15 Payroll Software Tools for 2022

Accuracy, legal adherence and tax compliance are key objectives when processing your company’s payroll. Mistakes, security oversights and calculation errors can be nightmares, causing costly problems for your company. Thankfully, payroll software tools can help you avoid those potential issues.


Using software designed to automate and simplify the payroll process can be a valuable time-saver. There are several other significant benefits of using well-performing, professional payroll software as well:

  • Enhanced productivity
  • Precise calculations
  • Employment law adherence
  • Tax law compliance
  • Better data security
  • Reduced need for accounting manpower
  • Reliability
  • Professional support

This software also helps with common payroll-related issues, like absences, overtime, paid time off and sick leave. Efficient and accurate payroll management is essential for every SMB.
In need of more finance or HR software? Visit our software guides to selecting vendors.


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What is payroll software?

Payroll software is a computer program that automates the payroll process for businesses of all sizes. Human resource departments, finance professionals, bookkeepers and accountants use this software to perform payroll functions. Most of today’s options are online, cloud-based systems. Payroll software ranges from basic stand-alone systems to integrated human resource information systems with complementary tools and options.


At a minimum, payroll software must be able to track the hours worked by your company’s employees and calculate their paycheck amounts. This includes deducting taxes and other withholdings, such as retirement contributions and insurance premiums. Payroll payouts via paper check or direct deposit should be part of the software’s functions. Reporting functions and payroll record-keeping are also important features in a payroll software system.


Payroll software providers typically charge clients for their software as a service by the month or per-payroll. Monthly payment plans may be structured as unlimited or as a base fee, plus additional per-employee fees. Per-payroll plans also include extra per-employee fees.

On a tight budget? Read about Free Payroll Software Tools for 2022.


What to look for when choosing payroll software tools

When choosing payroll services for your small business or midsize company, there are many considerations. Assess the varying functions and features of available payroll software tools as they apply to your company’s specific needs and requirements.


1. Scalability

Business growth is essential to survival and success, so you want software solutions that can grow with you. Available upgrades support this objective.


2. Security

Payroll records contain sensitive identifying data that’s highly desirable to cybercriminals. Be sure to choose software with high-level security measures.


3. Tax services

Tax compliance is essential for payroll functions. Taking care of that manually is difficult, time-consuming and vulnerable to error. Look for payroll software that includes and automates this function.


4. Employee self-service

Technology advancements have changed expectations. Your employees want and expect access to their payroll data and the ability to make timely revisions with online employee portals. Allowing them to handle this without going through HR also helps your team better allocate their job duties.


5. Cost structure

Price points shouldn’t be the main consideration, but they’re still important. Compare pricing structures and overall costs to determine what fits best in your payroll and HR budget.


6. Mobile options

Flexibility and convenience are assets in most SaaS products. This is especially important for startups and small businesses that need access on the go.


7. Reporting functions

Business intelligence leverages data for the growth of your company. Reporting functions help you with this goal. They also provide a big picture overview and vital tracking information.


8. Customer support

Simplifying and streamlining the payroll process is one of the benefits of payroll software, but that only happens when your team can quickly set up and learn the software. Robust customer support helps accomplish that.


Payroll software tools

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Run by ADP

Price: Pricing for startups and small businesses with up to 49 employees starts at $59 per month, plus $4 per employee. Request a quote specific to your organization for tailored pricing information.


Key Features:

  • Run by ADP includes three free months when you sign up for small business payroll processing.
  • It supports direct deposit.
  • This software generates W-2s and 1099s for a flexible workforce.
  • Automatic tax updates cover federal payroll tax laws and those of all 50 states.
  • Employee access allows self-service for your workers.

Run by ADP is web-based software you can use anywhere with a computer and internet service. There are four plans. The software is easy to use, and the entry-level plan covers all the basics for payroll processing, check printing, HR reporting and direct deposit. The Essential Payroll plan also includes new-hire reporting and a general ledger interface. Enhanced Payroll adds more payment features, including prepaid checks and unemployment insurance management. Complete Payroll and HR Plus includes the lower tier payroll functions and adds recruitment and onboarding tools. Top-level HR Pro covers everything the lower three plans offer, plus legal assistance, training and more support.


APS Payroll

Price: Tailored pricing generates payroll for 25 to 100 employees. The minimum cost per month for Payroll is $50 plus $5 per employee. Payroll + Attendance starts at $50 per month plus $8 per employee.


Key Features:

  • APS guarantees its payroll software ensures tax compliance for federal tax laws and one state.
  • Customized report building and report sharing keep you on top of your payroll functions.
  • A batch error checking function helps you reduce errors and deliver accurate paychecks.
  • The included help center provides answers to common questions and troubleshooting assistance.
  • APS Payroll has no free trial, but you can try out a free demo.

APS Payroll is web-based software with three plan tiers for SMBs and growing businesses. The entry-level Payroll tier includes a payroll console, report manager, employee directory, new hire reporting and various other valuable features for small businesses. The two higher tiers are designed for small to midsize companies with more HR features. APS also offers individual add-on services for employee benefits, carrier connections, recruitment, onboarding new hires, scheduling and other helpful business functions. This award-winning software has been recognized for simple SMB usability.



Price: Pricing is only available through a personal quote request.


Key Features:

  • Ascentis payroll software is compliant with the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System for quicker tax filing requirements.
  • Clients can enjoy the support of their own dedicated certified payroll professional representative.
  • Its internet-based setup makes updates for the software, tax laws and other changes simple and seamless.
  • The system supports three payment options for greater flexibility: direct deposit, in-house check or external checks.

Ascentis supports 100% real time payroll processing and auditing solutions. The company boasts up to a 30% reduction in payroll processing time with its web-based software. Mobile applications make it easy to handle payroll from any location. Effortless implementation and simple workflows with wizards to walk you through the processes enhance usability. Employees benefit as well with self-service features and the ability to run paycheck simulations with varying inputs and calculations. This payroll solution is designed for SMBs, and the company provides free demos.



Price: Gusto pricing ranges from $19 per month plus $6 per employee for small teams of one or two people to $149 per month plus $12 per employee for unlimited payrolls in all 50 states. An optional tax-advantaged spending account service is available with a $200 annual service charge for all three plans and monthly per-participant fees.


Key Features:

  • Full-service payroll in all 50 states is available in the second plan tier and higher.
  • All plan levels support employee profiles and self-service for better workforce satisfaction.
  • Companies that use contract labor and employed workers can pay their contractors at the per-employee rate, billed only during payment months.
  • Direct deposit takes longer for lower plan tiers.

Gusto is a user-friendly payroll solution for SMBs. It has a strong foundation for payroll functionality and offers lots of extras for those who need them. Management of additional employment benefits is available for integration with your payroll plans for no extra cost. Some examples include workers’ compensation, Gusto wallet and health insurance premium withholdings. Other benefits and spending accounts can be added for minimal cost, as needed. This lets employers tailor their payroll processing needs to their organization.


Intuit Quickbooks Online

Price: The Core plan is $45 monthly plus $4 per employee. Premium is $75 monthly plus $8 per employee, and Elite is $125 monthly plus $10 per employee, supporting up to 250 employees.


Key Features:

  • Next-day direct deposit is included in the first-tier plan level.
  • All three plans include a workforce portal allowing your employees to access their paycheck info.
  • Quickbooks software sets up and calculates garnishments and other deduction from employee paychecks.
  • You can test out the software with a 30-day free trial.
  • It can be difficult to master.

Intuit Quickbooks Online is web-based software that streamlines full-service payroll processes suitable for small business payroll management. The basic Core plan includes essential payroll features with free direct deposit, product support, and 401(k) plan and health benefit integrations.


An upgrade to the Premium or Elite service option gives you more advanced features for better customization. Tax support features and tax penalty protection are key advantages with Quickbooks. There is a Desktop QuickBooks payroll software option, but Intuit is phasing out this software.



Price: Justworks payroll software is available via two service levels. Pricing for each tier varies based upon the number of employees you have. The Basic plan is billed monthly at $49 per employee for up to 25 employees, $44 per employee for 25 to 99 employees, and $39 per employee for 100 to 174 employees. The monthly Plus plan rates are $99 per employee for up to 25 employees, $89 per employee for 25 to 99 employees, and $79 per employee for 100 to 174 employees. Save 15% with annual billing. Businesses with more than 174 employees should contact Justworks for a quote.


Key Features:

  • 24/7 customer service via several channels is a valuable benefit.
  • The software portal has great usability and navigation.
  • No free trial or demo means you need to pay to try out the service.

The Basic Justworks plan includes a full range of payroll services and features with access to several extras, like workers’ compensation and 401(k) retirement plan payroll integration. The extras are billed by the number of plan participants. However, if your business offers health, dental and vision insurance, savings accounts, or a few other employment benefits and perks, you’ll benefit from an upgrade to the Plus plan.



Price: Contact Namely for a pricing quote.


Key Features:

  • Benefit deductions are automated.
  • This software files basic business taxes for you.
  • A payroll reporting feature generates valuable data that can be used for other business functions.
  • It includes iOS and Android apps for mobile management

Designed for SMBs with 25 to 1,000 employees, Namely is cloud-based HRIS software that includes payroll functions. Paycheck managers and HR professionals can use the software to process payroll, manage time and attendance, generate reports, and easily perform many other payroll and time-tracking functions. If you don’t have the skill or manpower to run the software in-house, a managed payroll service option frees up your time. Namely software solutions also help manage the application and candidate experience. Training is offered online, in person, via webinars and through documentation. Namely is recommended for payroll, HR and talent management functionality. A free demo is available.



Price: OnPay is $36 per month plus $4 per employee for up to 1,000 people.


Key Features:

  • Pricing is simple, transparent and all-inclusive.
  • Payroll processing functions include unlimited monthly pay runs.
  • A free one-month trial lets you try before you buy.
  • OnPay generates paycheck payments via debit cards, direct deposit or paper checks.

OnPay payroll software solutions are designed for many different types of SMBs, so it has features tailored to various industry needs. For example, tipped wages calculations help restaurant employers with payroll, and the software can categorize tax filings for farm workers and nonagricultural employees for agricultural employers. Other special categories include nonprofits, churches and organizations with more than 500 workers.


OnPay has many helpful functions, such as multiple permission levels for tailored access and job duty delegation. It’s optimized for mobile as well. Plus, the employee self-service features let new hires handle onboarding, established employees manage their paycheck info, and former workers access pay stubs and tax documents. OnPay integrates with numerous popular business software tools, like QuickBooks, Xero and Humanity.



Price: Choose from Basic payroll services at $10 monthly plus $4 per person or Full Service payroll services for $30 per month and $4 per person.


Key Features:

  • Both plans offer expert U.S.-based payroll support between 8am-8pm on weekdays.
  • Free payroll setup helps you get started if you’re new to payroll software or switch from another provider.
  • Add-on services for HR and time management are available for more convenience.
  • Patriot’s partnership with AP Intego allows you to pay workers’ compensation insurance premiums through the program.
  • The 30-day free trial helps you make an informed decision.

This is a lower-cost online software tool that streamlines the payroll process. Patriot is most suited to small businesses with fewer than 100 employees. Both plans support either direct deposit or printed paychecks. An employee portal gives workers secure access to their payroll information. This software includes lots of features, flexibility and personalization with no fuss. The Full Service upgrade is necessary if you want tax filing services.


Paychex Flex

Price: Paychex Go is $59 monthly plus $4 per employee. Contact Paychex for a custom quote for Paychex Flex Select and Paychex Flex Enterprise.


Key Features:

  • Two-factor authentication helps ensure better data security.
  • Customizable reports are helpful payroll and HR tools.
  • Paychex offers nontraditional payment options, such as online tip sharing.
  • Employee self-service options cut down the time your team needs to spend on record updates.

The Paychex Flex platform for small businesses is designed for companies with up to 49 employees. You can manage your payroll requirements online, on your PC or with a smartphone or tablet. The software handles hourly, salary and contract payroll earnings. The platform is user-friendly and easily navigated, making it a suitable option for people with varying software skill levels. If you run into problems, 24-hour customer service is available seven days a week. Paychex offers payroll solutions for midsize to enterprise organizations as well. This tool provides additional services that integrate with its payroll SaaS, including time and attendance management as well as digital marketing services.



Price: Pricing for Rippling starts at $8 per person, charged monthly. HR Help Desk is billed at a monthly base fee. Contact the company for a custom quote for accurate pricing for your business.


Key Features:

  • Payroll and HR data sync with one click for speed and convenience.
  • Payroll services compliance includes international laws.
  • Multiple-factor authentication enhances security.
  • You can request a demo to learn how the software works before buying.

Rippling software is suitable for businesses with traditional employees and remote workers inside and outside the United States. It’s adaptable for businesses of all sizes. Reporting functions include presets and custom reports for more flexibility. You can also enjoy customization for your organization through job codes and varying pay rates for differing job duties, clients and locations. Unlike other payroll SaaS providers, Rippling combines HR and IT, making it a genuine all-in-one software solution for HR. Benefits administration services add value to the payroll functions. Rippling payroll software syncs with many other tools, including Quickbooks and NetSuite. This award-winning software has been noted for its ease of use.


Square Payroll

Price: Square Payroll software starts at $29 each month plus $5 monthly per employee and contractor. If you have contractors, but no employees, you can use a contractor payroll service for $5 per contractor per month.


Key Features:

  • Automatic quarterly and annual tax filings keep you organized.
  • A separate contractor-only payroll service helps small businesses without a traditional employee workforce.
  • Payroll can generate payments by paper check, direct deposit or Cash App for more flexibility.

Square Payroll software is ideal for SMBs with a mixed workforce and up to 100 workers. Its straightforward interface takes care of all the payroll basics with simplicity. Automated, unlimited payroll processing is a helpful feature for time savings, and integration with other Square apps supports scalability. Creating worker records in the Square Payroll software can be clunky and time-consuming, but the worker self-service option can minimize HR’s input tasks if you encourage employees and contractors to complete their records themselves. Other helpful functions include automatic tax filings, integrated timecards and mobile access through iOS and Android apps.



Price: Pricing is based on the number of employees and frequency of payments. The first 10 employees are no extra cost. Each employee after that is $2 each, monthly.


Key Features:

  • Transparent pricing lets you input the number of people you’re paying and payroll frequency into an online Wagepoint calculator to reveal your cost per payroll.
  • Wagepoint supports payments for employees and contractors.
  • An online employee portal provides access to W-2s, 1099s and paystubs.
  • This web-based software uses bank-grade 2048-bit encryption and two-factor authentication for data security.
  • A wide range of reporting functions are included.

Wagepoint is another online payroll software tool that works for startups, sole proprietors and small businesses with up to 100 employees. It’s simple to use and includes all the basic functions you need for payroll processing. There’s no free trial. However, you can play around with the software to get a feel for it. There is no mobile app. Wagepoint doesn’t bill you until your first pay run.



Price: Workful software is $25 per month plus $5 monthly for each employee.


Key Features:

  • This SaaS includes payroll, time tracking and employee tools.
  • Workful software tracks expenses and mileage reimbursement.
  • A free 30-day trial lets you learn more about the software and whether it’s right for your company before making an investment.

This web-based small business software includes a full suite of payroll services for one price. It includes numerous beneficial functions for payroll processing, employee time management and extra employee-related features. Personal expense management through an employee portal gives your workers more control and flexibility, enhancing employee engagement. The time tracking features sync with the payroll functions for accuracy and a streamlined HR experience. Customer support is available by multiple communication venues for more convenience, and the software is intuitive and user-friendly. Workful is an affordable HR software option for startups and small businesses that require automated tools for payroll processing, expense tracking and time management.



Price: The basic Essentials plan is $8 per employee monthly. The midrange Growth plan runs $14 per employee each month, and the top tier Zen plan costs $21 per employee monthly. Additional payments, starting at $6 per active employee monthly, apply for the payroll software. New customers with up to 25 employees can get free payroll for a year with a paid annual subscription to an eligible Zenefits HR software package.


Key Features:

  • Tips reporting is included.
  • Zenefits payroll supports contractor payments.
  • Unlimited pay cycles and multiple schedules and pay rates add value.

Zenefits software is well-designed for SMBs that need a full suite of HR services and have at least five employees. That’s because the payroll functions are offered as an add-on to their HR software. Plus, each plan has a five-employee minimum payment requirement, whether you have five workers or not. Still, pricing is quite reasonable, making its software packages an affordable option. The payroll functions are fairly all-inclusive, with benefits administration services for most traditional employee benefits, garnishments and 401(k) deductions.


Payroll software FAQs


What types of payroll software systems are there?

There are four main types of payroll systems. In-house payroll processing is a suitable option for small companies with a few employees and traditional work schedules. Some small businesses choose to outsource their payroll duties to a certified public accountant or bookkeeper, instead. A third option is professional payroll services with full-scale administrative services. Finally, online payroll SaaS is a payroll processing choice growing in popularity due to choice, convenience and cost.


Do I need payroll software?

Businesses with employees or contractors need some type of payroll system. If you don’t have a dedicated payroll professional or company handling your payroll, software tools may be the solution. Automation through this type of software saves time and minimizes repetitive tasks. Professional software also ensures accuracy and legal compliance.


How do I choose payroll software?

Choosing the right payroll software is dependent on the size of your business, your company’s structure, the number of workers you employ, payment frequency, your budget and various other factors. Make a list of the essential features you require. Then, review the core functions of your top choices and compare them with your list of requirements.

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