9+ Best Online Payroll Software of 2021 (Ranked and Reviewed)

Best Online Payroll Software

If you want to find out the best online payroll software in the market today, stick around and see the list we’ve assembled for you below.

Who does not love a payday? We bet no employee would find paydays annoying except maybe those in the Compensations and Benefits department. Ensuring the accurate payment of salaries or wages is one of the more complex parts of most any HR department. That’s why handling payroll systems can sometimes be an intimidating task.

Many things are happening in payroll management apart from making wire transfers and the actual production of paychecks. Business owners need to consider many factors in calculating wages, such as taxes, salary deductions, leave accruals, and other benefits. Aside from this, they also have to make sure that taxes are accurately filed with the IRS every payday cycle.

Luckily, you no longer have to agonize over all the small bits and pieces regarding payroll management. Whether you’re running a large enterprise, a small business, or even running an entire outsourced HR department, you can easily breeze through each payroll cycle with the help of online payroll software. The only thing left to do is identify which one works best, addresses your unique challenges, and enhances the efficiency of your process.

What is the Best Online Payroll Software?

To determine the list of the best online payroll software in 2021, we have reviewed and tested close to 400 systems currently offered on the market. We considered their features, user-friendliness, customer support, and availability of integrations with other software.

Most of the names on this list offer many essential payroll tools with distinct features such as same-day vs. two-day direct deposit or unlimited pay runs versus limited pay runs with additional costs for more. Great and functional payroll software should offer direct deposit, tax filing, and year-end tax report preparation. If they also provide benefits and HR support, then that would be a huge benefit.

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links where we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you choose to purchase a plan from a link on this page. These are merely the products, tools, and services we recommend when it comes to running your business. You can read our full affiliate disclosure here.

Here are our picks for the best online payroll software to try:

1. Gusto

Best Overall Online Payroll Software

We chose to grant Gusto the title best overall online payroll software for its full-service payroll, benefits options, and HR support at an affordable price. In addition, it allows small businesses access to features and amenities that are usually offered only by larger companies.

Gusto

In addition to allowing businesses access to automated payroll processes, offering direct deposit and pay card options, it also sends out an email to each new hire informing them about the need-to-know information regarding their pay. These functions allow the new hire to complete the requirements before coming into the office. This is pretty convenient for someone in the HR department, don’t you agree?

If you’re in one of the 39 states where insurance is offered, Gusto even allows you to provide national health insurance plans to your employees.

Noteworthy features:

  • Integrated Payroll and HR features
  • An available and dedicated support team 24/7
  • Employs 256-bit encryption data for robust security

Pricing:

  • 30-day free trial
  • Paid plans start at $19 per month

2. OnPay

Best Online Payroll Software For Agricultural Companies

OnPay does everything a payroll management software should while allowing business owners to do it with ease. Its worker capacity, back-end accounting features, and processing rank among the top tier on this list. It allows users the ability to run unlimited payrolls—and to easily support up to 100 employees and more—which should make it attractive to a more advanced range of businesses than competitors, too.

OnPay Payroll Software

OnPay files Form 943 and lets you process salaries (including taxes) for workers on H-2A visas. But, of course, you can still file the basic payroll tax forms such as Form 941, 1099, W-2s, etc., and withhold state and federal unemployment insurance payments and other contributions, so the average small business beyond agricultural companies would also find it helpful.

Aside from allowing you to run multiple payrolls, it also allows you to choose various pay rates and payroll schedules for different employees.

Noteworthy features:

  • Files Form 943
  • Provides support for multiple pay rates and payroll schedules
  • Allows business to disburse salaries through direct deposit, manual check, or debit card

Pricing:

  • 30-day free trial
  • Paid plans start at $36 per month

3. SurePayroll

Best Online Payroll Software For Small Businesses or Households

If you need a simple payroll system for small businesses or households, then SurePayroll is a perfect option. The latest iteration of SurePayroll includes many tax and compliance updates that you can get at a highly discounted base price.

SurePayroll

This cloud-based payroll software is easily accessible from any part of the work. Moreover, its intuitive smartphone application enables users to leverage all its features easily on a smartphone. At the same time, the 100% tax filing guarantee is a great feature to give you peace of mind when it comes to ensuring the timely filing of taxes.

Noteworthy features:

  • Flexibility – offers same or next-day payment of salaries for employees whose payroll you forgot to process
  • Dependable customer support
  • Mobile device friendly

Pricing:

  • 30-day free trial
  • Paid plans start at $23.99 per month

4. Quickbooks Payroll

Best Online Payroll Software For Existing Users of Quickbooks Accounting Software

If you’re an existing Quickbooks Accounting Software user, no payroll software works with it better than its Payroll Solution. They work like two peas in a pod, and as expected, processes can be imported or exported on both software with relative ease and convenience.

Quickbooks Payroll Software

QuickBooks is also known for its intuitive interface, including a no-tax-penalty guarantee on its most expensive plan. As a result, it is one of the preferred choices of businesses of all sizes. In addition, it comes equipped with all the advanced online payroll features that can help you automate your processes.

Noteworthy features:

  • Highly customizable full-service plan
  • Self-service portal for employees
  • Tax Guarantee

Pricing:

  • 30-day free trial
  • Paid plans start at $45 per month

5. Patriot

Best Online Payroll Software For Businesses Who Want A DIY Option

Patriot Software is probably the only payroll software provider that offers an expansive room for flexibility. It gives users a choice between getting a full-service payroll software or the more affordable DIY version (if you file your own taxes).

Patriot Online Payroll Software

The DIY version still comes with unlimited payroll runs (accessible even to mobile devices), allowance of different payroll frequencies, and customizable hours, money, and deductions. The user can even choose to pay their employees through direct deposit or manual checks. Choosing the full-service plan allows you to file and pay all federal, state, and local taxes, regardless of location, and offers a penalty-free guarantee.

Noteworthy features:

  • Flexible Plans which give it an edge when it comes to affordability
  • Accessible through various online and mobile channels
  • Unlimited Pay runs

Pricing:

  • 30-day free trial
  • DIY plan – $10 per month
  • Full-Service plan – $30 per month

6. Workful

Best Online Payroll Software For Businesses With Simple Payroll Needs

Workful has exceptional features (employee portals, time clock, and granular user permissions), while some areas such as customizability, mobile, and pay run flexibility show some promise.

Workful Online Payroll

Workful has been introduced in 2017 and is one of the most recent ones on this list. Despite that, it offers a user experience and help system that make it exceedingly easy for even novices to use. As a result, Workful is best-suited for very small companies with modest payroll needs.

Noteworthy features:

  • Minimalistic user interface
  • Good employee record-keeping features and portals
  • Excellent mobile access

Pricing:

  • 30-day free trial
  • Paid plans start at $25 per month

7. Hourly

Best Ease of Use Online Payroll Software

Hourly allows real-time time card tracking, customizable job sight location setups, and geo-tracking for staff at client worksites. The platform also computes daily total payroll costs, including workers’ compensation premiums, making job labor costs easy to track.

Hourly Online Payroll Software

If you’re not yet using Hourly, some of the reasons to consider switching might include ease of use and payroll management improvements, cost factors (Hourly offers better service pricing than a majority of payroll softwares). Hourly’s customer service team is also one of the best, and you can rely on them should their software bog down on the most inopportune time.

Noteworthy features:

  • Mobile User Support
  • Ease of Completing Timesheets
  • Comprehensive payroll services (Check/W2 Printing and Delivery, Payroll Entry, Wage Garnishment, etc.)

Pricing:

  • 14-day free trial
  • Paid plans start at $40 per month

8. Square Payroll

Best Online Payroll Software For Contract Work

Square Payroll offers a really affordable plan for only $5 per person per month with no base monthly fee required if you’re running a company that employs contract workers and freelancers. The software is no-nonsense too, the contractors simply have to log in to the Square portal, enter their information, and get paid. So again, it’s simple, straightforward, and economical.

Square Payroll Software

Square Payroll works well as a stand-alone service, but it’s also designed to work with Square’s point of sale solution. Employees can use Square terminals or the mobile app to clock in and out, and POS data gathered from them are seamlessly synced with the payroll service.

Noteworthy features:

  • Offers automatic tax filing
  • Has HR add ons (although limited in number)
  • Allows business owners to disburse salaries through direct deposit, cash app, or check payment

Pricing:

  • $5 per month for contractors
  • $34 per month ($29 + $5 for employees and contractors)

9. ADP

Best For Comprehensive Tax Compliance (Both Businesses & Employees)

ADP offers absolute tax compliance. Aside from filing and submitting tax forms, it also manages the paycheck deduction for state, federal, and local taxes, making this online payment software the best friend of anyone working in the HR and Payroll departments.

ADP

ADP also offers a wide range of customization options where clients can request to add or remove certain features depending on company requirements. The software has built-in machine learning; hence it provides real-time analytics through customized reports, charts, graphs, and spreadsheets. It also offers real-time payroll calculation to reduce the manual duties of the human resources staffers.

Noteworthy features:

  • Multiple plans to choose from with a high degree of customizability
  • Self-service application employee access
  • Automatic quarterly and annual tax filings
  • Advanced HR support is available

Pricing:

  • Starts at a $59 base fee with $4 per employee per month.

10. Sage Payroll

Best Online Payroll Software For Customization

Sage has undoubtedly earned its spot on this list. Like most of its counterparts, Sage comes equipped with all the essential elements required for a competent payroll software offering.

Sage Online Payroll Software

Sage is easy to set up. Their payroll system offers easy-to-follow instructions while it allows integration among its other competitors. Their built-in tax calculator is also accurate. Its robust accuracy and efficiency in tax compliance, payment processing, and payroll data lessens the burden on the payroll team and saves them time.

At the end of the day, if you find Sage lacking, they also have a money-back guarantee valid for six months. If this will not convince you to check out Sage, we don’t know what will.

Noteworthy features:

  • Plans are highly scalable and customizable
  • Secure and allows users to restrict those who have access
  • Robust reporting and analytics capabilities

Pricing:

  • Price starts at a $49.95 base fee for a company with a 10-employee headcount.
  • Additional $1.75 per employee for those companies with more than 10 employees.

What is Online Payroll Software?

Online payroll software may be offered as a stand-alone software by HR software providers, or it can also be part of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.

This software is used to manage almost all aspects of payroll, including (but not limited to) calculating employees’ salaries, cutting deductions, depositing the paycheck directly into staff members’ bank accounts, producing tax forms and payslips, and more. In addition, the software itself helps reduce manual errors as well as cycle times.

Setting up this software is very easy, and you can generally use it as soon as it’s up and running. Payroll management software offers considerable benefits to a business owner. For example, payroll management softwares help in securing financial transactions, efficient handling of employee data, and getting detailed reports on staff payroll.

What Are the Benefits of Online Payroll Software?

An online payroll accounting software offers many benefits not just for the business owner (specifically either its HR or payroll administrator) but also for the employees, and ultimately, the entire organization:

1. Lower cost

Compared to hiring a battalion of accountants and still subject the process to human error, online payroll software offers a more practical solution to handling payroll concerns. But, of course, some do not want to make a significant investment upfront when it comes to cost. This makes online payroll software more indispensable as some are available in monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, and annual plans giving you the flexibility you need when it comes to handling your company’s finances.

2. Quick and easy payroll reconciliation

Payroll management software helps ensure the accuracy of each payroll by utilizing a variety of payroll reconciliation tools available to you.

You can easily compare the current and previous month’s payroll, customize the payroll line and entries, and produce payslips to suit your needs, allowing business owners and HR departments to sit back and watch the online payroll software do its work.

3. Automate tedious tasks

The most tedious part in processing payroll is in the simple stuff: inputting data, taking note of leave requests, and sifting through overtime submissions – all take a considerable amount of time on top of the actual disbursement of each employees’ pay.

Online payroll software can help with these tasks. Some payroll management software systems are even integrated with other HR systems such that they can pull time clock information to determine how much hourly employees get paid accurately.

There’s no need to manually calculate taxes and deductions using online payroll software because the system does it automatically. Another great feature a payroll software may have is the automated sending of emails to managers reminding them to approve employees’ time and leave requests, so the HR department doesn’t have to do this constantly.

Online Payroll Software Summary

These are some of the most capable payroll software programs available on the market. As you have read in each product summary, these tools can help you simplify HR-related tasks, especially payroll management, attendance tracking, and more.

Whether you’re running a small business or a reasonably large enterprise, you need reliable payroll management software to save time and money. Most providers help automate the processes involved in calculating wages, offering direct deposit, and paying taxes.

On a final note, here are also a few things that you must consider before making the final decision: subscription cost, relevant features, and customer support. You are not bound to select the most expensive one on this list, as this does not guarantee that your organization’s payroll processes would improve based on that.


Last updated on by Joshua Holdeman

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Joshua Holdeman
About the author

Joshua Holdeman is a DevOps Engineer, Sr. Software Engineer, and Digital Marketing Consultant. With over 12 years in the industry and backed by hundreds of digital marketing projects and websites developed under his direction, he brings experience and knowledge allowing for the recommendation of high-impact business software, tools, and programs to help non-profit organizations, small businesses, and entrepreneurs to launch or grow their business. Before starting this blog, Josh was the Sr. Software Engineer for a world leader in a marketing and graphic communications franchise system.

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