5 Best Payroll Solutions for Small Businesses Compared

by:
on August 29, 2019

One in three small businesses get penalized by the IRS for payroll errors, and you can’t afford to be one of them. Payroll tools are non-negotiable parts of any business—big or small—but how do you know which payroll solutions will be the best fit for your small business?

We’ve put together this guide that compares 5 payroll solutions that are suited for small businesses, taking into account pricing, features, and our own user reviews.

Below are the top payroll solutions for small businesses. These tools have been listed based on their FrontRunners score (in descending order). 1


FrontRunners score: 9.84 (Usability score: 4.96; User Recommended score: 4.88)
Deployment: Cloud-based
Reviews: Read user reviews for Rippling

Rippling is an HRIS platform with multiple payroll features including federal, state, and local tax filing, I-9, W2, W4 and 1099 form filing, and unlimited payroll runs.

The solution is also internationalized to support non-US based work locations, support direct deposits and checks, and its mobile app allows employees to view pay stubs and request time off.

The tool also integrates with QuickBooks, Sage Intacct, and NetSuite.

Rippling’s base HR platform costs $35 plus $7 per month per employee. Payroll features can be added for $5 per month, per employee.

As of August 2019, our reviewers have given Rippling 4.95 out of 5 stars, with 5 stars for ease-of-use, value for money, customer support, and functionality.

Why Rippling is a good payroll solution for small businesses: Rippling’s single flat monthly fee for running unlimited payrolls makes it an affordable choice for small businesses.

rippling hr

Running payroll in Rippling (Source)


FrontRunners score: 9.62 (Usability score: 4.84; User Recommended score: 4.78)
Deployment: Cloud-based
Reviews: Read user reviews for OnPay

 
OnPay is a payroll solution that includes features such as unlimited monthly pay-runs and multi-state payroll. It also handles the payment of both W-2 and 1099 workers.

The tool handles all payroll tax responsibilities, including state and federal withholdings, and files Form 941 quarterly and Form 940 annually. It also offers an “accuracy guarantee” which means that OnPay will take responsibility for any tax filing errors.

OnPay’s system also allows for as many types of payroll deductions as needed, including the following: 401(k), IRA, Section 125 or health insurance deductions, and loan deductions.

Rather than charging on a per payroll-run basis, the monthly price for the solution is $36 plus $4 per employee. All customers receive the first month of service for free.

As of August 2019, our reviewers have given OnPay 4.87 out of 5 stars, with 5 stars for ease-of-use, value for money, and customer support.

Why OnPay is a good payroll solution for small businesses: OnPay’s price point makes it an accessible payroll option for small businesses. It also allows employee self-service, including enabling employees to enter their own bank and withholdings information and to download their own tax forms and details of previous payroll runs.

Payroll run totals in OnPay (Source)


FrontRunners score: 9.60 (Usability score: 4.89; User Recommended score: 4.71)
Deployment: Cloud-based
Reviews: Read user reviews for PeopleBookHR

 
PeopleBookHR is an HR tool offering payroll features such as adjustment runs, autopay, and variable pay entry for performance related payments.

The solution can handle rollbacks to re-run the payroll period with correct data, several different pay types (hourly, salary, etc), and offers over 50 payroll reports.

Starting prices for PeopleBookHR aren’t available publicly, but the vendor offers a free demo.

As of August 2019, our reviewers have given PeopleBookHR 4.9 out of 5 stars, with 5 stars for ease-of-use, value for money, customer support, and functionality.

Why PeopleBookHR is a good payroll solution for small businesses: The ability to run various payroll reports can help small business owners understand their business and workforce better. Payroll reports can help breakdown the analysis of employee turnover, bonuses, and compensation data.

Payroll in PeopleBookHR (Source)


FrontRunners score: 9.18 (Usability score: 4.68; User Recommended score: 4.50)
Deployment: On-premise
Reviews: Read user reviews for Payroll Mate

Payroll Mate is an on-premise payroll solution that includes features such as multiple pay frequencies, automatic calculation of federal and state payroll taxes, and the generation of multiple federal quarterly and annual payroll forms.

The tool allows for the creation of payroll reports such as employee earnings, tax liability and journal reports, which can be exported into Microsoft Excel, CSV and Adobe PDF.

Users can also export payroll data to third-party accounting solutions such as Sage 50 and QuickBooks.

The software license fee for Payroll Mate is $119 per calendar year. The license is valid for up to 10 companies and supports up to 75 employees per company.

As of August 2019, our reviewers have given Payroll Mate 4.74 out of 5 stars, with 5 stars for value of money and customer support.

Why Payroll Mate is a good payroll solution for small businesses: Payroll Mate’s standard pricing structure, without charging additional fees per employee, makes it an accessible payroll solution for small businesses.

Running payroll in Payroll Mate (Source)


FrontRunners score: 9.17 (Usability score: 4.62; User Recommended score: 4.55)
Deployment: Cloud-based
Reviews: Read user reviews for Patriot Payroll

Patriot Payroll is an accounting and payroll solution that includes features such as an employee portal, customizable payroll, and payroll report generation.

The solution handles unlimited and flexible payrolls, calculates overtime, sickness, and time-off accruals, and tracks reported tips.

Patriot Payroll also offers free payroll setup, free direct deposit, and free worker’s comp integration.

The monthly price for the solution is a base price of $10 plus $4 per employee for the ‘basic’ payroll features. The ‘full service’ payroll option is a $30 base fee per month plus $4 per employee, and handles payroll taxes via the software.

As of August 2019, our reviewers have given Patriot Payroll 4.79 out of 5 stars, with 5 stars for value for money and customer support.

Why Patriot Payroll is a good payroll solution for small businesses: Running payroll can be completed in three short steps—ideal for small businesses who aren’t payroll experts.

Patriot‘s payroll register report (Source)

How to make a decision on a payroll solution for your small business

Price alone shouldn’t be the main factor in your payroll software choice—ultimately, the tool’s functionality needs to suit the needs of both you and your employees.

You can evaluate more payroll systems via the following comparisons:

Or, if you’d like some personalized guidance on the best payroll solution for your small business, give our payroll software advisors a call at (844) 675-2849. After a free 15 minute consultation to review your needs, they’ll provide you with a shortlist of products that suit your business.


Methodology

To be considered for this article, products had to:

1. Be placed in the “small vendor” graphic in the March 2019 FrontRunner’s report for Payroll. Find out more about FrontRunner’s methodology and scoring here.

2. Be awarded at least a 4.5 out of 5 star rating by Software Advice users with a minimum of 20 reviews. Products are scored based on the usability and recommendation ratings given by Software Advice users.

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.

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