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10 Best Automated Payroll Software to Save Teams Time in 2022

Best Automated Payroll Software Shortlist

Here’s my shortlist of the best automated payroll software systems that I’ll cover in detail in this article:

  1. Rippling

    Best automated payroll software for one-click payroll runs

  2. Paycor

    Best automated payroll software for pre-scheduling payroll cycles

  3. OnPay

    Best automated payroll solution for incorporating tips and commissions

  4. Gusto

    Best automated payroll software for paying international contractors

  5. Paychex Flex

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

  6. Wagepoint

    Best automated payroll software for tight budgets

  7. UKG Pro Payment Service

    Best automated payroll software for scalable payroll technology

  8. Square Payroll

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

  9. SurePayroll

    Best automated payroll software for small businesses and households employing staff

  10. Patriot Payroll

    Best automated payroll software for value for money

What’s the best automated payroll software for your business? Of course, the answer depends very much on your specific requirements and business needs. 

In this article, I’ll evaluate the top software tools in this niche and show you where each one excels. That way, you can make an informed decision about the most effective way to automate payroll efficiently. 

Payroll is an essential function in any organization, so getting this right is critical. With the right software, you can ensure happy employees, proper compliance, and a smooth-running operation. Let’s get into the details and find out which tool is the best match for you. 

Selection Criteria

Wondering what I look for when selecting the best automated payroll software for this list? Here’s a summary of my selection criteria: 

  1. User Interface (UI): I look for automated payroll software that admins will find intuitive and easy to understand.
  2. Usability: I expect a good tool to have all the essential features within easy reach.  
  3. Software integrations: I’m seeking pre-built connections to the most popular HR and business platforms.
  4. Price: I look for automated payroll systems that are affordable on a per-user basis.

Automated Payroll Software: Key Features

When evaluating payroll providers, I prioritized apps that offer essential features such as:

  1. Time tracking: Automated payroll software should offer time-tracking for hourly employees, making it easy to record all hours worked.
  2. Expense management: For industries involving reimbursable employee expenses, the software should automate the expense reporting and payment process.
  3. Direct deposit: Employees should be able to receive instant, convenient access to their earnings in the bank account of their choice. 
  4. Compensation management: Tools to easily adjust compensation packages so organizations can remain competitive in the talent marketplace.
  5. Employee self-service: The best automated payroll systems allow employees to update their profiles with new information such as their address and bank account number.
  6. Payroll reports: Good software offers both out-of-the-box reports for quick insights, plus the ability to create customized reports for industry-specific purposes.
  7. Statutory Compliance: Any payroll solution must comply with the legal and regulatory norms in all areas where the company operates.
  8. Tax Filing: I recommend software with built-in tax tables that are automatically updated as tax rates change.
  9. Multiple currencies: The software should facilitate currency conversion, generate reports for each currency, and process all currencies from a centralized workflow.
  10. Wage garnishment: Any automated payroll software must allow all wage garnishment orders to be executed efficiently. 

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 their noteworthy features, plus some screenshots to give you a snapshot of their user interface. 

1

Rippling

Best automated payroll software for one-click payroll runs

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. 

Free demo available

From $8/employee/month

Pros

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

Cons

  • Some users have reported issues with non-Chrome browsers
  • Lack of phone support
  • Reporting options are limited
2

Paycor

Best automated payroll software for pre-scheduling payroll cycles

Using Paycor, you can transform the way you process payroll. Features include general ledger integration, OnDemand Pay, AutoRun functionality, employee self-service, and management reporting tools. 

The system guides users through the process, helping them make real-time calculations before payroll runs. Admins can schedule payroll for a specific day and time without further manual intervention.

Paycor is regularly updated to keep you in step with local, state, and federal laws. You can engage and retain your workforce with flexible pay options like direct deposit and pay cards. In addition, earned wage access gives employees access to a portion of their earnings after each shift.

Paycor integrates with software applications such as Benefit Allocation Systems, Boss Insights, GoCo, MyEnroll360, SwipeClock, and WorkforceHub.

Paycor offers customized pricing on request. A free consultation is also available. 

Free demo available

From $99/month + $5/employee/month

Pros

  • Well known for ease of use
  • Offers customizable reports
  • Saves you time, and money

Cons

  • The time card process is not robust
  • The software occasionally freezes
  • The interface is outdated
3

OnPay

Best automated payroll solution for incorporating tips and commissions

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, and a 30-day free trial is available. 

30-day free trial

From $4/employee/month plus an additional base fee of $36/month

Pros

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

Cons

  • No live phone support on weekends
  • Limited tier plans
  • Limited benefits enrollment features
4

Gusto

Best automated payroll software for paying international contractors

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. 

Gusto offers customized pricing on request, and a free demo is available.

30-day free trial

From $39/month base fee

Pros

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

Cons

  • The app offers limited features
  • Hard to navigate at first
  • No document signing capabilities
5

Paychex Flex

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

Paychex Flex allows you to enter and run payroll in as few as two clicks using the mobile payroll app or hands-free via a voice assistant service. The software automates payroll processing while integrating employee data with HR systems. 

The mobile app allows employees to access important payroll information, such as the dates and amounts of upcoming checks. In addition, the Voice Assist features allows managers to receive real-time payroll data insights.

They can review and approve rate changes, add new employees, or submit cheques for payday. All of this is done using secure, voice-enabled technology to offer a completely hands-free experience. 

Paychex Flex integrates with major business tools such as ApplicantStack, AxisCare, BambooHR, Buddy Punch, Built for Teams, Time Tracker, Xero, and Quickbooks Online.

Paychex Flex offers customized pricing on request.

Request a free demo

Pricing upon request

Pros

  • One-stop self-service for employees
  • Intuitive and easy to use
  • Keeping track of employee vacation time is easy

Cons

  • Occasional glitches with payroll deductions
  • Limited functionality for contractors
  • Some users have reported problems clocking in
6

Wagepoint

Best automated payroll software for tight budgets

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.

Free trial available

Pricing upon request

Pros

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

Cons

  • Only suitable for smaller businesses
  • Servers may be busy when you run payroll
  • Limited range of reports
7

UKG Pro Payment Service

Best automated payroll software for scalable payroll technology

UKG Pro Payment Service aims to make tax filing and wage attachment disbursement less time-consuming, stressful, and prone to errors. This HR support solution helps businesses reduce risks, avoid penalties, and process filings or payments promptly. 

The technology is modern and scalable, to support growing organizations. You can control, run, and automate payroll in ways that match your needs—improving efficiency and reducing the number of manual processes.

UKG Pro Payment Service ensures that employees are paid quickly, consistently, and fairly. The process is designed to be transparent, so employees find it easy to access and understand their pay.  

UKG Pro integrates with many other software platforms via the UKG Pro Connector Hub API Explorer.

UKG Pro Payment Service offers customized pricing upon request.

Pricing upon request

Pros

  • Quarterly software updates
  • Very customizable
  • Easy to navigate

Cons

  • Mobile app has limited features
  • Time & tracking features need enhancement
  • Reporting could be improved
8

Square Payroll

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

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.

From $5/user/month

Pros

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

Cons

  • Needs better reporting
  • The employer dashboard is basic
  • No ability to schedule same-day payments
9

SurePayroll

Best automated payroll software for small businesses and households employing staff

SurePayroll is a cloud-based payroll service for small businesses and households that employ staff such as nannies. It offers resources for tax form submission and legal compliance, payroll calculation, and direct deposits. Federal, state, and local taxes are calculated automatically.  

You can automate regular payroll runs, make necessary changes, and get reminders before processing begins. It’s also easy to manage payroll runs from anywhere using their mobile app. 

The reporting module offers insights into payroll, employee data, and health benefits. You can view and download customizable reports and eliminate manual errors using the integrated time clock. 

SurePayroll integrates with accounting software such as Kashoo, QuickBooks, Sage 50, and Xero.

Pricing for SurePayroll starts at $19.99/user/month, and a 60-day free trial is available. 

60-day free trial

Pricing upon request

Pros

  • An intuitive interface
  • Employee self-serve system
  • Simple navigation

Cons

  • Terminology can sometimes be confusing
  • Some features are outdated
  • Onboarding can be confusing
10

Patriot Payroll

Best automated payroll software for value for money

Patriot Payroll is an integrated HR solution and payroll management system that streamlines processes associated with payroll and tax submissions. It can maintain payroll records, print cheques, establish direct deposits, generate payroll reports, and submit state and federal taxes.

Staff can access their payroll and related financial information through their personalized employee portal. Built-in reporting helps them generate their year-end reports and print W2 forms for tax reporting. 

Patriot Payroll includes everything you need to complete payroll runs easily. Reports are a breeze to create, download, or print, and can be shared as PDF or CSV files. The software is available in basic payroll or full-service packages. Patriot gets the highest user ratings for value for money in the payroll software sector. 

Patriot Payroll integrates with solutions such as Patriot HR and Patriot TIME.

Pricing for Patriot Payroll starts at $17/month plus $4/employee/month. A free demo is also available.  

Free demo available

From $17/month + $4/employee/month

Pros

  • Easy to use and reliable
  • Easy to pay both employees and contractors
  • A cost-effective solution

Cons

  • Some payroll reports are hard to understand
  • No international support
  • No app for employees

The 10 Best Automated Payroll Software Summary

Tool Free Option Price
1
Rippling

Best automated payroll software for one-click payroll runs

Free demo available

From $8/employee/month Visit Website
2
Paycor

Best automated payroll software for pre-scheduling payroll cycles

Free demo available

From $99/month + $5/employee/month Visit Website
3
OnPay

Best automated payroll solution for incorporating tips and commissions

30-day free trial

From $4/employee/month plus an additional base fee of $36/month Visit Website
4
Gusto

Best automated payroll software for paying international contractors

30-day free trial

From $39/month base fee Visit Website
5
Paychex Flex

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

Request a free demo

Pricing upon request Visit Website
6
Wagepoint

Best automated payroll software for tight budgets

Free trial available

Pricing upon request Visit Website
7
UKG Pro Payment Service

Best automated payroll software for scalable payroll technology

Not available

Pricing upon request Visit Website
8
Square Payroll

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

Not available

From $5/user/month Visit Website
9
SurePayroll

Best automated payroll software for small businesses and households employing staff

60-day free trial

Pricing upon request Visit Website
10
Patriot Payroll

Best automated payroll software for value for money

Free demo available

From $17/month + $4/employee/month Visit Website

Other Options

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

  1. QuickBooks Payroll

    Best automated payroll solution for incorporating tax penalty protection

  2. RUN by ADP Payroll

    Best automated payroll software for small businesses needing additional HR tools

What are the Main Benefits of an Automated Payroll System?

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. 

Other Payroll Resources

Payroll software is a $46 billion market 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. 

You may also like to check out our articles on what payroll software is, payroll software features, and how to manage payroll for small businesses

Thanks to automated payroll software, you can now give your business an edge in a competitive world. And, with the help of People Managing People, you can stay at the cutting edge of any new developments.

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. When away from her desk, she can usually be found outside tending to her ever-expanding garden.

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