Hiring a full-time bookkeeper could cost you more than $40K a yearso save some cash and work with one of these payroll software companies instead.
This quarter, we completely updated our top payroll software rankings to bring you a thoroughly new-and-improved list of the years best. First, we switched the focus of our page from payroll software and services to payroll software only. Our in-depth reviews of the best payroll services are now on another page entirely. Second, we replaced our service-based reviews with our top-rated payroll software companies. We also took Xero out of our top five because instead of offering its own payroll software, Xero partners with Gusto to provide an all-inclusive payroll and accounting solution. Third, we changed QuickBooks title from best full-service payroll to most user-friendly. Gustos full-service payroll is our top pick, but we love QuickBooks efficient, easy-to-understand interface (not to mention its easy integration with QuickBooks Online).
Because of how popular Gustos tailored payroll software and services is with small businesses, we moved them to our number one spot.
If your business recently started hiring employees, you might be facing a creeping worry: Am I doing this right?
Sure, you may be tallying up employee hours and cutting checks with the right amounts, but are you certain youre calculating payroll taxes correctly? Are you in compliance with state and federal employment regulations?
Getting this stuff wrong can be more than a hassleit can result in penalties or lawsuits. But youre a small-business owner on a budget. You probably cant afford the $40,000 or more to pay a full-time bookkeeper, let alone a whole team of accountants.
Fortunately, several payroll software providers can help you do the work at a fraction of the traditional bookkeeping cost. Take a look at our top picks for the best small-business payroll software to find one that works for you.
Data effective 08/20/2019. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.
The heartily named Gusto is a beautifully designed, full-service payroll service with plenty of features and a healthy reputation.
Gustos cloud-based payroll plans start at $39 per month plus another $6 per month for each managed employee. Every planincluding Core, the cheapest Gusto planincludes these impressive services:
Automatic local, state, and federal income tax filing
Automatic state and federal unemployment insurance tax filing
Automatically generated and distributed W-2 and 1099 tax forms
Automatic new hire filing with your state government
Wage garnishment deductions plus child support payment distribution in every state but South Carolina
Integration with popular accounting software like Xero, QuickBooks Online, and FreshBooks
Pay particular attention to Gustos automatic tax filing, wage garnishment, and workers compensation featuresmost online payroll providers charge extra for these.
If you get all of those features with Gustos most basic plan, what do you get with the more expensive ones? Mainly, you get more HR and administration services, not more payroll services. Most importantly, you can approve time-off requests instead of just tracking PTO. And approved PTO is automatically synced to an employees pay schedule so you dont have to make any manual adjustments.
Honestly, it kinda sucks that you dont get automatic PTO integration with the cheapest plan. But it does explain why Gustos next-highest plan, Complete, costs the same monthly base price as Core but double the amount per employee ($12 instead of $6).
Our research on Gusto turned up mostly glowing reviews from customers and rating groups. Customers tend to love Gustos design, functionality, and features: on the consumer review site Trustpilot, Gusto has a 9.5 out of 10 from 1,122 reviews.2But the feedback isnt all positive.
Unlike some payroll software providers, Gusto doesnt provide 24/7 customer support. You can only reach a representative on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Pacific standard time. And email support requests could take up to two days for a response.
The bottom line is that Gusto is a comprehensive, intuitive payroll service with plenty of impressive HR extras.
Easy-to-use interface with low learning curve
QuickBooks, long known for providing high-qualityaccounting software, offers two payroll plans. Although its payroll software isnt the cheapest and has some rough edges, we still think its a solid choice.
First, a word of warning: QuickBooks Self Service Payroll plana monthly subscription starting at $35 plus $4 per employeegives you only the most basic payroll features, including direct deposit and unlimited payroll runs. You dont get automatic tax filing, W-2 access, or a no-penalty guarantee (more on that below).
Self Service Payroll can work for very small businesses with two or three employees. But if you want a better bang for your buck, we recommend the QuickBooks Full Service Payroll plan, which starts at $80 plus $4 per employee per month.
Self-service payrollrefers to software that lets you run payroll yourself. You enter all the employee payroll information, the software crunches the numbers, and you distribute employee paychecks and file payroll taxes yourself.
Full-service payrollrefers to payroll software supplemented by a team of off-site professionals who calculate and file your payroll taxes, distribute W-2s, deposit employee paychecks, and tackle other payroll-related services.
With the Full Service Payroll plan, you get the self-service features plus automatic W-2 and payroll tax filing, assisted setup, and a no-penalty guarantee, which means QuickBooks accepts responsibility for any tax-related issues or errors. If a problem arises, you wont have to deal directly with the IRS or pay penaltiesQuickBooks does it all for you.
No matter which plan you choose, you can look forward to a super intuitive interface. The QuickBooks Payroll dashboard is clean, simple, and easy to use with a low learning curve. And the easy integration between payroll and the larger QuickBooks Online makes QuickBooks Payroll a good choice if you already use QuickBooks cloud-based accounting software.
Unfortunately, QuickBooks has adreadfulcustomer service reputation. Thanks to the smooth interface, you hopefully wont have to contact customer care very oftenbut if you do, just know you could be waiting a while for some less-than-helpful advice.
For powerful, feature-rich, and secure payroll software that easily integrates with accounting software, we recommend QuickBooks Full Service Payroll.
If youve ever thought, I know I made money. . .but I cant find it, you should be working with Better Accounting.
Full-picture visibility into your businesss finances
Easy integration with Waves free accounting software
Limited automatic tax filing (eight states only)
Wave is also among our top picks forbest accounting softwareandbest accounting appsbecause it offers a fantastic range of accounting services while still being absolutely free. And while Waves payroll softwareisntfree, its among the cheapest out there while still providing an excellent range of payroll services.
Wave offers two plans: a self-service plan and a full-service plan. But the plan you sign up for doesnt depend on the features you wantit depends on where you live. In most states, Wave offers its self-service payroll plan, which costs $20 plus $4 per employee per month.
Like QuickBooksself-service plan, Waves plan includes quick and simple employee payments. Unlike QuickBooks self-service plan, Waves includes workers compensation coverage, W-2 and 1099 tax form preparation, and (its harsh but so true) actually good customer service. Thats quite a load of features for just a $20 base fee.
Waves full-service plan is available in only eight states (California, Florida, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Washington). Full-service payroll from Wave costs $15 more than self-service, but thats a pretty low price for a team to file your local, state, and federal income taxes with a 100% accuracy guarantee. Plus, both plans keep your cost-per-employee fee low at $4 per employee and $4 per contractortwo bucks cheaper than Gusto.
Payroll by Wave offers affordable self-service payroll (or full-service in eight states) that integrates easily with Waves completely free accounting service.
ADP is the biggest name in thePEO(professional employer organization) business. PEOs are basically HR companies that partner with small businesses to deal with all of their personnel issues, and theyre most useful for large businesses that want to totally outsource HR so they can focus on operations.
But what if you arent big enough to need a PEO and still need comprehensive, affordable HR help? RUN Powered by ADP distills ADPs decades of HR expertise into an easy software service, complete with payroll.
All four RUN plans take care of full-service payroll basics like direct deposit, automatic payroll tax filing, and W-2 submissions. Even the cheapest plan, Essential Payroll, includes HR perks like employee onboarding, healthcare compliance forms, and a regular HR checkup.
Need more than the HR basics? ADPs more expensive plans include employee background checks and ZipRecruiter assistance plus more comprehensive payroll help, like wage garnishments and state unemployment tax deductions.
Unfortunately, ADP doesnt list its full-service software pricing onlineyou have to enter your businesss information or contact the company directly to get a quote (which makes sense for PEOs but not so much for software). Based on the fact thatADPs self-service payroll plancosts $59 a month plus $4 per employee, were guessing the HR and payroll plans dont exactly come cheap.
For that reason alone, we think RUN Powered by ADP is a better choice for midsize businesses rather than micro businesses. If your small chain of jewelry stores is big enough to need HR help but not big enough to warrant a PEO, RUN Powered by ADP may be a happy medium.
If you want payroll and HR help rolled into one, RUN Powered by ADP blends ADPs HR expertise with easy-to-use full-service payroll software.
Paychex Flex offers cloud-based payroll and human resources software to small businesses who really need the help but dont want to deal with full-on HR outsourcing. That sounds a lot like some of the other options weve listed here, so what sets Paychex apart?
For one thing, new-hire state reporting, automatic payroll tax filing, and even an employee financial wellness program come with every plan, even the cheapest.
For another, most of the software options weve listed include a report or twoor even a few dozenfor easy export. But Paychex Flex blows everyone else out of the water by offering a whopping 160+ reports with its payroll and HR packages.
Of course, theres a catch: the full 160+ reports (including a workers compensation report) and general ledger service come with only the two priciest plans. Custom analytics and reports are available with only the most expensive plan.
How expensive is expensive? Great questionone we wish we could answer. Like RUN Powered by ADP, Paychex Flex doesnt list its prices online, so its a good bet that Paychex costs more than some of our other payroll recs.
Thats one reason we recommend Paychex primarily to midsize and large businesses. Paychex will work best for you if cost doesnt matter as much as robust reporting, hefty HR help, and dedicated experts to help with the messes payroll can leave behind.
If you want to keep a finger on the pulse of your businesss success, Paychexs reporting, HR, and payroll features can help you out.
More payroll software solutions for small businesses
We gave you our top five recommendations above, but we know the payroll software and service market is a crowded one. After sifting through myriad providers, we found five more small-business payroll solutions worth considering.
Weve reviewed Squaresmobile credit card readersandretail point-of-sale (POS)system, and they both got top marks from us. Squares payroll services also deserve high marks, in big part thanks to a super cheap starter plan for contractor payrolls.
If you need help paying contractors or freelancers, Square offers a bare-bones plan for only $5 per person per monthno base monthly fee required. The contractors log in to a Square portal, enter their information, and then you can pay them. Its simple and affordable. Although you can purchase Square payroll as a stand-alone service, its designed to work in tandem with Squares POS solutions. Employees can use Square terminals or the mobile app to clock in and out, and POS data is seamlessly synced with the payroll service.
With a monthly base price of just $10 plus $4 per employee, Patriot Payrolls Basic plan for self-service payroll comes in as the cheapest on our list of providers. More software choices, including HR assistance and time and attendance, make for easy, affordable add-ons ($4 per month for HR and $5 per month for time and attendance).
Want the full-service option? The cost bumps up to a $30 base price, which still makes Patriot Payroll one of our cheapest recommendations.
It might seem weird to describe a payroll companys software as cute and friendly, but Wagepoints software is just . . . so cute and friendly. Based on the smiley face in its logo and the little cartoons on the payroll dashboard, Wagepoints thing is clearly friendliness, ease of use, and simple payroll help. Even better, Wagepoint backs that friendliness up with their price: at $20 a month plus just $2 per employee, Wagepoints cutesy software is a steal.
From here, youll need to decide which more advanced features you needand are willing to pay for:
OnPay covers the payroll basics that some major players charge more for, such as garnishing wages, withholding state unemployment insurance, and giving employees multiple payment options (including paper checks). We particularly like that theyll tailor their payroll services to specific industriesnonprofits, restaurants, and agricultural businesses, to name a fewat no extra cost, so if youre looking for custom help at the reasonable starting price of $36, OnPay is a great place to start.
Heartland offers a range of payroll features to small and midsize businesses, and it packages these features with its accounting and payment processing serviceswhich makes Heartland great for businesses that want accounting and POS and payroll help. However, despite claiming to be transparent with its pricing, Heartland doesnt list any pricing information online, and many users say the service was too expensive for very small businesses.
Is payroll software not going to cut it for you? Hop on over to our payroll companies and services page to get a better look at your optionsor stick around to check out Better Accounting, our pick for combined outsourced payroll and accounting services.
Along with helping run payroll and file taxes, Better Accounting works with business owners to analyze finances and chart a path for business success. With their fully outsourced payroll services, you dont have to worry about calculating each paycheck or agonizing over payroll taxes.
Better Accounting doesnt require a contract, so you get pay-as-you-go service for only the features you need. Finally, with their one-on-one accounting help, youre better equipped to make accurate financial decisions that drive results.
Keep in mind that outsourced payroll providers tend to be more expensive than payroll software. If you have only one or two employees and just need basic payroll servicessay, for example, you own a food truck business or work primarily with contractorsyou can probably get by with a self-service payroll plan.
Our advice? Contact Better Accounting for a quote to find out how they can handle your payroll so you can handle your business.
Once you have employees, youll quickly learn how important it is for payroll to be accurate and efficient. Paying your employees, managing benefits, and filing payroll taxes can be difficult and time-consuming. And payroll-related mistakes and delays are potentially costly and damaging to your business.
Full-service and self-service payroll both help ease the burden of having to handle the minutiae of payroll yourself. And although you have to pay for payroll software, the return on your investment is worth it. By freeing up resources and avoiding legal pitfalls, you can focus your time and energy on growing your business and hiring great employees.
Ever been curious about which states have the best pay? Us too. So we compared the average salary in each state to the housing costs to find where salaries go furthest.
(Plus, we thought the median wages could help business owners see the amount of payroll taxes theyll need to handle properly in each state. See why we recommend payroll software?)
You might have to give up on big-city living to really stretch your salaryall the 10 best states can easily be described as rural. But once you know how much further your pay is taking you in these states, will you really miss walking to the corner bodega?
Youre probably not surprised by the bottom 10. After all, cities like Seattle, Boston, and New York City have notoriously high housing prices. Oh, and all of Hawaii too.
In fact, the only surprise is that California didnt come dead last. In San Francisco, it takes 100 hours to afford a one-bedroom apartment. Youll do slightly better in San Diego (91 hours), and even better in Riverside (85 hours), but lets just say its no Wyoming.
Look, salaries matter. But theyre not all that matters. Because sure, you might earn more in some statesbut youre not getting more for the money.
To create our ranking, we calculated how many hours at the median hourly wage it took to afford the median one-bedroom apartment in each state. Median wage data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Median one-bedroom cost was sourced from . Each data point is from 05/2018.
Unless youre willingand can affordto pay an in-house bookkeeper, we recommend most small businesses outsource at least some of their payroll tasks to a third party. Payroll software providers remove much of the hassle, cost, and risk from managing payroll and free you to do what youre meant to be doing: growing a successful business.
Looking for great accounting software to complement your payroll software? Read through our list of the yearsbest accounting softwarefor small businesses.
At , our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We dont guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.
1. USA Today, How Much Should You Pay for Bookkeeping Services?
we are prolifichr consultants service in Bangalore. since 2007 we have been inpayroll outsourcing service in Bangalore
Thanks for this list. Id also recommend AMS for small businesses looking forcheap payroll software.
Our team atQuickBooks payroll support phone number delivers you an instant possible solution for allQuickBooks payroll relatedissues. We never compromise with our quality of service. Visit us-
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Disclaimer: The information featured in this article is based on our best estimates of pricing, package details, contract stipulations, and service available at the time of writing. All information is subject to change. Pricing will vary based on various factors, including, but not limited to, the customers location, package chosen, added features and equipment, the purchasers credit score, etc. For the most accurate information, please ask your customer service representative. Clarify all fees and contract details before signing a contract or finalizing your purchase.