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Choosing the right payroll software for a single employee can be tough if you’re completely new to payroll processing. You know you need software to help you manage payroll efficiently and accurately, but need to figure out which payroll provider is best. Using my extensive knowledge and experience testing different payroll systems, I can help you find the right fit.

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Best Payroll Software for One Employee: Pricing Comparison Chart

This comparison chart summarizes pricing details for my top payroll software selections for managing one employee to help you find the best software for your budget and business needs.

Tools Price
Deel Flat rate user pricing, with a free version for businesses with up to 200 people
Paylocity Pricing upon request
Square Payroll From $5/user/month + $29/month base fee
Wave From $16/user/month
Gusto From $40/user/month
Knit From $43/month
Wagepoint From $4/employee/month + $20/month
Payworks From $44/employee/month
ADP Pricing upon request
Paychex From $39/month + $5/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.

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How to Choose Payroll Software for One Employee

As you work through your own unique software selection process, keep the following points in mind:

  • Ease of Use: The software should be user-friendly and intuitive, especially if you’re managing payroll yourself in-house.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Ensure the software fits within your budget while offering the necessary features. Some payroll providers also offer contractor-only plans, which are an affordable option for small businesses.
  • Tax Compliance: The software should automatically calculate and file payroll taxes to ensure compliance with federal, state, and local regulations.
  • Integration Capabilities: The ability to integrate with other business tools like accounting software can streamline your operations and cut down on data exporting or manual data entry requirements. 
  • Scalability: Choose software that can grow with your business easily. You’ll want to keep your options open in case you need to onboard more new hires in the near future.

Best Payroll Software for One Employee Reviews

Here are my detailed summaries of the best payroll software and services that are suitable for paying a single employee. For each system, I’ve included pros and cons, features, and notes on why I included them in this list.

Best for global payroll and compliance

  • Free demo available
  • Flat rate user pricing, with a free version for businesses with up to 200 people
Visit Website
Rating: 4.8/5

Deel is a payroll and compliance platform that helps businesses and organizations with their global payroll needs. It is designed to simplify the complexities of hiring and paying remote employees anywhere in the world. With a focus on compliance and ease of use, Deel allows businesses to onboard employees, manage payroll, and ensure adherence to local labor laws.

Why I picked Deel: Deel offers a good payroll solution for businesses hiring one employee due to its flat rate per-user pricing, making it cost-effective for small-scale employers. Additionally, if you're looking to hire one person from anywhere in the world, Deel provides an efficient solution that handles all payroll-related tasks. Its platform ensures that even with just one employee, you can manage payroll in multiple currencies, automate payments, and maintain compliance with local regulations.

Standout features and integrations:

Features include automated payroll, multi-currency support, local benefits, tax handling, compliance documentation management, Employer of Record (EOR) services, in-house visa support, time off logging, and expense reports.

Integrations include Greenhouse, Hibob, Netsuite, Ashby, BambooHR, Expensify, Okta, OneLogin, Quickbooks, SCIM, Xero, Workday, and Workable.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Automated payroll features
  • Compliance with local labor laws
  • In-house visa support

Cons:

  • No mobile app available
  • Potential learning curve for new users

Best for comprehensive payroll and HR management

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

Paylocity is a cloud-based payroll and human capital management software designed for small businesses. It provides a unified product suite that includes payroll processing, time and attendance tracking, benefits administration, and employee self-service, making it a robust solution for managing all HR needs.

Why I picked Paylocity: I chose Paylocity for its extensive range of features that cater to both payroll and HR management. It stands out due to its ability to integrate various HR functions into a single platform, helping small businesses consolidate their HR operations. I believe Paylocity is best for comprehensive payroll and HR management because it offers a holistic approach to managing employee-related tasks, from payroll to benefits and compliance.

Standout features and integrations:

Features include payroll processing, time and attendance tracking, benefits administration, and employee self-service. It also includes compliance management and talent management tools.

Integrations include QuickBooks, Xero, ADP, Gusto, Paychex, Square, Patriot, OnPay, Wave, and Knit.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Helpful automation capabilities
  • Great mobile app for administrators and employees
  • Comprehensive HR management

Cons:

  • Some advanced features are difficult to use
  • Charges a setup fee for implementation

Best for integrations with POS systems

  • From $5/user/month + $29/month base fee
Visit Website
Rating: 4.4/5

Square Payroll is a payroll software designed for small businesses, offering transparent pricing with no hidden fees or long-term commitments. It helps organizations manage payroll for employees including tax filings, and payments, as well as time tracking, shifts, overtime, commission, bonuses, and tips. Plus, it can also manage independent contractor payments too.

Why I picked Square Payroll: I chose Square Payroll for its ability to integrate with POS systems, which is crucial for businesses that rely heavily on point-of-sale transactions such as retail, hospitality, or other service-based businesses. This integration ensures that payroll processes are streamlined and synchronized with sales data, reducing manual entry and errors. For those reasons, I believe Square Payroll stands out for its ability to handle both payroll and POS needs efficiently.

Standout features and integrations:

Features include automated tax filings, direct deposit, time tracking, and management of multiple pay rates, commissions, bonuses, and tips. It also provides next business day payroll with a Square balance or checking account and integrates fully with the Square ecosystem, including Square Team Management.

Integrations include Square POS, Square Appointments, Square Invoices, Square Online Store, QuickBooks, Xero, Gusto, ADP, Paychex, and Patriot Software.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Next business day payroll
  • Automated tax filings
  • Easy POS integration

Cons:

  • No free plan available
  • Base fee required

Best for integrated accounting and payroll features

  • 30-day free trial + free plan available
  • From $16/user/month
Visit Website
Rating: 4.4/5

Wave offers payroll software designed for small businesses, with integrated features to help users manage payroll and accounting tasks. It simplifies payroll processes with features like direct deposit, tax calculations, and employee self-service.

Why I picked Wave: I included Wave in this list because of its integrated accounting software, which is helpful for small businesses that need to manage both payroll and accounting tasks efficiently. Wave is best for small businesses needing integrated accounting and payroll software because it connects payroll with Wave's accounting software, reducing manual bookkeeping and ensuring accurate financial records.

Standout features and integrations:

Features include automatic tax remittances, direct deposit, and employee access to pay stubs and tax forms. Outside of its payroll abilities, Wave also offers invoicing, bookkeeping, and cash flow management tools, all of which are available for free. If you scale up to their paid plan, Wave platform also offers receipt scanning and direct bank account and credit card connections for automatic transaction import, which simplifies bookkeeping.

Integrations include Wave Accounting, Wave Invoicing, Wave Payments, QuickBooks, Xero, FreshBooks, and PayPal.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Employee self-service
  • Automatic tax filings
  • Integrated accounting

Cons:

  • No mobile app
  • Limited to certain states

Best for all-in-one payroll and HR solutions

  • Free demo available
  • From $40/user/month
Visit Website
Rating: 4.3/5

Gusto is a comprehensive payroll software designed to manage payroll, benefits, and HR for small businesses. It is best for all-in-one payroll and HR solutions because it integrates payroll processing, benefits administration, and HR management into a single platform.

Why I picked Gusto: I chose Gusto for its robust combination of payroll and HR features, which makes it stand out from other payroll software. Gusto's all-in-one platform simplifies managing payroll, benefits, and HR tasks, making it the best choice for businesses seeking a comprehensive solution.

Standout features and integrations:

Features include automated payroll and tax filing, employee benefits management, time tracking, and compliance support. It also provides tools for hiring and onboarding, performance reviews, and employee development.

Integrations include QuickBooks, Xero, FreshBooks, TSheets, When I Work, Deputy, Clover, Expensify, Trainual, and Zapier.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Employee benefits management
  • Automated tax filing
  • Comprehensive HR tools

Cons:

  • No free plan available
  • Limited to US-based businesses

Best for Canadian small businesses and solo entrepreneurs

  • 30-day free trial
  • From $43/month

Knit is a comprehensive payroll and HR software designed specifically for Canadian small businesses and solo entrepreneurs. It offers automated payroll calculations, direct deposits, tax filings, and HR management.

Why I picked Knit: I chose Knit for its ability to combine payroll processing with HR functionalities and services that are tailored to Canadian small businesses and Canadian regulations. I believe Knit is best for Canadian small businesses and solo entrepreneurs because it simplifies compliance and administrative tasks, allowing businesses to focus on growth.

Standout features and integrations:

Features include automated payroll calculations, direct deposits, tax filings, HR management, time and attendance tracking, and compliance management. 

Integrations include QuickBooks Online, Xero, and other popular accounting tools.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • User-friendly interface
  • Automated tax filings
  • Comprehensive payroll and HR integration

Cons:

  • No free plan
  • Limited to Canadian businesses

Best user-friendly payroll for small businesses

  • Free trial available
  • From $4/employee/month + $20/month

Wagepoint is a payroll software designed for small businesses, offering features such as one-click payroll, automated tax handling, and an online employee portal. It is known for its user-friendly interface and flexibility, making payroll processing easy for both employees and contractors.

Why I picked Wagepoint: I chose Wagepoint for its simplicity and ease of use, which stands out among payroll software options. Its user-friendly interface and comprehensive support make it ideal for small businesses. I believe Wagepoint is best for user-friendly payroll for small businesses because it offers intuitive features that streamline payroll processing, making it accessible even for those with limited payroll experience.

Standout features and integrations:

Features include one-click payroll, automated tax handling, and an online employee portal. These features ensure that payroll processing is quick and efficient, reducing the administrative burden on small business owners. 

Integrations include QuickBooks, Xero, TSheets, Deputy, 7Shifts, Track, and other time-tracking applications, allowing for seamless data transfer and enhanced functionality.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Comprehensive support
  • Automated tax handling
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Occasional errors when you run payroll
  • Limited advanced features

Best for Canadian businesses needing compliance support

  • Free demo available
  • From $44/employee/month

Payworks is a payroll software solution that provides expert payroll services, compliance assistance, and year-end support. They offer a stress-free onboarding process and ensure compliance with legislation.

Why I picked Payworks: I chose Payworks for its strong focus on payroll compliance support tailored specifically for Canadian businesses. Their dedicated service representatives and automated compliance features make it stand out from other payroll solutions. I believe Payworks is best for Canadian businesses needing compliance support because it offers auto updates on legislation, tax form filing, and expert support.

Standout features and integrations:

Features include direct deposit, auto filing of tax remittances and WCB premiums, unlimited payroll previews, and continuous enhancements. 

Integrations include Microsoft Excel, Simply Accounting, QuickBooks, Absence Management, Time Management, and Service Canada.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Unlimited payroll previews
  • Automated compliance updates
  • Dedicated service representatives

Cons:

  • No free plan
  • Limited to Canadian businesses

Best for compliance and support for small businesses

  • Free demo available
  • Pricing upon request

ADP offers comprehensive payroll services tailored for small businesses, ensuring compliance and providing robust support. It automates payroll tasks, including tax calculations and filings, to save time and reduce errors.

Why I picked ADP: I chose ADP for its strong focus on compliance and support, which are critical for small businesses. ADP stands out due to its extensive experience and resources dedicated to helping businesses navigate complex payroll regulations.

Standout features and integrations:

Features include automated tax calculations, direct deposit, and compliance tools. 

Integrations are available with various HR and accounting systems, including QuickBooks, Xero, and more.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Scalable solutions
  • Strong customer support
  • Comprehensive compliance tools

Cons:

  • Limited customization options
  • Higher cost for additional features

Best for responsive customer support

  • Free demo available
  • From $39/month + $5/employee/month

Paychex offers a comprehensive suite of payroll and HR services tailored to small businesses. It simplifies payroll processing, tax payments, and employee self-service through an easy-to-use platform.

Why I picked Paychex: I chose Paychex for its robust integration of payroll and HR services, which stands out among other payroll solutions. The seamless integration allows small businesses to manage payroll, hiring, and benefits in one platform, making it highly efficient and user-friendly. Paychex is also known for its responsive customer support which is available 24/7 via phone or live chat, making them a good choice for users who want extra guidance.

Standout features and integrations:

Features include easy payroll setup, automated payroll taxes, 24/7 support, and a mobile app for employers and employees. 

Integrations are available with many popular business tools, including QuickBooks, Xero, Sage, BambooHR, Deputy, Oracle, Xero, Aetna, American Funds, and Bank of America.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • 24/7 support
  • Automated tax payments
  • Offers comprehensive HR services

Cons:

  • Limited to US-based businesses
  • Additional HR features are only available as add-ons

Other Payroll Software for One Employee

If you still haven't found what you're looking for here, check out these other related tools that we've tested and evaluated:

Selection Criteria for Payroll Software for One Employee

Selecting payroll software for one employee involves evaluating the features and functionalities that serve this specific use case, including typical software buyer needs, and pain points. As a software-testing expert who has personally tried and researched many different payroll tools, I focused on the following criteria to create this list:

Core Payroll Software Functionalities (25% of total score): To be considered for inclusion in this list, each solution had to fulfill these common use cases first:

  • Calculating wages and deductions
  • Generating pay stubs
  • Direct deposit capabilities
  • Tax filing and compliance
  • Year-end reporting

Additional Standout Features (25% of total score): To help me find the best software out of numerous available options, I also kept a keen eye out for unique features, including the following:

  • Integration with accounting software
  • Mobile app access
  • Customizable reporting
  • Automated reminders for tax deadlines
  • Self-service portals for employees

Usability (10% of total score): To evaluate the usability of each system, I considered the following:

  • Intuitive dashboard design
  • Simple navigation menus
  • Drag-and-drop functionality for scheduling
  • Clear and concise user interface
  • Minimal learning curve

Onboarding (10% of total score): To get a sense of each software provider's customer onboarding process, I considered the following factors:

  • Availability of training videos
  • Interactive product tours
  • Pre-built templates
  • Chatbots for instant help
  • Webinars for in-depth training

Customer Support (10% of total score): To evaluate the level of customer support each vendor offered, I considered the following:

  • 24/7 support availability
  • Multiple support channels (phone, email, chat)
  • Knowledge base and FAQs
  • Response time and resolution efficiency
  • Personalized support options

Value for Price (10% of total score): To gauge the value of each software, I considered the following factors:

  • Transparent pricing models
  • Cost-effectiveness for small businesses
  • Free trial or demo availability
  • No hidden fees
  • Competitive pricing compared to similar tools

Customer Reviews (10% of total score): Evaluating customer reviews is the final element of my selection process, which helps me understand how well a product performs in the hands of real users. Here are the factors I considered:

  • Overall satisfaction ratings
  • Feedback on ease of use
  • Comments on customer support quality
  • Reviews on feature effectiveness
  • User testimonials on value for money

Using this assessment framework helped me identify the software that goes beyond basic requirements to offer additional value through unique features, intuitive usability, smooth onboarding, effective support, and overall value for price.

The landscape of payroll software is evolving rapidly, especially for small businesses and sole proprietors. Below, I’ve summarized several key trends that are emerging and shaping the future of payroll management for single-employee setups and larger workforces:

  • AI and Automation in Payroll Processing: AI and automation are revolutionizing payroll processing by streamlining routine tasks and enhancing accuracy. Automated data entry, tax calculations, and compliance management reduce errors and free up valuable time for strategic activities. This trend is crucial as it makes payroll functions faster, more cost-effective, and less prone to human error.
  • Real-Time Payroll Analytics and Insights: The demand for real-time insights into payroll data is increasing. Modern payroll software now incorporates analytics tools that offer instant access to critical payroll metrics. This empowers businesses to make data-driven decisions, track labor costs, and adapt payroll strategies promptly, enhancing overall financial planning and resource allocation.
  • Integration with Accounting Software: Integrating payroll software with accounting systems is becoming a must-have feature. This integration allows for seamless data transfer between systems, eliminating manual data entry and reducing errors. It provides a comprehensive view of financials, making it easier to track expenses and stay on top of budgeting.
  • Mobile Payroll Solutions: As remote work becomes more prevalent, the demand for mobile payroll solutions is rising. Employees can now view their pay stubs, make changes to personal information, and submit time-off requests through mobile apps. This flexibility is essential for maintaining efficiency in non-traditional work settings.
  • Financial Wellness Programs Integrated with Payroll: Recognizing the importance of employee well-being, financial wellness programs are being integrated with payroll systems. These programs offer tools for budgeting, saving, and investment planning, helping employees manage their financial resources better. This integration promotes financial literacy and stability, contributing to employee satisfaction and retention.

Collectively, these trends emphasize automation, real-time analytics, integration, mobility, and employee well-being, making payroll management more efficient and effective overall.

What is Payroll Software for One Employee?

Payroll software for one employee refers to payroll systems that are designed to manage and automate the payroll process for a single worker. Small business owners or freelancers commonly use it to ensure accurate and timely payment, tax calculations, and compliance with labor laws.

The software typically includes components such as salary calculation, tax deduction, direct deposit, and payroll reporting. It simplifies the payroll process by automating calculations, generating pay stubs, and maintaining records for tax purposes.

Features of Payroll Software for One Employee

When managing payroll for a single employee, it's essential to choose software that simplifies the process and ensures accuracy. Here are the most important features to look for in payroll software designed for one employee:

  • User-Friendly Interface: A simple and intuitive interface makes it easy to navigate and manage payroll tasks without extensive training.
  • Automated Calculations: The software should automatically calculate taxes, deductions, and net pay to reduce errors and save time.
  • Direct Deposit: This feature allows you to pay your employee directly into their bank account, ensuring timely and secure payments.
  • Tax Filing Assistance: The software should help you prepare and file payroll taxes, ensuring compliance with federal and state regulations.
  • Customizable Pay Schedules: Flexibility in setting pay schedules allows you to align payroll with your business needs and employee preferences.
  • Reporting Capabilities: Access to detailed payroll reports helps you track expenses and maintain accurate records for audits and financial planning.
  • Employee Self-Service: This feature allows your employee to access their pay stubs and tax forms online, reducing administrative workload.
  • Compliance Management: The software should stay updated with the latest labor laws and tax regulations to ensure your payroll practices are compliant.
  • Customer Support: Reliable customer support is crucial for resolving any issues or questions that arise during payroll processing.
  • Integration with Accounting Software: Seamless integration with your existing accounting software helps maintain accurate financial records and simplifies bookkeeping.

Choosing payroll software with these features ensures that managing payroll for a single employee is efficient, accurate, and compliant with regulations. This allows you to focus on other important aspects of your business.

Benefits of Payroll Software for One Employee

Payroll software can be a valuable tool even for businesses with just one employee. It simplifies payroll processes, ensures compliance, and saves time, making it an essential investment for small businesses. Here are several benefits you can expect to gain by using payroll software for a single employee:

  • Improved Accuracy: Payroll software reduces the risk of human error, ensuring that calculations for wages, taxes, and deductions are precise.
  • Increased Time-Saving: Automating payroll tasks frees up time that can be better spent on other business activities, increasing overall productivity.
  • Improved Compliance: The software helps ensure that all payroll processes comply with current tax laws and regulations, reducing the risk of legal issues.
  • Reliable Record-Keeping: It provides a reliable way to store and manage payroll records, making it easy to access historical data when needed.
  • More Cost-Effective: Investing in payroll software can be more economical than hiring a payroll service or dedicating significant time to manual payroll processing.

Using payroll software for a single employee can bring significant advantages, from improved accuracy to cost savings. It allows small business owners to focus on growing their business while ensuring that payroll is handled efficiently and correctly.

Costs & Pricing for Payroll Software

When considering payroll software for a single employee, it's essential to understand the different pricing models and plans that are available. Below, I’ve summarized the most common plan options for payroll software, in general. However, please note that if you are only paying one employee, you can most likely make due with a Basic plan to start. 

Plan Comparison Table for Payroll Software

Plan TypeAverage PriceCommon Features
Free Plan$0Basic payroll processing, direct deposit, employee self-service, and tax calculations
Basic Plan$17/month + $4/employeePaychecks, direct deposit, printable W-2s, setup, and expert support
Standard Plan$39/month + $6/employeeFull-service payroll, tax filing, employee self-service, and direct deposit
Premium Plan$80/month + $12/employeeAdvanced HR tools, next-day direct deposit, PTO management, and performance tracking
All-Inclusive Plan$40/month + $6/employeeFull-service payroll, onboarding, support, and unlimited payroll runs
A breakdown of plan types, costs, and features for payroll software.

When selecting a payroll software plan, consider the specific needs of your business and the features that will provide the most value. Free plans are suitable for minimal needs, while premium plans offer extensive features for growing businesses. Evaluate each plan's features and pricing to find the best fit for your payroll requirements.

Payroll Software for One Employee FAQs

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions you may have about payroll software and how it works:

How much does payroll software typically cost for one employee?

The cost of payroll software for one employee can vary widely. Basic plans can start as low as $10 per month, while more comprehensive solutions may cost upwards of $40 per month. Some providers also offer pay-per-use models, which can be cost-effective for very small businesses.

Can payroll software handle tax filings for a single employee?

Yes, most payroll software can handle tax filings for a single employee. Software like Gusto and QuickBooks Payroll automatically calculate, file, and pay federal, state, and local payroll taxes, ensuring compliance with tax regulations.

Is it easy to set up payroll software for just one employee?

Setting up payroll software for one employee is generally straightforward. Most platforms offer step-by-step guides and customer support to help you through the process. You’ll need to input basic information such as employee details, pay rates, and tax information.

Can I switch payroll software easily if I only have one employee?

Switching payroll software with only one employee is usually a simple process. Most payroll software providers offer support for data migration and setup. Ensure you have all necessary employee and payroll data ready for a smooth transition.

Do I need customer support for payroll software if I only have one employee?

Even if you only have one employee, having access to customer support can be crucial. Issues like tax filings, compliance questions, or software glitches can arise, and having reliable customer support can help resolve these problems quickly.

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Faye Wai
By Faye Wai

Faye Wai is a HR Technology Analyst and contributor to People Managing People, with a background in branding, public relations, and content marketing. She has vet vendors as an end-user in both consultancy and in-house capacities, providing her with a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities within the people operations sector.