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Finding the right payroll software is important for ensuring accurate and timely employee compensation, compliance with tax regulations, and efficient payroll processing. But with so many options available, it can be difficult to know where to start.

Using my background in financial management and digital software, I evaluated the top payroll software options on the market, focusing on features, ease of use, pricing, and customer support. Whether you’re a small business owner or manage a large enterprise, I’m confident that my detailed reviews will help you find the right payroll software for your unique company needs.

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We’ve been testing and reviewing accounting software since 2023. As financial operators ourselves, we know how critical and difficult it is to make the right decision when selecting software.

We invest in deep research to help our audience make better software purchasing decisions. We’ve tested more than 2,000 tools for different finance use cases and written over 1,000 comprehensive software reviews. Learn how we stay transparent & our accounting software review methodology.

Best Payroll Software Summary

Tools Price
Deel Flat rate user pricing, with a free version for businesses with up to 200 people
Square Payroll From $6/user/month + $35/month base fee
Gusto From $6/user/month + $40 base fee (billed annually)
TriNet Pricing upon request
Paychex From $39/month + $5/employee/month
Dayforce From $6/user/month (billed annually)
SurePayroll From $4/month/employee + $19.99/month base fee
Freshbooks Payroll From $7.60/month
Justworks Payroll From $8/employee/month + $50/month base fee
NetSuite Pricing upon request
Preview Image - <h2 class="c-block__title b-summary-table__title c-listicle__title h3" > Compare Software Specs Side by Side</h2>

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

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How to Choose Payroll Software

As you work through your unique software selection process, keep the following points in mind:

  • Scalability: Ensure your chosen software can grow with your business. A small startup only needs basic payroll functions initially, but as it expands, it will require advanced features like multi-state tax filing or integration with other human resources (HR) systems. 
  • Compliance: The software should help you comply with local, state, and federal regulations. This is vital for businesses operating in multiple jurisdictions, where tax laws and labor regulations vary significantly. Non-compliance can lead to hefty fines and legal issues.
  • User-Friendliness: The software should be easy for payroll administrators and employees to use as a complex system can lead to errors and inefficiencies. A user-friendly interface can reduce the time spent on payroll processing and minimize the risk of mistakes.
  • Integration Capabilities: Integrations with other business systems like accounting, HR, and time-tracking software are essential. This ensures a seamless data flow across different departments, reducing manual data entry and the risk of errors.
  • Customer Support: Reliable customer support is important for resolving any issues. Whether it's a technical glitch or a question about a specific feature, having access to knowledgeable support can save time and prevent disruptions in payroll processing. 24/7 support is beneficial for businesses with employees in different time zones.

Best Payroll Software Reviews

Below, I’ll dive deep into an in-depth analysis and overview of various payroll software options, walking you through the pros and cons, key features, and best use cases for each one.

Best for global payroll

  • Free demo available
  • Flat rate user pricing, with a free version for businesses with up to 200 people
Visit Website
Rating: 4.8/5

Deel is a comprehensive platform that offers payroll, HR, and compliance solutions for global teams.

Why I picked Deel: I like that Deel allows companies to manage payroll processes, ensure compliance with local regulations, and efficiently handle payments to a global workforce. The platform includes features such as automated tax calculations, payment schedules, and integration with various accounting systems. It also supports automated contractor invoicing to help reduce administrative tasks.

Standout features & integrations:

Features include bulk payments, multiple payment options, local expertise, documentation for compliance, an HRIS, in-house visa support, hiring and relocation assistance, and country-specific benefits.

Integrations include Ashby, BambooHR, Greenhouse, HiBob, Lever, NetSuite, QuickBooks, Slack, Workday, Xero, and others.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Local expertise available
  • Compliance management for global teams
  • Automates your payroll and taxes

Cons:

  • No mobile app available
  • Limited invoice customization

Best for integrated payroll with POS systems

  • From $6/user/month + $35/month base fee
Visit Website
Rating: 4.2/5

Square Payroll is a payroll software that integrates payroll with point-of-sale (POS) systems for daily operations. 

Why I picked Square Payroll: Square Payroll offers seamless integration with Square's POS systems, simplifying payroll management for businesses that use Square for transactions. It provides automatic tax filings, direct deposit, and employee benefits management, all within an intuitive, easy-to-use interface. Additionally, Square Payroll has flexible payment options, including the ability to pay employees instantly through the Cash App, enhancing convenience and efficiency for businesses with dynamic staffing needs.

Standout features & integrations:

Features include automated tax filings, compliance management, and support for W-2 employees and 1099 contractors. It also provides health insurance options, retirement plans, bookkeeping integrations, multiple pay rates, bonuses, and tips. 

Integrations include QuickBooks Online, Square POS, Square Appointments, Square Invoices, Square Team App, Square Checking, Cash App, Xero, Gusto, and ADP.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Employer-facing mobile app available
  • Supports automatic payroll tax deductions
  • Integrated with Square POS

Cons:

  • Customization options are limited
  • Customer service availability limited

Best for automated payroll and HR services

  • Free demo available
  • From $6/user/month + $40 base fee (billed annually)
Visit Website
Rating: 4.3/5

Gusto is an online payroll and HR solution with advanced automation features that streamline payroll, tax filing, and benefits management. 

Why I picked Gusto: Gusto provides powerful automation capabilities that simplify payroll and HR tasks, including automated tax filings, benefits management, and time tracking. The software has integrated financial wellness tools, employee onboarding capabilities, and exceptional customer support, making it an ideal choice for small to medium-sized businesses looking to streamline their operations. 

Standout features & integrations:

Features include automated payroll processing, tax filing, benefits administration, compliance management, time off and tracking, employee self-service, and performance reviews.

Integrations include QuickBooks, Xero, FreshBooks, TSheets, Homebase, When I Work, Expensify, Hubstaff, Clover, and ZipBooks.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Employee self-service portal
  • Comprehensive benefits administration
  • Supports FICA tip credit claims

Cons:

  • Lacks payroll card options
  • Customer service availability limited

Best for comprehensive HR outsourcing

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

TriNet offers advanced HR solutions focused on outsourcing. It covers all aspects of HR management, allowing businesses to focus on their core operations. 

Why I picked TriNet: TriNet is a full-service PEO solution. It has strong payroll features, processing capabilities, and a PEO solution, providing access to Fortune 500-level benefits, HR expertise, risk mitigation, and compliance support. The software offers health benefits, retirement plans, workers' compensation, personalized HR services, and advanced reporting tools that empower businesses to focus on growth while ensuring their payroll and HR needs are efficiently handled.

Standout features & integrations:

Features include payroll processing, benefits administration, compliance assistance, HR consulting expertise, and support for contractors and global workforce management. 

Integrations include QuickBooks, Xero, NetSuite, ADP, Paychex, Gusto, BambooHR, Workday, SAP SuccessFactors, and Oracle HCM.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Comprehensive compliance and risk management
  • User-friendly payroll and benefits software
  • Access to high-tier employee benefits

Cons:

  • Customer support response times vary
  • Does not support 1099 contractors

Best for customizable payroll and HR solutions for all business sizes

  • Free demo available
  • From $39/month + $5/employee/month

Paychex is a leading payroll and HR solution, serving approximately 740,000 businesses. It offers various services, including payroll packages and HR services, with customized options for businesses of all sizes.

Why I picked Paychex: Paychex’s advanced and customizable payroll and HR solutions can effectively cater to businesses of all sizes. The software has dedicated customer service, offering personalized support and expert guidance to ensure compliance and efficiency, a mobile app that allows on-the-go payroll management and employee self-service, scalable solutions with real-time analytics, and automated tax filing. 

Standout features & integrations:

Features include automated payroll processing, tax administration, employee self-service, compliance support, 24/7 customer service, and a mobile app for payroll on the go.

Integrations include QuickBooks, Xero, Sage Intacct, NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics, ADP, BambooHR, Workday, Kronos, and TSheets.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Automated tax administration
  • 24/7 customer support is available
  • Integration with 270+ software solutions

Cons:

  • Occasional payroll inaccuracies reported
  • Extra fees for accounting integrations

Best for AI-powered HCM solutions

  • From $6/user/month (billed annually)

Dayforce is a global HCM software that streamlines HR processes and empowers employees. It can handle complex workforce needs with AI-driven insights and automation.

Why I picked Dayforce: Dayforce’s advanced AI capabilities provide users with real-time insights and automation, simplifying HR processes and providing actionable insights. Its single-application architecture streamlines compliance, benefits administration, and workforce management while the software’s advanced analytics and reporting tools offer deep insights into payroll trends and labor costs. These features make it an all-in-one solution that scales with your organization. 

Standout features & integrations:

Features include accurate payroll, Agile workforce management, talent attraction and retention, and data-driven HR decisions. 

Integrations include Microsoft Teams, Salesforce, Workday, SAP, Oracle, ADP, QuickBooks, NetSuite, Kronos, and BambooHR.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Comprehensive HR suite
  • Dayforce Wallet for on-demand pay
  • Continuous payroll calculation feature

Cons:

  • Long response times from customer support
  • Complicated and inflexible reporting

Best for small business payroll with free unlimited runs

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

SurePayroll offers online payroll, tax management, HR, and benefits solutions for small businesses with free unlimited runs. 

Why I picked SurePayroll: SurePayroll’s focus on providing efficient payroll management for small businesses makes it a stand out solution. The software is a user-friendly, cloud-based platform that simplifies payroll processing and tax filing. It has an intuitive user interface, making it easy for business owners to manage payroll without extensive training, automated tax calculations, flexible pricing, customizable payroll options, and direct deposit services. 

Standout features & integrations:

Features include automated payroll, tax management, direct deposit, and in-depth reporting. It also offers solutions for workers' compensation, 401(k) plans, health insurance, and HR support for current employees and new hires. 

Integrations include QuickBooks, Xero, FreshBooks, Sage, Kashoo, AccountEdge, Wave, Zoho Books, LessAccounting, and Outright.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Direct deposit services
  • Automated tax management
  • Free unlimited payroll runs

Cons:

  • No built-in time tracking
  • Limited employee self-service features

Best for seamless integration with accounting software

  • Free trial available
  • From $7.60/month

Freshbooks Payroll is an online payroll service for small businesses, freelancers, and self-employed professionals that accurately organizes financial records. 

Why I picked Freshbooks Payroll: Freshbooks Payroll’s seamless integrations with FreshBooks accounting software provide a unified platform for managing finances and payroll. It offers advanced solutions, giving small businesses access to top-tier benefits, HR support, compliance assistance, and risk management. These features accurately and efficiently manage and run payroll, enhance employee satisfaction, and reduce administrative burden. 

Standout features & integrations:

Features include unlimited payroll runs, automated tax calculations and filings, and direct deposit. It also provides detailed payroll reports and automatic creation of transactions for every pay period. 

Integrations include Gusto, QuickBooks, Xero, Stripe, PayPal, Shopify, WooCommerce, Mailchimp, HubSpot, and Trello.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Direct deposit
  • Built-in time tracking feature
  • Automatic payroll tax filings

Cons:

  • Limited scalability for larger businesses
  • Limited to W2 employees

Best for all-in-one PEO and payroll solutions

  • From $8/employee/month + $50/month base fee

Justworks is a payroll and HR solution for small businesses that simplifies business operations by combining multiple HR functions and compliance in one platform. 

Why I picked Justworks: Justworks provides users with strong payroll processing features and HR support. The software offers access to benefits administration, compliance assistance, and 24/7 customer service, simplifying complex tasks for growing businesses. It also integrates popular accounting software with reporting tools and comes with a user-friendly interface. 

Standout features & integrations:

Features include automated payroll processing, benefits administration, compliance support, integrating time tracking, and 24/7 customer service. 

Integrations include QuickBooks, Xero, TSheets, Expensify, Slack, Google Workspace, Microsoft Office 365, BambooHR, Greenhouse, and Lever.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Support for international contractor payments
  • Integrated time tracking and scheduling
  • Comprehensive compliance support features

Cons:

  • Limited standalone payroll options
  • Complex payroll processes

Best for comprehensive cloud ERP solutions

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

NetSuite is a cloud-based ERP software that integrates various business functions into a single platform like financial management, CRM, e-commerce, and more.

Why I picked NetSuite: NetSuite is a comprehensive ERP solution that integrates multiple business processes into one unified system. Its real-time analytics and customizable dashboards deliver deep insights into payroll trends and labor costs, enabling strategic decision-making. Additionally, NetSuite's scalability and global compliance support make it an ideal choice for growing businesses with complex payroll needs, ensuring efficiency and accuracy as your business expands.

Standout features & integrations:

Features include financial management, CRM, e-commerce, and advanced analytics. It also offers industry-specific solutions and extensive customization options. 

Integrations include Salesforce, Shopify, Magento, QuickBooks, Microsoft Dynamics, SAP, Oracle, Google Workspace, Slack, and Zendesk.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Effective global financial management
  • Strong reporting and analytics capabilities
  • Highly customizable features available

Cons:

  • Complex approval routing process
  • Intense customization required

Other Payroll Software

Below is a list of additional payroll software that I shortlisted. While they didn’t make the top 10, they’re still valuable and worth further research.

  1. Xero

    Best for accounting software with mobile access

  2. OnPay

    Best for advanced payroll and HR solutions

  3. Agile Hero

    Best for global HR management for remote

  4. Papaya Global

    Best for global workforce management

  5. Rippling

    Best for automating HR and IT tasks

  6. Workday

    Best for large enterprises with complex needs

  7. Hubstaff Tasks

    Best for time tracking and productivity monitoring

  8. BambooHR

    Best for comprehensive HR management

  9. Wave

    Best for freelancers and small businesses

  10. UKG Ready

    Best for workforce management and HCM

  11. QuickBooks Payroll

    Best for small businesses needing integrated accounting

  12. Payce Digital

    Best for digital payroll solutions

  13. Velocity Global

    Best for expanding into new markets

If you still haven't found what you're looking for here, check out these tools closely related to accounting software that we've tested and evaluated.

Payroll Software Selection Criteria

The criteria for choosing a payroll software should directly address buyer needs and common pain points, ensuring that the software serves its intended purpose effectively. As an expert who has personally tried and researched these tools, here are the requirements I use when evaluating software:

Core Payroll Software Functionality: 25% of Total Weighting Score

  • Processing payroll
  • Calculating and filing taxes
  • Generating pay stubs
  • Direct deposit capabilities
  • Compliance with labor laws

Additional Standout Features: 25% of Total Weighting Score

  • Integration with other HR tools
  • Customizable reporting
  • Mobile access for employees
  • Automated tax filing
  • Self-service portals for employees

Usability: 10% of Total Weighting Score

  • Intuitive interface design
  • Easy navigation
  • Minimal learning curve
  • Clear and concise instructions
  • Responsive design for various devices

Onboarding: 10% of Total Weighting Score

  • Availability of training videos
  • Interactive product tours
  • Templates for quick setup
  • Chatbots for instant help
  • Webinars for in-depth training

Customer Support: 10% of Total Weighting Score

  • 24/7 support availability
  • Multiple support channels (phone, email, chat)
  • Knowledgeable support staff
  • Quick response times
  • Comprehensive help center

Value For Money: 10% of Total Weighting Score

  • Competitive pricing
  • Transparent pricing structure
  • No hidden fees
  • Scalable pricing options
  • Free trial or demo availability

Customer Reviews: 10% of Total Weighting Score

  • Overall satisfaction ratings
  • Feedback on ease of use
  • Comments on customer support quality
  • Reviews on feature effectiveness
  • Testimonials on reliability and performance

Payroll software is evolving rapidly to meet the changing needs of businesses and employees alike. Understanding these trends will help businesses choose the most innovative and efficient payroll solutions. Here are some of the key shifts in payroll software I noticed while conducting my research: 

  • AI and Machine Learning Integration: A payroll software with AI and machine learning integrations helps automate complex calculations and detect anomalies. This reduces errors and saves time. 
  • Blockchain for Security: Blockchain technology is being used to enhance payroll security as it provides a transparent and tamper-proof ledger. This ensures data integrity and builds trust.
  • Mobile Accessibility: Payroll software is increasingly mobile-friendly. Employees can access their payroll information on the go, improving convenience and accessibility.
  • Real-Time Payments: Real-time payment options are becoming more common where employees can receive their wages instantly. This is particularly beneficial for gig and contract workers.
  • Customizable Reporting: Payroll software now offers more customizable reporting features where businesses can generate reports tailored to their needs. This aids in better decision-making and compliance.

By adopting these cutting-edge features, businesses can ensure compliance, reduce errors, and provide a better experience for their employees. Keeping an eye on these trends will help organizations remain competitive and forward-thinking in their payroll management strategies.

What is Payroll Software?

Payroll software is a tool that automates the process and management of employee payments, including calculating wages, withholding taxes, and distributing paychecks. It typically includes time tracking, tax calculation, direct deposit, and reporting. These features help businesses efficiently manage payroll, reduce errors, and document detailed records for auditing and compliance purposes.

Features of Payroll Software

When choosing payroll software, it's important to understand the key features that will help streamline your payroll processes and ensure compliance with regulations. The right payroll software can save time, reduce errors, and provide valuable insights into your business operations. Here are the most important features to look for in payroll software:

  • Automated Payroll Processing: This feature ensures that payroll calculations are done automatically, significantly reducing the risk of human error. It also saves time by streamlining the payroll process, allowing businesses to focus on more strategic tasks.
  • Tax Filing and Compliance: The software handles tax calculations and filings, ensuring that your business complies with federal, state, and local tax laws. This reduces the risk of costly penalties and keeps your company in good standing with regulatory bodies.
  • Direct Deposit: This allows employees to receive their paychecks directly into their bank accounts, providing a high level of convenience. It also reduces the need for paper checks, streamlining the payroll process and saving administrative costs.
  • Employee Self-Service Portal: An online portal where employees can access their pay stubs, tax forms, and personal information, reducing the administrative burden on HR. This empowers employees with easy access to their data and increases overall satisfaction.
  • Time and Attendance Tracking: Integrating time tracking with payroll ensures accurate payment for employee hours worked and helps manage overtime and leave. This feature improves payroll accuracy and helps businesses maintain compliance with labor laws.
  • Benefits Management: This feature helps manage employee benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and other perks, ensuring accurate deductions and contributions. Proper benefits management enhances employee satisfaction and retention.
  • Reporting and Analytics: The ability to generate detailed reports and analytics provides insights into payroll expenses, aiding in budgeting and financial planning. This feature helps businesses make informed decisions and optimize payroll processes.
  • Scalability: Scalability ensures that the payroll system remains effective and efficient as your company expands. As a result, the software should be able to grow with your business, accommodating more employees and add-ons as needed. 
  • Integration with Other Systems: Seamless integration with accounting, HR, and other business systems ensures data consistency and reduces manual data entry. This enhances overall operational efficiency and accuracy across various departments.
  • Security and Data Protection: Ensuring that sensitive payroll data is protected with strong security measures is vital for maintaining employee trust and compliance with data protection regulations. A software with strong security safeguards can help prevent data breaches and protect confidential information.

Choosing payroll software with these features will help ensure that payroll processes are efficient, accurate, and compliant with regulations. This will save time, reduce errors, and provide valuable insights into business operations. 

Benefits of Payroll Software

Here are some of the primary benefits of payroll software for users and organizations:

  • Time Savings: Payroll software automates repetitive tasks, significantly reducing the time spent on payroll processing and allowing HR teams to focus on more strategic activities.
  • Accuracy and Error Reduction: By automating calculations and data entry, payroll software minimizes the risk of human errors, ensuring that employees are paid correctly and on time.
  • Compliance and Reporting: Payroll software helps businesses stay compliant with tax laws and labor regulations by automatically updating to reflect changes in legislation and generating necessary reports.
  • Data Security: Payroll software provides strong security features to protect sensitive employee information, reducing the risk of data breaches and ensuring confidentiality.
  • Employee Self-Service: Many payroll software solutions offer self-service portals where employees can access their pay stubs, tax forms, and personal information, reducing the administrative burden on HR departments.

Investing in payroll software improves business efficiency, accuracy, and compliance. By leveraging these tools, organizations can better manage their payroll processes and focus on their core business activities. 

Costs & Pricing for Payroll Software

When considering a new payroll software for your business, it's essential to understand the various pricing plans and features available. Payroll software can significantly streamline payroll processes, however, the costs can vary widely depending on the features and the number of employees. 

Below is a detailed overview of different payroll software plans, their average prices, and common features to help you make an informed decision:

Plan Comparison Table for Payroll Software 

Plan TypeAverage PriceCommon Features
Free Plan$0Basic payroll processing, direct deposit, and employee self-service portal
Basic Plan$17 per month + $4 per employeePayroll processing, direct deposit, tax calculations, and W-2 and 1099 preparation
Standard Plan$39 per month + $6 per employeeAll Basic features, plus time and attendance tracking, and benefits management
Premium Plan$80 per month + $12 per employeeAll Standard features, plus advanced reporting, HR support, and next-day direct deposit
Enterprise PlanCustom PricingAll Premium features, plus a dedicated account manager, and custom integrations
A breakdown of plan types, costs, and features for payroll software.

When selecting a payroll software plan, consider the size of your business, the specific features you need, and your budget. Each plan offers different levels of functionality and support, so choose the one that best fits your company's requirements.

Payroll Software FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions I receive about payroll software:

Is payroll software secure?

Yes, reputable full-service payroll software providers implement strict security measures to protect sensitive employee and company data, including encryption, secure access controls, and regular security audits. Always ensure that the software you choose complies with industry standards and regulations.

How does payroll software help with tax compliance?

Payroll software helps with tax compliance by automatically calculating and withholding the correct amount of taxes from employee paychecks. It can also generate and file necessary tax forms and reports, ensuring that your business meets federal, state, and local tax requirements.

What kind of support is available for payroll software?

Support options for payroll software vary by payroll providers but typically include resources such as online help centers, user guides, video tutorials, and customer support via phone, email, or live chat. Some providers also offer dedicated account managers or premium support plans for additional assistance.

How easy is it to switch payroll software?

Switching payroll software can be easy with proper planning. Many providers offer migration assistance, including data import tools and customer support. It’s important to transition at the end of a payroll period to minimize disruptions.

What’s Next?

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Simon Litt
By Simon Litt

Simon Litt is the editor of The CFO Club, specializing in covering a range of financial topics. His career has seen him focus on both personal and corporate finance for digital publications, public companies, and digital media brands across the globe.