Finding software can be overwhelming. Software Advice has helped thousands of small businesses choose the right online payroll software so they can track employee hours and pay workers on time.

Showing 1-20 of 75 products

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 combines... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 107 recommendations

Platforms: MacWin
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

Kronos Workforce Ready

Workforce Ready by Kronos is a human resources (HR) platform that combines workforce management with human capital management (HCM) and talent management capabilities and is suitable for businesses of all sizes. It offers features... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 96 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

Gusto

Gusto is a modern, online human resource platform that helps any small business owner take care of all hr tasks. Gusto offers HR tools and HR services to help with managing employee onboarding, running payroll, administrating health... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 67 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

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 single-system... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 50 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

Paycor

Paycor is an integrated cloud-based software suite that offers functionality to encompasses the entire employee lifecycle - from recruiting and onboarding to time and attendance management. Collectively, the solution offers tools for... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 48 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

Workful

Workful is a cloud-based payroll and employee management solution designed to help small businesses automate processes for internal communication, time tracking, onboarding and more. Key features include direct deposit, geo-fenced... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 42 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

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 software... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 41 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

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 solution... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 30 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

Ascentis

Ascentis offers a cloud-based human capital management (HCM) suite designed for midsize companies of all industries. It includes HR and benefits, recruiting and onboarding, talent management, time and attendance and payroll. Ascentis... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 28 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

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 organizations... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 26 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

EPAY Human Capital Management

EPAY Human Capital Management is an integrated HR system that helps midsize and large companies track, manage and pay their employees. EPAY Systems specializes in industries like business services, staffing, manufacturing, healthcare... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 20 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

Viventium

Viventium is a cloud-based payroll and human resources (HR) solution for small to mid-size businesses. Key features include payroll, HR, talent acquisition, ACA tracking, business intelligence, and time and attendance. A mobile Employee... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 15 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

TeamPay by ADP™

TeamPay by ADP is a payroll solution designed for Canadian small business owners. The solution is cloud-based, protected by double-layer authentication, and allows users to access systems from multiple devices through a secure system. TeamPay... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 12 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

SentricHR

SentricHR is a cloud-based Human Resources (HR) and payroll software designed for midsize and large businesses. It offers core HRIS, benefits, recruiting, talent management, time and attendance, absence management and payroll. SentricHR... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 10 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

Triton HR

Triton HR offers small to midsize companies a cloud-based human resources (HR) solution that integrates payroll services, employee benefits and core HR applications into a single system. The system can be configured to support a wide... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 6 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

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. ADP... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 5 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

Payroll Connected

Payroll Connected is a fully automatic online payroll processing software. Just enter the hours worked, and it’s done! Stat, Vac, OT and deductions are calculated automatically. Plus ROEs, T4s, reports and more. Payroll Connected... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 5 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

AsureHCM

Asure People Success Platform is a workforce and workspace management software for small to midsize businesses, and enterprise corporations. The HCM platform empowers clients with information about the productivity level of employees.... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

Acara

Acara offers workforce and recruiting solutions for businesses in various industries. Acara's team is dedicated to helping employers recruit the right talent by providing customized solutions that align with staffing and workforce... Read more

Price:

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

Evolve HCM

Evolve HCM is a SaaS human resource and payroll solution for small to medium-sized cannabis employers. Our product is a fully integrated, fully mobile enabled, full suite human resources application which includes: Recruitment, Onboarding,... Read more

Price:

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

Buyers guide


Last Updated: May 30, 2020

What Is Online Payroll Software?

Online payroll software is a web-based payroll application that provides features such as compensation management, tax filing, and time and attendance tracking. Users can access these features via web-enabled devices (e.g., computer, tablet, smartphone). The software is hosted and managed by the vendor.

Online, or “cloud-based,” payroll software refers to systems hosted in the cloud, on the software vendor’s servers. Unlike with on-premise deployments, which require users to install software on their own computers and servers, online software lets users log in from anywhere.

There are many online payroll solutions out there. Some are sold as stand-alone payroll applications, while others are included as part of broader human resources (HR) software suites. Big vendors, such as ADP, offer multiple cloud payroll systems with different levels of functionality. No matter which vendor you choose, there are some capabilities common to most online payroll systems, which we’ll explore next.

(If you're not sold on the cloud-based deployment model and would prefer to evaluate all payroll systems, both cloud-based and on-premise, check out our general payroll software guide.)

As high-speed Internet and mobile access become more common, online payroll software’s popularity is on the rise. If you're in the market for a new system, this guide will help you choose the right one for your business. We’ll cover:

Common Applications of Online Payroll Software
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Benefits and Potential Issues
Market Trends to Understand

Common Applications of Online Payroll Software

These systems often come with some or all of the following core capabilities:

Compensation management Found in all payroll software; automates payroll processing. Users assign pay rates to employees, then enter employee hours manually or import them from a Web-based time and attendance application. The system automatically calculates wages and generates paychecks. May include direct deposit options, bonuses, commissions, overtime and tips.
Time and attendance Allows employees to clock in and out within the system, and administrators to track employee attendance.
Tax filing Available in more robust systems. Automatically prepares, files and pays state and federal taxes. Alternatively, provides tax calculations and/or documents for users to prepare and file manually.
Accounting integration Some systems package payroll processing and general accounting together. Alternatively, some systems simply offer integration with users’ existing online accounting software.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Online payroll software buyers can choose from options with a range of functionality: from basic compensation management systems all the way up to complete HR suites. The system that’s right for you will depend on your payroll, accounting and HR requirements:

Basic payroll needs. Some vendors offer entry-level online payroll packages that include capabilities only for compensation management and time and attendance. Businesses looking to fulfill basic payroll needs might choose one of these, such as Wagepoint or Payroll by Wave.

Payroll and accounting software. These solutions combine payroll processing and accounting. Systems such as XERO include payroll processing and general ledger accounting in one product. Others, such as QuickBooks Full Service Payroll, integrate with full accounting platforms. Relatedly, some vendors offer payroll solutions designed specifically for accountants.

Complete HR suites. As mentioned, many online payroll systems come as part of an HR suite. These suites include functionality for personnel tracking, applicant tracking, benefits administration, talent management, scheduling and more in addition to payroll. Businesses looking for a complete solution can check out software such as Paychex Flex and Kronos Workforce Central’s Web-based option.

Benefits and Potential Issues

There are many benefits of choosing online payroll software over software deployed on-premise. Some of these perks include:

Security. With cloud-based deployments, businesses don’t have to worry about on-premise crashes, thefts or other crises. Online software vendors have their own secure servers and security policies to help prevent hacking and data loss (which are often more robust than those of individual businesses).

Automatic updates. Cloud payroll software vendors often update their products to reflect things like changing tax laws. Because online payroll software can update automatically, users no longer have to buy new software each year.

Lower upfront costs. Since cloud payroll solutions are typically priced on a subscription basis, users don’t have to pay a large installation fee up front, like they do with perpetual licenses (which are common for on-premise systems). Instead, they pay a more manageable fee either per month or per year.

Though online payroll software solutions have lower initial costs, the recurring costs eventually add up. However, since on-premise software often requires users to purchase updates, over time, costs for the two types of system tend to even out.

Market Trends to Understand

Here are a few trends to be aware of as you search for new software in this market:

Mobile accessibility. More and more businesses want their payroll software to be accessible from any device. Cloud-based software has made it possible for vendors to offer mobile apps, so users can log in from their smartphones and tablets.

Many vendors also offer mobile employee portals. With these portals, employees can access their timesheets, salary information and more while on the go.

Cloud-based solutions for larger enterprises. In the past, cloud solutions were marketed only to small and midsize businesses. Now, more and more vendors are offering robust online payroll systems for larger enterprises.

Systems targeting larger businesses often include a wider range of capabilities, such as HR applications or accounting integration.