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Asure Payroll & Tax Management

Asure’s end-to-end Payroll, HR, and Time and Attendance solutions were developed specifically for small to mid-sized businesses. With the modern Asure platform, remain compliant, support your employees, and free up time to focus o...Read more about Asure Payroll & Tax Management

4.3 (57 reviews)

181 recommendations

Rippling

Rippling gives businesses one place to run HR, IT, and Finance. It brings together all of the workforce systems that are normally scattered across a company, like payroll, expenses, benefits, and computers. So for the first time e...Read more about Rippling

4.9 (3046 reviews)

161 recommendations

isolved

isolved is the most-trusted HCM technology leader, providing the best combination of software and services to meet the needs of today’s People Heroes – HR, payroll, and benefits professionals. From talent acquisition to workforce ...Read more about isolved

3.9 (514 reviews)

110 recommendations

Paycom

Paycom offers user-friendly HR and employee-driven payroll technology to enhance the employee life cycle, in a single software. Paycom drives efficiencies, increases data integrity and gives employees power over their HR informat...Read more about Paycom

4.4 (888 reviews)

108 recommendations

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Justworks

Justworks makes it easier to start, run, and grow a business. With Justworks, entrepreneurs and their teams get access to big-company benefits, automated payroll, compliance support, and HR tools - all in one place. Justworks PEO...Read more about Justworks

4.6 (720 reviews)

96 recommendations

Paycor

Paycor empowers leaders to build winning teams. Paycor’s human capital management (HCM) platform modernizes every aspect of people management, from recruiting, onboarding and payroll to career development and retention, but what r...Read more about Paycor

4.4 (2797 reviews)

77 recommendations

BambooHR

Instead of using fragmented spreadsheets, limited or clunky software, and physical paper, BambooHR helps you centralize your data and automate the way you complete key HR tasks. As you hire, onboard, and pay your employees, every ...Read more about BambooHR

4.6 (2811 reviews)

67 recommendations

Keka

Keka is a cloud-based human resource (HR) solution, which helps businesses manage staff profiles, track attendance, process recruitments and analyze performance. Features include GPS, pulse surveys, document storage, helpdesk, rol...Read more about Keka

4.4 (74 reviews)

64 recommendations

Dayforce HCM

Dayforce makes work life better. Everything we do as a global leader in HCM technology is focused on improving work for thousands of customers and millions of employees around the world. Our single, global people platform for HR, ...Read more about Dayforce HCM

4.3 (957 reviews)

51 recommendations

Paylocity

Paylocity is a cloud-based human capital management (HCM) platform that provides human resources and payroll management tools to help businesses manage core HR functions. Key features include payroll processing, benefits administr...Read more about Paylocity

4.3 (838 reviews)

51 recommendations

Centrally HR

HCM solution that helps manage and automate onboarding, benefits management, employee database, timekeeping and more....Read more about Centrally HR

5.0 (4 reviews)

49 recommendations

PayPro Workforce Management

Over the past 30 years, Paypro has grown into a full service Human Capital Management provider, helping its clients in all aspects of payroll, time and labor management, human resources and employee benefits. Paypro has built its ...Read more about PayPro Workforce Management

4.7 (10 reviews)

29 recommendations

Bob

Bob is a modern HR platform for modern HR challenges. Simplify complexity Bob lets you manage people globally and thrive through change. From culture and connections to performance and payroll, Bob is the HCM built for everyone i...Read more about Bob

4.6 (144 reviews)

21 recommendations

Factorial

Factorial is a cloud-based human resources (HR) solution that caters to small businesses across various industry verticals. Key features include a time-off manager, an organisational chart generator, a document manager and more. ...Read more about Factorial

4.5 (254 reviews)

20 recommendations

Alight

Alight is a leading cloud-based provider of digital human capital management solutions that connect insights across people, work, and life. Through its AI-driven, personalized platform, Alight simplifies the complex HR and benefit...Read more about Alight

4.6 (5 reviews)

9 recommendations

Deel

Deel is a cloud-based payroll and compliance software that simplifies international hiring for businesses of all sizes. With automated onboarding, payroll, and compliance, companies can hire anyone, anywhere in just a few minutes....Read more about Deel

4.7 (534 reviews)

8 recommendations

Rise

Rise is a cloud-based human resources (HR) solution that helps companies engage with their employees and action all HR functions such as managing time and attendance, managing payroll and create customized workflows. The platform ...Read more about Rise

4.1 (128 reviews)

8 recommendations

Humi

Humi is a best-in-one HR, payroll, and benefits software solution for Canadian businesses. A flexible platform for all of your people operation needs, Humi stores employee data and streamlines tasks related to onboarding, time off...Read more about Humi

4.4 (106 reviews)

8 recommendations

Netchex

What is Netchex? Netchex is a cloud-based human resource (HR) and payroll management solution designed for businesses of all sizes. Key features include recruiting and onboarding management, performance management, payroll managem...Read more about Netchex

4.5 (155 reviews)

5 recommendations

Eddy

Eddy is the all-in-one HR Suite built for local businesses. With Eddy, businesses can streamline tedious HR processes and improve their employee experience by moving away from paper and spreadsheets and into our intuitive, web-bas...Read more about Eddy

4.6 (45 reviews)

5 recommendations

Buyers Guide

Last Updated: March 16, 2023

What is payroll software?

Payroll software is a system that handles payroll services including payroll taxes, compensation, year-end bonuses, pay stubs, paid time off, benefits management, and organizing employee records. Many organizations outsource the payroll process, but you may decide that in-house is best for your company, and there are many payroll software 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:

Payroll software functionality

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, garnishments, etc.): paid vacation and time-off benefits and one-time or recurring benefits such as health insurance, educational assistance, moving expenses, and retirement plans.

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In preparing a run, the system will calculate payroll deductions such as federal taxes, local taxes, and state taxes (including Social Security, Medicare, unemployment, and disability insurance). They will then print payroll 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, relocation for new hires, 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.

Benefits of payroll software

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 user-friendly so the learning curve to set up and start processing payroll is very low. These time savings add up. 

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(Source: IRIS Software and Services)

Increase accuracy and decrease risk. Additionally, a payroll software solution can help business owners 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. 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 time-consuming task. The payroll software will track these changes so you don’t have to.

Generate reports. Finally, payroll solutions allow you to track payroll information over time and quickly produce useful reports for internal decision makers, accountants, and auditors. Examples of what’s in a payroll report include summaries of quarterly costs, annual tax remittances and historical employee benefits participation.

What type of buyer are you?

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:

Small businesses: A small business owner looking to streamline their payroll processing will want a solution dedicated 100% to payroll, but at a very affordable base price. Odds are you own payroll yourself at this time, so you need to find the best payroll software for your small business. (See our small business payroll guide for example vendors.)

Midsize businesses: Human resources professionals at midsize companies or larger (50+ employees) will benefit from more than just basic payroll functions. At this level, onboarding, direct deposit, tax filing, and other features such as attendance tracking and time tracking become more valuable, and for that the buyer will want a more comprehensive human resources management system.

Large businesses: These buyers are looking to expand beyond the human resources department into an enterprise resource planning (ERP) package that incorporates full service payroll processing, talent management, and possibly the human capital management system. This will ensure tight integration between payroll and other HR functions, as well as accounting and other department-specific systems.

Another consideration is the type of operating system (OS) 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 OS agnostic, meaning that they are 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.

The availability of a mobile app could also be a factor when considering online payroll software. Not that you'll be able to run payroll or perform tax filings, but employees could submit time-off requests, update their personal info such as phone numbers, and make changes to other payroll options.

Businesses such as professional employer organizations (PEO) and administrative service organizations looking to track payroll services for their employees should consider PEO software.

Popular payroll software comparisons

Market trends to understand

  • More payroll software is now web-based. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)—a deployment model where the vendor hosts the software on its own servers and clients access the solution through their web browser—is becoming more normal for payroll applications. Because tax laws change frequently, any online payroll software you buy will need to be updated at least annually. Online payroll systems provide an excellent answer to that concern, as vendors automatically update the software with legal changes so that tax compliance is uncomplicated for you.

  • Employee portals are becoming more popular. Across the board, HR software is becoming more employee-centric. The availability of employee portals, on both SaaS and on-premise solutions, is growing. Look for more functionality that’s targeted toward employees; for example, employee self-service tax filing, access to personal payroll data, personal benefits, bank account details for direct deposit, paystubs, timesheet data, and absence planning and reporting.

Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.