Payroll Software

Top Rated Payroll Products

These products won a Top Rated award for having excellent customer satisfaction ratings. The list is based purely on reviews; there is no paid placement, and analyst opinions do not influence the rankings. Read more about the Top Rated criteria.

Payroll Software TrustMap

TrustMaps are two-dimensional charts that compare products based on trScore and research frequency by prospective buyers. Products must have 20 or more ratings to appear on this TrustMap.

Payroll Software Overview

What is Payroll Software?

Payroll software is 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.

Using a payroll software centralizes the myriad payroll processes onto one platform and provides a variety of tools to make payroll functions more efficient and accurate. Ideally, payroll software will prevent human errors when calculating and administering payroll, as well as allow employees to self-service some functions to reduce administrative overhead.

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 or on-demand payments

  • 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

  • Employee self-service

Payroll Software for Small Businesses vs. Enterprises

Smaller businesses often don’t need all the additional features, and heftier price tags, that come with HR, HCM, or ERP software suites. Some examples of payroll point solutions that are targeted for small businesses are Intuit Payroll, Gusto’s Payroll platform, and Paychex Flex.

In contrast, HR management software and HCM suites are usually geared towards large businesses and enterprises. HR and HCM packages typically include broader HR management functions, such as maintaining employee records, managing employee leave, and keeping track of company provided employee assets.

Payroll Software vs. Accounting 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 Wave, QuickBooks Online, and Priority AccountEdge.

In-House vs. Outsourced Payroll

Traditionally, outsourcing payroll services were the dominant model as companies saw this as a way to avoid hiring payroll administrators. Outsourcing is still common, but many companies now 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.

Payroll Software Deployment

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 Comparison

When comparing options to find the best payroll software for you, be sure to evaluate these factors:

  1. Scope of each solution: Payroll capabilities can be found across a range of product sizes. The middle of the road solution would include all the necessary functions for calculating, processing, and administering payroll. Larger solutions will include additional non-payroll functions, like HR management or accounting. On the other end, there are some tools for specific payroll functions, like tax compliance. Holistically evaluate your financial software needs to ensure you purchase a product that can meet as many of your current and future needs as possible.

  2. Customer support and service: According to TrustRadius reviews of payroll solutions, the quality and level of customer service that comes with the purchase is a significant strength, or weakness, of many payroll products. The quality of customer service is particularly important for navigating payroll’s changing regulatory landscapes and compliance requirements. Payroll vendors can help you adjust your processes and stay compliant, but not all products will be able to deliver this service.

  3. Mobile Accessibility: Any payroll software should allow employees to access it through their phones. Your employees should be able to access their pay stubs, pay history, and self service personal information like direct deposit info. Consider the range of capabilities available to employees and administrators through products’ mobile applications, and any additional costs that may entail.

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

(1-25 of 120) Sorted by Most Reviews

UKG Pro (formerly Ultimate Software UltiPro)
308 ratings
739 reviews
Top Rated
Ultimate Software delivers cloud-based HCM solutions that help businesses simplify payroll computations, accelerate talent acquisition, manage time and attendance, and support proactive, strategic talent management on a global level.
ADP Workforce Now
591 ratings
712 reviews
Top Rated
ADP Workforce Now is a cloud-based HR platform for mid-sized businesses. It features customizable modules of various HR services that businesses can tailor to their specific needs, as well as regulatory monitoring and alerts to help businesses remain compliant.
335 ratings
530 reviews
Top Rated
TriNet provides small and medium size businesses (SMBs) with full-service HR and payroll solutions tailored by industry. TriNet also offers specialized services through client access to HR representatives for advice and notifications on impactful regulatory changes.
Ceridian Dayforce
436 ratings
500 reviews
Top Rated
Ceridian Dayforce HCM is a cloud-based platform encompassing HR, payroll, benefits, and talent and workforce management. It provides companies with a scalable framework and real-time data, such as continual pay calculations, to enable efficient decision-making.
125 ratings
180 reviews
Paycor provides core HR functions scaled towards small and mid-sized businesses. Paycor offers an integrated benefits platform for interfacing directly with insurance carriers and an adaptable time management platform.
156 ratings
164 reviews
Ascentis HR uses web-based management programs to help automate complex HR processes. It's fully integrated with Ascentis’ other services including customizable payroll, time and attendance and recruiting modules.
UKG Ready (formerly Kronos Workforce Ready)
137 ratings
128 reviews
Top Rated
UKG Ready™ is presented as a flexible and seamless HR solution that provides a connected people experience to easily manage the entire employee journey, from a single solution. Designed for flexibility and ease of use, UKG Ready combines HR, talent, payroll, and time to deliver a personalized, peopl…
78 ratings
122 reviews
Paycom is a core HR management software solution. It includes features such as talent acquisition and management, time tracking, and payroll management. It offers some automation capacities, particularly regarding payroll.
RUN Powered by ADP®
131 ratings
116 reviews
Top Rated
RUN powered by ADP is a benefits administration and payroll platform for small businesses with light additional HR features. It runs on a cloud-based platform with mobile accessibility.
QuickBooks Desktop Pro
569 ratings
103 reviews
Top Rated
Quickbooks Desktop Pro is accounting software from Intuit, Inc. It includes core accounting features, plus analytics and exportable reports. It is offered in on-premise and SaaS forms.
QuickBooks Online
770 ratings
99 reviews
Top Rated
QuickBooks Online is a SaaS version of the QuickBooks product. It contains all of the features found in the local version. Higher-priced plans include greater automation, payment management, inventory and time tracking, and analytics features.
52 ratings
92 reviews
Namely offers a cloud-based HR platform for integrated core and specialized HR services, including time and employee performance management and onboarding processes.
ADP SmartCompliance
67 ratings
92 reviews
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.
41 ratings
84 reviews
Top Rated
Zenefits is a free, cloud-based core-HR platform. It primarily services small to mid-sized businesses and provides time management and benefits administration capabilities.
Workday Human Capital Management
278 ratings
77 reviews
Top Rated
Workday Human Capital Management is built as a cloud-based system with global consistency in user experience. Workday HCM is part of a broader system with other Workday products.
Oracle PeopleSoft HCM
397 ratings
72 reviews
Top Rated
Oracle's PeopleSoft HCM is a complete, customizable suite including Global Core Human Capital Management, Workforce Management, Workforce Service Delivery, and Talent Management. PeopleSoft can be integrated to run on the Oracle Cloud.
ADP Vantage HCM
84 ratings
61 reviews
ADP Vantage HCM is a platform combining HR, payroll, benefits, talent management and time & attendance. ADP promotes dedicated HR representatives to work with businesses.
QuickBooks Desktop Premier
230 ratings
58 reviews
QuickBooks Desktop Premier is an installed version of QuickBooks for general business, contractors, manufacturing and warehouse accounting, as well as nonprofits, professional services, and retail.
Time Doctor
26 ratings
50 reviews
Time Doctor provides detailed analytics of where time is spent during the work day. Companies can see the websites and applications their employees visit while working, and screenshots of the computer screen every few minutes while they work. Time Doctor not only tracks the total time worked by eve…
62 ratings
48 reviews
Paylocity provides 24/7 access to your online payroll and human resource data management. Paylocity offers highly customizable payroll functionality, as well as HR, benefits administration, and time and talent management programs.
17 ratings
47 reviews
isolved is a SaaS-based, cloud-resident Human Capital Management (HCM) solution that provides Payroll, HR, Benefits Administration, Time & Attendance, Talent Management and Compliance. Employers have the ability to schedule an upcoming shift, view overtime levels, run a customized report, preview p…
Paychex Flex
52 ratings
42 reviews
Top Rated
Paychex Flex, of Paychex' Online Payroll Services, is a cloud-based human resource management and payroll platform. Paychex offers core and specialized services, and scales to meet the needs of small businesses, SMBs, and large enterprises.
63 ratings
42 reviews
Top Rated
Gusto offers payroll, benefits and compliance capabilities. Gusto is scaled for small to mid-sized businesses, and emphasizes an easy to use interface.
14 ratings
32 reviews
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), compliance tools, and onboarding.
QuickBooks Desktop for Mac
52 ratings
29 reviews
Top Rated
Quickbooks Desktop for Mac is an accounting software designed for Mac users. It is designed to integrate with Apple iCloud. It provides core accounting features in line with the rest of the Quickbooks Desktop product line.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does payroll software work?

Payroll software takes the calculated amount of pay that each employee has accrued over the pay period, makes predetermined deductions and withholdings, and administers the net pay to employees. Some software will also support additional payroll processes, like tax preparation.

What is a good payroll software for small business?

Many payroll software for small businesses bundles the function with other HR or accounting software. Small business-focused payroll providers include TriNet, QuickBooks, and RUN powered by ADP.

Can I do payroll myself?

While technically possible, it is highly inadvisable to conduct payroll without software assistance. The manual process of calculating gross pay, making deductions, transferring money to direct deposit, and writing checks, along with other processes are beyond the capabilities of virtually all businesses.

How much does payroll software cost?

Standalone payroll software starts around $5-$10 per employee, per month, and scale up for additional features or when packaged with broader HR or accounting functions.

What are the benefits of payroll software?

Payroll software helps your business compliant with regulations and reduces human errors and delays when processing and administering payroll.