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Payroll Software—What It Is And 10 Key Benefits

Did you know 40% of small business owners say payroll and taxes are the worst and most time-consuming aspects of owning a business? 

Payroll management is tough, but it doesn’t have to be. If you struggle with time-consuming and tedious payroll work, automated payroll software might be the answer to your problems. 

Your employees need to get paid accurately and on time. No pressure, right? With a payroll solution, missed payments and pay mistakes will be a thing of the past. 

Here we’ll tell you what payroll software is, why you need it, and key features to look out for, so you can say goodbye to your payroll headaches for good.

First, let’s define what payroll software really is.

What Is Payroll Software And Why Do You Need It?

Payroll software helps you to manage all things payroll. It automates employee pay and maintains human resource records like time and attendance. Payroll software saves lots of time for HR leaders and reduces paycheck errors—this leads to a more satisfied employee and fewer issues for management to deal with.

adp run payroll software example screenshot
Example of ADP Run payroll software.

Running payroll software takes the headache out of managing employee taxes each year, and it can be a life-saver for small and enterprise businesses. The best payroll software is:

  • Reliable 
  • Easy to customize to your own business needs
  • Adaptable so you can manage and automate payments for all employees—including salaried, hourly, and temporary staff.

10 Benefits Of Payroll Software

Workforce management is complex, but a strong payroll process will take some of the burden off your HR team. Check out these 10 payroll solution benefits you’ll see when you decide to make the switch:

1. Time-saver

According to, businesses spend over 80 hours on payroll processing every year. This can impact your bottom line since the time is not spent on other organizational needs to meet your goals. 

The automation of payroll software helps you cut down on time spent in this area, allowing your HR department to focus on other areas. It can also provide you with year-end reports to help you take a big-picture look at your business.

2. Transparency

Using a payroll management system promotes transparency and builds trust among your employees. The payroll system ensures your employee feels confident their pay will be on-time and accurate. 

These payroll services also allow staff limited access to their own employee benefits and time and attendance information.

3. Reduces error also reports payroll processing problems in the U.S. are impacting 82 million employees—and payroll problems cause morale problems. 

Employees need to know their payment will be accurate—a payroll system will vastly reduce the possibility of human error, including inaccurate data input and accidental deletion of formulas.

4. Security

A manual payroll process leaves the door open to compromise your company’s security—this is true for small businesses and enterprises. Payroll software allows you to protect employee payroll data with tools like conditional system access and password protection.

Stay up-to-date on all things HR & leadership.

5. Compliance

Payroll software gives you the confidence to know you’re on track with company rules and regulations, as well as tax filing requirements and laws. Payroll systems allow you to easily enter changes to be calculated for you—you can set it and forget it.

quickBooks payroll tax payments example screenshot
Example of QuickBooks payroll tax payments.

6. Manage payroll across multiple countries

In today’s world, employees can be effective working remotely from anywhere in the world – with global payroll software, you can ensure employees are paid on time, no matter where they are.

7. Easier Employee Monitoring

It can be tough to keep up with staff schedules but as a manager, it’s important for you to know where employees are and what hours they’re working. Choosing a payroll system with an employee calendar helps you easily monitor leave and overtime—at a glance, you’ll have the big picture of staff availability and hours worked. 

8. Simple Expense Management

Payroll is tough enough—but you also have to think about employee benefits, bonuses, and overtime pay. Choosing a payroll system with additional financial options lets you keep track of these expenses—ensuring an accurate budget at the end of the day. For more advanced expense management, you could also consider expense management software.

9. Reliability

Since payroll software is automated, there’s no reliance on employees to get the job done every pay period. These systems are highly reliable, helping to ensure employees are paid accurately and on time.

10. Available Customer Support

If you’re not a payroll pro yourself, having an expert available to help whenever an issue arises is crucial to your business operation. 

When you choose a high-quality payroll system, you’ll have 24-hour support when you need it—software professionals can walk your HR department through how the system works and give you tips for a streamlined process.

Now that you know the potential benefits of investing in payroll software, let’s take a look at some features you’ll likely find beneficial for your company's needs.

5 Key Features Of Payroll Software

The following features are what you’ll want to look for when considering your own choice of payroll management software. 

These options make payroll a breeze and ultimately lead to more satisfied employees. Here are 5 major payroll software features:

1. Payroll management

Payroll software allows you to calculate bonuses, employee expenses, and overtime and holiday pay. You can also easily print checks for those team members who don’t enroll in direct deposits. Payroll reports are easy to run and give you a sense of overall business operations. 

2. Direct deposit

Payroll software manages your team’s direct deposits without you having to think about it. It will pay employees automatically and correctly—significantly reducing errors. Direct deposit also makes payday a lot easier for your team members. 

quickBooks automated payments example screenshot
Example of QuickBooks automated payments.

3. Time and attendance tracking

A bonus of payroll processing software is that it also helps you maintain employee time and attendance records. This feature allows your human resource department to look at daily activity or run payroll reports to view overall employee leave information within a pay period or over time. 

4. Income tax filing

Payroll software takes the guesswork out of calculating taxes, withholdings, insurance, and retirement contributions—it can also generate tax payments and payroll forms for you. Imagine the time you’ll save when you don’t have to manage these requirements every year for every employee. 

5. Employee Self-Service

Many payroll software options allow employees access to update their own information. Allowing access leads to transparency and will enable them to handle questions and changes independently. Staff can view their payment history, change their personal information, and change payment preferences as needed. 

Make your payroll system work for you—when employees are reliably paid on time with transparency and your human resource team can view big-picture results, you’ll see a more satisfied workforce.

Related read: payroll software features.

Example Of Payroll Software

Let’s take a quick look at an example—ADP GlobalView Payroll.

adp mypay tab screenshot
Screenshot of ADP MyPay tab.

ADP GlobalView Payroll combines payroll and HR into a unified system that’s easily configurable to work with your existing platforms. 

It’s a great option for multinational companies because it lets you combine payroll information for all employees into one system–regardless of their location. This ability to streamline saves hours of time for HR staff and allows management to see it all in one place. 

ADP GlobalView features include customizable employee dashboards and the ability to view pay periods side-by-side to compare. It also allows for employee self-service—including mobile access. This self-service option is another huge time-saver for HR staff.

adp self service option screenshot
Screenshot of ADP self-service option

ADP’s directory includes 3,000 payroll and compliance specialists - so you can rest easy knowing your company is in compliance with regulations worldwide. 

How To Choose The Right Payroll Software For Your Organization?

As you research and consider different payroll software options, ask yourself these questions:

Will the software integrate with your current systems?

When you bring on payroll software, you don’t want the hassle of changing other systems, too. During the procurement stage, be sure to check if the platform will integrate with the systems and applications you already have.

Is the software easy to use for both employees and management?

The best payroll solution is easy to navigate for all users. Make sure to look for smart, built-in processes employees find easy to access and maneuver. When employees can make changes to their personal information, it saves time for everyone. 

Can the software be easily configured for your current and future needs?

When you choose a new payroll service, think about the needs of your business now and in the future. Will this software meet your company's growth in the next year? In the next five years? Think about the big-picture vision of your org and choose a payroll system that will grow with you. 

Is the software compatible with businesses of your size?

While payroll software benefits companies of all sizes, some platforms may be created for businesses of a specific size and this will impact pricing. Be sure to choose a system that aligns with the needs and resources of your org.

Related read: how to make a business case for HR software

Interested In Getting A Payroll System?

As a business owner, the decision to add payroll software is an important one, and it’s worth taking time to do some research to find the best fit.

If you’re not ready to make a commitment, trying out free payroll software may be the way to get started—but you’ll usually have to pay for some options like direct deposit. 

To help get you started, check out our pick of the best payroll software, best payroll software for small businesses or the best online payroll software.

If you're reading this from Canada, I also recommend checking out our list of the best Canadian payroll software for CAD businesses too.

By Brandy Bischoff

Brandy Bischoff is the Deputy Chief of a public-safety organization in the United States. While she’s had successes as a manager, she’s always working to become better in her role and wants to learn all she can about leadership. She believes deeply in treating people with respect no matter the circumstance, exercising patience, and continued learning in all aspects of life. Brandy believes in the guidance provided within her writing and hopes it’ll help other leaders learn and become better too. Outside of her full-time career, Brandy is passionate about her loving and supportive friends and family, and she follows her passion for writing when the kids go to bed.