Skip to main content

There are seemingly countless online payroll software solutions available, so figuring out which is best for you is tough. You want to automate employee payment, deduct taxes, and handle compliance, but need to figure out which tool is the best fit. In this post, I make things simple, leveraging my experience as an HR administrator using dozens of different online payroll tools, and bring you this shortlist of the best online payroll software.

What is Online Payroll Software?

Online payroll software is a cloud-based solution that enables you to automate and simplify your organization’s payroll process. It helps business owners and HR professionals manage employee wages while keeping track of payroll tasks, deductions, benefits, PTO, and tax withholdings. Being "online" simply means that it's payroll software that offers in-browser/app access from anywhere via wifi, as well as real-time data updates for all users simultaneously.

Overviews of the 10 Best Online Payroll Software

Here you’ll find brief descriptions of my top 10 picks for the best online payroll software. I’ve explained each system’s best use case, noteworthy features, and pros & cons, and included a screenshot to demonstrate their user interface too.

Plus, there are 10 additional bonus options below, if you’d like even more payroll systems to consider.

Best online payroll software for managed global payroll

  • Free demo available
  • Flat rate user pricing
Visit Website
Rating: 4.8/5

Deel is a payroll software that enables companies to hire international specialists without having to outsource their work to local payroll providers.

Why I picked Deel: Deel handles your government declarations, tax calculations, tax filings, and compliance in over 90 countries so you don’t have to. As a fully managed payroll solution, Deel gets your team up and running in a month and offers support 24/7 to you and your international staff.

Deel’s payroll reporting feature breaks down your expenses by country and allows you to adjust your team’s pay with ease. Deel also helps you find and onboard international specialists from over 150 countries, allowing you to expand your recruitment pool. The company also gives you salary benchmarks for different markets, so you can pay your global employees fairly.

Deel Standout Features and Integrations

Features include fixed payments, milestone payments, pay-as-you-go, automation, tax calculations, contractor payments, and two-factor authentification.

Integrations include Ashby, BambooHR, Greenhouse, HiBob, Lever, NetSuite, QuickBooks, Slack, Workday, Xero, and others.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Automates your payroll and taxes
  • Detailed dashboards
  • Knowledgeable support staff

Cons:

  • The contract templates could be simplified
  • Limited invoice customization

Best online payroll software for global organizations

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

Rippling is an online payroll platform that helps global organizations pay their remote workers in local currencies.

Why I picked Rippling: Rippling allows you to deposit wages directly into local bank accounts around the world without having to rely on third-party service providers or suffer expensive conversion fees. The software also calculates and files payroll taxes for your remote workers, and allows you to automate many of your administrative tasks.

Rippling’s Time & Attendance feature helps your team members keep track of their billable hours with ease. The software allows employees to clock in and out of work and automatically syncs their approved hours with your payroll, accounting, and HR software.

Rippling Standout Features and Integrations

Features include domestic and international payrolls, an organization chart, expense management, talent management, local tax filing, country-specific compliance, and international benefits programs.

Integrations include 1Password, 15Five, Asana, Brex, Checkr, GitHub, Google Workspace, Human Interest, Slack, Zoom, and others.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Automatically highlights possible data errors
  • Stores all your company data in one place
  • Simple onboarding and offboarding process for international employees

Cons:

  • App can take a while to load in areas with slow internet
  • Mobile app lacks some features that are available on the desktop and browser versions

Best online payroll software for small businesses

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

OnPay is a cloud-based payroll software that helps small business owners onboard and pay employees without difficulty. 

Why I picked OnPay: OnPay has a straightforward interface that’s friendly toward novice users. The tool’s starting tutorial is comprehensive and explains how to use the payroll features in great detail, making the onboarding process smooth and short. 

OnPay makes it easy for you to change pay rates and hours, adjust tax rates, and approve payroll. The software notifies you if holidays could influence the payroll processing time and prevent your workers from getting their paychecks on time, so you can adapt your timing. OnPay also alerts you when it’s time to approve your automated payrolls, sign HR paperwork, and so on. 

OnPay Standout Features and Integrations

Features include unlimited pay runs, tax filings and payments, employee self-service, automated onboarding, direct messaging, PTO management, and benefits management.  

Integrations include Deputy, Guideline, Mineral, PosterElite, QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Time, Vestwell, When I Work, Xero, and others.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Fast direct deposits
  • Good mix of HR functions designed for small businesses
  • Proactive support team

Cons:

  • The process of adding employees to workflows can be confusing
  • Reports could be easier to customize

Best for easily paying global teams in multiple currencies

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

Remofirst is a global employment services platform that enables businesses to hire and manage remote teams internationally.

Why I picked Remofirst: Remofirst provides an employer of record (EOR) service, which allows companies to legally employ staff in over 170 countries without establishing a local entity, thus handling payroll, taxes, and benefits on their behalf. This service is particularly beneficial for online payroll software, as it simplifies the complexities associated with international payroll compliance and tax regulations.

Additionally, Remofirst manages international contractors, ensuring that contract creation, payment processing, and compliance with local laws are streamlined. Furthermore, Remofirst's workforce management capabilities integrate with online payroll systems to maintain accurate employee records and streamline administrative processes.

Remofirst Standout Features and Integrations

Features include invoice management, benefits management, onboarding and offboarding, time and attendance tracking, garnishment processing, RemoHealth health insurance, and an employee cost calculator.

Integrations include third-party payment providers, such as Wise and PayPal.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Includes personalized customer support
  • Offers visa and immigration services
  • Provides good value for money

Cons:

  • May not support all international currencies
  • No free version or trial

Best online payroll software for startups

  • Free demo available
  • From $39/month + $5/employee/month
Visit Website
Rating: 4.2/5

Paychex Flex is a payroll software solution that helps startups run payroll and manage their workforce with a single solution.  

Why I picked Paychex Flex: Paychex Flex enables you to track your team’s daily hours, manage time sheets, approve PTO, and oversee benefits in one place. The solution offers a self-service portal where employees can access digital copies of their pay stubs, see their contributions, and manage their retirement accounts, making it easy for them to access their data. 

With Paychex Flex, you can schedule your payrolls and approve them before payday with ease. You can schedule multiple runs in the same pay period, and you can oversee your work on the mobile app. The solution also gives you access to extra HR features as add-ons for additional fees. 

Paychex Flex Standout Features and Integrations

Features include payroll processing, payroll tax filing, a garnishment payment service, paycheck preview and approval, new-hire reporting, and a mobile app. 

Integrations include Ashby, BambooHR, Clover, Deputy, HIREtech, iCIMS, Indeed, Oracle Netsuite, QuickBooks Payroll, and others.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Helps you save time with payroll filters and saved views
  • Knowledgeable representatives
  • 24/7 specialized service for US clients

Cons:

  • Automatically creates multiple subfolders, making it difficult to find the right files at times
  • Adding pay categories could be easier

Best online payroll software for real-time reporting

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

ADP Workforce Now is an online payroll software that makes it easy for business managers and operations specialists to oversee their businesses with real-time reports. 

Why I picked ADP Workforce Now: ADP Workforce Now enables you to create a central database for all your workforce data, from payroll to benefits and talent acquisition. The software’s time and attendance tracking feature makes it easy to keep your company’s costs under control and optimize your workflows for maximum productivity. 

ADP Workforce Now helps you discover trends and patterns with customizable team dashboards that provide real-time visibility into your organization’s labor costs. The tool’s predictive algorithms enable you to strategically plan your workforce, ensuring your business is well-equipped to handle both peak and slow periods. 

ADP Workforce Now Standout Features and Integrations

Features include payroll, workforce management, HR management, tax management, talent acquisition management, benefits administration, online employee enrolment, and reporting and insights. 

Integrations include 7Shifts, Dailypay, Greenhouse, Lever, QuickBooks, Sage, SAP SuccessFactors, Wave, Workday, Xero, and others.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Proactive support staff
  • Helps you keep track of all employee data, including salary, job, logistics, available vacation, etc.
  • Good variety of report templates

Cons:

  • Organization chart could be easier to manage
  • Has a learning curve

Best online payroll software for expense tracking

  • Free demo available
  • Pricing upon request
Visit Website
Rating: 4.5/5

Paylocity is an online payroll software that enables businesses to keep track of employee expenses and reimbursements without difficulty. 

Why I picked Paylocity: Paylocity’s expense tracking tool helps you identify all expenses with accuracy and automate your reimbursement process so your employees can get their money back faster. The software enables you to customize your payroll reports and accruals so you can run payroll exactly how you want to.

Paylocity offers a tax preparation service so that the company will handle all local, state, and federal taxes on your behalf. The platform also supports on-demand payment, allowing employees to get cash advances or pick their payday without interrupting your payroll.

Paylocity Standout Features and Integrations

Features include global payroll, expense management, a garnishment-managed service, time tracking, payroll automation, tax calculation, tax compliance, and on-demand payments.

Integrations include 7Shifts, Clover, Expensify, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Oracle Netsuite, QuickBooks Online, Sage, Square, Xero, and others.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Helpful reports
  • Makes running payroll easy
  • Modular build, so you can customize the solution to your needs

Cons:

  • UX can feel clunky at times
  • There are multiple modules, so configuring your solution can feel overwhelming

Best online payroll software for tax management

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

Gusto is an online payroll software that helps remote or hybrid companies set up and manage their taxes with ease. 

Why I picked Gusto: Gusto has a clean interface that’s easy to navigate. The solution enables you to set up your taxes at a state and federal level, ensuring compliance and making it easy to manage your employees’ taxes as well. In addition, Gusto also files your payroll taxes with the right government agencies, saving you time in the process. 

With Gusto, it’s easy to add new employees to your roster. You simply send the new hires an email to start the self-onboarding process, selecting the documents you want them to fill out. Employees can e-sign their paperwork like I-9s or W-4s, and the platform stores it so you can reference it at any time. 

Gusto Standout Features and Integrations

Features include automated tax filing, benefits tracking, time tracking, unlimited payroll runs, hiring and onboarding, talent management, an employee self-service portal, and analytics and reporting. 

Integrations include 15Five, 7Shifts, Accelo, ActiveCampaign, Amplitude, Asana, Ashby, Bluejeans, Breezy HR, Clover, and others.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Excellent reporting
  • Allows you to create custom reminders for payroll tasks
  • Easy onboarding

Cons:

  • Doesn’t allow you to fully automate contractor invoice payments
  • Benefits manager could be more user-friendly

Best online payroll software for compensation tracking

  • Free demo available
  • Pricing upon request
Visit Website
Rating: 3.9/5

Namely is an online human resources and payroll solution that enables managers to track employee compensation and easily update it.

Why I picked Namely: Namely’s interface is easy to navigate for both administrators and employees. The solution’s benefits wizard makes it easy to set up health benefits for your team members, regardless of their location.

Namely is great at tracking employee compensation and updating it based on the available data, so you can rest assured that the payment is handled correctly. The payroll processing feature is straightforward, allowing you to double-check and validate each report for increased accuracy.

Namely Standout Features and Integrations

Features include payroll reports, time management, benefits management, garnishment administration, state and federal tax calculations, tax filing, and automated salaried proration.

Integrations include Breezy, Greenhouse, Google Suite, JazzHR, Jobvite, Lever, Onelogin, Oracle Netsuite, Workable, and others.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Good at tracking historical data
  • Multiple customization options are available
  • Namely’s team does a great job at providing payroll and HR support

Cons:

  • Time management feature could offer more reporting options
  • Search feature could be more specific

Best online payroll software for AI-augmented payroll

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

Papaya Global is an online payroll platform that helps international organizations save time when running payroll with the help of AI.

Why I picked Papaya Global: Papaya Global enables you to double-check your payroll information with AI. The software’s algorithm tracks your budget, detects anomalies, and automatically executes some tasks, saving you time in the process.

Papaya Global offers payroll and compliance support in over 160 countries, including immigration and visa requirements. Their solution also enables your employees to view their payroll data in their local currency.

Papaya Global Standout Features and Integrations

Features include global payroll, expense management, benefits administration, onboarding, compliance, analytics, and reporting.

Integrations include BambooHR, Expensify, Google Workspace, HiBob, Okta, OneLogin, Oracle NetSuite, SAP SuccessFactors, Workday, and others.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Good reporting capabilities
  • Strong automation features
  • Helps you run payroll for employees located in over 160 countries

Cons:

  • The employee experience you can offer is limited by geographic location
  • Employee profiles could be more detailed

Online Payroll Software: Price Comparison Chart

This comparison chart summarizes basic details for my best online 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
Rippling From $8/user/month
OnPay From $6/employee/month + $40/month base fee
Remofirst From $199/employee/month for EOR and $25/mo for contractors
Paychex Flex From $39/month + $5/employee/month
ADP Workforce Now From $160/month for up to 49 employees
Paylocity Pricing upon request
Gusto From $40/month plus $6/staff member
Namely Pricing upon request
Papaya Global EOR from $650/employee/month or $2/contractor/month; Global payroll from $3 to $12/employee/month
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 online payroll software list:

  1. Paycor

    Best online payroll software for companies with small HR teams

  2. Patriot Software

    Best online payroll software for companies who collaborate with independent contractors

  3. Agile Hero

    Best for managing global teams

  4. QuickBooks Payroll

    Best online payroll software for simple time tracking

  5. PrimePay

    Best online payroll software for employee self-service

  6. Square Payroll

    Best online payroll software for field teams

  7. Zenefits

    Best online payroll software for advanced payroll features

  8. Ceridian Dayforce

    Best online payroll software for on-demand pay

  9. Workzoom

    Best online payroll software for error-free payrolls

  10. Paycom

    Best online payroll software for straightforward payroll runs

My Selection Criteria for the Best Online Payroll Software

Perhaps you're wondering how I selected the best online payroll software for this list? To build this top 10 list, I started by reviewing recent payroll market data to build a long list of vendors to research.

After determining my long list of top choices, I further honed my list by using the selection criteria below to see how each platform stacked up against the next one. I also drew on my years of HR experience updating payroll data myself to pinpoint the features that add a lot of value.

Here’s a short summary of the main selection and evaluation criteria I used to develop my list of the best online payroll software for this article:

Key Features

First and foremost, I made sure each of my top picks covered the following key features, which I consider to be essential for effective online payroll software:

  • Core payroll features: All the payroll software in this list cover the basics:
    • Payroll processing for hourly or salaried employees
    • Direct deposits into bank accounts
    • Digital pay statements (pay stubs) and annual earning statements
    • Payroll reports for each individual payroll run, plus year-end reports
    • Automatic payroll withholding for taxes owed to government bodies, such as the IRS, CRA, or others
  • Advanced payroll features: These are features that help differentiate the so-so payroll systems from the great ones. They include:
    • Same-day or next-day payroll deposits (sometimes described as pay-on-demand or earned wage access)
    • The option to make contractor-only payments
    • Global payroll processing capabilities in multiple currencies
  • Time-tracking tools: It's always better to have time-tracking features within your payroll software so you don't have to transfer data between systems. Doing so opens the door for human or technical errors, which can create a negative employee experience if your staff are not paid correctly.
  • Compensation management capabilities: This includes the ability to track different pay rates (e.g., salaries, hourly rates, overtime rates, vacation pay, paid leave, etc.) and changes to salaries over time.

For further details, take a look at our comprehensive list of payroll features you should know about to inform your own assessments.

Tax Management and Compliance Monitoring

Tax management can be difficult for companies that rely on remote workers. I chose tools that are always up-to-date with the latest legislative changes and simplify tax calculation and tax filing. Other important compliance monitoring features include:

  • Overtime payment calculation rules that comply with federal, state, and local laws
  • Employee classification tools to avoid potential misclassification and penalties
  • Leave entitlement accrual tracking that complies with the legal requirements of your jurisdiction

Ease of Use 

Running payroll can be complicated. The process of checking over timesheets, calculating expense reimbursements, and updating employee pay can also take a lot of time each month. I selected payroll solutions that are easy to use and help you save time in the process. 

Customization 

No two companies are the same. As a result, I picked solutions you can customize to your unique business requirements and payroll needs, such as earning types, pay schedules, expenses and deductions, and so on. 

Software Integrations 

It’s crucial to integrate your payroll solution with other apps you use on a daily basis, such as accounting software, human resources information systems (HRIS), HR management tools, benefits administration platforms, and so on. I selected platforms that offer a wide variety of native integrations or OPEN APIs you can connect to. 

Pricing

The cost of online payroll software will depend on your number of employees. You can expect to pay a standard monthly fee in addition to a fee per employee. I've included a range of options within this list, with scalable payroll plans to suit any business size.

Online payroll solutions are often cost-effective, but if budget is not a constraint, you might want to explore premium payroll software options for added features and customization.

Frequently Asked Questions about Online Payroll Software

Curious to learn more about online payroll software? Here are some answers to popular questions.

What are the main benefits of using an online payroll software?

The main benefits of using online payroll software are:

  • Accessible from anywhere: Modern solutions are mobile-friendly, providing access to the platform from anywhere in the world as long as there’s an internet connection. This helps hybrid or remote organizations manage their team’s payroll and benefits.
  • Payroll regulation compliance: Payroll regulations have a tendency to change often. Online payroll software providers constantly update their solutions so your company stays compliant with the latest changes to tax laws across numerous jurisdictions.
  • Error reduction: Manually keeping track of timesheets and payroll expenses can lead to errors. The best payroll software reduces this risk by storing all your payroll data in one place.
  • Tax management: Payroll software automatically calculates, withholds, and remits payroll taxes at a local, state, or federal level, making it easier to manage your taxes.
  • Benefits administration: Most online payroll tools enable you to manage employee benefits, such as PTO, health insurance, and retirement plans.

If you’d like to learn more, this article covering 10 key benefits of payroll software can take you on a deeper dive.

What’s the difference between online payroll software and full-service payroll?

The main difference between online payroll software and full-service payroll solutions is the level of service and support provided.

With online payroll software, you get a hands-on solution that enables you to manage your payroll in-house with the help of automated tools.

On the other hand, full-service payroll is typically a hands-off approach where you outsource your payroll management tasks to a third-party company. This approach involves a higher level of customer support that often includes dedicated account managers or payroll specialists.

For more on this topic, read our assessment of the pros and cons of payroll outsourcing or 4 reasons why you might want a payroll service.

What's the difference between online payroll software and on-premise payroll software?

The term “online payroll software” refers to payroll software that is hosted on the internet via a software cloud. Another name for it is “cloud-based payroll software.” In contrast, on-premise payroll software is installed and run from a server within an organization’s physical office and is, therefore, not accessible from outside the organization’s IT infrastructure.

Online, or cloud-based, payroll software is generally considered easier to use and is the preferred configuration for most organizations. Software updates and data backups are handled by the payroll host company. They also offer customer support for advanced troubleshooting, as needed. It’s suitable for businesses looking for flexibility, accessibility, limited maintenance, and lower initial costs.

On-premise payroll software requires more internal resources from your organization, including dedicated IT staff who are responsible for troubleshooting any issues, updating the software as needed, and ensuring your payroll data is sufficiently backed up. It is more appropriate for organizations that prefer having direct control over their data systems and have the necessary IT infrastructure to maintain them internally.

To learn more about these different options, read our detailed summary of payroll software costs, pricing models, and hidden fees.

Other Payroll Software Reviews

If this list didn't have exactly what you were hoping for, worry not. There are other types of payroll software out there that may be a better fit for your needs:

Or, if you're interested in learning more about the biggest payroll companies out there, my list of the best payroll companies is a good place to start.

More Resources for Payroll Pros

Trying to brush up on your payroll best practices? These detailed guides and how-to articles will point you in the right direction:

Manage Your Workforce Expenses Better with Online Payroll Software

Online payroll software helps you minimize human errors and makes it easier to stay compliant with the latest tax regulations. At the same time, this type of solution allows you to offer benefits to your remote or hybrid workers, reducing churn and increasing employee satisfaction. 

As Lisa Shuster, the Chief People Officer for iHire, said: [...] employers need to be creative and comprehensive with their total rewards strategy, which comprises compensation, benefits, developmental opportunities, recognition and other perks that motivate staff and enable a top-notch employee experience.

Consider offering mental health benefits, well-being and family caregiving support and financial planning services in your total rewards strategy. Invest in workers’ professional development with the idea that you can enable brighter futures through upskilling, internal career paths or debt-free college education. Though, flexibility is perhaps the most sought-after benefit of all.

Join Our Mailing List

If you found this article helpful, consider subscribing to our People Managing People newsletter. Our industry experts cover everything from how to master your payroll challenges, to how to capitalize on the latest compensation trends to keep your top talent in place. Plus, you'll get it delivered straight into your inbox for free.

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.