Best Payroll Software36Software for managing payroll.UltiPro1 Workforce Now3 Dayforce4 Powered by ADP7 Desktop Pro8 Online10 Workforce Ready11 Human Capital Management12 SmartCompliance13 Desktop Premier14 PeopleSoft HCM15 Desktop Enterprise16 Vantage HCM19 Flex23 Desktop for Mac25

Payroll Software

Best Payroll Software

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Payroll Software Overview

What is Payroll Software?

Payroll software can be offered as a point solution that focuses on calculating and processing employee pay, generating tax forms, and benefits administration. However, payroll capabilities can also be rolled into larger human resources (HR) management software, ERP software, or accounting and budgeting software.

Payroll programs have a few different deployment options, including more traditional on-premise solutions and cloud-based SaaS options. Currently, deployment trends are shifting from on-premise, or hosted, solutions to cloud-based applications that can be partially or fully outsourced.

Some vendors offering different deployment alternatives are:

Payroll Software Features & Capabilities

Most vendors offering payroll software include features such as:

  • Calculating employee pay

  • Automatically calculating deductions for withholdings (e.g. state and federal taxes, insurance and retirement contributions)

  • Direct deposit check processing

  • Printing checks for employees not enrolled in direct deposit

  • Generating tax forms

  • Integrating with external payroll vendors

  • Issuing off-cycle checks

  • Maintaining payroll history for each employee

  • Administering benefit plans

  • Managing retirement plans

  • Payroll tracking and auditing

  • Modifying and revising employee salaries

  • Running payroll balance and calculation reports

Payroll Software for Small Businesses vs. Enterprises

Payroll point solutions may be more appropriate for smaller businesses, while HR management software and HCM suites are usually geared towards large businesses and enterprises. HR and HCM packages typically include other functions, for example, maintaining employee records, managing employee leave, and keeping track of company provided employee assets.

Smaller businesses often don’t need all the additional features that come with HR, HCM, or ERP software suites. These enterprise level software packages can also be more expensive than payroll point solutions. Some examples of payroll point solutions that are targeted for small businesses are Intuit Payroll, Gusto’s Payroll platform, and Paychex Flex.

Accounting Software vs. Payroll Software

Similarly to HR management and HCM software, accounting software includes a wide array of functions including but extending beyond payroll capabilities. Accounting software is primarily a financial dashboard that records and updates a company’s financial transactions and information.

Some examples of accounting software that offer payroll capabilities include QuickBooks Pro, QuickBooks Online, and Priority AccountEdge.

In-House vs. Outsourced Payroll

Traditionally, outsourcing payroll services was the dominant model as companies saw this as a way to avoid hiring payroll administrators. Outsourcing is still common, but many companies still choose to conduct payroll in-house with either cloud-based or on-premise solutions.

However, modern payroll software is changing this bifurcated model and offering a third option - cloud-based semi-outsourced payroll software. This hybrid option allows the company to retain control over core payroll processes while outsourcing certain activities, such as calculating tax withholdings.

Pricing Information

Payroll point solutions have monthly, subscription-based fees and are generally less expensive than HRM, HCM, or ERP software packages. Prices for point solutions start at $10/month for self-service or basic packages and increase up to $100/month. Most vendors also offer a free trial of their products.

Suite software packages may have subscription fees or a one time license and installment fee. Monthly fees can range from $10 - $50 per employee. One-time fees can range upwards of $20,000, and future maintenance and upgrade costs may apply as well.

Payroll Products

Listings (1-25 of 92)


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Top Rated
775 Ratings

Ultimate Software delivers cloud-based HCM solutions that help businesses accelerate talent acquisition, simplify payroll computations, manage time and attendance, and support proactive, strategic talent management.


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Top Rated
613 Ratings

TriNet provides small and medium size businesses (SMBs) with full-service HR solutions tailored by industry. The vendor aims to free SMBs from HR complexities by offering access to human capital expertise, benefits, risk mitigation and compliance, payroll and real-time technology. From Main Stree...

Ceridian Dayforce

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Top Rated
543 Ratings

Dayforce is a global human capital management (HCM) platform that aims to transform the employee experience. It unifies data from across the entire employee lifecycle with the goal of enabling better decision-making at every level. Dayforce is a comprehensive cloud platform that combines HR, payr...


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199 Ratings

Paycor offers recruiting, hiring, benefits administration, payroll, tax compliance, and time & attendance tracking capabilities.


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213 Ratings

Ascentis HR uses web-based management programs to help automate complex HR processes. It's fully integrated with Ascentis’ other services including payroll, time and attendance and recruiting.

RUN Powered by ADP

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Top Rated
193 Ratings

RUN powered by ADP is a benefits administration and payroll platform for small businesses with light additional HR features.

QuickBooks Desktop Pro

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Top Rated
560 Ratings

Quickbooks Desktop Pro is accounting software from Intuit, Inc. It allows a user to create invoices and track sales, enter and pay bills from vendors, and download bank and credit card transactions directly into QuickBooks. It contains analytic features, and its reports can be exported into Excel...


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113 Ratings

Paycom is a core HR management software solution. It includes features such as talent acquisition and management, time tracking, and payroll management.

QuickBooks Online

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Top Rated
653 Ratings

QuickBooks Online is a SaaS verison of the QuickBooks product. The monthly fee for this service starts at $13 and can be upgraded to include payroll services, and inventory management (implementing Intuit's acquisition, the Lettuce Inventory Management app, as a built-in component of QuickBooks O...

Kronos Workforce Ready

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Top Rated
166 Ratings

Workforce Ready by Kronos is a human resources (HR) platform with the goal of offering full HCM capabilities at an affordable price. With Kronos Workforce Ready, organizations have a single cloud-based solution for their workforce that incorporates recruiting, onboarding, performance management, ...

Workday Human Capital Management

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Top Rated
272 Ratings

Workday Human Capital Management is built as a single system with a single source of data, single security model, and single user experience. Workday offers organizations a cloud-based system that evolves to meet changing business needs today and into the future. The user-friendly, global system ...

ADP SmartCompliance

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105 Ratings

ADP SmartCompliance is a tax and regulatory compliance platform for midsize or larger companies using an ERP or non-ADP platform for HR and HRMS services.

Oracle PeopleSoft HCM

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418 Ratings

Oracle's PeopleSoft HCM is a complete suite including Global Core Human Capital Management, Workforce Management, Workforce Service Delivery, and Talent Management.

QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise

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Top Rated
312 Ratings

QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise is a widely-used accounting package designed for smaller organizations. It is the top of the QuickBooks line. Pricing starts at $3,000 for five users, and goes up depending on the number of additional users. They also offer an Advanced Inventory module for $999 / year.


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72 Ratings

Zenefits is a free, cloud-based core-HR platform with benefits administration capabilities. Zenefits, an American company headquartered in San Francisco, is not paid by users of its platform but by benefits providers whose users choose to administer benefits through the Zenefits platform. A payr...

ADP Vantage HCM

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102 Ratings

ADP Vantage HCM is a fully-integrated platform combining the pillars of human capital management: HR, payroll, benefits, talent management and time & attendance.

68 Ratings

Paylocity provides 24/7 access to your online payroll and human resource data. Paylocity offers highly customizable functionality for such things as General Ledger and Accruals, along with self-service capabilities and advanced report writing features. Features include: Online Payroll Processin...

43 Ratings

APS is a national workforce management and cloud-based HR solution provider. The platform includes core HR, payroll, time and attendance (including manager and employee self-service), ACA compliance tools, and a mobile app.


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Top Rated
67 Ratings

Gusto (formerly ZenPayroll) offers payroll, benefits and compliance capabilities.

28 Ratings

Vista® is a feature-rich, completely integrated human resource, benefits, payroll, recruiting, and self-service software application that aims to enable organizations to minimize the time invested in administrative HCM and payroll activities by streamlining and automating those processes and faci...