The Best Payroll Software of 2020

Our payroll software reviews are the result of over 40 hours of research on 210+ payroll software companies from across the web. These reviews and our payroll software guide help small businesses and startups find the best payroll software for their business.

Disclosure: Your support helps keep the site running! We earn a referral fee for some of the services we recommend on this page. Learn more

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.

The 20 Best Payroll Software Solutions of 2020

CompanyPriceFree Trial/DemoMore
ADP Comprehensive Services$370 per month for Enhanced Payroll
$284 per month for Essential Payroll
$57 per month for a 15-employee operation
YesVisit ADP Comprehensive Services
ADP Workforce NowNo fixed pricing foundYesVisit ADP Workforce Now
APS$60 + $6 per employee per month for Payroll SolutionNoVisit APS
Ascentis$20 to $50 base fee
+$2 to $5 per employee
YesVisit Ascentis
BambooHR$6.19 per employee per month for Essentials $8.25 per employee per month for AdvantageYesVisit BambooHR
BrightPayStandard:
£199 for one employer and unlimited employees
£149 for one employer and up to 25 employees
£99 for one employer and up to 10 employees

Bureau:
£449 for unlimited employers and unlimited employees
£399 for 25 employers and unlimited employees
£249 for 10 employers and unlimited employees
YesVisit BrightPay
CheckMark Payroll$429 one-time payment for CheckMark Pro
$499 one-time payment for CheckMark Pro+
YesVisit CheckMark Payroll
Dayforce HCMStarts at $11.50 per employee per month or $10 per employee per month for payroll-only optionNoVisit Dayforce HCM
Gusto$149 + $12 per employee per month for Concierge
$39 +$12 per employee per month for Complete
$39 +$6 per employee per month for Core
$0 base fee + $6 per contractor per month for Contractor
YesVisit Gusto
iSolvedContact for quoteYesVisit iSolved
JustworksBasic:
$49 per employee per month for 1 to 24 employees
$44 per employee per month for 25 to 99 employees
$39 per employee per month for 100 to 174 employees

Plus:
$99 per employee per month for 1 to 24 employees
$89 per employee per month for 25 to 99 employees
$79 per employee per month for 100 to 174 employees
NoVisit Justworks
Kronos Workforce Ready$1.55 per employee per monthYesVisit Kronos Workforce Ready
Namely$12 per employee per month for BasicYesVisit Namely
Patriot Payroll$30 +$4 per employee per month for Full Service Payroll
$10+$4 per employee per month for Basic Payroll
YesVisit Patriot Payroll
Paychex Flex$59 +$4 per employee per month for Paychex GoYesVisit Paychex Flex
PaycomContact for quoteNoVisit Paycom
PayCor Platform$99 per month for Basic
$149 per month for Essential
$199 per month for Complete
NoVisit PayCor Platform
Paylocity$2 to $4 per employee or contractor per monthNoVisit Paylocity
QuickBooks Online Payroll$125 +$10 per employee per month for Elite
$75 +$8 per employee per month for Premium
$45 +$4 per employee per month for Core
YesVisit QuickBooks Online Payroll
UltiPro$600 per year for every five usersNoVisit UltiPro

ADP Comprehensive Services

ADP-Comprehensive-Services Logo
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.

PriceFree Trial/DemoFeatures
$370 per month for Enhanced Payroll
$284 per month for Essential Payroll
$57 per month for a 15-employee operation
Yes>Direct deposit
>Automatic tax filing
>PTO tracking
>More features at ADP Comprehensive Services

Pros and Cons of ADP Comprehensive Payroll Software

ProsCons
>ADP Comprehensive Payroll gives HR professionals control over multiple functions.>Users report occasional software glitches.
>The software allows employees to check their PTO and 401(k) balances.>The user interface doesn't provide enough information about what each feature does.
>ADP Comprehensive Payroll is a robust software package with high-end features.>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.

ADP WorkforceNow

adp-workforce-now-logo
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.

PriceFree Trial/DemoFeatures
Custom quoteYes>Automatic tax filing
>Wage garnishment
>Reporting
>More features at ADP Workforce Now

Pros and Cons of ADP WorkforceNow Payroll Software

ProsCons
>ADP WorkforceNow has advanced reporting capabilities.>It can be difficult for payroll professionals to generate advanced reports.
>The software is ideal for small and medium businesses.>Error messages are sometimes vague, leaving payroll staff wondering why the software isn't working.
>Employees can access their tax forms and other documents from their phones or office computers.>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.

APS

APS Logo
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.

PriceFree Trial/DemoFeatures
$60 + $6 per employee per month for Payroll Solution
$60 + $8 per employee per month for Payroll Solution + Attendance
No>Direct deposit
>Wage garnishment
>Automatic tax filing
>More features at APS

Pros and Cons of APS Payroll Software

ProsCons
>APS combines payroll with other important HR functions.>Some users report having problems with the eSign feature.
>The software works well for companies with offices in multiple states.>APS is more expensive than comparable payroll packages.
>APS offers an online onboarding feature, reducing the amount of time it takes to complete the hiring process.>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.

Ascentis

Ascentis Logo
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.

PriceFree Trial/DemoFeatures
$20 to $50 base fee + $2 to $5 per employeeYes>401(k) tracking
>Direct deposit
>PTO tracking
>More features at Ascentis

Pros and Cons of Ascentis Payroll Software

ProsCons
>The software has a comprehensive self-service tool for employees.>The Ascentis interface can be slow to load.
>Ascentis allows HR professionals to create custom formulas for calculating PTO accruals.>Users report that the interface is not always intuitive.
>The cloud-based software is easy to access from multiple locations.>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.

BambooHR

BambooHR Logo
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.

PriceFree Trial/DemoFeatures
$6.19 per employee per month for Essentials
$8.25 per employee per month for Advantage
Yes>Direct deposit
>Automatic tax filing
>PTO tracking
>More features at BambooHR

Pros and Cons of BambooHR Payroll Software

ProsCons
>BambooHR makes it easy to centralize payroll information for companies with multiple locations.>The user interface can be confusing for new users.
>The interface gives managers a quick way to determine which employees are on leave.>It can be difficult for customers in the UK and Australia to access support services due to time zone differences.
>Employees can use the self-service feature to track their PTO.>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.

BrightPay

BrightPay Logo
BrightPay offers a variety of payroll and HR features designed with UK employers in mind. Prices range from £199 to £449 per month depending on the number of employers and employees to be managed. With the higher-level packages, large corporations can use BrightPay to manage their payroll and HR functions. Core payroll features include automatic tax filing and the ability to track leave for all employees. BrightPay also allows employers to send their pension data directly to some of the major pension providers.

BrightPay offers users the ability to integrate their payroll journals with QuickBooks Online Payroll, Sage One, Xero and other popular accounting packages. With this feature 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.

PriceFree Trial/DemoFeatures
Standard:
£199 for one employer and unlimited employees
£149 for one employer and up to 25 employees
£99 for one employer and up to 10 employees
Bureau:
£449 for unlimited employers and unlimited employees
£399 for 25 employers and unlimited employees
£249 for 10 employers and unlimited employees
Yes>PTO tracking
>Automatic tax filing
>More features at BrightPay

Pros and Cons of BrightPay Payroll Software

ProsCons
>The modern-looking interface is easy to use, even for beginners.>BrightPay is not as robust as other payroll software.
>BrightPay is more affordable for large companies than many comparable systems.>HR staff can't attach offer letters and other documents to employee records.
>The annual fee includes legal updates and feature upgrades.>It can be difficult to set up BrightPay.

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.

CheckMark Payroll

CheckMark-Payroll-Logo
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 and 401(k) tracking. Small firms that do not offer direct deposit to their employees can also use the software to print MICR-encoded checks. For firms trying to reduce their paper usage, CheckMark makes it possible to print electronic pay stubs in PDF format.

PriceFree Trial/DemoFeatures
$429 one-time payment for CheckMark Pro
$499 one-time payment for CheckMark Pro+
Yes>Direct deposit
>401(k) tracking
>Automatic tax filing
>More features at CheckMark Payroll

Pros and Cons of CheckMark Payroll Software

ProsCons
>CheckMark Payroll is ideal for small businesses.>Occasional software glitches force HR staff to perform some tasks manually.
>The software streamlines the hiring process and makes it possible to integrate payroll with other functions.>CheckMark works best for small businesses, so it can be difficult to use if a business is expanding quickly.
>CheckMark Payroll provides ongoing support.>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.

Dayforce HCM

Dayforce-HCM Logo
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.

PriceFree Trial/DemoFeatures
Starts at $11.50 per employee per month or $10 per employee per month for payroll-only optionNo>Automatic tax filing
>PTO tracking
>401(k) tracking
>More features at Dayforce HCM

Pros and Cons of Dayforce HCM Payroll Software

ProsCons
>Dayforce HCM has several features to reduce the amount of paper used in payroll and HR.>The software doesn't alert employees when changes have been made to their schedules.
>The software integrates payroll, benefits administration and HR functions in one place.>Dayforce HCM is often buggy after a system upgrade.
>Dayforce HCM has a test portal that allows HR staff to test new earnings and deductions before activating them in the main system.>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.

Gusto

Gusto Logo
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.

PriceFree Trial/DemoFeatures
$149 + $12 per employee per month for Concierge
$39 + $12 per employee per month for Complete
$39 + $6 per employee per month for Core
No base fee; $6 per person per month for Contractor
Yes>Reporting
>Wage garnishment
>Direct deposit
>More features at Gusto

Pros and Cons of Gusto Payroll Software

ProsCons
>Gusto has a wide range of self-service options for employees.>It can be difficult to get assistance with technical issues.
>The software costs less than comparable payroll solutions.>The Gusto user interface can be difficult to understand.
>Gusto grows with the company, making it ideal for small businesses that plan to expand.>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.

iSolved

iSolved Logo
iSolved integrates payroll, time tracking, benefits administration, and HR functions into one platform that can scale up as a business expands. Integrating multiple functions into one platform ensures that payroll and HR professionals always have up-to-date data when running reports and processing payroll. The payroll function features automatic tax filing, direct deposit, 401(k) tracking, wage garnishment and PTO tracking. Employees also have access to their electronic pay stubs via a self-service portal.

With the payroll preview feature, users have the opportunity to identify potential errors before finalizing payroll and sending out payments. Because iSolved is a cloud-based platform, there’s no need to install software or worry about upgrading to access new features. The cloud-based platform also makes it easy to access iSolved from any location, giving payroll professionals additional flexibility. The cost of iSolved depends on the number of users in an organization, along with the firm’s specific payroll needs.

PriceFree Trial/DemoFeatures
Contact for quoteYes>401(k) tracking
>Automatic tax filing
>Direct deposit
>More features at iSolved

Pros and Cons of iSolved Payroll Software

ProsCons
>The software integrates time tracking and other useful functions.>Not all features are available on the mobile application.
>iSolved makes it easy for HR staff to fix missed time punches and other payroll issues.>It can be difficult to use iSolved with multiple EINs or locations.
>Users can preview everything before it's finalized, making it easier to catch errors.>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.

Justworks

Justworks Logo
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.

PriceFree Trial/DemoFeatures
Basic:
$49 per employee per month for 1 to 24 employees
$44 per employee per month for 25 to 99 employees
$39 per employee per month for 100 to 174 employees
Plus:
$99 per employee per month for 1 to 24 employees
$89 per employee per month for 25 to 99 employees
$79 per employee per month for 100 to 174 employees
No>PTO tracking
>Automatic tax filing
>Wage garnishment
>More features at Justworks

Pros and Cons of Justworks Payroll Software

ProsCons
>Justworks provides a high level of functionality in a software that costs less than many comparable solutions.>Transitioning to Justworks from a prior payroll system can be difficult.
>The software integrates payroll and benefits administration functions.>Unpaid time off must be entered manually.
>The modern user interface is easy to use.>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.”

Kronos Workforce Ready

Kronos-Workforce-Ready-Logo
Kronos Workforce Ready 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. Kronos Workforce Ready 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, Kronos Workforce Ready 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.

PriceFree Trial/DemoFeatures
$1.55 per employee per monthYes>Direct deposit
>Automatic tax filing
>PTO tracking
>More features at Kronos Workforce Ready

Pros and Cons of Kronos Workforce Ready Payroll Software

ProsCons
>Kronos Workforce Ready has advanced reporting features.>The implementation process can be difficult, especially when converting from a previous system.
>Users report positive experiences with the Kronos support team.>Some users report glitches that prevent key features from functioning properly.
>It's easy for employees to clock in and out via computer or smartphone.>Managers can't fix problems directly; they must ask HR or payroll for assistance.

What Customers Are Saying
Kronos Workforce Ready 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.

Namely

Namely Logo
For $12 per employee per month, 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.

PriceFree Trial/DemoFeatures
$12 per employee per month for BasicYes>Automatic tax filing
>401(k) tracking
>Wage garnishment
>More features at Namely

Pros and Cons of Namely Payroll Software

ProsCons
>Namely integrates payroll and benefits, freeing up time and resources.>It can be difficult to get in touch with the support team.
>The support team makes it easy to transition to Namely from another payroll system.>Leave tracking can be difficult, especially if it's for jury duty or maternity leave.
>Users have access to a Help Community that contains answers to common questions.>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.

Patriot Payroll

Patriot-Payroll Logo
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.

PriceFree Trial/DemoFeatures
$30 per month base fee + $4 per employee per month for Full Service Payroll
$10 per month base fee + $4 per employee per month for Basic Payroll
Yes>Direct deposit
>Reporting
>Automatic tax filing
>More features at Patriot Payroll

Pros and Cons of Patriot Payroll Software

ProsCons
>Patriot Payroll is easy to use for firms with non-traditional pay periods.>Employee self-service options cost extra.
>Customer support is available via chat box for the user's convenience.>Patriot's reporting features aren't always intuitive.
>The software is easy for beginners to use.>It can be difficult to ensure bonuses and other large, one-time payments are taxed correctly.

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.

Paychex Flex

Paychex-Flex Logo
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.

PriceFree Trial/DemoFeatures
$59 + $4 per employee per month for Paychex GoYes>PTO tracking
>Automatic tax filing
>Wage garnishment
>More features at Paychex Flex

Pros and Cons of Paychex Flex Payroll Software

ProsCons
>Paychex Flex features two-factor authentication for additional security.>Site outages make it difficult for employees to clock in and out at the right times.
>Firms can create custom codes and reports within the Paychex Flex system.>Feature updates sometimes result in error.,
>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.>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.

Paycom

Paycom Logo
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.

PriceFree Trial/DemoFeatures
No fixed pricingNo>Direct deposit
>Automatic tax filing
>PTO tracking
>More features at Paycom

Pros and Cons of Paycom Payroll Software

ProsCons
>The user interface is intuitive and easy to use.>Paycom is somewhat expensive compared to similar software packages.
>Employees can clock in and out from their smartphones, making Paycom ideal for companies with employees who often work at job sites.>Using some features incurs additional charges.
>Frequent updates give users access to new features.>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.

PayCor Platform

PayCor-Perform
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.

PriceFree Trial/DemoFeatures
$99 per month for Basic $149 per month for Essential
$199 per month for Complete
No>Automatic tax filing
>401(k) tracking
>Wage garnishment
>More features at PayCor Platform

Pros and Cons of PayCor Perform Payroll Software

ProsCons
>PayCor Perform offers webinars to help users with compliance.>It can be difficult to get assistance from the PayCor support team.
>The software has a Spanish-language option.>Customers do not have dedicated account managers or payroll representatives.
>Regular updates give users access to additional payroll and HR functions.>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.

Paylocity

Paylocity Logo
For $2 to $4 per employee or contractor per month, Paylocity gives employers access to a variety of payroll functions. 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, it also includes automatic tax filing and payments.

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 also helps with benefits administration by sending reports to other software vendors.

PriceFree Trial/DemoFeatures
$2 to $4 per employee or contractor per monthNo>Direct deposit
>PTO tracking
>Automatic tax filing
>More features at Paylocity

Pros and Cons of Paylocity Payroll Software

ProsCons
>The user interface makes it easy to find specific features.>The website is more difficult to use than the smartphone application.
>Employees report positive experiences with Paylocity's self-service options.>Paylocity's report formats make it difficult to check for errors.
>Paylocity makes it possible to send new hires their paperwork before their start dates, making it easier to get everything set up.>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.

QuickBooks Online Payroll

QuickBooks-Online-Payroll
QuickBooks Online Payroll integrates directly with QuickBooks accounting files, eliminating the need to make double entries. 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.

PriceFree Trial/DemoFeatures
$125 + $10 per employee per month for Elite
$75 + $8 per employee per month for Premium
$45 + $4 per employee per month for Core
Yes>Automatic tax filing
>Wage garnishment
>401(k) tracking
>More features at QuickBooks Online Payroll

Pros and Cons of QuickBooks Online Payroll Software

ProsCons
>The software works within a user's existing QuickBooks Online file.>It can be difficult to reach customer support.
>Integrating the software with QuickBooks Online eliminates the need for double entries.>QuickBooks Online Payroll is more expensive than other payroll software with similar features.
>The user interface is easy to navigate, even for beginners.>The software doesn't have many extra HR and benefits 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.”

UltiPro

UltiPro Logo
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.

PriceFree Trial/DemoFeatures
$600 per year for every five usersNo>Direct deposit >PTO tracking >401(k) tracking >More features at UltiPro

Pros and Cons of UltiPro Payroll Software

ProsCons
>UltiPro enables HR staff to keep track of employees' skills and credentials.>Some users report data redundancies that make it difficult to generate reports.
>Employees can use the time clock feature even if they are working from a different location.>It takes time to get used to the user interface, particularly the built-in menus.
>UltiPro offers a wide range of payroll and HR reports.>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.

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.