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Running a small business comes with its own challenges, and managing payroll is often at the top of the list. Right?

The right payroll software can streamline this crucial aspect by automating payment options. It thereby saves time, reduces errors, and ensures compliance. 

Payroll software is a vital tool for small businesses to effectively handle their payroll processes and ensure accurate and timely employee payments. 

With so many options available on the market, opting for the best payroll software for small businesses can be overwhelming. 

To help you make an informed decision, we have compiled payroll software for small business – the top 10 tools at your desk.

Best Payroll Software For Small Businesses

1. Gusto

Gusto Payroll software revolutionizes payroll management for small businesses. Its approach is fast, accurate, and effortless. 

Onboarding is a breeze. You can pay your team with just a few clicks. Unlike some platforms, Gusto doesn't charge extra for running payroll multiple times a month. Its AutoPilot feature takes automation a step further. It simplifies repetitive tasks.

One standout feature is Gusto's comprehensive tax services. It calculates your taxes and handles the filing process with government agencies.  

Gusto's platform integrates seamlessly with other essential HR functions like health insurance, 401(k), workers' comp, time tracking, and PTO management. It provides a holistic solution for small businesses.

With Gusto, you can protect your business and take care of your employees without the hassle of manual processes or separate systems.

Key Features

  • Simple onboarding process
  • Fast and accurate
  • No extra charges for extra payrolls
  • Allows setting payments on AutoPilot
  • Automates tax-filing process
  • Integrated platform
  • Supports easy payments in over 120 countries
  • Tracks insights & reporting


  • Automates payroll taxes
  • Direct Deposit
  • Best customer service
  • Time-tracking option
  • Offers unlimited payroll runs


  • No accounts receivable feature
  • Limited features can only be accessed via the mobile app
  • Contractor payments are awkward to handle.

Pricing Plans

Simple: $40/month
Plus: $60/month
Premium: Exclusive Pricing

2. ADP 

ADP is a powerhouse in the payroll industry. It is renowned as the largest and one of the most trusted providers globally. 

ADP RUN is an excellent payroll software for small businesses. However, its scalability helps employers looking to scale into larger enterprises.

What sets ADP apart is its robust tax compliance support. It offers a seamless experience while making payrolls and filing taxes. 

ADP RUN automatically handles tax calculations, deposits, and filings, taking the hassle out of tax management. It also ensures that W-2 and 1099 forms are sent to your workers yearly, keeping you compliant with IRS requirements.

ADP can track state payroll law changes and adjust withholdings and payments accordingly. Hence, it keeps you aligned with laws.

Moreover, ADP RUN offers a comprehensive suite of payroll services. It includes payroll features such as direct deposit, a self-service employee platform, new hire onboarding, and optional benefits administration for additional fees. 

With ADP, small businesses can rely on a trusted partner that not only simplifies payroll processes but also supports growth and compliance every step of the way.

Key Features

  • Fast, easy, and accurate
  • Global implementation team
  • Compliance-ready
  • Payroll autopilot
  • Time tracking feature
  • Automates payment operations


  • Standardize payroll process
  • Easy customization for reporting
  • Offer free payroll for six months
  • Automates tax filing process
  • Offers online payroll services for all-size businesses


  • Requires more integrations for attendance and time-tracking
  • Complicated interface

Pricing Plans

Request a demo

3. QuickBooks

QuickBooks is a full-service payroll solution for all-size businesses that evolve alongside your business. It covers everything from HR and benefits to time tracking and payroll management. 

With QuickBooks, you can seamlessly pay your team, track their time, and access competitive employee benefits, all within one platform.

QuickBooks Payroll offers worry-free tax handling. The software takes care of calculating, filing, and paying your federal and state payroll taxes. It saves you time and ensures compliance. 

You can even set up payroll to run automatically, giving you more bandwidth to focus on your daily operations.

Additionally, QuickBooks online software offers the convenience of same-day direct deposit. It allows you to hold onto your money longer while ensuring your employees get paid promptly. 

This feature skyrockets the payment process and enhances financial flexibility for your business.

By using QuickBooks Payroll, you not only simplify payroll tasks but also gain access to competitive employee benefits. QuickBooks Payroll is a invaluable software for businesses looking to streamline their HR and payroll processes.

Key Features

  • Tax penalty protection
  • Excellent customer service
  • Automates time tracking
  • Automates taxes & forms
  • Generate e-files
  • Same-day direct deposit option
  • Automates payroll


  • Offers a 30-day free trial
  • HR support is available at Premium and above levels
  • Same-day direct deposit at Premium level


  • Limited add-ons
  • Extra charges if you have workers in another state 

Pricing Plans

Payroll Core + Simple Start: $37.50/month
Payroll Core + Essentials: $52.50/month
Payroll Premium + Plus: $85/month

4. OnPay

OnPay payroll software offers a comprehensive payroll, HR, and benefits solution. It allows you to focus on your core business activities. 

With OnPay, you can expect fast, precise, and expert-backed payroll services that simplify managing your team.

What sets OnPay apart is its commitment to providing a VIP experience for every client. From handling setup and data migration to ongoing support, OnPay ensures a seamless transition. It offers continued assistance whenever needed.

Their team of trained payroll professionals is easily accessible and knowledgeable. It provides top-notch service and expertise.

With OnPay, you can streamline payroll processes. It saves you valuable time to concentrate on what you do best.

Whether it's payroll management, HR tasks, or benefits administration, OnPay delivers the tools and support you need to navigate these areas easily and confidently.

Key Features

  • Expert support
  • Detailed resources
  • Best integrations
  • Simplifies paying your employees
  • Overtakes HR operations


  • Fast & Precise
  • Clear and comprehensive pricing structure
  • Supports both employees as well as U.S.-based contractor payroll
  • Includes HR and benefits management
  • Customizable dashboard for user preferences


  • Does not offer a free trial
  • Plans are not customizable
  • Reported issues with payroll and time-off syncing

Pricing Plans

Base fee: $40/month + Per Person Charge($6/month)

5. Wave Payroll

Wave Payroll is a Toronto-based accounting software company recently launched its payroll services. 

It is known for its user-friendly and affordable platform catering to freelancers, contractors, and small businesses. 

Wave offers automated and accurate payroll processing. It integrates seamlessly with accounting and invoicing tools. 

Wave's flexibility allows deactivation during off-seasons, making it ideal for seasonal business owners. 

It features direct deposit, tax form generation, payroll tax management, and a self-service employee portal to access documents and updates easily. 

Wave Payroll is praised for its simplicity, affordability, and convenience for small business owners.

Overall, Wave is a payroll software for small businesses that helps you save time on other tasks seamlessly.

Key Features

  • Easy and accurate
  • Handles independent contractors seamlessly
  • Showcases breakdown of payroll expenses
  • Hassle-free generation of W2 and 1099 forms
  • Automates tax filings
  • Tracks leave timings
  • It automatically integrates Wave's Payments, Accountings, and Invoicing tools.


  • Free payroll software (only for 30 days)
  • Consist updation
  • Pause subscriptions 
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Easy & accurate payrolls


  • Lacks customization
  • Limited service access in a 30-day free trial
  • Lacks benefits administration

Pricing Plans

Starter Plan: $0
Pro Plan: $16/month

6. PayRoll4Free

Payroll4Free is a standout payroll provider for small businesses with 25 employees or fewer. It offers free access to a diverse range of basic payroll tools. 

It excels in employee time tracking, absence management, and flexible payment options like paper checks or direct deposit. 

The software also handles tax calculations and prioritizes security with SSL encryption and cloud infrastructure. However, you have to pay extra for tax filing services, and there's no free trial. 

Despite these limitations, Payroll4Free is highly recommended for its ease of use, comprehensive features, and cost-effectiveness. It simplifies reporting wages and tips for small teams, so it is primarily designed for small restaurant payroll software.

Key Features

  • Direct deposits
  • Paper checks
  • Free employees & contractors
  • Detailed Payroll report
  • Easy tax calculation & form generation
  • Tracks leave time
  • Separate employee portal
  • Quick and easy enrollment
  • Integration tools


  • Easy integration with Quickbooks
  • Focused customer support
  • Automates tax filing and forms
  • Offers best-in-class security


  • Restricted to Windows OS only
  • Tax filing is not free

Pricing Plans

Completely free

7. JustWorks

Justworks Payroll software offers scalable solutions to support businesses at every growth stage. Its modern payroll and HR software, combined with human support and benefits access, reduces HR headaches and gives businesses more time to focus on core operations.

With Justworks, many small businesses can level up their HR processes with software and services tailored to their needs.

Whether you're just starting out, expanding, or managing a remote team, Justworks provides comprehensive solutions regardless of your business journey. 

Everything you need, including HR, benefits, payroll, and compliance tools, is conveniently accessible in one platform.

Such software integrations allow businesses to streamline their operations and adapt easily as their business needs evolve. 

Justworks payroll software option is designed to accredit businesses with the tools they need to succeed and grow.

Key Features

  • Process payroll seamlessly
  • Offer benefits
  • Pay employees from worldwide
  • Integrated time-tracking solution
  • Global EOR
  • Automatic payroll processing


  • Smooth employee interface
  • Automates all your HR responsibilities 
  • A unified modern workplace to handle HR, payroll, and compliance


  • Expensive than other payroll options
  •  Tax support is accessible in 27 US states only

Pricing Plans

Basic: $59/month/employee ($49/month beyond 50+ employees)
Plus: $99/month/employee ($89/month beyond 50+ employees)

8. Trinet

TriNet Payroll software is renowned for its robust feature set covering PEO, HR, and payroll services. It encompasses essential features for small business payroll systems.

Such features include automated unlimited payroll runs, contractor and employee payments, tax administration, international payroll, and time and attendance tracking.

Additionally, it provides extras like salary benchmarking and a mobile app for convenient payroll management.

However, TriNet's plans are not affordable, and the most cost-effective options require payroll as an add-on. 

TriNet stands out as a professional employer organization (PEO). It offers the option of outsourcing payroll and HR services.

By leasing employees to TriNet, the company becomes the employer of record and handles HR and payroll responsibilities on behalf of your business.

This arrangement can help streamline operations and provide comprehensive support for managing payroll costs effectively.

Key Features

  • Payroll administration service
  • Ensures compliance
  • All-in-one platform
  • Mobile app available
  • Handles payroll administration tax
  • File payroll taxes in any states
  • Time tracking & scheduling


  • Convenient mobile app usage
  • Online Payroll processing via direct deposit
  • Accepts debit card
  • Easy integration with Quickbooks
  • Employees can access pay stubs easily


  • Per-employee monthly rates are expensive compared to software-based payroll plans.
  • PEO arrangement limits control over HR policies.

Pricing Plans

Basic Plan: $16/employee/month

9. Rippling

Rippling is a comprehensive small business payroll software solution specifically designed to streamline payroll processes. It calculates and files payroll taxes accurately with federal, state, and local agencies. It ensures compliance even for relocated employees.

With a 100% error-free guarantee, Rippling ensures precise and timely payment to employees in every pay run.

Rippling can compare current pay runs with previous ones. It allows businesses to track changes in gross pay, taxes, deductions, and more before approval.

The dedicated mobile app empowers employees to access paystubs, request time off, and view W-2s on the go. 

Rippling goes beyond payroll management to handle tax and compliance work. Its reporting capabilities and customizable data access based on roles, departments, and more enable better decision-making and streamlined operations.

Additionally, Rippling offers global payroll functionality. It allows businesses to pay employees and contractors worldwide in a single unified pay run with customizable workflows to meet specific needs.

G2 recognized Rippling as the number one HR product of 2024. Hence, it is a trusted and comprehensive payroll solution for small businesses.

Key Features

  • Inbuilt workflow templates
  • Easy access to payroll history
  • Supports global payroll
  • Customize payrolls
  • Easy payroll tax filing
  • Seamlessly handle, approve, and pay employees


  • Benefits administration
  • Supports over 500 integrations
  • A suite of inbuilt reports
  • Role-based permission offers the right payroll data
  • Automates compliance


  • Expensive
  • Some features are daunting for small businesses

Pricing Plans

Starting Price: $8/month/user

10. Paycor

Paycor Payroll software offers a seamless and efficient solution for businesses of all sizes. It provides a single source of truth for all employee data.

With Paycor, you can streamline your data management processes by automating all the manual tasks.

The online Paycor Payroll software stands out with its intuitive and flexible design. The software is also popular with its robust tax and compliance expertise and payroll processing. 

Paycor's solution is designed to transform the payroll experience, saving businesses time and ensuring their peace of mind.

Paycor Payroll has proactive alerts and tax warnings to keep businesses updated on evolving local, state, and federal regulations. This proactive approach helps businesses stay compliant and avoid costly mistakes.

The integration allows businesses to sync data between Paycor and their favourite apps effortlessly. This interoperability enhances productivity and data accuracy. This makes Paycor one of the best free payroll software.

Key Features

  • Supports over 250 integrations
  • Automatic payroll deductions
  • Wage garnishments
  • Direct deposits
  • Payroll reports
  • Offers employee self-service
  • Real-time calculations
  • Provides compliance updates


  • Allows payroll scheduling
  • Offers employees access to earned wages and other resources
  • Boosts productivity
  • Robust mobile application
  • Easy time tracking
  • Payroll runs in just two-clicks
  • Automates payments & tax filing


  • Expensive
  • The employee interface is cumbersome
  • Does not have pricing transparency

Pricing Plans

Basic Plan: $99 + $5/user

Frequently Asked Questions

The best payroll software depends on your business's specific needs.

  • Gusto is great for small to medium-sized businesses,
  • ADP offers scalability and robust features,
  • QuickBooks Payroll integrates well with QuickBooks accounting,
  • Payroll4Free is cost-effective for smaller businesses,
  • Rippling provides advanced features,
  • Paycor offers a flexible solution with tax expertise.

Consider your budget, business size, and required features to choose the best fit.

Yes, there are free payroll software options available, such as Payroll4Free, which offers essential payroll tools for small businesses with less than 25 employees at no cost.

However, it's important to note that while these free options provide basic payroll functionality, they may have limitations compared to paid software in terms of advanced features, scalability, and customer support.

QuickBooks Online Payroll is not entirely free. For QuickBooks Online Payroll Core users, there is a monthly fee of $5 for the QuickBooks Workers' Comp Payment Service. This fee is non-refundable and will be automatically added to each monthly Intuit invoice at the current price until cancelled.

QuickBooks offers diverse pricing plans based on the features you need:

  1. Payroll Core + Simple Start: $37.50 per month
  2. Payroll Core + Essentials: $52.50 per month
  3. Payroll Premium + Plus: $85 per month

These prices reflect the combination of QuickBooks Payroll with their accounting software packages.

In a Nutshell: Payroll Software for Small Businesses

Opting for the best payroll software primarily depends on its intuitive and robust features. The platform that offers scalable solutions with comprehensive features would work best for your small business.

But yes, affordability is another factor that a small business owner must consider before investing in software.

So, focus on your budget as well as your priorities for payroll solutions and opt for the one that aligns with you the best.

Happy Payrolling!

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