Finding software can be overwhelming. Software Advice has helped hundreds of accountants choose the right payroll software to better manage compensation data and eliminate costly errors.

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WorkforceHub

WorkforceHub is a unified solution for time and attendance, scheduling, applicant tracking, benefits management, employee engagement, and more. It’s the HR tech platform that scales as a business grows while delivering the mission... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 130 recommendations

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Rippling

Rippling makes it easy to manage your company's Payroll, Benefits, HR, and IT—all in one, modern platform. It brings all of your employee systems and data together, and helps automate your busy work. Take onboarding, for exa... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 102 recommendations

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isolved

isolved is an employee experience leader, providing intuitive, people-first HCM technology. Their solutions are delivered directly or through their partner network to more than five million employees and 145,000 employers — who us... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 93 recommendations

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Zenefits

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

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Recent recommendations: 90 recommendations

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UZIO

UZIO is a SaaS-based online marketplace that provides cloud-based HR, payroll, and benefits management software and services. It is built for businesses of all sizes. This integrated solution offers local/regional brokers, employe... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 90 recommendations

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Paycor

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

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Recent recommendations: 81 recommendations

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BambooHR

BambooHR is a cloud-based HR management software solution for small and midsize businesses. BambooHR offers small and growing companies a human resource information system (HRIS) that includes an applicant tracking system (ATS), t... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 79 recommendations

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UKG Ready

UKG Ready (formerly Kronos Workforce Ready) is a flexible and seamless HR solution that provides a connected people experience to easily manage the entire employee journey, from a single solution. Designed for flexibility and ease... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 78 recommendations

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APS

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 management. APS delivers a s... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 67 recommendations

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RUN Powered by ADP

RUN Powered by ADP (RUN"), is a web-based payroll solution designed for small businesses. The solution can be deployed on either iPhones, iPads or on any touchscreen device. RUN can integrate with multiple third-party accounting s... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 65 recommendations

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Namely

Namely offers a cloud-based solution for companies seeking a single comprehensive system to manage their human capital. Namely helps midsize companies manage compliance and streamline everything payroll, benefits and talent manage... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 61 recommendations

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UKG Pro

UKG Pro (formerly Ultimate UltiPro) is a powerful, global HCM solution. Transform your business with a truly connected global workforce experience delivered through resilient and mindful HR technology. From payroll, to talent, to ... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 49 recommendations

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Dayforce HCM

Dayforce, provided by Ceridian, is a cloud-based solution for Payroll, Benefits, Workforce Management, Human Resources, Talent Management, Document Management, and Analytics. As a single application, Dayforce provides organization... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 48 recommendations

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iCIMS Talent Cloud

Support the entire candidate experience from start to finish with a unified recruitment platform. iCIMS offers best-in-class recruiting products for your hiring life cycle, available as part of one unified talent cloud platform, o... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 41 recommendations

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ADP Workforce Now

ADP Workforce Now is a comprehensive solution for managing HR, payroll, talent, compliance, and employee benefits. This workforce solution is suited for businesses with more than 50 employees looking to streamline HR processes. AD... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 40 recommendations

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Deluxe Payroll

Deluxe's online payroll solution provides your business with comprehensive, full-service payroll and HR solutions with dedicated customer service. ... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 38 recommendations

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Collage

Collage is a cloud-based human resources (HR) and benefits management platform built for the needs of small and midsize businesses. Collage also digitizes group benefits enrollment and can sync with any insurance provider in Canad... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 37 recommendations

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Patriot Payroll

Patriot Payroll from Patriot Software is an integrated human resource (HR) and payroll management solution that helps to streamline the different processes associated with managing payroll payments and tax submissions. The solutio... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 34 recommendations

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Powerpay

Powerpay by Ceridian is a cloud-based payroll and HR software for small businesses in Canada. This solution is designed to help eliminate the need for manual processes and paperwork when managing employee information. Powerpay can... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 26 recommendations

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Humi

Humi is Canada’s HR, Payroll, and Benefits solution for Canadian small-medium sized businesses. Companies use Humi to manage their employee data, employee onboarding, time off tracking, performance management, recruiting, reportin... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 24 recommendations

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Buyers guide


Last Updated: April 22, 2021

Whether you're a solo CPA or one of many at a large accounting firm, offering employee payroll services to clients can represent a significant boost to your bottom line.

It can also present significant challenges.

Not only do you need to ensure that all of your clients' employees are paid accurately and on time, but there's also the matter of making sure the government gets their correct cut too—something that's often easier said than done. The IRS estimates 40 percent of small to midsize businesses (SMBs) end up paying a payroll penalty each year due to an incorrect filing.

With so much on the line, having the right payroll software is crucial. But which system is best suited to meet your specific needs as an accountant?

This Buyer's Guide aims to provide some guidance. Below, you'll find information about payroll software functionality, pricing and more to help in your software search.

Click a link below to jump to that section:

What Is Payroll Software for Accountants?
Common Functionality Found in Payroll Software for Accountants
Benefits of Payroll Software for Accountants
How Much Does Payroll Software Cost?
Final Considerations

What Is Payroll Software for Accountants?

Payroll software for accountants allows CPAs to manage worker wage information, calculate amounts for employee compensation and withheld taxes, do payroll runs, generate reports and more. Many popular payroll software systems cater to both internal accountants and outsourced accounting firms.

An example payroll run in QuickBooks Full Service Payroll

An example payroll run in QuickBooks Full Service Payroll

Payroll software offers accountants a secure digital environment to automate processes, set reminders and manage a vast amount of payroll data over time.

Common Functionality Found in Payroll Software for Accountants

Browsing through payroll vendor websites can quickly become overwhelming if you're not sure what you're looking for. To help, here are some common functions you can expect to find in most systems:

Employee management Track individual employee pay rates (hourly or salaried), withholding information for benefits and paid time off (PTO).
Time tracking Input hours worked, or pull them from an integrated time and attendance system, to calculate correct wages.
Run payroll Set a payment period (biweekly, monthly etc.) and calculate the total payroll cost for that period.
Payroll allocation Deposit owed payroll amounts to workers in their preferred form (direct deposit, check printing or pay card).
Tax management Calculate correct amounts for local, state and federal payroll taxes and file automatically.
Accounting integration Automatically log payroll amounts in the company ledger through integrated accounting software.
Reporting Generate standardized reports detailing organizational payroll costs.

There can be small differences in features within these functions between products. For example, some products offer multistate or even multicountry payroll, while others don't. Another example is some payroll platforms can generate W-2s and 1099s for workers come tax time.

One increasingly popular feature is an employee self-service portal where workers can log in to do things such as update their bank accounts or download past pay stubs themselves. This article highlights a few benefits of implementing self-service features.

Benefits of Payroll Software for Accountants

In a 2015 report, Software Advice learned that one in every five payroll software buyers still relies on manual methods such as spreadsheets or pen and paper to handle their payroll needs. If you fall into this group, it's time for an upgrade.

Here are some benefits that dedicated payroll software can bring over manual methods:

  • Fewer errors. Clerical errors can lead to costly overpayments and penalties. Payroll software can calculate accurate wages and highlight any missing fields or strange discrepancies to ensure you don't make any major mistakes.
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  • Less security risk. Features such as multifactor authentication and SSL encryption found in payroll software can mitigate the chances of your sensitive payroll data getting lost or falling into the wrong hands.
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  • More time to focus on other needs. With features such as one-click payroll runs and automatic report generation, you can cut the time it takes to do payroll for a company from a few hours down to a few minutes.

How Much Does Payroll Software Cost?

How much you pay for a payroll software system is going to largely depend on two factors: the breadth of functionality in your system of choice and the number of employees you're doing payroll for. The more advanced the system is and the more employees you need to manage, the greater the cost.

Because most systems are cloud-based (meaning the software is hosted by the vendor on their own servers for you to access via a web browser), payroll software is almost always sold through subscription licensing. In other words, you should expect to pay a flat fee every month, every year or every pay period to use the software.

Software license prices can range from as little as $10/month for one employee all the way up to $3,500/month for 250 employees or more.

Download our payroll software pricing guide to learn specific cost information for popular systems such as Gusto, Xero and QuickBooks.

Final Considerations

We've covered the basics, but there are still a number of factors to consider when deciding which payroll system is right for you or your firm. Here are some last things to keep in mind during your search:

  • Do you need full service payroll? A number of payroll software vendors offer a “full service payroll" option where all you have to do is enter employee wage information and the vendor's team of experts will take care of the rest: running payroll, submitting tax forms, printing checks etc. This option tends to be geared toward small business owners who don't know a thing about payroll, but accountants can benefit too if they're looking to offload some work.
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  • Pay attention to the UI and workflow. Payroll software products tend to have a lot of the same functions and features due to the payroll process being so standardized. Where they really differentiate is in their user interface (UI) and workflow. Demo systems and find one that's intuitively designed and easy to use.
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  • Ask an expert. If you're overwhelmed by the software options available to you, don't worry. Give us a call at (844) 852-3639 and talk to one of our payroll software experts. We'll ask a few questions about your needs and send you a shortlist of best-fit, highly-rated products. This service is completely free, so don't hesitate.