they also offer tax reporting and remittance as well as new-hire reporting.

Paychex Flex Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include automated employment, income verification, multistate payroll capability, and, most importantly, an easily navigated interface.

I really like how the user dashboard is set up to show you the latest data, and it’s completely customizable.

Integrations include ApplicantPro, Altametrics, Oracle Netsuite, Xero, Wells Fargo, Vanguard, Microsoft Azure AD, Capital One, Bullhorn, Chase, Charles Schwab, and Indeed.

Pricing: From $39/month + $5/month/employee.

Trial: Free demo available.

  • Extensive reporting features
  • Multistate payroll
  • Customizable dashboard
  • Employee portal for access to tax forms, pay stubs, and vacation balances
  • System occasionally freezes
  • Somewhat difficult navigate

5. Deel - Best for global teams

Screenshot of Deel payroll dashboard
Deel’s payroll dashboard shows the status of ongoing payroll cycles. (Image Source)

Deel is a global payroll platform available in over 150 countries. The payroll service enables you to hire anyone from anywhere, whether they’re an independent contractor or a traditional employee.

Why I picked Deel: Deel’s platform makes it easy for remote and global teams to manage their payroll. The software enables users to hire and pay contractors without having to worry about complicated tax systems, local laws, or confusing international payroll.

Deel Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include Deel’s local country experts who work in-house to run clients’ global payroll. I think this is incredibly valuable for business owners who are weary of local taxes and laws for international hires.

The local experts streamline payroll processes for team members in their country and ensure regional taxes are accurately accounted for.

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

Pricing: From $49/month per user

Trial: Free demo available

  • 24/7 online support
  • 10+ payment options for clients
  • Off-cycle payroll available
  • Confusing fees for some add-ons
  • Occasional bugs

6. Buddy Punch - Best for employee time-tracking

Screenshot of Buddy Punch timecards dashboard
Buddy Punch is a cloud-based time-tracking solution that features an internal clock app for businesses to easily manage employee hours, attendance, and overtime pay. (Image Source)

Buddy Punch is a payroll service that helps businesses monitor, manage, and track employee time and attendance more effectively.

Why I picked Buddy Punch: Buddy Punch is an all-in-one payroll and time-tracking solution. It’s best suited for small and medium businesses that have a lot of hourly employees. Buddy Punch’s time tracking capabilities are super helpful in managing and reviewing time worked by employees.

Buddy Punch Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include automated payroll and time-tracking. I think this is helpful if you’re looking to save more time on HR and admin tasks. The software also includes different modules for payroll and time-tracking so you can keep an eye on payroll costs and hours worked.

Plus, Buddy Punch allows for automated payroll tax filings and an unlimited number of payroll runs.

Integrations include ADP, Paychex, Paylocity, PayPlus, Quickbooks, Gusto, SurePayroll, Workday, and Zapier.

Pricing: From $19/month + $3.49/month/person.

Trial: 14-day free trial.

  • Mobile app for Android and iOS
  • Automated tax filings
  • Impressive online support
  • User-friendly interface
  • Attendance “punching out” sometimes glitches
  • Can be a bit confusing to review past pay periods

7. Roll by ADP - Best for small teams

Screenshot of Employee Gross to Net Calculator

Roll by ADP is a mobile-focused, chat-based payroll app that offers basic payroll management tools for the business owner on the go.

ADP is the most used payroll company in the world (and for good reason). Over time, they’ve created a suite of different payroll products that are easy to use for businesses at any stage, including Roll, which is the mobile payroll solution.

Why I picked Roll by ADP: Roll by ADP is the only fully-functional payroll service that's first and foremost a mobile app. It’s the only one technically designed to be used in full force using your Android or iPhone which makes it easy to manage and access payroll from anywhere in the world.

Roll by ADP Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include an all-in-one mobile payroll service provider that is also accessible via desktop. Roll has all the main functions and reliability of ADP. I like how it also includes several mobile-only features like the chat-style interface and employee self-service portal.

Integrations include Quickbooks, Wave, Xero, Workday, Sage, FinancialForce, Infor, Oracle, SAP SuccessFactors, 7Shifts, Deputy, Dolce, Very, VidCruiter, Flock, LifeMart, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and ZipRecruiter.

Pricing: From $29/month + $5/month/person.

Trial: 90-day free trial.

  • Full-featured mobile app and desktop options
  • AI-led accuracy and error checks.
  • Unlimited payroll runs
  • User-friendly
  • App freezes every now and then
  • Time-consuming setup

8. QuickBooks Online Payroll - Best for Quickbooks users

Screenshot of Quickbooks Online Payroll tax dashboard
QuickBooks Online Payroll Tax Center puts your federal, state, and local tax payments and filings in one place.
(Image Source)

QuickBooks Online Payroll is a reliable and automated payroll solution, and if your company is already using Quickbooks software for accounting, adding their payroll package is quick and painless.

Why I picked QuickBooks Online Payroll: Quickbooks Online Payroll is the easiest payroll service to add to your software stack if you already use Quickbooks Accounting software. The two platforms go hand in hand, so you can merge your financial data and accurately track payroll along with the rest of your financial data from day one.

QuickBooks Online Payroll Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include the ease and simplicity of integrating with your existing Quickbooks setup to get up and running right away.

What makes it appealing, in my opinion, is that you don’t need to be a Quickbooks Accounting user to use Quickbooks Online Payroll. QuickBooks Online Payroll can be used as a standalone service, too, for companies that don’t use Quickbooks.

The service includes an employee portal so your team can access their tax forms or pay stubs anytime they need to. Like all QuickBooks tools, keep in mind that this one is best suited for small businesses (‌up to 50 employees).

Integrations include Quickbooks Accounting and Quickbooks Time.

Pricing: From $22.50/month + $4/month/person.

Trial: 30-day free trial.

  • Time-tracking capabilities
  • Easy onboarding
  • Unlimited payroll runs
  • Tax reporting
  • Maximum 50 employees (doesn’t work for large businesses)
  • HR features only available in mid and top-tier plans

9. Patriot Payroll - Best budget-friendly software for small businesses

Screenshot of Patriot Payroll's payroll dashboard
Patriot Payroll’s payroll runs are no-frills, straightforward tools that help companies process payroll more efficiently. (Image Source)

Patriot Payroll is an online payroll platform that’s designed for small businesses that want to manage their payroll effectively, without paying excessive fees.

Why I picked Patriot Payroll: Patriot Payroll’s software is intended for small business owners who need help managing finances and have a limited budget.

The platform isn’t the best-looking one out there, but it does the basics for anyone looking for a budget-friendly solution to pay their employees.

Patriot Payroll Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include free setup—so you can get everything up and running without spending a ton of time and money in the process.

In my opinion, while the entry-level plan is quite basic, it has what you need to manage reports on tax filings, payroll reports, and paycheck history.

Patriot does offer a few add-on features for a fee, like time and attendance tracking and HR software.

Integrations include GoCo,, Intuit QuickBooks Online, Plaid, and WorkforceHub Time & Attendance.

Pricing: From $17/month + $4/month/person.

Trial: 30-day free trial.

  • Free setup
  • Customer service proactively reaches out for any tax issues
  • Nice reporting features
  • Additional cost for time and attendance tracking
  • Limited integrations

10. RUN by ADP - Best for payroll and HR

Screenshot of RUN by ADP's main dashboard
ADP RUN’s main dashboard shows business owners details from their last payroll run, and trends in your payroll tax, paper paycheck, and direct deposit amounts. (Image Source)

ADP is one of the most recognized names in the payroll game, and RUN is their most widely used payroll service.

Why I picked RUN by ADP: RUN is one of the best payroll service providers for small businesses. While it’s not the cheapest option available, it also includes HR capabilities and a wide selection of payroll features.

RUN by ADP Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include an easy-to-use dashboard on both desktop and mobile (the mobile app is only available on top plans).

ADP’s RUN offers a full set of payroll and HR tools for small and medium businesses. It covers everything from multi-state payroll, tax filings and payments, to employee onboarding.

I like how RUN gives you free direct deposit, contractor payroll, and new employee onboarding, too.

Integrations include Intuit Quickbooks, Wave, Xero, Workday, Sage, FinancialForce, Infor, Oracle, SAP SuccessFactors, 7Shifts, Deputy, Dolce, Very, VidCruiter, Flock, LifeMart, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and ZipRecruiter.

Pricing: From $79/month + $4/month/person.

Trial: 90-day free trial.

  • Great customer service
  • Desktop and mobile app
  • User-friendly platform
  • Most advanced features only available on top two plans
  • Reports can be confusing

11. Payroll4Free - Best free payroll service

Screenshot of Payroll4Free's new employee setup
Payroll4Free has the basic features and simple look you might expect from a free service. (Image Source)

Payroll4Free is exactly what you think it is. A completely free service with basic payroll services. It’s built specifically for small businesses with under 25 employees.

Why I picked Payroll4Free: It’s completely free. For some business owners who are bootstrapping but need a minimum viable solution, Payroll4Free will get the job done.

While it doesn’t have a ton of features, there isn’t much that beats free when you have a limited budget.

PayrollFree Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include a simple (while slightly dated) interface, payroll services for employees and contractors, and year-end tax forms such as 1099s and W-2s.

In my opinion, one surprising feature of the free platform is the employee portal.

If you do want a little bit more, Payroll4Free does offer more advanced features if you want to upgrade to a paid plan (up to $30/month).

Integrations include Quickbooks and most other common accounting software.

Pricing: Free

Trial: Free plan available.

  • Completely free
  • Employee portal
  • Vacation time tracking
  • Tax filing and remittance is a paid add-on
  • Limited integrations

12. Remote - Best for international benefits management

Screenshot of's team dashboard
Remote’s team dashboard screen lets you manage payroll, HR, and benefits for your whole crew. (Image Source)

Remote is primarily an HR solution, but it also offers a payroll service that’s specifically geared toward remote teams.

Why I picked Remote: Remote is designed to simplify the global talent employment process and make it easy for companies to hire people all over the world.

However, what sets them apart from other global-focused payroll services is that they make international benefits easy to implement and manage.

Remote Standout Features and Integrations:

Standout features include Remote’s cloud-based platform that handles both payroll and HR functions, to facilitate international payroll, payroll taxes, and compliance in over 50 countries.

I was really impressed with how Remote gives you access to a network of HR and legal experts, too.

Remote also includes employee stock options and benefits, making it easy to offer international employees and contractors a better deal (so they’ll stick around longer) and manage your entire team easily.

Integrations include BambooHR, Greenhouse, HiBob, Personio, Easop, Kallidus, Pinpoint, Kruze, Fonoa, Divvy, Checkr, Refap, Verimark, Brex, Mercury, Stripe Atlas, Ramp, Desana, IWG, Kamsa, Lattice, AllVoices, Carta, Figure, and Pulley.

Pricing: From $29/contractor/month

Trial: Free plan available.

  • Payroll and HR services combined
  • Simplified local payroll, taxes, and compliance
  • Access to a network of HR and legal experts
  • Global API and native partner integrations
  • Payments are only available in USD, EUR, and GBP
  • Tight invoice payment deadlines

Other Options

Here are a few more options that didn’t make the payroll services shortlist but are still worth considering:

  1. Apex - Best payroll and HR combination
  2. SurePayroll - Best for advanced payroll reporting
  3. Deluxe - Best for automating payroll tax filings
  4. PrimePay - Best for early paycheck access
  5. TriNet Zenefits - Best for payroll compliance
  6. Square Payroll - Best for tips and commissions
  7. Rippling - Best for integrations
  8. Workful - Best for customer service
  9. ADP TotalSource - Best for employee self-service features
  10. Justworks - Best for complex hiring processes
  11. Insperity - Best payroll software and services combination
  12. Bambee - Best for wage and hours regulation compliance

Selection Criteria For Payroll Services

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

Core Functionality

In evaluating the different payroll software, I wanted to ensure they provided full-service payroll functionality (in most cases). This means the platform can:

  • Process and manage employee payroll
  • Store and access pay stubs and other documents
  • Calculate withholding and tax information
  • Simplify payroll tax filing

Key Features

When assessing the best payroll tools in the industry, there are a few features that I was looking for. Most of the tools listed above are equipped with the majority of these features:

  1. Payroll processing: This is the primary purpose of payroll services. Payroll processing includes on-time and accurate payments for every single employee or contractor.
  2. Tax compliance: Payroll services typically include a variety of features to help you file your corporate taxes and prepare annual tax documents like T4s, 1099s, and W-2s.
  3. Time-tracking: If you aren’t able to track your employee’s hours, then it’s going to be difficult to know how much to pay them come payday. Your payroll software should include time-tracking and in many cases attendance as well so you can accurately track overtime, paid time off, and unpaid time off.
  4. Additional HR features: While paying for software that strictly offers payroll is worth the money, most payroll services nowadays come equipped with HR features such as employee onboarding assistance, employee benefits enrollment, and reporting like employee lifecycle states.


Payroll is complicated enough as it is, so I wanted to ensure I highlighted the tools that are easiest to use. I gave preference to payroll software that's easily adopted by anyone, whether you're tech-savvy or not.

Platforms that include easily-distinguishable user portals (i.e. company vs. employee) are practically a necessity. Contractors and employees should be able to update their banking information easily.

Employers and HR departments should be able to find the payroll schedule, payment details, employee information, and other reports quickly and easily. Users should be able to customize their dashboards to show them exactly what they need to see.

Software Integrations

Any software you add to your tool stack must work well with the others. Integrations are about keeping things running as smoothly as possible.

The two most important software integrations to think about when selecting a payroll service are your current accounting and HR systems—it’s crucial that these systems can communicate with one another.


The price you pay for your payroll services will depend on the level of features you’re needing. However, it’s quite common to pay about $40-$50 per month for an entry-level payroll service.

You’ll also have to pay about $5 per month per employee or contractor, so you should keep that in mind when calculating the estimated costs. If you have 10 employees, you can expect to pay about $100 per month for a basic payroll plan.

Keep in mind that some budget-friendly tools offer plenty of features on a low plan.

People Also Ask

Here are the answers to a couple popular questions many people have about payroll services.

Other Accounting and Business Software Reviews

Looking for more software? Check out some of our other reviews:


As a small business owner or finance manager, payroll software makes it much easier to create and manage effective payroll processes.

Hopefully, the tools on this list helped you get a little bit closer to finding the right payroll service for your team.

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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.