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There are so many different automated payroll tools, so making a shortlist of the best can be tricky. You want to calculate employee wages, deduct taxes, process payments, and maintain compliance—and now need the right tool for your company and team to do so. In this post, I share from my personal experience as an HR specialist, using many different payroll platforms with both large and small teams, and share my picks of the best automated payroll software.

What is Automated Payroll Software?

Automated payroll software is a digital system that efficiently handles employee salary calculations, tax deductions, and payment disbursements, ensuring accuracy and compliance. Features include wage calculation, tax withholding, direct deposit processing, compliance with tax laws, benefits management, and generating payroll reports.

A company might invest in automated payroll software for accurate, efficient payroll processing, time-saving, compliance with tax laws, error reduction, and better financial record-keeping.

Overviews Of The 10 Best Automated Payroll Software

Here’s a brief description of each automated payroll software that showcases each system’s best use case and noteworthy features. I’ve also included a screenshot for each to show you their user interface too.

Best automated payroll software for international payments

  • Free demo available
  • Flat rate user pricing, with free HR tool for businesses
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Rating: 4.8/5

Deel is a comprehensive automated payroll software that lets you take care of multi-country payroll processes in one central platform. This modern solution takes the guesswork out of calculating taxes, deductions, and other pay-related information. With Deel, employers can save time and money while ensuring their employees are paid on time and accurately.

Deel’s employer of record service uses their in-house payroll team to take care of local payroll details like 13th month pay or accrued vacation. Through its intuitive dashboard, companies can make one single mass payment, with Deel automatically initiating direct deposits and payslips. Deel also includes automated tax filing features that help streamline the entire process from beginning to end. 

To pay contractors, Deel supports many contract types and offers a number of withdrawal services like Wise and Payoneer. Moreover, this automated payroll platform offers security features such as two-factor authentication for added peace of mind when processing payments.

You can integrate Deel with your accounting and reporting software with pre-built integrations or by connecting through the Deel Open API to automate and sync data across your HR tech stack. Key native integrations include Ashby, BambooHR, Expensify, Greenhouse, Hibob, Netsuite, Okta, OneLogin, Quickbooks, SCIM, Xero, Workday, and Workable.

Overall, Deel is an ideal choice for businesses looking for an efficient way to manage their payroll process without dealing with manual entry or working with multiple platforms. 

Deel offers flat pricing upon request, as well as a free demo.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Also offers employer of record (EOR) services
  • Covers up to $25,000 if a misclassification/legal case arises
  • Choose from 150+ currencies, including crypto

Cons:

  • No free trial is available
  • No mobile app available

Best for error-free payroll auditing using the power of AI

  • Free trial available
  • EOR from $650/employee/month or $2/contractor/month; Global payroll from $3 to $12/employee/month
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Rating: 4.5/5

Papaya Global is a global work operating system (OS) that helps businesses manage their global payroll, payments, and workforce. It's designed for companies with employees in multiple countries since it's built to handle the complexities of international payroll and compliance.

I chose Papaya Global because it's more than just another payroll tool. It's specifically designed for businesses with a global workforce, which is becoming more and more common these days.

Also, its powerful automation engine takes care of all the calculations and compliance requirements for you, meaning you won't have to worry about making mistakes or missing deadlines. It does this by incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) into its software, which automatically audits your payroll data to ensure it's error-free before you process payroll.

There are several other features that also make Papaya Global stand out from the competition. It has a very intuitive user interface, which makes it easy to navigate and find what you need, which is always a bonus in my books. It also has a great reporting feature that gives you insights into your global payroll and workforce, helping you make better data-driven decisions so you can further optimize your operations.

Integrations are available with numerous other tools, to help you get the most out of their automations. Key systems to note include popular HR platforms like HiBob, Namely, Netsuite, Oracle HCM, SAP SuccessFactors, and UKG Pro, so you can easily sync your employee data.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Includes integrations with payment providers like Payoneer and TransferWise
  • AI-based data verification features proactively detects anomalies
  • Supports contractor payments too

Cons:

  • Complex pricing structure due to many different services offered
  • Small onboarding fee for some services

Best automated payroll software for one-click payroll runs

  • Free demo available
  • From $8/month/user
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Rating: 4.8/5

With Rippling’s payroll service, you can pay employees and contractors in minutes, wherever they are. The software syncs all your HR data with payroll so performing a payroll run is as easy as clicking ‘Run.’ 

Rippling automatically handles compliance work, ensuring that all relevant forms, laws, and regulations are managed appropriately. It also manages payroll tax filing, submitting files to all relevant authorities at the right time.

Businesses can also customize their paid-time-off policy, then review and approve time-off requests easily. All information is synced with payroll. The software features a library of pre-built reports, plus the ability to create custom ones.

Rippling integrates with software platforms such as Dropbox Business, Gmail, Google Docs, Google Drive, Google Workspace, PayPal, Slack, and Trello.

Pricing for Ripping starts at $8/user/month, and a free demo is available. 

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Continuously improved and updated
  • Tracks both billable and non-billable hours
  • Only pay for what you need

Cons:

  • Reporting options are limited
  • Lack of phone support
  • Some users have reported issues with non-Chrome browsers

Best for automating payroll in multiple countries and multiple currencies

  • Free demo available
  • From $199/employee/month for EOR and $25/mo for contractors
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Rating: 4.3/5

Remofirst is a global employment platform that enables companies to hire and manage remote teams across the world without the need to establish local legal entities.The platform is designed to assist HR departments, finance teams, and legal professionals in navigating the complexities of international employment, making it easier for companies to access and manage a global workforce.

Remofirst's automated payroll software is designed to handle the complexities of international payroll processing for finance teams. The software supports payroll operations in over 170 countries, allowing businesses to process payroll in multiple currencies while ensuring compliance with local tax regulations. You can summarize your invoices to aggregate them into one payment, rather than paying each international employee individually. Your global employees will be paid in their country's local currency.

Remofirst, acting as an Employer of Record (EOR), also assumes the legal responsibility for employment and payroll compliance, reducing the administrative burden on companies. It provides a solution for managing payroll for international contractors, ensuring compliance with local employment laws, visas, and work permits, and conducting necessary background checks.

Remofirst integrates well with Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Calendar, Salesforce, HubSpot, QuickBooks, Xero, ADP Workforce Now, BambooHR, and Sage.

Remofirst costs from $199/employee/month for EOR and $25/mo for contractors. A free demo is also available.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Helps in managing remote teams
  • Offers excellent customer support services for users
  • Easy-to-use interface

Cons:

  • May require additional training for full utilization
  • Limited scalability for larger teams
  • Lacks user interface customization options

Best for secure HR management

  • 30-day free trial
  • From $160/month for up to 49 employees
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Rating: 4.1/5

ADP Workforce Now is a cloud-based human capital management solution that serves mid-sized and large companies across various industries. It provides a suite of tools to support HR functions such as talent management, payroll, benefits, time management, compliance, and HR services. The platform is designed to help employers manage their workforce and HR operations with a single database and a user-friendly interface.

This software is designed to automatically handle payroll calculations, tax withholdings, and the issuance of employee payments, aiming to maintain accuracy and compliance with relevant tax laws. It also integrates time and attendance data with payroll, which can assist in managing labor costs and reducing errors. 

The platform additionally includes tools for talent management, benefits administration, and HR services, aiming to unify human capital management (HCM) compliance processes. 

ADP Workforce Now integrates well with Quickbooks, Workday, Sage, Deputy, JazzHR, ZipRecruiter, Greenhouse Recruiting, Brainier, Slack, and Aloha.

Pricing for ADP Workforce Now starts at $160/month for up to 49 employees. A 30-day free trial is available.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Includes a mobile app
  • Documents can be kept on file for easy downloading
  • Provides good technical support

Cons:

  • Site can be difficult to navigate
  • Some find the registration process too complicated
  • Software can be clunky

Best automated payroll solution for incorporating tips and commissions

  • 30-day free trial
  • From $6/employee/month + $40/month base fee
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Rating: 5/5

OnPay is a small business payroll solution designed to do the heavy lifting for small businesses. Payroll can be run on any schedule, including multiple payroll schedules for different employees. 

The software withholds all payroll taxes on each pay run, makes tax payments, and files the appropriate tax forms. Both W-2 and 1099 contractors can be paid from the same dashboard by direct deposit, debit card, or cheque. 

Garnishments can be set up with a couple of clicks, with details automatically reported in paystubs and expense reports. OnPay also allows you to easily incorporate extra payments such as tips or commissions. The system includes advanced reporting, with the option to filter by employee type, location, or department. 

OnPay integrates with popular platforms such as Deputy, PosterElite, QuickBooks Desktop, QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Time, Xero, and When I Work.

Pricing for OnPay starts at $6/user/month plus a $40/month base fee. A 30-day free trial is also available. 

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Unlimited payroll runs at no extra cost
  • Affordable on a small budget
  • Includes a wide range of HR features

Cons:

  • Limited benefits enrollment features
  • Limited tier plans
  • No live phone support on weekends

Best automated payroll software for small businesses needing built-in time tracking

  • From $5/user/month
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Rating: 4.4/5

Square Payroll is an online payroll solution that helps businesses pay employees and handle payroll tax. Features include tools for automated tax filing, payroll process automation, and employee benefits management. 

The software allows companies to track workers' compensation and ensure payroll compliance at all times. Managers can easily manage salaried employees, hourly employees, and contractors. 

Employees are paid based on the hours worked, with data automatically pulled from the Square Point of Sale app. The system also calculates paid time-off and the total labor cost for each employee. 

Square Payroll integrates with various payment processing tools, accounting software, and employee management systems, including Square POS and QuickBooks.

Pricing for Square Payroll starts at $5/user/month. There is no free trial.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Mobile app for employees
  • W-2 preparation makes tax filing easy
  • Clean, easy-to-use interface

Cons:

  • No ability to schedule same-day payments
  • The employer dashboard is basic
  • Needs better reporting

Best automated payroll software for paying international contractors

  • 30-day free trial
  • from $40/month plus $6/staff member
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Rating: 4.3/5

Gusto offers a payroll and HR software solution designed to be both smart and easy to use. You can run payroll as often as you need with no extra charges, setting everything up with just a few clicks. 

The software calculates taxes and files with the appropriate government agencies every time you run payroll. Employee I-9s and W-2s, and contractor 1099s are stored and organized online, so there are no forgotten forms or signatures. You can also use Gusto to pay international contractors in 80 different countries. 

The payroll platform is designed to work seamlessly with other Gusto tools, covering areas such as health insurance, 401(k), workers’ compensation, time tracking, and PTO. Time tracking with geolocation is included, ensuring that everyone gets accurate payments.

Gusto integrates with popular platforms such as Clover, QuickBooks, Trainual, TSheets, and Xero. 

Pricing for Gusto starts at $6/employee/month plus a $40/month base fee. A 30-day free trial is also available.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Simple to use and navigate
  • Saves time on payroll processing
  • Employee-friendly mobile app

Cons:

  • No document signing capabilities
  • Hard to navigate at first
  • The app offers limited features

Best automated payroll software for small businesses needing additional HR tools

  • 90-day free trial
  • Pricing upon request

RUN Powered by ADP is an automated payroll solution designed primarily for small business owners. You can choose from a basic payroll system to a full suite of HR tools and services, according to the needs of your organization. 

Payroll features include automatic tax calculations and deductions, submission of quarterly or annual reports, and automatic compliance updates. You can also integrate time tracking with the payroll system to manage payments to remote or hourly employees. 

You can access everything from a personalized dashboard, including the next payroll, priority to-dos, payroll history, and quick navigation. Step-by-step instructions make it easy to organize payroll tasks, with clear guidance provided.

RUN integrates with software such as ClockShark, Ease, JazzHR, JobScore, and QuickBooks Time.

RUN Powered by ADP offers customized pricing on request, and a 90-day free trial is available.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Clear navigation
  • Integrated time tracking

Cons:

  • Payroll cannot be changed after posting
  • The Employee Access Hub can be glitchy
  • Customer service can be slow

Best automated payroll software for tight budgets

  • Free trial available
  • Pricing upon request

Wagepoint is a payroll solution that calculates wages for employees and contractors and facilitates direct deposit of payments. Features include automatic tax calculations, year-end reporting, and form preparation. 

The software automates withholding, contributions, and compliance for federal, state, and local income tax, Social Security and Medicare (FICA taxes), and Federal and State Unemployment Tax (FUTA/SUTA) (FUI/SUI). Deposits can be set on monthly or semi-weekly schedules.

Wagepoint will also calculate overtime, bonuses, and commission payments. It can also incorporate deductions for savings plan contributions or health insurance, and manage paid time off.

Wagepoint integrates with accounting software such as Quickbooks Online and Xero. 

Pricing for Wagepoint starts at $4/user/month. You can use the software for free until you run your first payroll.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Easy to navigate
  • Helpful knowledge base
  • Excellent customer support

Cons:

  • Limited range of reports
  • Servers may be busy when you run payroll
  • Only suitable for smaller businesses

The 10 Best Automated Payroll Software Comparison Chart

Here’s a comparison chart that summarizes basic details about each of my top automated payroll software selections. You can view pricing details and the availability of free trials or demos side-by-side to help you find the best software for your budget and business needs.

Tools Price
Deel Flat rate user pricing, with free HR tool for businesses
Papaya Global EOR from $650/employee/month or $2/contractor/month; Global payroll from $3 to $12/employee/month
Rippling From $8/month/user
Remofirst From $199/employee/month for EOR and $25/mo for contractors
ADP Workforce Now From $160/month for up to 49 employees
OnPay From $6/employee/month + $40/month base fee
Square Payroll From $5/user/month
Gusto from $40/month plus $6/staff member
RUN by ADP Pricing upon request
Wagepoint Pricing upon request
Preview Image - <h2 class="c-block__title b-summary-table__title c-listicle__title h3" > Compare Software Specs Side by Side</h2>

Compare Software Specs Side by Side

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

Compare Software

Other Options

Here are a few more worthwhile options that didn’t make the best payroll software solutions list:

  1. UKG Pro Payment Service

    Best automated payroll software for scalable payroll technology

  2. Patriot Payroll

    Best automated payroll software for value for money

  3. SurePayroll

    Best automated payroll software for small businesses and households employing staff

  4. Paychex Flex

    Best automated payroll software for a voice-enabled, hands-free payroll experience

  5. Paycor

    Best automated payroll software for pre-scheduling payroll cycles

  6. QuickBooks Online

    Best automated payroll and tax filings for small businesses

  7. QuickBooks Payroll

    Best automated payroll solution for incorporating tax penalty protection

  8. Insperity

    Best for streamlined management of small and medium sized businesses

  9. Justworks

    Best for automating payroll tax payments

  10. TriNet

    Best automated payroll software for a completely paperless payroll process

Selection Criteria for the Best Automated Payroll Software

Wondering how I selected the best automated payroll software for this list? I'm happy to explain my methodology.

I began my selection process by creating a long list of online payroll software with positive user ratings. I then dug into each system deeper to confirm the availability of automations and other user-friendly features.

Lastly, to make my final selections, I turned to my selection criteria below. I used these criteria as a framework to compare each payroll system to the next. Doing so allowed me to uncover the clear winners in the pack when it comes to automated payroll capabilities.

Here’s a summary of the selection criteria I used to pick the best payroll software solutions for this list: 

Core Functionality

In order for a software to make it onto my list, it had to have some of the basic functionality I’d expect of an automated payroll tool. Here’s exactly what I was looking for:

  • The ability to run payroll through the platform, ensuring employees receive their correct wages on time each pay period.
  • Some form of automation to help streamline your payroll process. For example, automated workflows, automated tax filings, automated payroll data management, or some other type of automation.

Key Features

Beyond the core functionality I’ve outlined above, here’s a list of the key payroll software features I saw coming up frequently in my research:

  • Employee benefits administration: The ability to provide employees with health insurance and health benefits, wage garnishments, workers compensation, and other employee benefits management features.
  • Time management: Many platforms offer employee time tracking, PTO management, and scheduling to connect hours directly with payroll processing, ensuring accurate paychecks.
  • Payment options: You might be able to pay employees via direct deposit into their bank account, pay in multiple currencies, or offer same-day and next-day payments for contractors.
  • Employee self-service: Some payroll solutions provide an employee portal or mobile app where staff can access their paystubs, tax forms, and other pay related documentation.
  • Payroll tax filing: Many solutions will support your tax filing for federal or local taxes with the IRS, CRA, and state or provincial tax-collecting bodies.
  • Payroll reports: Tools should offer some basic payroll reporting and analytics capabilities to help you with records keeping and basic payroll tracking.
  • HR features and add-ons: Additional HR tools might also be available, like an employee database or customizable employee profiles.

Usability

I selected automated payroll software that’s user-friendly and intuitive to navigate. It should be easy for your human resources and accounting teams to find the features they need so they can process payroll efficiently. I looked for cloud-based solutions that are accessible from any location, and took the user interface into account in my assessment.

Integrations

The software integrations available in a payroll management platform are super important. I looked for tools that connect with popular HR software like ADP as well as invoicing and accounting software like QuickBooks. Some also have integrations with employee onboarding tools, ensuring new hires fill out all the paperwork needed to get paid.

Pricing

Many of these tools have a subscription model with a cost per employee, per month, and some also have a base fee on top of that. The starting price per employee per month can range from $4 all the way to $60 and up. Many providers offer various pricing tiers and models to meet the different business needs of startups and small businesses, midsize companies, and large businesses or enterprise organizations.

It's crucial for HR professionals, business leaders, and managers to stay informed about emerging trends. These trends can not only streamline payroll processes but also address key challenges in talent management, compliance, and organizational efficiency.

AI-Powered Payroll Processing

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing payroll software by automating complex calculations and tax compliance.

It addresses the need for efficiency and compliance in organizations, particularly in tech and finance sectors, where precision is paramount. AI's ability to adapt to changing tax laws and perform real-time data analysis reduces human error, ensuring compliance and freeing up HR professionals to focus on strategic roles.

Integrated Talent Management Systems

We're seeing that integrating payroll systems with broader talent management solutions is gaining momentum. We really like this, because the approach is holistic and addresses key needs in talent retention, particularly in sectors like healthcare. Key aspects include:

  • Employee Performance and Satisfaction: In industries where these are closely tied to payroll and benefits, integration is crucial.
  • Unified Employee Lifecycle Management: From recruitment to retirement, these systems provide a comprehensive view.
  • Enhanced Decision-Making and Engagement: Facilitates informed decisions and boosts employee engagement through streamlined processes.

This integration represents a significant shift towards more cohesive and efficient HR management, directly impacting organizational success.

Mobile Payroll Applications

Mobile payroll applications are gaining traction, directly addressing the challenges of hybrid and remote work environments. These applications offer flexibility and accessibility, allowing employees and managers to manage payroll tasks from anywhere.

Note: This is particularly useful for small businesses and startups where agility and adaptability are key to managing a distributed workforce.

Real-Time Payroll Data Analytics

The emergence of real-time analytics in payroll software is reshaping strategic decision-making. This trend is particularly significant for its role in:

  • Understanding Compensation Trends: Vital for COOs and CEOs focused on optimizing financial performance.
  • Insight into Workforce Costs: Provides a clear picture of financial implications in workforce management.
  • Informed Compensation Strategies: Aids in making decisions that directly affect talent retention and organizational growth.

Real-time analytics offer a dynamic tool for leaders to navigate the complexities of payroll and compensation, ensuring informed and effective management strategies.

Pro tip: Dive deeper into HR metrics for successful payroll implementation with our guide that covers 40 different metrics you should be tracking.

For HR and leadership professionals, grasping automated payroll software trends is vital for addressing organizational challenges. These trends enable improved efficiency, compliance, and strategic decision-making, essential for organizational success. Keeping up with these developments is key to maintaining a competitive, resilient workplace.

Automated Payroll Software: FAQs

If you have questions about automated payroll software and what it has to offer, these answers to frequently asked questions are a great place to start:

What is an automated payroll system?

Payroll software has come a long way, and pretty much every payroll software provider on the block includes some sort of payroll automation. Payroll and other types of HR automation can benefit your organization by reducing manual workloads, mitigating errors, and streamlining your workflows.

Typical automations you can expect within payroll are integrated time tracking that calculates employee wages based on timesheet data, automatic calculations for taxes and other withholdings, calculations for stat holiday pay and other payroll taxes, the creation of pay statements (pay stubs), and automatic direct deposits.

If your workforce is complex and you need additional customer support, you could also consider a full-service payroll option (sometimes called managed payroll). With full-service payroll, you’re outsourcing your payroll process to a third-party to get it off your plate completely. It’s a good option to know about, especially for small businesses. Often, full-service payroll providers offer additional HR services as well.

What are the main benefits of using an automated payroll system?

There are a number of benefits that come with implementing payroll software. It’s a form of HR support that can alleviate the workload of your in-house HR specialists. An automated payroll system helps businesses manage all the complexities of processing employee salaries, leave entitlements, taxes, compensation, and employee information.

Using a good software package ensures everyone gets paid on time while mitigating risks, errors, and mistakes. It will free staff to work on other matters, manage tax filing, create reports, and allow employees to update their own records.

Are there any free automated payroll software options?

There are some free payroll software options on the market, but for the most part the free options are available as a trial period or a limited version of the tool. There are also some small business payroll software that might provide more cost-effective options. It can be tricky to figure out how to manage payroll as a small business owner, so having tools that are specifically designed for your needs can be a big help.

Automated Payroll Software Alleviates Your Workload

Payroll software is a $46 billion market, and it’s growing at around 11% per year. So we can expect continuing innovation from every service provider through additional product launches and updates. To stay up-to-date, I recommend you sign up for our newsletter so we can let you know when new information is available.

By Kim Behnke

Kim Behnke is an HR Tool Expert & Writer for People Managing People. She draws on her 9 years of human resources experience and her keen eye for systematic processes to support her analyses of the top HR tools on the market. She is passionate about maximizing efficiencies and streamlining workflows to ensure internal systems run smoothly. Kim's HR experience includes recruitment, onboarding, performance management, training and development, policy development and enforcement, and HR analytics. She also has degrees in psychology, writing, publishing, and technical communication, and recently completed a Certified Digital HR Specialist program through the Academy to Innovate HR. When away from her desk, she can usually be found outside tending to her ever-expanding garden.