Find the best Small Business Payroll Software

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RUN Powered by ADP

FrontRunners 2022

The RUN Powered by ADP® (RUN) solution is designed to make your small business payroll quick and easy. With a streamlined process and powerful technology, you'll complete payroll in no time. Choose from basic payroll to a full sui...Read more about RUN Powered by ADP

4.47 (737 reviews)

38 recommendations

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Triton HR

Triton HR offers small to midsize companies a cloud-based human resources (HR) solution that integrates payroll services, employee benefits and core HR applications into a single system. The system can be configured to support a w...Read more about Triton HR

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4 recommendations


FrontRunners 2022

Zenefits is an all-encompassing HR SaaS platform designed specifically for small to midsize businesses. The Zenefits People Platform includes a robust offering spanning HR, Benefits, Payroll, Well-being and Performance apps that c...Read more about Zenefits

4.20 (799 reviews)

35 recommendations

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APS Payroll

FrontRunners 2022

Automatic Payroll Systems (APS) has a mission: to make payroll and HR easier. They have been providing payroll and tax compliance services to companies since 1996. In 2004, APS released its cloud-based solution for workforce manag...Read more about APS Payroll

4.60 (615 reviews)

19 recommendations

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Patriot Payroll

FrontRunners 2022

Patriot Payroll does not have an app, but the website is optimized for mobile use. Patriot Payroll from Patriot Software is an integrated human resource (HR) and payroll management solution that helps to streamline the different...Read more about Patriot Payroll

4.81 (3130 reviews)

7 recommendations

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FrontRunners 2022

Paycor creates Human Capital Management (HCM) software for leaders who want to make a difference. Our HCM platform modernizes every aspect of people management, from the way you recruit, onboard and develop people, to the way you ...Read more about Paycor

4.37 (2379 reviews)

50 recommendations

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FrontRunners 2022

Wagepoint is a small-but-mighty company on a mission to simplify payroll – and even dare to make it delightful! Our online payroll software was built just for small businesses, automating the most “ugh” parts of payroll so that ou...Read more about Wagepoint

4.64 (216 reviews)

25 recommendations

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Paychex Flex

FrontRunners 2022

Paychex Flex is a human capital management solution that's designed using web-based modular technology and a dedicated service center to help meet the HR needs of employers of any size and industry. With a single login, users can ...Read more about Paychex Flex

4.12 (1284 reviews)

88 recommendations

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Wave Payroll

Wave Payroll is a cloud-based payroll solution for small businesses. Primary features include invoicing, accounting, online payments, lending and receipts. The accounting module allows users to create custom invoices, scan receipt...Read more about Wave Payroll

4.14 (58 reviews)

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OASIS is a customizable ERP system for small to midsize companies. This system is customized to the company’s precise specifications and is used primarily in the retail, manufacturing, and professional services verticals. OAS...Read more about OASIS

3.43 (7 reviews)

CheckMark Payroll

CheckMark Payroll is a desktop payroll software for do-it-yourself payrolls, small businesses, accountants, and professional payroll services. It imports hours from a time clock or spreadsheet, tracks accrued sick and vacation tim...Read more about CheckMark Payroll

3.97 (16 reviews)

AME Payroll

AME Professional Payroll is an on-premise payroll solution for small and midsized businesses. The solution enables users to create and print checks for gross-to-net, net-to-gross and after-the-fact entries for multiple companies, ...Read more about AME Payroll

4.17 (6 reviews)


BrightPay, winner of Payroll Software of the Year 2018 is a payroll and automatic enrolment software that makes managing payroll easy. BrightPay is one of Ireland and the UK’s market payroll software providers for accountants and ...Read more about BrightPay

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sumHR is a cloud-based human resource management solution for small and midsize companies. Primary features include payroll automation, attendance and leave management, performance management, reimbursement management, enterprise ...Read more about sumHR

3.75 (4 reviews)

Employment Hero

FrontRunners 2022

Employment Hero is a cloud-based human resource management (HRM) system for small and medium businesses on the up. The solution helps manage the entire employee lifecycle, with modules for recruitment, onboarding, payroll, time an...Read more about Employment Hero

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Payment Evolution

Payment Evolution is a cloud-based human resource management solution designed for small and midsize organizations. It offers payroll management and benefits administration within a suite. The payroll management module provid...Read more about Payment Evolution

4.13 (38 reviews)

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Payroll Mate

Payroll Mate is an on-premise payroll management solution designed for small and midsize companies based in the United States. It allows users to manage payroll, pay employees, calculate taxes, prepare checks, create payroll repor...Read more about Payroll Mate

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ClockOn is a cloud-based suite of applications, including time and attendance tracking, employee scheduling and payroll management. The solution can also be installed on-premise to cater to the needs of small companies as well as ...Read more about ClockOn

4.26 (19 reviews)


Workly is a human resources (HR) software solution offered both as a cloud-based service and as an on-premise deployment. Key features include a free time clock, as well as scheduling and payroll applications. Workly’s time c...Read more about Workly

5.00 (3 reviews)


FrontRunners 2022

Gusto is a modern, online human resource platform that helps any small business owner take care of all hr tasks. Gusto offers HR tools and HR services to help with managing employee onboarding, running payroll, administrating heal...Read more about Gusto

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Buyers Guide

Last Updated: November 19, 2022

For a small business owner like you, there are two ways to manage the payroll process: use an in-house payroll software solution or outsource to a payroll service provider. But if you don't want to share your sensitive payroll data with a third-party payroll provider, then buying software is your best bet.

There are a number of vendors that provide payroll software tailored specifically to the needs of small businesses. This guide will give you a head start on choosing the right system.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What is small business payroll software?

Small business payroll software helps small business owners streamline and automate payroll processing and employee benefits management. The software helps save time and effort as well as reduces the chances of manual payroll errors.

An online payroll solution is designed to help small firms process payroll in-house. It often includes modules for time tracking, payroll tax filing, and benefits administration. It automates data entry and tedious processes that users would otherwise have to do manually, saving both time and labor costs.

There are many different payroll solutions available on the market. Larger companies might need deeper functionality for managing Human Resources (HR) in multiple locations or tools for complex reporting as part of their payroll system. But small businesses typically need an online payroll solution with basic capabilities such as compensation, time tracking, and tax filing.

Common features of small business payroll software

These systems often come with some or all of the following core capabilities:

Compensation Found in every system, this application automates payroll processing. Users assign pay rates to employees, and employee hours are entered directly or imported. The system then automatically calculates wages and generates paychecks. Direct deposit options are usually offered, and bonuses, commissions, overtime, and tips can be added.
Time and attendance Time clock functionality allows employees to clock in and out. Administrators can also track employee attendance.
Tax filing Automatically prepares, files, and pays state and federal taxes. Alternatively, provides payroll tax calculations and/or documents for users to prepare and file taxes manually.
Insurance and benefits Some systems have functionality for insurance and benefits administration. This allows users to enroll employees in insurance benefits and manage benefit elections. Paid time off can also typically be accrued and tracked.

What type of buyer are you?

Many different solutions cater to the needs of small companies, but not all small businesses are created equal. Consider what your requirements are as you begin researching for an online payroll software solution:

Basic payroll needs: If you are looking only for a basic solution to streamline payroll processing, consider entry-level, affordable products with functionality that cater specifically to your payroll management needs.

More robust workforce management needs: Perhaps you need a payroll system that also offers more robust tools such as tax compliance and filing, insurance and benefits administration, and employee management.

Growing business with payroll and HR needs: If your business is growing and you know you may need to scale up to a full HR software suite, consider a vendor that offers tiered packages that let you easily upgrade without having to learn a whole new system.

Benefits of small business payroll software

There are many benefits to choosing a payroll software solution over running payroll manually. These include:

  • Automation of tedious processes: First and foremost, you’ll save time once spent cutting checks and filing taxes. The software automates manual payroll tasks, so you have more time to spend building your business.
  • Reduced labor costs: You’ll also save money by cutting down on the labor costs associated with payroll processing. For some companies, small business payroll software can even eliminate the need for a full-time payroll employee.
  • Greater accuracy and lower risks: In addition to saving time and cutting costs, a good payroll system will increase accuracy and decrease risk. Automated payroll processing eliminates the possibility of human errors. The software will also remind you of important deadlines, so the risk of incurring penalties decreases significantly.
  • Integration with existing software: Many small business payroll systems can integrate with the other HR tools and accounting software your business may already be using. This can streamline operations and reduce errors even further.

Market trends to understand

Here are a few trends to be aware of as you search for new software in this market:

Cloud-based software:

Most of today’s small business payroll solutions are deployed in the cloud. Since users log into the software from their internet-connected device, cloud-based systems can be accessed from anywhere.

With traditional on-premise systems, businesses had to buy updated software each year to keep up with changing payroll tax laws. Now, cloud vendors simply update their products as laws change, and the changes are reflected in users’ systems automatically—with no need to buy anything new.

Mobile accessibility: As cloud-based software has become more popular, so too has mobile access to payroll systems. Many vendors now offer native mobile apps for smartphones and tablets, which provide a seamless on-the-go experience.

Some vendors offer employee self-service mobile apps, as well. These allow workers to access their own salary and benefits information remotely. Look for this trend to continue in the future.