Best Payroll Software for Small Businesses

If you have even one employee, payroll can take a significant amount of time out of your business. As a small business owner, you need all the time you can get to build your core business. For that reason, payroll software for small businesses can help build business efficiency. Read on for the best payroll software for small businesses.

7 Best Payroll Software for Small Businesses

The best payroll software for small businesses can help you save time while ensuring timely payments, tax filing, compliance, and more. They can help you do your business taxes, make timely payments, automate invoicing, and more. For that reason, payroll software is one of the best software investments for entrepreneurs, whether you’re opening a business bank account or already have 40 employees. Find some great choices here! 


If you need the best HR software for small businesses beyond payroll, consider Rippling. It can help you scale from two employees to 2,000. It offers excellent payroll and financial management, powerful tools for inventory management, device management, and more. Rippling can simplify compliance and bring HR and IT together. Prices start as low as $8 per user per month. 

Pros of Rippling

  • Payroll plus HR solutions
  • Easy to use
  • Easily onboard new hires
  • Compliance support
  • Scales with your business

Cons of Rippling

  • You’ll need a quote for the exact cost


Paychex is designed to help small to medium-sized businesses manage payroll, benefits, HR, and more. You’ll have no cost obligation until your first payroll. Paychex offers customized payroll and HR solutions by company size. Features include payroll, HR, time and attendance, retirement benefits, health insurance, and more. Plans start at $39 a month plus $5 per employee.

Pros of Paychex

  • Customized solutions for business size
  • Easy to use
  • Create custom reports
  • Reliable

Cons of Paychex

  • Clock and timer function issues 
  • Other minor software glitches


Patriot is a simple, reliable payroll software solution that offers excellent, US-based customer support, award-winning payroll services, monthly subscriptions, and high-quality performance. Create a customized solution for your business, starting with accounting and payroll software. You can also add attendance and HR software. Payroll software starts at just $17 per month, plus $4 per employee. 

Pros of Patriot

  • Free employee portal
  • Free workers’ comp integration
  • Free two-day direct deposit for qualified customers
  • Unlimited payrolls
  • Multiple locations
  • Customizable hours, money, deductions
  • Mobile friendly

Cons of Patriot

  • Slow deposit times
  • Instructions and help could improve


Gusto is primarily an online payroll solution that also offers HR integrations to hire, pay, and manage your small business team all in one place. For those looking to save time on monthly payments, Gusto can run payroll in minutes, automatically file taxes, and help with compliance. Gusto notes that three out of four customers say they run payroll in 10 minutes or less. A simple plan starts at just $40 a month plus $6 per month per person. 

Pros of Gusto

  • Automatically file taxes
  • Helps with compliance
  • Low cost
  • Simple to use
  • Excellent customer support

Cons of Gusto

  • Without software experience, some companies have difficulty with employee tax calculations


ADP offers comprehensive payroll and HR solutions that empower employees and unlock your teams’ potential. It’s one of the largest payroll software solutions in the world. You can choose from customized solutions for small businesses with 49 or fewer employees or scale to large businesses. It’s trusted by some of the world’s largest businesses, including Amazon, for efficient payroll. Costs vary by company size. 

Pros of ADP

  • Easy to navigate
  • Comprehensive solution
  • Scales with your company
  • Add-ons like direct deposit, automatic check signing, paycheck printing and delivery, tax filing, and year-end processing 

Cons of ADP

  • Some users don’t like the interface design


OnPay is one of the fastest and most precise payroll solutions backed by accountants and payroll experts. It is designed to eliminate the busy work of accounting so you can focus on your core business. OnPay’s payroll is a versatile solution for companies of all sizes that can grow with your company. It integrates with QuickBooks Online, Xero, and several other HR, accounting, or time-tracking tools to get more done easily. Prices start at $40 per month plus $6 per employee. 

Pros of OnPay

  • Good integration
  • Supports vertical industries
  • Fast payroll processing
  • User-friendly employee versions
  • Excellent online help files

Cons of OnPay

  • No automatic payroll

QuickBooks Payroll

Last, and certainly not least, is QuickBooks Payroll. It’s one of the industry leaders offering online payroll services for small businesses. It can help you streamline paydays, track time, manage team benefits, and more. 

Most importantly, taxes are done for you, with fast employee payments and seamless integration of payroll, time tracking, and accounting data to save time. You’ll also get 24/7 support. While plans start at $75 a month plus $6 per employee, you could get a 50% discount for the first three months. 

Pros of QuickBooks Payroll

  • Automatic tax filings
  • Fast employee payments
  • Good integrations
  • Tax penalty protection up to $250,000 in case of filing errors
  • Easy to use

Cons of QuickBooks Payroll

  • More expensive than other options

What Is Payroll Software?

Payroll software offers automated and simplified ways to keep multiple sources of information in one place while automating monthly payroll. It can do everything from automatic payment processing and tax calculations to effectively filing taxes and ensuring compliance. Some payroll software will also include retirement or pension plans. Taken together, this software can save businesses significant time and effort. 

Why Should Small Businesses Invest in Payroll Software?

Small businesses can consider investing in payroll software to save time and resources. By automating payroll systems, you’ll ensure employees get paid on time. Payroll software can also make it simpler to file correctly at tax time and ensure compliance with all relevant financial information.

How to Choose Payroll Software for Your Small Business?

Ready to shop for payroll software? Consider these key criteria. 

Customizable Scheduling Options

You might not only pay employees once a month, once a week, or any other standard schedule. That’s why the best payroll software for small businesses can adapt to your business needs and schedules. Make sure employees get paid on time without scheduling limitations. 

User-Friendly Interface

You need employees to understand when they’ll be paid and easily check on tax filings, retirement plans, and more. A user-friendly interface is essential to bring on new team members and prevent lost time in navigating complicated software. 

Integration With Other Business Tools

Integration with other software the company already utilizes ensures a seamless flow of communication and ease of management between departments within the company. Ideally, your payroll software will integrate with HR, management, planning, and various departmental teams to avoid loss in communication. 

Automated Reminders and Confirmations

Automated reminders and payment confirmations can help ensure that you never miss a payment. These systems can help with tax filing, compliance registration, payroll, and more. 

Reporting and Analytics Features

Reporting and analytics on performance, work hours, payments, and more can improve company efficiency while helping identify growth opportunities. The best payroll software for small businesses allows useful, customized reports that fit your business needs. 

Do You Need Payroll Software for a Small Business?

In nearly all cases, the answer is yes! Payroll software can save your company far more than its nominal costs. In terms of both time and money, payroll software will more than pay for itself and can contribute to increased revenue. 

However, you also have other excellent options if you’re looking for accounting support. Consider the best-in-class bookkeeping software designed for busy founders like you. Get doola Books to help you with accounting and financial management so you can focus on company growth! 


How much does payroll software for small businesses cost?

Payroll software for small businesses can cost as little as $8 a month. Usually, pricing is a flat rate, plus a small fee per employee. 

Is there a limit to the number of employees that can be managed with payroll software for small businesses?

You can find payroll software for companies of any size. However, some software offers pricing and solutions for small businesses and defines this as 49 employees or less. 

Can payroll software for small businesses handle different types of payment methods, such as direct deposit or paper checks?

Yes, many payroll software options for small businesses handle different payment methods. Some automate payroll through various methods like direct deposit or paper checks, while others may have more limited options. 

Can payroll software for small businesses calculate and file taxes automatically?

Yes, some payroll software solutions can calculate and file taxes automatically. For example, QuickBooks Payroll automatically calculates and files taxes.

Are there any security measures in place to protect sensitive employee information in payroll software for small businesses?

The best payroll software for small businesses includes security measures to protect sensitive employee information. You can contact individual providers to understand their security features and information protection. 

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