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 10 or more ratings to appear on this TrustMap.
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.
UKG delivers cloud-based HCM solutions including UKG Pro that help businesses simplify payroll computations, accelerate talent acquisition, manage time and attendance, and support proactive, strategic talent management on a global level.
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 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.
Rippling helps companies manage Payroll, Benefits, HR, and IT in one platform. It brings employee systems and data together, and helps automate busy work. The vendor states that, for example, that with onboarding, Rippling users can just click a button and in 90 seconds set up…
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.
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.
Oracle Cloud HCM combines various human resources operations, such as Core HR functions, talent management, and workforce management, within one platform. The Cloud program provides global scaling and prioritizes mobile accessibility and integration.
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.
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.
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…
Ascentis HR uses web-based management programs to help automate complex HR processes. Ascentis’ other services included customizable payroll, time and attendance and recruiting modules. Ascentis was acquired by UKG in March of 2022, and will be discontinued.
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.
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.
Gusto offers payroll, benefits and compliance capabilities. Gusto is scaled for small to mid-sized businesses, and emphasizes an easy to use interface.
Namely offers a cloud-based HR platform for integrated core and specialized HR services, including time and employee performance management and onboarding processes.
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.
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…
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.
BambooHR is an on-line human resources solution that provides onboarding, payroll, and benefits management. It also offers automated time-off management and employee self-service.
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 is a platform combining HR, payroll, benefits, talent management and time & attendance. ADP promotes dedicated HR representatives to work with businesses.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- On-premise & cloud-based HR/human capital management (HCM) software with payroll capabilities: SAP, Oracle, Kronos, ADP
- Cloud-only HCM software with payroll capabilities: Ultimate Software, Workday, Ceridian
- Cloud-only for small to mid-sized businesses: Trinet, Paychex, Patriot Software
Payroll Software Comparison
When comparing options to find the best payroll software for you, be sure to evaluate these factors:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
The following Payroll Software offer award-winning customer relationships, feature sets, and value for price. Learn more about our Best Of Awards methodology here.