Skip to content

Top 6 Payroll Software for Small Businesses

Written by

Last editedJun 20212 min read

As your business grows, you’ll be able to manage an increasing number of employees. Paying them in a timely manner is important for preventing turnover, as is staying on top of all state and federal tax requirements. Fortunately, easy payroll software can make short work of this process. Here’s what you need to know about today’s best payroll software.

Features of the best payroll software

There are a few features that the best payroll software has in common. We’ve selected the following list based on customer support, user friendliness, and flexibility. This last point is key because small businesses often undergo rapid transformation or periods of growth. Ideally, you will choose software for payroll that can keep up. This means catering for full and part-time employees as well as freelance workers and contractors. Cloud-based platforms are also important since many of today’s businesses don’t always work from a central office. You want to be able to access your information on the go.

With no further ado, here are our six payroll software picks.

1. Gusto

Easy to use and compatible with requirements in all 50 states, Gusto makes payroll management easy. This software for payroll comes fully loaded with a number of important features. It can handle benefits, healthcare plans, taxes, 401(k) plans, and time tracking. It’s also fully compatible with most accounting software platforms, including the big names like FreshBooks, QuickBooks, and Xero. Small businesses can opt for the most basic Core plan when just starting off, levelling up to the more full-service options as your business grows. At the higher Concierge level, Gusto’s plan includes HR features including onboarding and surveys.

2. Square

You might associate Square with the portable square-shaped credit card reader, but this company has grown to include full-service payroll software as well. Like Gusto, Square’s services are customizable so you can adapt the plan to suit your company’s needs. The software can accommodate full-time employees as well as part-time workers and freelance contractors, paying both hourly rates and monthly salaries. It can also manage health benefits, which employees can see when they log in to their own Square accounts.

3. BambooHR

Payroll goes hand in hand with HR, so it’s worth looking at HR software when seeking your payment solutions. BambooHR covers all your bases, providing a separate payroll platform to sync with its main talent management software. This makes it super easy to onboard new employees, tracking hours right from the start. Additional features include staff databases, applicant tracking, time-off tracking, and digital signatures.

4. Zenefits

Another HR platform that includes comprehensive small business payroll software is Zenefits. It builds time-off tracking, hour tracking, salary upgrades, and benefits into a single one-size-fits-all platform. If your HR and payroll departments are intertwined, it makes it much easier to avoid making double entries. For example, your HR administrator only needs to input a salary change once for it to sync with payroll. As with other software on this list, there are multiple subscription packages to choose from, each with its own features.

5. QuickBooks

You’re probably familiar with QuickBooks already, but this accounting software also includes an easy auto-pay feature. Perhaps the biggest benefit of using this platform is that it is designed to run automatically, so theoretically, you only need to set up your payroll once. The program will handle taxation, payments, and other issues without manual input.

6. Paychex

Finally, Paychex is a major payroll software provider dating back to 1971. This comprehensive program is a great choice if you’re interested in boosting employee retention, because it includes a built-in learning management system allowing employees to upgrade their skills. When it comes to payroll, Paychex automatically calculates both state and federal taxes and integrates fully with 401(k). It also includes a free mobile app for management on the go.

As you can see, there are plenty of easy payroll software solutions to choose from. You’ll need to think about your business’s size and whether or not you’re interested in extra HR features to find the best fit.

We can help

GoCardless helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of admin your team needs to deal with when chasing invoices. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.

Over 85,000 businesses use GoCardless to get paid on time. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

Get StartedLearn More
Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help
Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

Contact sales

Try a better way to collect payments, with GoCardless. It's free to get started.

Try a better way to collect payments

Learn moreSign up