This FrontRunners analysis is a data-driven assessment identifying products in the Payroll software market that offer the best capability and value for small businesses. For a given market, products are evaluated and given a score for the capability (x-axis) and value (y-axis) they bring to users. FrontRunners then plots the top 25-30 products in a quadrant format.
In the Payroll FrontRunners graphic, the Capability axis starts at 3.10 and ends at 4.30, while the Value axis starts at 3.36 and ends at 4.70. Scales may differ between quadrants in order to capture the relative positioning of the specific products in each category.
To be considered for the Payroll FrontRunners, a product needed a minimum of 10 user reviews, a minimum capability user rating score of 2.75 and a minimum value user rating score of 2.75. In most cases, we evaluate hundreds of products and feature only 20-30 as FrontRunners; thus, all products that qualify as FrontRunners are top performing products in their market.
The quadrant positions a product relative to its peers in the market. Each product falls within a designated quadrant based on their axis scores. Dependent on the specific needs of the software buyer, a product placed in any quadrant category could be a good fit. Each quadrant category has a distinct description for placement.
Upper Right = Leaders: Leaders are all-around strong products. They offer the highest value and capability in that market.
Upper Left = Masters: Masters may have fewer capabilities, but end users value those capabilities highly. Depending on the functionality needed, a product positioned in the Masters quadrant might be a better option to consider than products positioned in other quadrants.
Lower Right = Pacesetters: Pacesetters may offer a strong set of capabilities, but are not rated as high on value. For example, a Pacesetter might have a breadth of functionality at a higher price point.
Lower Left = Contenders: Contenders are strong-performing products that have not yet achieved the value and capability of the products in the other quadrants. For example, products in this quadrant may be more suited for companies that need more specialized functionality that comes at a price.
Download the full FrontRunners for Payroll Management report.
The FrontRunners methodology assesses and calculates a score for products on two primary dimensions: Capability on the x-axis and Value on the y-axis.
The Capability score is an overall weighted average of scores including:
The Value score is an overall weighted average of scores including:
Markets are defined by a core set of functionality, and products considered for, and included in, FrontRunners must offer that core set of functionality. Additional related functionality can contribute to the capability score for a product.
To qualify for consideration in a FrontRunners quadrant, a product must have a minimum number of unique, user-submitted product reviews across the three Gartner Digital Markets web properties: softwareadvice.com, capterra.com and getapp.com. The minimum number of reviews required per product may differ by category, but will generally be between 10 and 20 unique reviews.
The FrontRunners methodology assesses products on two primary dimensions: Capability on the x-axis and Value on the y-axis. Products receive a score between one and five for each axis. Products that meet a minimum score for each axis are included as FrontRunners. The minimum score cutoff to be included in the FrontRunners graphic varies by category, depending on the range of scores in each category. For products included, the Capability and Value scores determine their positions on the FrontRunners graphic.
The Capability score is based on three criteria: user ratings on capability, a functionality breadth analysis, and a business confidence assessment.
For each of these two data points, the methodology calculates the percentile ranking for each product relative to all other products in the software category that have qualified for FrontRunners consideration. That percentile ranking is then translated into a one to five score.
If the company's size and product's customer base are both significant and growing, then the likelihood that the business will invest in the product is higher than in the alternative scenarios. For each of these four data points, the methodology calculates the percentile ranking for each product relative to all other products in the software category that have qualified for FrontRunners consideration. That percentile ranking is then translated to a one to five score.
The overall one to five Capability score is a weighted average of the scores for user ratings, functionality breadth and business confidence.
The Value score is based on two criteria: user ratings on value and product adoption.
For each of these four data points, the methodology calculates the percentile ranking for each product relative to all other products in the software category that have qualified for FrontRunners consideration. That percentile ranking is then translated into a one to five score.
The overall one to five Value score is a weighted average of the scores for value user ratings and product adoption.
Data sources include user reviews and ratings, public data sources and data from technology vendors. The user-generated product reviews data incorporated into FrontRunners is collected from submissions to all three Gartner Digital Markets sites (softwareadvice.com, capterra.com and getapp.com). As a quality check, we ensure the reviewer is valid, that the review meets quality standards and that it is not a duplicate.
The business confidence and product adoption data comes from public sources, collected by either a third-party data provider or by Gartner associates. As a quality check, we compare this data against data submitted by the providers. We use this data to calculate a product's percentile ranking, which allows us to determine how products compare relative to one another rather than determine an absolute number.
The functionality breadth data is collected from the technology providers. We check the data provided and challenge data that seems inflated or unlikely. We use this data to calculate a product's percentile ranking, which allows us to determine how products compare relative to one another rather than determine an absolute number.
See FrontRunners frequently asked questions (FAQ) for more information on the methodology.
Providers must abide by the FrontRunners External Usage Guidelines when referencing FrontRunners content. Except in digital media with character limitations, the following disclaimer MUST appear with any/all FrontRunners reference(s) and graphic use:
FrontRunners scores and graphics are derived from individual end-user reviews based on their own experiences, vendor-supplied information and publicly available product information; they do not represent the views of Gartner or its affiliates.
Providers listed as Runners Up were eligible for inclusion in the FrontRunners quadrant, including having 10+ product reviews, but their value or capability axis score was not high enough for positioning on the FrontRunners quadrant.
Every company must process payroll for its employees. As a company grows, a reliable system that processes payments quickly and easily becomes critical. In order to do this, companies have two options: outsourcing to a provider, or keeping payroll in-house.
Cost and time savings are the main draw when outsourcing. A company avoids the fixed costs of a full-time salaried employee and staff can focus on their core competencies. However, by outsourcing, companies lose control over the process, and have less flexibility.
Organizations should perform a cost-benefit analysis, as when evaluating any other type of business decision. However, if once you have performed this analysis and decided that in-house is best for your company, there are many payroll solutions available to streamline the task.
But determining which solution is best for you can be overwhelming. We’ve created this guide to help you navigate the vendor landscape. Here’s what we'll cover:
This type of solution tracks a variety of information related to employee compensation and often includes benefits administration features. This includes everything related to wages (pay type and frequency, bonuses, withholdings etc.); paid vacation and time-off benefits and one-time or recurring benefits like health insurance, educational assistance, moving expenses and retirement plans.
In preparing a run, the system will calculate federal, state and local taxes (including Social Security, Medicare, unemployment and disability insurance); print checks or execute direct deposits and export data directly to accounting software or in a format that's compatible for import to an accounting system. It should also support reimbursements for mileage and other travel expenses, as well as any other expenditures fronted by employees.
Finally, the software should prepare tax forms and reports for the employer, employees and contractors, such as the 940, 941, 944, 1099, W2, W3 and 1099-MISC.
If your company is tracking employee information and processing payments manually, payroll solutions could save you time, money and a lot of headaches by mitigating compliance risks.
Save time. The biggest and most obvious benefit of a payroll management system is that it saves time, which, in turn, saves money. These solutions are designed to be highly intuitive, so the learning curve to set up and operate basic paycheck software is very low.
These time savings add up. For instance, when the manufacturing firm Renaissance Veneer Specialty Products, Inc. implemented ADP's solution after having run payroll manually for years, the company’s HR manager said, “What used to take two days now takes...about half a morning.”
(Source: IRIS Software and Services)
Increase accuracy and decrease risk. Additionally, these systems help companies ensure they remit the correct amount of paycheck-related taxes and file applicable reports on time. When running payroll manually, even an honest mistake, such as a multiplication or rounding error, can have significant effects. In fact, in a 2012 study, ADP found that one-third of mid-sized companies incur penalties for noncompliance. These solutions will complete tax filings and reports for you, and remind you when they’re due.
And simply keeping up with the changes to the tax code is a daunting task. These systems track these changes so you don’t have to.
Generate reports. Finally, paycheck processing solutions allow you to track information over time and quickly produce useful reports for internal decision makers, accountants and auditors. Examples include summaries of quarterly costs, annual tax remittances and historical employee participation in 401k programs.
Vendors such as NuView HR include comprehensive payroll reporting functionality
For many companies, payroll is just one component of their software needs, but not always. There are several different levels of buyers, and these categories will help you determine the software that will best fit your needs:
|These types of buyers...||Should evaluate these sytems...|
|Small businesses||Smaller companies simply looking to streamline their process will want a solution dedicated 100 percent to payroll, but at a very affordable price point. Example vendors: Triton HR, ADP. (See our small business payroll guide for more.)|
|Mid-sized businesses||Human resources professionals at medium-sized companies or larger (50+ employees) will benefit from more than just basic payroll functions. At this level, recruitment, workforce management and other features like scheduling and attendance tracking become more valuable, and for that the buyer will want a more comprehensive human resources management system. Example vendors: Ascentis, ADP, Kronos, NuViewHR, Vista HRMS.|
|Large businesses||These buyers are looking to expand beyond the human resources department into an enterprise resource planning (ERP) package that incorporates payroll processing. This will ensure tight integration between payroll and other HR functions, as well as accounting and other department-specific systems. Example vendors: Epicor HR, Sage, Omniprise HRM, Lawson HR.|
Another consideration is the type of operating system you'll be running the software on. For example, if you're a Mac user, you may want to look at products designed specifically for the Mac interface. Alternatively, an increasing number of products are operating system-agnostic, meaning they're optimized to run in a web browser and are not dependent on a particular OS. See our list of payroll products well suited to Macs for more.
We're able to offer this service to buyers for free, because software vendors pay us on a "pay-per-lead" basis. Buyers get great advice. Sellers get great referrals.