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Gusto

Gusto (formerly ZenPayroll) is a fully featured payroll, benefits administration and compliance management platform. Designed to serve mainly small businesses across the United States, Gusto provides tools to manage core HR needs such... Read More
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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 management. Namely... Read More
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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
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Wagepoint

Wagepoint is an easy to use, intuitive, web-based payroll system, ideal for small businesses seeking to pay their employees or contractors while remaining compliant with IRS regulations. It is a great fit for companies operating in... Read More
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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 solution... Read More
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Sage Payroll

Sage offers web-based payroll solutions designed for small and midsized companies in many industries.  For companies with 10 employees and 5 departments or less, Sage Payroll Essentials is a straightforward platform can be accessed... Read More
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Employment Hero

Employment Hero is an Australian Web-based human resources (HR) system available to businesses of all industries and sizes worldwide. The system helps manage the entire employee lifecycle, with modules for recruiting, onboarding, payroll,... Read More
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Vista

Vista is an integrated human resource, benefits, payroll, recruiting and self-service software application that offers tools for administrative HCM and payroll processes.   Functional elements include workflow, tax management, recruitment,... Read More
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Infor HCM

Infor CloudSuite HCM is a suite of human resources applications with several deployment options. Applications in the core suite include benefits management, absence and time entry, budgeting, employee safety, talent acquisition, onboarding,... Read More
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Ascentis

Ascentis offers a web-based human capital management (HCM) suite designed to find, hire and onboard suitable candidates. Built-in features include career portals, social sharing, candidate data analysis, onboarding and more. With... Read More
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Kronos Workforce Central

Kronos Workforce Central is a set of human resource and workforce management applications including Kronos HRMS, payroll, time and attendance, absence management, scheduling and more. The Workforce Central suite of tools has been created... Read More
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iCIMS Talent Platform

iCIMS offers a platform of cloud-based talent acquisition solutions. iCIMS provides tools for recruiters and hiring managers throughout the process, from recruiting talent to onboarding new hires. iCIMS Recruit gives users access... Read More
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RUN powered by ADP

RUN, powered by ADP, 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
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ADP Workforce Now

ADP Workforce Now is a human capital management solution for companies with more than 50 employees. The core capabilities of the solution include human resources management, payroll, benefits, talent management, compliance, time and... Read More
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UltiPro

Ultimate Software’s UltiPro® is a cloud-based human capital management (HCM) solution designed to help organizations manage their HR, payroll, and talent needs. A configurable solution, UltiPro has functionality for recruiting and... Read More
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Kronos Workforce Ready

Workforce Ready by Kronos is a human resources (HR) platform that combines workforce management with human capital management (HCM) capabilities and is suitable for businesses of all sizes.  Kronos Workforce Ready is a single cloud-based... Read More
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Bullhorn Staffing and Recruiting Software

Bullhorn is a cloud-based applicant tracking and customer relationship management solution for small and midsize recruiting and staffing agencies. It offers email integrations, social media integration, reporting tools, mobile recruiting... Read More
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PeopleStrategy eHCM

PeopleStrategy eHCM® is an enterprise-level, cloud-based human capital managment (HCM) solution. It features integrated payroll, HRIS, employee and manager self-service, applicant tracking, benefits administration, workforce management,... Read More
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Triton HR

Industry leader Triton HR offers small to mid-sized companies a cutting-edge, end-to-end HR solution that seamlessly integrates payroll services, employee benefits, and core HR applications into a single, user-friendly system. Using... Read More
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iSolved

With more than 25 years in the industry, Infinisource recognizes the importance of your human capital. iSolved by Infinisource is a comprehensive, highly scalable suite of applications that contains all the tools you need to effectively... Read More
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Deltek Talent Management

Deltek offers a unified SaaS-based talent management solution which helps businesses to hire, develop and retain talented resource. The solution offers complete visibility into the hiring process and helps recruiters fill open positions... Read More
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Criterion HCM

Criterion HCM was originally developed in 1984 and continues to provide an integrated HRIS system with Payroll, HCM, and suite of essential HR features. The system uses a modular approach to make sure that each client has the applications... Read More
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SyncHR

SyncHR is a single-source core human resources (HR), payroll and benefits solution with one data model to support the entire system. The cloud-based design allows SyncHR to provide a real-time solution across functional areas within... Read More
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Blueforce

Blueforce by EPAY Systems is a time and labor management system created to conform to the unique labor needs, compliance requirements and working environments of any organization. As a cloud-based system, Blueforce offers the options... Read More
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iManage by Corporate Business Solutions

iManage by Corporate Business Solutions is a full-featured HR solution that was designed to improve the organization of a human resources department. The software is best suited for mid-sized to enterprise-level businesses looking... Read More
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Vibe HCM

Vibe HCM is a human resources platform that combines core HR, payroll and benefits, onboarding, communications, talent management, analytics and real-time AskHR functionality. Vibe HCM has been deployed for midsize to large companies... Read More
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DATIS e3

DATIS has been developing human capital management solutions since 1996. While focusing on primarily non-profit health and human services organizations, their client base also has a mix of for-profit customers in distribution, hospitality,... Read More
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APS

APS (Automatic Payroll Systems, Inc.) has been providing payroll and tax compliance services to companies for almost two decades. In 2004, they released their APS, their cloud-based solution for human capital management. APS combines... Read More
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Optimum Solutions

Optimum HRIS is a flagship human resource management solution from Optimum Solutions, offering payroll, HR and time & attendance management features. The solution is used across various industry verticals including healthcare, manufacturing,... Read More
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HROffice

HROffice is a cloud-based recruiting platform that offers a suite of integrated applications. The applications cover a spectrum of recruiting, from career site management and job postings to social media integration, screening, and... Read More
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Paycor Perform

Paycor’s Perform 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... Read More
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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
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Paychex Flex

Paychex Flex is a modular, web-based human capital management solution designed to meet the needs of employers of any size and industry. With a single login, users can access recruiting and applicant tracking (ATS), onboarding, HRIS,... Read More
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Planday

Planday is a web-based employee scheduling platform suitable for businesses of almost any size or vertical. In addition to scheduling, Planday also allows managers to oversee employee hours, vacation requests, shift-swaps, payroll... Read More
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HROffice Planning

Developed for companies seeking a workforce planning tool for both permanent and temporary staff, HROffice Planning is a web-based solution used to coordinate, plan, and report on an organization’s workforce. Staffing and temp agencies... Read More
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CIPHR

CIPHR is a comprehensive human resources (HR) suite designed to handle the complete employee lifecycle for businesses and organizations in the U.K. It offers functionality for a variety of HR needs, including core personnel tracking,... Read More
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ConnX Workforce Management Solution

ConnX Workforce Management is a solution designed to help companies streamline their processes, better track their employees, and allow managers and employees to more openly communicate. The program is available in both cloud-based... Read More
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SmartHR

SmartHR is a modular HR platform recommended to South African companies in any industry. Along with a core HR module that can be implemented standalone, the system also offers integrated applications for companies that want to manage... Read More
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ClockOn

ClockOn is a fully integrated system that offers a suite of applications, including time and attendance tracking, employee scheduling, and more. The solution can be deployed privately in the cloud or installed locally on a server.... Read More
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XCD HR

XCD HR is cloud-based Human Resources software for medium to large businesses in all industries. The system has three different Core HR modules that have varying degrees of functionality. Some of the functionalities include Recruitment... Read More
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PayFocus

PayFocus from Benefitmall is an online payroll and HR software that gives businesses compliant tax processing, support, and the ability to manage HR tasks from one platform. The software offers personnel tracking and on boarding. The... Read More
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PeopleGuru HCM

PeopleGuru HCM is an enterprise-level web-based solution designed to manage the core HR needs of mid-sized companies in several different industries. Within PeopleGuru, users gain access to several different applications including... Read More
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TeamPay by ADP™

TeamPay by ADP™ is a payroll solution designed for Canadian small business owners. The program is available on the cloud and is protected by double-layer authentication, allowing users to stay on top of their payroll from anywhere... Read More
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Oracle HCM Cloud

Oracle HCM Cloud is a complete human resources (HR) application suite. It is designed to give a comprehensive view of all employees, align common HR processes across any device and manage compliance through a single application. Key... Read More
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WebHR

WebHR is social human resources software that tracks and assists with the lifecycle of employment from the time an employee is hired, to their retirement. The platform helps bridge the gap between human resources professionals and... Read More
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Oracle HCM Cloud

Oracle HCM Cloud is a Human Resource (HR) solution that is designed to give information about employees, align HR processes and manage compliance. Key features include human resources, absence management, benefits, workforce predictions... Read More
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Epicor HCM

Epicor HCM is an HRM solution offering integrated talent management and human capital management solutions. The application provides tools to support core HR functionality, as well as offers additional modules for performance management,... Read More
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Sage People (formerly Fairsail HRIS)

Sage People enables midsize to enterprise companies manage their workforces through its cloud HCM system. It allows organizations to manage their peoples' acquisitions, engagement, and development related operations. Built on the... Read More
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Justworks PEO

Justworks PEO is a human resources solution for small and mid-sized companies in industries including accounting, advertising, non-profit, banking, consulting, telecommunications and more. Core features offered within Justworks PEO... Read More
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StarGarden HCM

StarGarden is an integrated Human Resources solution that can be installed on-premise or accessed via the cloud on any Apple device with an internet connection. It’s suited for midsize to large organizations in a variety of industries,... Read More
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Buyer's Guide

No matter what kind of business you’re in, you have to process payroll. Whether you run it manually, outsource to a third party or something in between, you need a reliable method of making sure employees get paid.

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:

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

What Is Online Payroll Software?

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.)

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.