Our Top Picks

ADP-Comprehensive-Services Logo
ADP Comprehensive Services
  • Direct deposit
  • Automatic tax filing
  • PTO tracking
ADP Comprehensive Services offers a low-cost option for operations with up to 15 employees, as well as two options for larger companies: Enhanced Payroll and Essential Payroll. This software has all the features necessary to run payroll each pay period, including direct deposit, PTO tracking, and the ability to track 401(k) balances. ADP Comprehensive Services also includes automatic tax filing, ensuring that users collect the right tax amounts and remit them to the appropriate authorities by each filing deadline.

For HR departments in need of detailed reports to guide decision making, ADP Comprehensive Services offers predefined and custom options. ADP assigns users a dedicated account manager who reviews system data and makes suggestions to streamline HR processes, control costs and use ADP’s reporting features effectively. ADP Comprehensive Services also offers a wage garnishment function, which enables employers to comply with court orders related to child support and other legal matters.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • ADP Comprehensive Payroll gives HR professionals control over multiple functions.
  • The software allows employees to check their PTO and 401(k) balances.
  • ADP Comprehensive Payroll is a robust software package with high-end features.

Cons

  • Users report occasional software glitches.
  • The user interface doesn't provide enough information about what each feature does.
  • Some customers report that employees have trouble clocking in and out on their phones.

What Customers Are Saying

Customers love that ADP Comprehensive Payroll is easy to use and comes with multiple payroll and HR functions. One user writes that the software has “made managing HR and payroll a breeze.” Users also report that the self-service options make it easy for employees to check their PTO balances and edit their time sheets.

Summary

ADP-Comprehensive-Services Logo
ADP Comprehensive Services
  • Starting Price
    • $370 per month for Enhanced Payroll
    • $284 per month for Essential Payroll
  • Free trial
    Yes
  • Direct Deposit
    Yes
  • 401k Tracking
    Yes
Features
  • Direct deposit
  • Automatic tax filing
  • PTO tracking
Adp-workforce-now-logo
ADP Workforce Now
  • Automatic tax filing
  • Wage garnishment
  • Reporting
ADP WorkforceNow has many of the features included with ADP Comprehensive Services, but it’s designed for small and medium firms. One of the main differences between the two software packages is that ADP WorkforceNow doesn’t include automatic tax filing, which means users need to file their taxes manually or use another software program to handle tax payments and reporting.

ADP WorkforceNow offers many of the basic features employers need to make accurate payments to their employees. The wage garnishment function allows users to deduct a specific dollar amount or a specific percentage of each paycheck to satisfy an employee’s legal obligations. PTO tracking enables users to determine how many PTO hours employees have used and how many they have remaining. ADP WorkforceNow also has a 401(k) tracking feature, enabling employers to track their contributions to employees’ retirement plans, and a direct deposit feature, making it possible to issue electronic payments.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • ADP WorkforceNow has advanced reporting capabilities.
  • The software is ideal for small and medium businesses.
  • Employees can access their tax forms and other documents from their phones or office computers.

Cons

  • It can be difficult for payroll professionals to generate advanced reports.
  • Error messages are sometimes vague, leaving payroll staff wondering why the software isn't working.
  • It's time-consuming to import data from a previous payroll system.

What Customers Are Saying

ADP WorkforceNow has a reputation for making it easy for payroll staff and small-business owners to find what they need. One user comments, “It is really easy to find what you need in the system…[and] the ability to edit information is great.” ADP WorkforceNow also receives high praise for helping small and medium firms stay organized.

Summary

Adp-workforce-now-logo
ADP Workforce Now
  • Starting Price
    • No fixed pricing found
  • Free trial
    Yes
  • Direct Deposit
    Yes
  • 401k Tracking
    Yes
Features
  • Automatic tax filing
  • Wage garnishment
  • Reporting
APS Logo
APS
  • Direct deposit
  • Wage garnishment
  • Automatic tax filing
APS offers payroll software with core HR functions designed to save time and increase efficiency. The software offers some of the most common payroll functions, including PTO tracking, direct deposit, 401(k) tracking and wage garnishment, enabling employers to process payroll on time and with a high level of accuracy.

The core HR features aim to help payroll and HR professionals automate as many activities as possible, freeing up more time to make strategic decisions related to the management of human capital. The attendance module integrates scheduling and time-tracking functions to ensure that users always have a clear picture of overtime costs and labor productivity. APS costs $60 per month plus a fee of $6 per user per month for the standalone Payroll Solution or $8 per user per month for Payroll Solution + Attendance.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • APS combines payroll with other important HR functions.
  • The software works well for companies with offices in multiple states.
  • APS offers an online onboarding feature, reducing the amount of time it takes to complete the hiring process.

Cons

  • Some users report having problems with the eSign feature.
  • APS is more expensive than comparable payroll packages.
  • The software comes with a limited number of standard report formats.

What Customers Are Saying

Customers love that APS provides ongoing customer support, with one user commenting that the experience “has been amazing, from the first call, through the sales process, through training and implementation.” APS users also report that the software makes it easy to comply with tax laws in multiple states.

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • $60 per month for Payroll Solution
  • Free trial
    No
  • Direct Deposit
    Yes
  • 401k Tracking
    Yes
Features
  • Direct deposit
  • Wage garnishment
  • Automatic tax filing
Ascentis Logo
Ascentis
  • 401(k) tracking
  • Direct deposit
  • PTO tracking
Ascentis offers a wide range of HR modules that can be purchased separately, giving employers more control over their costs. For a base fee of $20 to $50 per month plus an additional $2 to $5 per employee, the Ascentis payroll software offers direct deposit, wage garnishment, automatic tax filing, PTO tracking and 401(k) tracking. Ascentis also has a compliance team to monitor changes to compliance laws and alert users when those changes affect their operations.

Additionally, Ascentis offers HRIS, benefits administration and time-tracking features that can be integrated with the payroll module to streamline the work of a busy HR department. The HRIS module gives users access to branded self-service portals that employees can use to make changes to their benefits. Firms can also use these portals to send bulk messages to employees regarding important deadlines or changes to company policy. The time-tracking module, Timekeeper, also enables users to track worked hours and leave hours.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • The software has a comprehensive self-service tool for employees.
  • Ascentis allows HR professionals to create custom formulas for calculating PTO accruals.
  • The cloud-based software is easy to access from multiple locations.

Cons

  • The Ascentis interface can be slow to load.
  • Users report that the interface is not always intuitive.
  • Ascentis can be expensive for large companies with multiple EINs.

What Customers Are Saying

Users have praised Ascentis for integrating performance management with payroll and making it “very, very easy for employees to complete their reviews.” Ascentis also has a strong reputation for allowing payroll staff to create custom formulas and run complex reports to improve their decision-making capabilities.

Summary

Ascentis Logo
Ascentis
  • Starting Price
    • $20 to $50 for the base fee
  • Free trial
    Yes
  • Direct Deposit
    Yes
  • 401k Tracking
    Yes
Features
  • 401(k) tracking
  • Direct deposit
  • PTO tracking
BambooHR Logo
BambooHR
  • Direct deposit
  • Automatic tax filing
  • PTO tracking
BambooHR was designed to help small and medium firms do a better job processing payroll and complying with relevant rules and regulations. The software also streamlines some of the most common activities performed by HR staff, saving time and increasing department efficiency. The Essentials package, which costs $6.19 per employee per month, features basic payroll and HR functions, including wage garnishment, automatic tax filing, direct deposit, 401(k) tracking and PTO tracking. The Essentials plan also gives employees access to a company calendar and organizational chart.

The Advantage package, which costs $8.25 per user per month, offers everything in the Essentials package along with enhanced support options and advanced components designed to help HR staff manage activities related to onboarding, employee terminations, training and applicant tracking. Users with the Advantage plan can also set up custom alerts and custom access levels for greater control over important HR functions.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • BambooHR makes it easy to centralize payroll information for companies with multiple locations.
  • The interface gives managers a quick way to determine which employees are on leave.
  • Employees can use the self-service feature to track their PTO.

Cons

  • The user interface can be confusing for new users.
  • It can be difficult for customers in the UK and Australia to access support services due to time zone differences.
  • It's difficult to integrate BambooHR with other systems.

What Customers Are Saying

Customers appreciate that BambooHR makes it easy to create employee records, prompting one user to comment that BambooHR “is a lifesaver when onboarding and welcoming new staff.” BambooHR also offers several employee self-service features, such as PTO tracking, freeing up more time to manage other payroll and HR activities.

Summary

BambooHR Logo
BambooHR
  • Starting Price
    • No information found
  • Free trial
    Yes
  • Direct Deposit
    Yes
  • 401k Tracking
    Yes
Features
  • Direct deposit
  • Automatic tax filing
  • PTO tracking
BrightPay Logo
BrightPay
  • HMRC recognized
  • Full Automatic enrollment functionality
  • Supports all RTI submission types
BrightPay offers a variety of payroll and HR features designed with UK employers in mind. Prices range from £199 to £449 per tax year depending on the number of employers and employees to be managed.

BrightPay is a desktop-based payroll software that’s available for both Windows and Mac. Their payroll software is designed for small and medium-sized businesses and is used to process the payroll for over 250,000 businesses across the UK and Ireland. BrightPay also offers an optional cloud add-on called BrightPay Connect that introduces powerful online features, including an automated cloud backup, online employer dashboards, annual leave management, client payroll entry and approval, and an employee self-service portal.

BrightPay offers users the ability to integrate their payroll journals with AccountsIQ, Freeagent, QuickBooks Online, Sage One, Xero and other popular accounting packages. With these features enabled, users can send payroll journal entries directly to their accounting systems, eliminating the need for double entries. BrightPay also makes it possible to process payroll for multiple entities at the same time, saving time and reducing the risk of payroll errors.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • The modern-looking interface is easy to use, even for beginners.
  • BrightPay is more affordable for large companies than many comparable systems.
  • The annual fee includes legal updates and feature upgrades.

Cons

  • BrightPay Connect is an additional cost.

What Customers Are Saying

Customers love the feature-rich user interface, which makes it easy for payroll professionals to find what they need. BrightPay also provides regular updates, making it “an excellent value for the money,” according to one reviewer. These updates include legislative changes, making it easier for HR staff to manage compliance.

Summary

BrightPay Logo
BrightPay
  • Starting Price
    • No information found
  • Free trial
    Yes
  • Direct Deposit
    No
  • 401k Tracking
    No
Features
  • HMRC recognized
  • Full Automatic enrollment functionality
  • Supports all RTI submission types
CheckMark-Payroll-Logo
CheckMark Payroll
  • Direct deposit
  • 401(k) tracking
  • Automatic tax filing
CheckMark Payroll includes several features designed to help small businesses automate payroll, tax reporting and accounting functions. When setting up the software for the first time, users have the ability to define multiple tax expense accounts, create tax-exempt deductions and save data to the CheckMark Cloud. CheckMark Payroll also comes loaded with state and federal tax tables to make it easier for firms to comply with relevant tax regulations. Firms can integrate CheckMark Payroll with their time clocks or time-tracking spreadsheets, making it possible to import hours and use the data to run payroll each period. Additional features include:

  • PTO tracking

  • Automatic tax filing

  • 401(k) tracking

  • Calculation of tips within the program

  • Updated Covid/941 tax changes

  • Unlimited payrolls/employees

  • No monthly fees Print or e-file

  • W-2’s Cloud backup option

Small firms that do not offer direct deposit to their employees can also use the software to print MICR-encoded checks. And for firms trying to reduce their paper usage, CheckMark makes it possible to print electronic pay stubs in PDF format. For small businesses who need additional assistance, CheckMark offers full-service payroll in addition to their self-service payroll software.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • CheckMark Payroll is ideal for small businesses.
  • Streamlines the hiring process and makes it possible to integrate payroll with other functions.
  • Provides U.S.-based ongoing support.

Cons

  • Occasional software glitches force HR staff to perform some tasks manually.
  • Works best for small businesses, so it can be difficult to use if a business is expanding quickly.
  • The interface makes it difficult to access some data.

What Customers Are Saying

CheckMark Payroll customers appreciate that the software is easy for small-business owners to use. One user writes, “If you have a small business, this is the perfect product” because of CheckMark’s many built-in features and the ongoing support available from the company. Users also report a “seamless experience” when using CheckMark Payroll for additional functions.

Summary

CheckMark-Payroll-Logo
CheckMark Payroll
  • Starting Price
    • No information found
  • Free trial
    Yes
  • Direct Deposit
    Yes
  • 401k Tracking
    Yes
Features
  • Direct deposit
  • 401(k) tracking
  • Automatic tax filing
Dayforce-HCM Logo
Dayforce HCM
  • Automatic tax filing
  • PTO tracking
  • 401(k) tracking
Dayforce HCM by Ceridian starts at $10 per employee per month for the payroll-only option and $11.50 per employee per month for payroll plus additional features. This software aims to solve the common problem of having to wait for the end of the pay period to work on payroll due to an inability to access data that’s locked in a separate timekeeping system. Dayforce HCM integrates payroll with time tracking, allowing payroll staff to work on payroll whenever they have time, giving payroll professionals more time to perform quality audits.

The Dayforce HCM software includes PTO tracking, automatic tax filing, 401(k) tracking and wage garnishment. With the built-in self-service portal, employees can view their personal data at their convenience, reducing the number of requests for assistance that must be managed by payroll staff. Dayforce HCM also has an executive dashboard, which displays important payroll data to help executives make strategic decisions.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Dayforce HCM has several features to reduce the amount of paper used in payroll and HR.
  • The software integrates payroll, benefits administration and HR functions in one place.
  • Dayforce HCM has a test portal that allows HR staff to test new earnings and deductions before activating them in the main system.

Cons

  • The software doesn't alert employees when changes have been made to their schedules.
  • Dayforce HCM is often buggy after a system upgrade.
  • Employee self-service features are limited, which means employees have to ask HR for assistance.

What Customers Are Saying

Several reviewers have commented on the many features available with Dayforce HCM, with one user even commenting that the software has “endless capabilities.” Users also appreciate that Dayforce HCM makes it possible for firms to go paperless or nearly paperless, saving resources and freeing up storage space.

Summary

Dayforce-HCM Logo
Dayforce HCM
  • Starting Price
    • No information found
  • Free trial
    No
  • Direct Deposit
    Yes
  • 401k Tracking
    Yes
Features
  • Automatic tax filing
  • PTO tracking
  • 401(k) tracking
Gusto Logo
Gusto
  • Reporting
  • Wage garnishment
  • Direct deposit
Gusto payroll software has four service levels to suit the needs of small and medium firms. For $6 per month per contractor, Gusto Contractor users can make unlimited payments and create 1099 forms. Gusto Core is designed for small businesses with W-2 employees. For $39 plus $6 per employee per month, Gusto Core users have access to two-day direct deposit, benefits administration, workers’ compensation administration and online document storage.

The Complete and Concierge options provide access to next-day direct deposit services and allow users to manage requests for time off. Gusto Complete costs $39 plus $12 per employee per month while Gusto Concierge costs $149 plus $12 per employee per month. Gusto Concierge includes everything in the Complete package, but it gives users access to an HR resource center and assistance from experienced HR professionals. The Core, Complete and Concierge packages include wage garnishment, payroll reporting and automatic tax filing.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Gusto has a wide range of self-service options for employees.
  • The software costs less than comparable payroll solutions.
  • Gusto grows with the company, making it ideal for small businesses that plan to expand.

Cons

  • It can be difficult to get assistance with technical issues.
  • The Gusto user interface can be difficult to understand.
  • The software doesn't integrate directly with common accounting platforms.

What Customers Are Saying

Users praise Gusto for the variety of self-service options available to employees. One employee writes that the experience of using Gusto “has been good and very self-explanatory, which is great for any onboarding experience.” Customers also appreciate that Gusto grows with their firms, taking the hassle out of business expansion.

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • $149/mo Concierge $39/mo Complete
    • $39/mo Core $0/mo Contractor
  • Free trial
    Yes
  • Direct Deposit
    Yes
  • 401k Tracking
    Yes
Features
  • Reporting
  • Wage garnishment
  • Direct deposit
iSolved
  • 401(k) tracking
  • Automatic tax filing
  • Direct deposit
isolved is an employee experience leader that provides intuitive, people-first HCM technology. Their solutions are delivered directly or through their partner network to more than five million employees and 145,000 employers — who use them every day to boost performance, increase productivity, and accelerate results while reducing risk.

By using their HCM platform, isolved People Cloud, businesses can seamlessly connect and manage the employee journey across talent management, HR and payroll, workforce management, and engagement management functions. No matter the industry, isolved helps high-growth organizations employ, enable, and empower their workforce by transforming the employee experience.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • The software integrates time tracking and other useful functions.
  • isolved makes it easy for HR staff to fix missed time punches and other payroll issues.
  • Users can preview everything before it's finalized, making it easier to catch errors.

Cons

  • Not all features are available on the mobile application.
  • It can be difficult to use isolved with multiple EINs or locations.
  • Customer service is slow to respond to requests for support.

What Customers Are Saying

isolved receives high marks for its ease of use, with one reviewer commenting about “how easy it is to fix any issue like forgetting to clock in and out.” HR managers also appreciate that isolved offers a paycheck preview, which makes it easier to pick up on errors before finalizing payroll.

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • No information found
  • Free trial
    Yes
  • Direct Deposit
    Yes
  • 401k Tracking
    Yes
Features
  • 401(k) tracking
  • Automatic tax filing
  • Direct deposit
Justworks Logo
Justworks
  • PTO tracking
  • Automatic tax filing
  • Wage garnishment
Justworks has several payroll options for firms with W-2 employees and contractors. Each package includes PTO tracking, wage garnishment, automatic tax filing and other essential features. The tax filing feature ensures that users remain in compliance with all local, state and federal tax laws by submitting timely tax payments and issuing required W-2 and 1099 forms each year.

Pricing depends on the package selected and the number of employees in the firm. The Basic plan, which includes all payroll and reporting features, costs between $39 per employee per month and $49 per employee per month for up to 174 employees. The Plus plan includes everything in the Basic package, along with access to affordable health benefits, flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts. Plus pricing ranges from $79 per user per month to $99 per user per month for up to 174 employees.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Justworks provides a high level of functionality in a software that costs less than many comparable solutions.
  • The software integrates payroll and benefits administration functions.
  • The modern user interface is easy to use.

Cons

  • Transitioning to Justworks from a prior payroll system can be difficult.
  • Unpaid time off must be entered manually.
  • Justworks doesn't offer a mobile app.

What Customers Are Saying

Many customers have commented on how easy it is to use Justworks, particularly when it comes to allowing employees to compare their benefit options during open enrollment. Customers also appreciate the ongoing support provided by the Justworks team, with one reviewer commenting that team members are always “very happy to help me out.”

Summary

Justworks Logo
Justworks
  • Starting Price
    • No information found
  • Free trial
    No
  • Direct Deposit
    Yes
  • 401k Tracking
    Yes
Features
  • PTO tracking
  • Automatic tax filing
  • Wage garnishment
Namely Logo
Namely
  • Automatic tax filing
  • 401(k) tracking
  • Wage garnishment
Namely offers a full-service payroll suite with wage garnishment, 401(k) tracking, automatic tax filing, and other features. Namely integrates payroll with benefits administration, making it possible to automate deductions and implement premium changes as soon as they take effect. The automatic tax filing feature ensures that tax payments are sent to the appropriate tax agencies on time and in the correct amounts. Namely also makes it possible to import time data from other sources.

This software has advanced reporting features to save time and prevent errors. For example, year-end reporting automates the process of generating 1099 forms and W-2s, ensuring that employees and contractors receive their tax documents by the annual deadline. Namely also has standard reports available, enabling users to reconcile payroll and determine how much of an effect any payroll changes will have on their bottom lines.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Namely integrates payroll and benefits, freeing up time and resources.
  • The support team makes it easy to transition to Namely from another payroll system.
  • Users have access to a Help Community that contains answers to common questions.

Cons

  • It can be difficult to get in touch with the support team.
  • Leave tracking can be difficult, especially if it's for jury duty or maternity leave.
  • Namely requires users to make many manual changes.

What Customers Are Saying

Customers report that Namely makes it “incredibly easy” for employees to enroll in benefits and access their payroll information. HR professionals also appreciate that Namely integrates multiple functions and makes it easy to import information from an existing payroll system, saving time and increasing efficiency.

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • No information found
  • Free trial
    Yes
  • Direct Deposit
    Yes
  • 401k Tracking
    Yes
Features
  • Automatic tax filing
  • 401(k) tracking
  • Wage garnishment
Patriot-Payroll Logo
Patriot Payroll
  • Direct deposit
  • Reporting
  • Automatic tax filing
Patriot Payroll offers two software packages for small and medium firms: Basic Payroll, which costs $10 plus $4 per employee per month, and Full Service Payroll, which costs $30 plus $4 per employee per month. Basic Payroll automates key payroll functions, including direct deposit and payroll reporting, but it doesn’t include automatic tax filing. Full Service Payroll includes everything in the Basic Payroll Plan, along with automatic tax filing for employers.

Both packages include a variety of features designed to automate the payroll process as much as possible. Users can run an unlimited number of payrolls at any frequency, from monthly payments for contractors to weekly payments for W-2 employees. The free self-service portal gives employees access to pay stubs and other important information, limiting the number of requests for assistance that must be handled by the payroll department.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Patriot Payroll is easy to use for firms with non-traditional pay periods.
  • Customer support is available via chat box for the user's convenience.
  • The software is easy for beginners to use.

Cons

  • Patriot's reporting features aren't always intuitive.

What Customers Are Saying

Satisfied users report that Patriot Payroll provides more capabilities than many similarly priced payroll systems. Patriot Payroll also has a strong reputation for protecting employee data; the software requires two-factor authentication, reducing the risk of unauthorized access by third parties and ensuring that Social Security numbers, home addresses and other private information remain confidential.

Summary

Patriot-Payroll Logo
Patriot Payroll
  • Starting Price
    • $30.00 for Full Service Payroll
    • $10.00 for Basic Payroll
  • Free trial
    Yes
  • Direct Deposit
    Yes
  • 401k Tracking
    No
Features
  • Direct deposit
  • Reporting
  • Automatic tax filing
Paychex-Flex Logo
Paychex Flex
  • PTO tracking
  • Automatic tax filing
  • Wage garnishment
Paychex Flex is a cloud-based solution that eliminates the need to download software or pay extra fees for feature updates. Paychex Go, the most basic Paychex flex plan, includes features designed to help small firms process payroll, track attendance and comply with local, state and federal reporting requirements. For $59 plus $4 per employee per month, users have access to an online payroll administration module, automatic tax filing, time tracking and simplified attendance tracking.

Paychex Flex Select and Paychex Flex Enterprise are available for larger firms with hundreds or even thousands of employees. These plans include everything offered with Paychex Go, but they also provide access to an integrated payroll and HR system, advanced reporting tools and a mobile application that makes it possible to process payroll from almost anywhere.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Paychex Flex features two-factor authentication for additional security.
  • Firms can create custom codes and reports within the Paychex Flex system.
  • Employees are added to the system during onboarding, making it easy for them to access self-service options related to taxes, time off and retirement benefits.

Cons

  • Site outages make it difficult for employees to clock in and out at the right times.
  • Feature updates sometimes result in error.,
  • Users report difficulty receiving assistance with technical issues.

What Customers Are Saying

Customers love that Paychex Flex works for small companies with only one or two employees just as well as it does for larger companies. One user even described Paychex Flex as a “one-stop shop for all things payroll” due to the number of built-in features and the ability to offer employees self-service solutions.

Summary

Paychex-Flex Logo
Paychex Flex
  • Starting Price
    • $59/mo for Paychex Go
  • Free trial
    Yes
  • Direct Deposit
    Yes
  • 401k Tracking
    Yes
Features
  • PTO tracking
  • Automatic tax filing
  • Wage garnishment
Paycom Logo
Paycom
  • Direct deposit
  • Automatic tax filing
  • PTO tracking
The Paycom platform integrates payroll with time tracking, talent acquisition, HR management and talent management, eliminating the need to enter data in multiple places. Payroll data syncs with other system modules, ensuring that decision makers understand how payroll changes affect cash flow and profitability. It’s also possible to use the historical transaction comparison tool to identify significant differences between payrolls, which can help users identify payroll trends that are likely to affect their businesses.

The talent acquisition model includes several features designed to help recruiters identify the best candidates and onboard them efficiently. Paycom automates several time-consuming functions, including job postings and applicant screening; speeds up the process of completing background checks and allows new employees to complete the onboarding process independently. Paycom also has an employee self-service portal that provides 24/7 access to pay stubs and other payroll data.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • The user interface is intuitive and easy to use.
  • Employees can clock in and out from their smartphones, making Paycom ideal for companies with employees who often work at job sites.
  • Frequent updates give users access to new features.

Cons

  • Paycom is somewhat expensive compared to similar software packages.
  • Using some features incurs additional charges.
  • Some features need to be activated by Paycom, creating extra work for HR and payroll staff.

What Customers Are Saying

Paycom is known for providing a high level of functionality with few glitches, prompting one user to rave, “There isn’t much I don’t love about Paycom.” Customers also report positive experiences with the Paycom support team, which makes the implementation process easier and minimizes frustration during system upgrades.

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • No fixed pricing found
  • Free trial
    No
  • Direct Deposit
    Yes
  • 401k Tracking
    Yes
Features
  • Direct deposit
  • Automatic tax filing
  • PTO tracking
PayCor-Perform
PayCor Perform
  • Automatic tax filing
  • 401(k) tracking
  • Wage garnishment
PayCor Platform has three service levels to suit businesses of varying sizes. The Basic package starts at $99 per month and includes payroll processing, automatic tax filing and payments, PDF reporting and employee self-service. PayCor Essential includes everything from the Basic plan, along with additional features to help firms comply with child support and wage-garnishment orders. The Essential plan starts at $149 per month. PayCor Complete also includes new-hire onboarding, accounting applications and support from an experienced HR professional starting at $199 per month.

In addition to automatic tax filing and 401(k) tracking, all three plans include access to a mobile application, document storage, the ability to issue payments to contractors and comprehensive reporting. For firms that prefer to issue paper checks, PayCor provides check paper featuring its bank account number and routing number, enhancing security and reducing the risk of fraud. Firms also have the option of using pay cards.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • PayCor Perform offers webinars to help users with compliance.
  • The software has a Spanish-language option.
  • Regular updates give users access to additional payroll and HR functions.

Cons

  • It can be difficult to get assistance from the PayCor support team.
  • Customers do not have dedicated account managers or payroll representatives.
  • Some reporting features are rather limited.

What Customers Are Saying

One user describes PayCor Perform as a “great business solution and time saver” due to the availability of a self-service portal and the integration of performance management and other features. PayCor also includes time and attendance management, making it easier for HR staff to generate reports and compare allocated labor hours with actual hours worked.

Summary

PayCor-Perform
PayCor Perform
  • Starting Price
    • $99 / MONTH for Basic
    • $149 / MONTH for Essential
    • $199 / MONTH for Complete
  • Free trial
    No
  • Direct Deposit
    Yes
  • 401k Tracking
    Yes
Features
  • Automatic tax filing
  • 401(k) tracking
  • Wage garnishment
Paylocity Logo
Paylocity
  • Direct deposit
  • PTO tracking
  • Automatic tax filing
Paylocity’s flexible solutions help tackle the payroll and HR challenges and evolve with users as their business needs change. Tailored for employers’ needs, Paylocity Payroll helps users save time and improve accuracy. Paylocity admins can simplify payroll, automate processes, and stay tax compliant, all in one spot. Whether it is pulling expense reimbursements into paychecks or running custom reports, data insights are included.

The expense management module enables staff to add expenses to the payroll system so that employees can be reimbursed in the next paycheck. Because Paylocity is registered as a reporting agent in all 50 states as well as Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and Guam, tax services can also include filing and payments, which lessens the burden of liability.

For firms that need to issue on-demand payments, Paylocity makes it possible to issue an advance on a portion of an employee’s earned wages without disrupting other payroll functions. Additionally, Paylocity streamlines the process of managing wage garnishments, ensuring that firms remain in compliance with court orders related to child support and other legal matters. Paylocity is a highly configurable software platform that can provide a unified product suite experience or easily integrate payroll data with other vendors for things like 401k, retirement, benefits.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • The user interface makes it easy to find specific features.
  • Employees report positive experiences with Paylocity's self-service options.
  • Paylocity makes it possible to send new hires their paperwork before their start dates, making it easier to get everything set up.

Cons

  • The website is more difficult to use than the smartphone application.
  • Paylocity's report formats make it difficult to check for errors.
  • It can be difficult to configure the software due to a lack of labels.

What Customers Are Saying

Users appreciate that Paylocity integrates onboarding functions, making it possible to send new hires their paperwork before their start dates. One user also commented that Paylocity offers “an easy system to keep track of the staff” due to the integration of recruitment, orientation and performance management functions.

Summary

Paylocity Logo
Paylocity
  • Starting Price
    • No fixed pricing found
  • Free trial
    No
  • Direct Deposit
    Yes
  • 401k Tracking
    Yes
Features
  • Direct deposit
  • PTO tracking
  • Automatic tax filing
Payroll-by-Wave
Payroll by Wave
  • Invoice creation
  • Receipt scanning
  • PCI Level-1 certified security
Payroll by Wave is a cloud-based payment system that caters to entrepreneurs and businesspeople. It allows users to manage and pay multiple employees and independent contractors using automated tools, saving them time by taking care of redundant administrative tasks. Features include tools for managing accounting, invoicing, receipts, payments, and payroll tasks.

One notable feature of Payroll by Wave is its ability to scan receipts. This allows users to keep track of expenses and sync information to their respective accounts while on the go. Additionally, this feature doesn’t rely on having an internet connection, allowing for offline scans anytime, anywhere.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Unlimited invoicing
  • Scans receipts

Cons

  • No 401(k) tracking feature

What Customers Are Saying

Customers report that Payroll by Wave’s interface is very user-friendly. “Easy features for accounting, tracking expenses, and payroll all in one place,” wrote one customer. “It is an easy-to-use, well-designed web application that can easily integrate with external bank accounts and payment sources.”

Summary

Payroll-by-Wave
Payroll by Wave
  • Starting Price
    • $20 per month
  • Free trial
    Yes
  • Direct Deposit
    Yes
  • 401k Tracking
    No
Features
  • Invoice creation
  • Receipt scanning
  • PCI Level-1 certified security
QuickBooks-Online-Payroll
QuickBooks Online Payroll
  • Automatic tax filing
  • Wage garnishment
  • 401(k) tracking
QuickBooks Online Payroll integrates directly with QuickBooks accounting files, eliminating the need to make double entries. Through their partnership with Mammoth, QuickBooks also enables you to perform a variety of other HR tasks like job descriptions, onboarding, employee performance, and legal compliance.

The Core plan costs $45 plus $4 per employee per month for full-service payroll, next-day direct deposit and basic support. Full-service payroll includes automatic tax filing and payments. QuickBooks Online Payroll Premium costs $75 plus $8 per employee per month for everything in the Core plan, along with same-day direct deposit, access to an HR support center, time tracking and workers’ compensation administration. QuickBooks Online Payroll Elite costs $125 plus $10 per employee per month for everything in the Elite plan, along with a personal HR advisor, tax penalty protection, 24/7 support and a customized setup process. The three plans are available in all 50 states and include a workforce portal with self-service features and a variety of payroll reports.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • The software works within a user's existing QuickBooks Online file.
  • Integrating the software with QuickBooks Online eliminates the need for double entries.
  • The user interface is easy to navigate, even for beginners.

Cons

  • It can be difficult to reach customer support.
  • QuickBooks Online Payroll is more expensive than other payroll software with similar features.

What Customers Are Saying

Customers love that QuickBooks Online Payroll integrates directly with QuickBooks accounting files, making it easier to keep track of how HR decisions affect a firm’s profitability. One user commented, “My payroll runs effortlessly every week and I really appreciate that my forms get filed with the appropriate offices and in a timely manner.”

Summary

QuickBooks-Online-Payroll
QuickBooks Online Payroll
  • Starting Price
    • $125/mo. for Elite
    • $75/mo. for Premium
    • $45/mo. for Core
  • Free trial
    Yes
  • Direct Deposit
    Yes
  • 401k Tracking
    Yes
Features
  • Automatic tax filing
  • Wage garnishment
  • 401(k) tracking
Kronos-Workforce-Ready-Logo
Ultimate Kronos Group
  • Direct deposit
  • Automatic tax filing
  • PTO tracking
Ultimate Kronos Group offers a cloud-based software for processing payroll and managing other HR functions. The integrated platform makes it possible to track employees at all phases of the HR life cycle, from initial offer to separation of employment, streamlining HR processes and ensuring that all departments have the data needed to generate accurate reports. Ultimate Kronos Group has a variety of payroll features to improve accuracy and save time, including direct deposit, PTO tracking, wage garnishment and automatic tax filing.

In addition to basic payroll functions, Ultimate Kronos Group includes advanced functions to help with recruitment, benefits administration, compensation management and performance management. Recruiters and hiring managers can use the software to track applicants and identify the most qualified candidates to fill open positions. The other tools can be used to streamline open enrollment, document performance concerns and ensure that employees are paid fairly.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Ultimate Kronos Group has advanced reporting features.
  • Users report positive experiences with the Kronos support team.
  • It's easy for employees to clock in and out via computer or smartphone.

Cons

  • The implementation process can be difficult, especially when converting from a previous system.
  • Some users report glitches that prevent key features from functioning properly.
  • Managers can't fix problems directly; they must ask HR or payroll for assistance.

What Customers Are Saying

Ultimate Kronos Group has a reputation for providing high-level customer service. One reviewer wrote that the representative who calls is “always friendly, patient and helpful.” Users also love how easy it is for employees to track their time with the mobile application, which makes it easier to manage employees working at other locations.

Summary

Kronos-Workforce-Ready-Logo
Ultimate Kronos Group
  • Starting Price
    • No information found
  • Free trial
    Yes
  • Direct Deposit
    Yes
  • 401k Tracking
    No
Features
  • Direct deposit
  • Automatic tax filing
  • PTO tracking
UltiPro Logo
UltiPro
  • Direct deposit
  • PTO tracking
  • 401(k) tracking
For $600 per year for every five users added to the system, UltiPro allows firms to perform payroll calculations in American and Canadian dollars. The system’s payroll gateway consolidates payroll data in one location, making it easy to share information with company HR and accounting staff. UltiPro also has a Smart Tax feature, which uses the employee’s location to determine how much tax to deduct from each payment.

UltiPro’s self-service feature gives employees access to their pay stubs and other payment information at any time. The self-service portal also allows employees to estimate their take-home pay based on different scenarios, such as updated tax exemptions or changes in filing status. The platform incorporates a charitable giving tool, UltiPro Giving, to help users practice social responsibility. UltiPro Giving makes it possible to set up fundraising campaigns and ask employees to participate, increasing engagement and helping employees feel more involved in their work.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • UltiPro enables HR staff to keep track of employees' skills and credentials.
  • Employees can use the time clock feature even if they are working from a different location.
  • UltiPro offers a wide range of payroll and HR reports.

Cons

  • Some users report data redundancies that make it difficult to generate reports.
  • It takes time to get used to the user interface, particularly the built-in menus.
  • UltiPro doesn't have dedicated payroll representatives to provide ongoing guidance.

What Customers Are Saying

Several reviewers have commented that UltiPro employees tend to stay with the company for a long time, making it possible to develop beneficial relationships with members of the support team. UltiPro also receives high marks for its many built-in features, including the ability to keep track of employees’ degrees, certifications and skills.

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • No information found
  • Free trial
    No
  • Direct Deposit
    Yes
  • 401k Tracking
    Yes
Features
  • Direct deposit
  • PTO tracking
  • 401(k) tracking

How We Chose the Best Payroll Software

Many companies offer payroll software to automate employee payments and help businesses of all sizes meet their compensation-related legal obligations. With so many options on the market, it's often difficult for business owners and HR professionals to determine which tools do the best job of balancing functionality with affordability. We evaluated some of the top payroll solutions based on what's most important.

Basic Payroll Functions

The most basic function of payroll software is to make sure employees get paid the correct amount at the correct time. A good software program calculates gross pay based on each employee's salary or hourly wage, deducts the appropriate amount of taxes and keeps track of deductions for health premiums, life insurance, and other employer-sponsored benefits. Most programs also make it possible for employers to track attendance and store employment records, including offer letters, organizational charts and local, state, and federal laws related to compensation, benefits administration, labor relations, and employee safety.

Additional Payroll Features

Many types of payroll software offer additional features, such as automatic tax filing or the ability to keep track of wage garnishments ordered by criminal and civil courts. Some programs even enable business owners and their employees to keep track of PTO balances and employer-sponsored contributions to retirement accounts. For employers who offer direct deposit as a payment option, many software programs even have the ability to create ACH files and send them directly to financial institutions.

Reporting

The best software programs have basic and advanced reporting features. At the basic level, payroll software should be able to create reports showing how much was spent on payroll during the pay period, the quarter or the fiscal year. Advanced reporting makes it possible to prepare tax reports, summaries of employer contributions to retirement plans and labor distribution reports.

What Is Payroll Software?

Payroll software automates the most important payroll functions, leaving HR professionals and small-business owners free to spend their time on other activities. When new employees join the firm, someone adds their information — including full name, address, Social Security number and number of dependents — to the payroll system. Payroll software uses that information to determine how much each employee should be paid, what deductions to take from each paycheck and how much money should be deducted for taxes.

Payroll software also makes it possible to generate a variety of reports, increasing transparency and giving members of the accounting, finance and human resources departments the information they need to make better decisions. For example, some programs can be used to create labor distribution reports, which detail the total hours worked and total wages earned for all employees in a pay period. In some cases, these reports can even be broken down by department or business unit, making it easy to identify which departments cost the most in terms of wages and benefits. Many programs also produce tax reports, making it easier for the accounting department to track payments, and deduction reports, which show the total amount of deductions taken for health insurance and other benefits.

Benefits of Payroll Software

Payroll software has many benefits for small businesses, including the following:

  • Save time. Processing manual time sheets, cutting checks and trying to generate reports without an automated tool wastes time that could be better spent training new hires or figuring out the best way to grow your business. Payroll software performs these functions automatically.
  • Reduce errors. Manual payroll processing is prone to errors, which can have serious legal consequences for your business. Software packages reduce the risk of errors by eliminating the need to calculate wages and tax payments by hand.
  • Increase employee engagement. Employees are more likely to feel engaged when they have some control over their work. Most payroll packages make it possible for employees to submit leave requests, track their PTO and even track 401(k) deductions, increasing their independence.
  • Streamline HR and accounting functions. The best payroll programs feature automatic tax filing, attendance tracking and other functions that can help your business streamline payroll processing.
  • Improve compliance. Small businesses must follow a variety of regulations related to employee compensation and well-being. Payroll software helps improve compliance by generating required reports and making it easy for managers to find the data they need to fill out government forms.

Must-Have Features for Payroll Software

Payroll software should include all the basic functions necessary to process payroll for every employee, including PTO tracking and direct deposit. The best software packages can be integrated with other systems, ensuring that everyone in the company has access to the payroll and tax data they need to comply with relevant rules and regulations. Good software also makes it easy to make tax payments and file required financial forms.

Good payroll software should also include a variety of advanced features to streamline HR processes and give HR employees more time to carry out high-level responsibilities. Some of the best software packages include modules for applicant tracking, onboarding, employee development, benefits administration, and performance management. These extra features make it easier to perform compliance activities, generate reports and engage in strategic planning.

Payroll software should also have robust reporting options to help employers save time and increase efficiency. Good payroll software has the ability to pull data from several sources and use it to help HR managers calculate the average salary of all employees, the number of labor hours used during a pay period and other important metrics. These reports can help HR staff and department managers make better decisions.

The Cost of Payroll Software

The cost of payroll software varies significantly based on the number of features included in each package. Most companies charge a base monthly price plus an additional fee per user, which means companies with just a few dozen employees typically pay less to use payroll software than firms with hundreds or thousands of employees do. Free options usually have extensive limitations, which may make them suitable only for solo practitioners or employers with no more than five or 10 employees.

Low-cost options may have a base price of $0 and a per-user fee of a few dollars per month, making it more affordable for small businesses to take advantage of the benefits of automated payroll software. The most robust packages may have a base price of $399 per month or more, with user fees ranging from $2 to $12 per employee per month. Many software companies offer recruiting, training, onboarding, performance management and compliance modules for an additional fee, increasing the total cost of implementation. Despite the increased software costs, implementing a system with many functions helps streamline payroll, HR and accounting tasks, which may increase efficiency and reduce a firm’s overall costs.