Payroll software is a form of accounting software loved by human resource departments and payroll administrators the world over.
These apps use automation to ease the administrative burden of the payroll process and help ensure everyone’s paid on time and correctly. They’re fundamental cogs in the business machine.
In this post, I’ll guide you through the best payroll software solutions on the market today.
Wondering what I look for when selecting the best payroll software solutions? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria that should inspire your decision-making process:
User Interface (UI): Payroll is just one of many HR and accounting duties so I’ve selected software that respects the time of its users with a simple UI that puts business critical information front-and-center.
Usability: I favor payroll tools that can be adopted by anyone. From large businesses to nonprofits, the payroll software should come with robust onboarding, free training materials like webinars or a blog, and easy-to-access customer support team.
Integrations: It’s helpful when payroll systems integrate with other software solutions for benefits administration and health insurance, timesheets, business intelligence, and other data analytics and reporting tools.
Value for $: Payroll software will range in what is covered in each pricing plan but scoring high in value for price might mean going above and beyond in offering payroll features like garnishments, industry pay rates analysis, tax compliance, and timesheets.
People Managing People is reader-supported. We may earn a commission when you click through links on our site — learn more about how we aim to stay transparent.
Overviews of the Best Payroll Software
Here’s a brief description of each of the payroll solutions that are featured within this payroll software comparison.
Oyster’s HR platform delivers fully-compliant online global payroll services with automatic local deductions, taxes, and contributions, no matter where your team is located. Their system is used successfully in over 180 countries to recruit and hire staff globally, with built-in tools to manage international payroll taxes and employment law. They also have carefully crafted compliance guardrails in place for local labor laws to ensure your company receives the legal protection you’ll need when operating in a new territory.
By using Oyster, you can pay international employees or independent contractors in their local currency, or reimburse them for out-of-pocket expenses too. Oyster’s system also includes a helpful employment cost calculator that can determine the cost of hiring a new employee in any country, including their required taxes and government contributions, plus the Oyster flat-fee, which varies depending on the country you’re hiring in. In addition, they have a built-in contractor misclassification assessment tool to help you determine whether a vacant position should be filled with a new employee or an independent contractor.
Oyster costs $399/employee/month and offers a free demo through their website. They also have a freemium plan with limited features for hiring and paying contractors only.
Papaya Global is an online payroll software that helps companies remove barriers to global hiring. Their automated, SaaS platform provides an end-to-end global workforce management solution—everything from onboarding to cross-border payments in 160+ countries.
The platform supports all employee options (payroll, EoR, contractors), integrates with all management tools, and uses smart technology to ensure compliance and eliminate errors. It creates a highly visible system for tracking payroll spending and real-time business intelligence (BI). Papaya Global can help any company simplify global people management. Enterprises can access Papaya’s state-of-the-art automation, security, and BI without replacing their existing payroll system.
Papaya Global integrates with most financial tools.
Papaya Global costs from $20/user/month and offers a free trial.
Remote empowers companies of all sizes to pay and manage full-time and contract workers around the world. Remote makes it possible for users to take care of international payroll, benefits, taxes, stock options, and compliance in over 50 countries.
Remote makes it easy to onboard and pay your contractors and employees in one modern, secure, cloud-based platform, freeing you and your team up to focus on more strategic work. Through Remote’s platform, you’ll have access to your most important employment documents, data, and HR processes, while Remote takes care of your localized payroll, benefits, compliance, IP protection, and taxes wherever your team works. Remote’s network of HR and legal experts stay on top of the nuances, changes, and complexities of local regulations to ensure full compliance with all relevant legislation at all times.
Remote also partners with powerful HR systems to connect people, payroll and HR data. Through Remote’s global employee API and native partner integrations, Remote empowers partners to leverage its global infrastructure in their offerings and help more customers scale their global teams faster.
Remote costs from $299/employee/month, based on country selection up to $599. Special pricing is also available for startups and social purpose organizations.
Rippling’s modern payroll system provides the robust functionality of legacy systems with the ease of newer systems to deliver the best of both worlds. It’s built on centralized employee data, so businesses can automate all of the admin work that’s normally required to run payroll and update employee information.
Rippling allows users to onboard new hires quickly and automatically, run payroll with a click, and pay employees or contractors, anywhere. Companies can also manage their employees’ offer letters, I-9s, health insurance, and time off.
Rippling integrates with Google Workspace, Typeform, Databricks, BrightHire, Atlassian, Google Workspace, Slack, Checkr, Zoom, GitHub, Asana, 1Password, Zendesk, Dropbox, Sage Intacct, Netsuite, Microsoft 365, QuickBooks, DocuSign, Upwork, LinkedIn, and dozens more.
Rippling costs from $8.00/user/month and offers a free demo.
Paycor’s Payroll is an easy-to-use yet powerful tool that can handle payroll, expense management, time and attendance, and more. You can quickly and easily pay employees from wherever you are and never worry about tax compliance again. Key features include flexible pay options, auto-run capabilities, powerful real-time reporting, and engaging employee self-service.
Paycor integrates with tools for wage and salary verification, expense management, employee wellness, certified payroll, and FMLA.
Paycor costs from $99 + $5/employee per month and offers a free trial.
ADP is a well-known and trusted HR software company with over 70 years of experience. Their cloud-based ADP Workforce Now product is a modern HCM solution that combines core HR functions with payroll processing, time and attendance tracking, talent management and benefits management. Their Workforce Now product is designed specifically for small to medium-sized businesses but can be scaled up to one of their more robust offerings as your business grows.
Key features included in their online payroll software are automatically calculated payroll taxes and year-end tax forms, the option to pay your workforce via direct deposit or physical cheques, and a tool to help you manage wage garnishments, if needed. Their add-on for time and attendance tracking also cuts down on a lot of administrative wrangling by linking employee work hours directly to payroll. Their software is also fully accessible on all web devices, and includes an employee self-service mobile app that lets staff view their pay history and compare pay periods side-by-side to examine any differences.
ADP Workforce Now is available in 140 countries, and integrates with many popular software systems, including Absorb LMS, Avionte, ClearCompany, Clockshark, Deputy, Dolce, FinancialForce, Infor, JazzHR, Oracle, PayActiv, PlanSource, QuickBooks, Replicon, Sage Intacct, SAP SuccessFactors, Sapling, TempWorks, Wave, When I Work, Workday, Xero, ZipRecruiter, 7shifts Restaurant Scheduling, and many more.
ADP costs from $160/month for up to 49 employees and offers a 30-day free trial. You can currently get 2-months free when you sign up for payroll processing.
Patriot Payroll is an online payroll service provider that helps small businesses grow on a budget. Their software includes free payroll setup, free 2-day direct deposits, and free USA-based customer support. They also offer an add-on for time & attendance tracking, which links employee work hours directly to your payroll processing module, plus an add-on for HR software if you don’t already have a digital employee database.
Patriot’s full-service payroll platform acts as a concierge for US-based businesses and takes care of their local, state, and federal taxes. The company’s customer service team also reaches out if they need more information to file your taxes, so you don’t have to worry about them yourself. Their system also includes a whole host of easy-to-access payroll reports covering tax credits, tax filings and deposits, payroll registers, paycheck histories, time-off reports, W-2 summaries, payroll tax liabilities, and more.
The highlight of using this payroll service provider is its effectiveness. The tool is simple to navigate and use. Their information database is comprehensive, so you can get a detailed guide on how to complete your tax files, and their customer support service is always there.
Patriot integrates with Intuit QuickBooks Online, GoCo, Plaid, Workforce.com, and WorkforceHub Time & Attendance.
Patriot costs $4/employee/month plus an additional base fee of $17/month. The company offers a 30-day free trial as well as a self-guided demo or personalized tour.
OnPay’s payroll platform helps organizations with payroll processing, managing HR functions, and integrating employee benefits, all in one place. Their software includes a full suite of payroll services and compliance settings for all 50 states. They also offer great customer service, with platform specialists available to help you set up your payroll process and automate your taxes, even if you don’t have any previous experience with this kind of software. As well, for no additional cost, they also provide special payroll services for niche industries like restaurants, farms and agriculture, churches and clergy, and nonprofits.
OnPay offers integrated benefits administration with deduction costs synced directly to payroll, reducing the need for manual data entry before you run payroll. Their team of licensed in-house insurance brokers can help you set up health, dental and vision plans with top providers such as Humana, Cigna, Blue Cross / Blue Shield, Aetna and UnitedHealthcare, or set up a 401k integration that automatically supports employer matching and profit sharing arrangements.
OnPay integrates with Deputy, Magnify, Mineral, PosterElite, QuickBooks, When I Work, Xero, and with the 401k retirement platforms America’s Best 401k, Guideline, and Vestwell.
OnPay costs from $4/employee/month plus an additional base fee of $36/month. A free 30-day trial is available, plus your first month of services are free.
QuickBooks Payroll promises big business benefits on a small business budget where users get up to $25,000 tax penalty protection, the ability to make same-day direct deposits, automated payroll runs, as well as automated payroll tax filing. On top of all that, managing payroll is easy with the help of their customer support services.
Due to its ease of use, errors and hours spent on payroll are significantly reduced. Their system also takes care of filing taxes and ensures you meet all of your state and federal obligations too.
QuickBooks is one of the most popular and trusted payroll software for small businesses on the market. Although that seems like a good thing, it makes getting access to a support expert harder than one would appreciate. Limitations on customization when working with employees in places with different tax computations might also make you think twice. QuickBooks really is best for small business owners with simple use cases.
QuickBooks Payroll integrates with 650 popular business apps including PayPal, Veem, Google Sheets, SaasAnt, Expensify, PaperEntry, BillBjorn, TimeSaver, ClockShark Time Tracking, Gusto, Run Powered by ADP, Guideline 401(k), Fundbox, Bill.com, and many others.
QuickBooks Payroll costs from $15/month and plans are 50% off if you purchase 3 months. Try it out for free for 30 days.
Namely offers medium-sized companies with big company problems a one-stop-shop platform for human resources needs. Features include an employee database, a payroll system, employee benefits administration, time off requests, clocking-in, payroll reports, talent management, and even a social news feed. It also has a resources section for handbooks and policies, as well as for professional development, and performance reviews.
Employees can easily request time off, plot sick leaves, and view their pay stubs in the self-service portal. The interface is user-friendly, easy to navigate, modern, and customizable. Onboarding new hires is easy and leaves a good first impression. HR departments and employees can also tap into Namely’s knowledge database filled with blogs, ebooks, and webinars.
If you require integrations with other business software, Namely will take some time to set-up. Baseline deployment and onboarding for Namely can take anywhere from 8-10 weeks (not unusual for powerful software solutions) but you’ll want to account for additional time for integrations, as it requires bouncing between multiple customer service lines.
One thing to be excited about is Namely’s 3000+ integrations through a paid plan with Zapier. You can connect Namely to applications such as Jira Software Cloud, Google Calendar, AirTable, Slack, LinkedIn, Microsoft Outlook, Salesforce, HubSpot, Mailchimp, Twitter, Discord, and Dropbox among others.
Namely costs from $12/user/month and offers a free demo.
Best Payroll Software Summary
Get your 1st hire free (max. $8,500 value), plus 10% off all new hires for 12 months
|From $399/employee/month||Check out Oyster|
|From $20/month/employee||Check out Papaya Global|
|From $299/employee/month||Check out Remote|
Free demo available
|From $8.00/user/month||Check out Rippling|
|From $99 + $5/employee per month||Check out Paycor|
30 days free trial
|From $160/month + 1st two months free||Check out ADP Workforce Now|
30 days free trial
|From $4/employee/month + a base fee of $17/month||Check out Patriot|
30 days free trial
|From $4/employee/month + a base fee of $36/month||Check out OnPay|
30 days free trial
|From $15/month and plans are 50% off if you purchase 3 months||Check out Quickbooks|
|From $12/user/month||Check out Namely|
Other Online Payroll Options
Here are a few more options that didn’t make the best online payroll software list. If you need additional suggestions for handy payroll software for accountants, check these out:
- Safeguard Global – Streamlined payroll processing across currencies, languages, time zones, and customs with comprehensive data and insights.
- Kronos – A global payroll tool with in-depth reporting options and end-to-end solutions for tax filing, garnishment processing, and checks.
- Payment Evolution – Online payroll with all source deductions (CPP, EI, taxes and more) and custom pay rules for benefits and earnings.
- Deluxe Payweb – Canadian payroll for Canadian or American companies with CRA compliance measures built-in.
- Humanic Payroll – Feature-rich applications that address the needs of your payroll department both domestically and internationally.
- EBS – A tool for keeping track of pay rates, managing pay codes, tracking employee benefits, and calculating tax withholdings.
- Epayroll – An Australian web payroll and employee management software provider with features for employee self-service included.
- Payroll City – Scalable cloud-based payroll software with advanced reporting, POS integrations, and an HR library.
- BrightPay – Easy-to-use payroll software that is desktop-based and is available for both Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS X.
- AscentPayroll – Intuitive payroll software with features like income tax calculator, Flexi reimbursements and Expat grossing up tax.
- PayDay! SaaS – A cloud payroll and leave system targeted towards small businesses and startup companies.
- Paybooks – HR and payroll software for Indian companies with direct salary payment, inbuilt compliance, and biometric attendance.
- WebHR – An affordable global payroll provider with (additional cost) add-on modules for recruitment/applicant tracking and performance reviews.
- StarGarden HCM – a cloud-based HR automation with automated workflows, reporting, and dashboards as well as full-function HRM/HCM.
- Umana – Payroll tools structured around the navigation of personalized rules and exceptions for human resources and time management.
- Vista Payroll – Complete payroll administration, time collection, calendars, auto-pay generation, and more.
- ScalePEO – Efficient and secure payroll software with automated deposits, one-off payments, W-2s and 1099s, and multiple employee types.
- Checkmark Canada Payroll – A cloud-based Canadian payroll system with room for up to 99 departments and unlimited job titles.
- Paychex Flex – Trusted all-in-one payroll and HR software system for U.S. organizations of any size.
- OnPay – Best mobile-friendly payroll solution for W-2 employees and 1099 contractors.
Payroll App FAQ
Have some general payroll software questions? Start with this FAQ to get yourself oriented.
Need Expert Help Selecting The Right Payroll Management Software?
People Managing People has joined forces with the software comparison platform Crozdesk.com to assist you in finding the best tool for your needs. Crozdesk’s Payroll Management Software advisors can create a personalized shortlist of software solutions with unbiased recommendations to help you identify the solutions that best suit your business’s needs. Through our partnership you get free access to their bespoke software selection advice, removing both time and hassle from the research process.
It only takes a minute to submit your requirements and they will give you a quick call at no cost or commitment. Based on your needs you’ll receive customized software shortlists listing the best-fitting solutions from their team of software advisors (via phone or email). They can even connect you with your selected vendor choices along with community negotiated discounts. To get started, please complete the form below:
Related List of Tools: Payroll Companies To Modernize Your Payroll Processes