Best Small Business Payroll Software for 2023

Compare different payroll software options, including leading competitors Gusto, TriNet Zenefits, and QuickBooks Payroll. See reviews, pricing info, and FAQs.

Updated on August 23rd, 2023

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Updated 21st of April 2023

We reviewed all prices and updated some.

Best Overall


5.0 out of 5 overall

  • Easy tracking for PPP loans.
  • Unlimited payrolls.
  • Automatic tax filing.
Also Great

TriNet Zenefits

5.0 out of 5 overall

  • PTO tracking.
  • Year-round record keeping.
  • Compliance management.
Most Versatile

QuickBooks Payroll

4.5 out of 5 overall

  • Great QuickBooks integrations.
  • FICA tip credit.
  • Unlimted payrolls.

Payroll software allows companies to simplify the task of calculating and distributing employee pay while adding greater accuracy. While there are both desktop and online payroll software for small businesses, many of the top payroll companies have moved online.

Why We Chose Gusto, TriNet Zenefits, and QuickBooks:

To create our rankings we reviewed more than 70 different payroll software providers, looking at features, pricing, and customer reviews. Ultimately, we chose Gusto as our top pick because it offers a plethora of features at a very affordable price.

Among Gusto's stand-out features are FICA Tip Credit claims for restaurants, R&D Tax Credit filing for businesses performing qualified R&D activities, and the ability to allow employees to make charitable donations directly from their paychecks. Unlike most of its competitors, Gusto also offers lifetime accounts.

Gusto includes a number of other specialized features, including expense integration, net-to-gross calculations, payroll reminders, and easy payroll cancellations. Users benefit from 256-bit AES encryption, which safeguards their software against security breaches.

TriNet Zenefits came in a close second. It stood out as feature-rich among the 70+ software services we reviewed and has a great reputation.

QuickBooks is also a great choice. If you already use their accounting and POS software, you'll want to consider their payroll software, since it integrates seamlessly.

For help choosing the best payroll software for your business, read our step-by-step guide on how to choose payroll software.

Things to Consider When Evaluating Small Business Payroll Software:

  1. Not every payroll solution can accommodate multiple payment schedules. If some of your employees are paid on a weekly basis, while others are paid monthly, you'll need to choose software with the appropriate capabilities.
  2. Payroll solutions are often used in conjunction with other pieces of software, including accounting and time-tracking solutions. Research which integrations you'd like, and whether your preferred payroll software can accommodate these, before making any commitments.
  3. Your chosen solution will house sensitive company and employee information. If leaked, your business could incur legal, financial, and reputational consequences. Be sure to select highly secure payroll software; ideally, one protected by 256-bit SSL encryption.

Best Small Business Payroll Software:





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From $40.00 /mo. +$6.00 /employee /mo.

Gusto is an affordable option with the most extensive range of capabilities, including rare features like lifetime accounts.

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TriNet Zenefits

From $16.00 /employee /mo.

TriNet Zenefits is competitively priced, provides both monthly and annual plans, and offers the most features overall.

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QuickBooks Payroll

From $45.00 /mo. +$5.00 /employee /mo.

Plans cater to different budgets but don't offer overtime tracking or lifetime accounts. The payroll software integrates with a range of QuickBooks and third-party products.

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From $47.00 /mo. +$8.00 /employee /mo.

The software includes less common features, such as payroll reminders and the option to pay contractors, but is not available in all states.

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Square Payroll

From $35.00 /mo. +$6.00 /employee /mo.

Square's payroll solution is user-friendly and plans include unlimited pay runs per month. However, features don't include an employee database.

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From $40.00 /mo. +$6.00 /employee /mo.

OnPay's full-service payroll solution includes all common capabilities plus some advanced features, including flexible payment schedules and lifetime accounts.

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From $19.99 /mo. +$4.00 /employee /mo.

Offers standard features, such as handling 401(k) deductions and calculating wage garnishments, and some less common ones, including the ability to pay contractors and cancel payrolls.

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Patriot Software

From $17.00 /mo. +$4.00 /employee /mo.

This comprehensive software includes features like W-2 and 10199 preparation, plus contractor payments. Patriot also offers free setup and U.S.-based support.

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From $39.00 /mo. +$5.00 /employee /mo.

Paychex offers several payroll plans to suit different business needs and includes most standard features, plus some uncommon ones, such as new hire reporting and custom analytics.

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Wave Payroll

From $20.00 /mo. +$6.00 /employee /mo.

The software is user-friendly and offers an array of functions but lacks multiple pay rates and garnishments.

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Contact for quote.

Paylocity offers essential features to help businesses simplify payroll and stay tax compliant. Together with Blue Marble Payroll, they provide integrated global payroll in over 100 countries.

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Contact for quote.

UKG Pro offers nice-to-have features, such as payroll reminders and new hire reporting, but lacks W-2 and 1099 preparation.

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From $10.00 /wk. +$2.00 /employee /wk.

The software supports contractor payments and off-cycle payrolls but lacks an employee database.

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Free and paid options.

This is a competitively priced solution that is packed with great features. While this is a Canada-specific payroll service, U.S.-based employers can use the software to pay Canadian staff from the U.S.

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From C$10.00 /payroll run +C$1.30 /employee /payroll run.

This is a secure solution with the option to cancel payrolls easily. However, this software is designed to be used by businesses in Canada.

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Contact for quote.

BambooHR's payroll software includes most standard payroll features and makes it easy to manage data and run payroll. However, the software is only suitable for paying U.S.-based employees.

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Payroll Mate

From $169.00 /yr.

Payroll Mate's payroll software is an affordable solution with essential features, such as payroll tax calculations, user-defined payroll deductions and income types, and automatic tax form generation. However, it is not a hosted or online software and lacks an employee database.

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From £79.00 +VAT /yr.

While BrightPay offers a good range of features, including a report builder, remote access, and automatic enrolment, it lacks W-2 and 1099 preparation as it caters to U.K. and Ireland-based businesses' payroll needs.

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CheckMark Payroll

From $509.00 /license.

CheckMark offers a simple but user-friendly solution for companies that don't require a wealth of advanced features.

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APS Payroll

Contact for quote.

APS Payroll offers common functionalities plus unlimited payrolls and powerful payroll analytics but lacks expense integration.

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From $59.00 /employee /mo.

Justworks' payroll software supports multiple pay rates, W-2 and 1099 filings, and generates payroll reports but lacks built-in timesheets.

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RUN Powered by ADP

Contact for quote.

This fast and intuitive software offers a good selection of features, including new hire reporting and workers' compensation, and integrates with other ADP products.

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Contact for quote.

Viventium is a mid-weight option that includes overtime tracking and digital signatures. However, ACA compliance management and time and attendance features are only available as add-ons.

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Workday Payroll

Contact for quote.

This simple but fairly comprehensive option offers intelligent automation, built-in reporting and analytics, and continuous payroll processing. However, they don't offer email support.

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Contact for quote.

While the software works well for small businesses and provides all the essential features needed for payroll processing, it lacks specialized capabilities.

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Contact for quote.

Symmetry's offering comprises common payroll processing features plus some nice-to-have features, such as off-cycle payroll processing, but they don't offer phone support.

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Contact for quote.

Sage HRMS, is a comprehensive, customizable HR software solution that includes payroll functionalities.

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IRIS Payroll Business

Contact for quote.

While IRIS offers a generous selection of plans, it doesn't support multi-state payroll processing as it's designed for U.K. businesses.

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IRIS Cascade HRi

Contact for quote.

While catering to the U.K. market only, the software offers sufficient features for basic payroll activities, plus the capacity for off-cycle payroll processing.

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Contact for quote.

Paycor's payroll software is suitable for small and medium-sized businesses. It supports most basic payroll activities and some advanced ones but lacks leave-tracking capabilities.

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From C$25.00 /payroll run.

The software is designed for managing Canadian payroll and contractor payments. It features all standard functionalities but does not integrate with time-tracking or accounting software.

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From €0.99 /employee /mo.

While Aruti includes many common features, making it effortless to manage employee earnings and education and maintain compliance, the software doesn't support direct deposits or automated payments.

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AccountEdge Pro

From $499.00 one-off.

Suitable for small business accounting, AccountEdge Pro provides many standard functionalities, plus chat support, but lacks time-tracking and mobile integrations.

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From $139.00 /installation /yr.

This software is easy to use and budget-friendly. It includes standard features such as accounting and time-tracking integrations but lacks telephonic support.

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Contact for quote.

NEOGOV provides a comprehensive HR solution that includes payroll, benefits, and time and attendance features. Its payroll software integrates with any general ledger or accounting suite and makes it easy to process payroll accurately and on time.

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Ready Pay by ePayroll

From A$5.00 /employee /payroll run.

Ready Pay by ePayroll offers many standard features, including compliance management and general ledger integration. However, it is only intended for use in Australia.

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From $289.00 /yr.

This user-friendly option includes some uncommon features, such as data migration, but is overall not as feature-rich and comprehensive as Gusto and TriNet Zenefits.

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€75.00 +VAT one-off +€3.00 +VAT /employee /payroll run.

Salaroo offers multiple payment schedules and mobile integration but lacks automated payments and multi-state coverage.

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From ₹2,999.00 /mo.

Paybooks is an inexpensive solution that includes most standard features, including automatic payments, built-in compliance, and leave management, but is only intended for use by businesses in India.

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Contact for quote.

JustLogin is based in Singapore but also caters to businesses in Malaysia, Myanmar, and Hong Kong. The platform is an intuitive option with many common features, including multiple payroll schedules, as well as calendar integrations, but lacks expected functionalities like direct deposits.

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Blaeberry Solutions

Contact for quote.

Blaeberry Solutions offers industry-specific payroll solutions for businesses in the Canadian education and healthcare sectors. The company also develops custom business software applications.

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isolved People Cloud

Contact for quote.

isolved People Cloud offers basic payroll processing software that supports direct deposits and has tax filing and employee self-service functionalities. However, it lacks features such as accounting, time-tracking, and mobile integrations.

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Civica HR

Contact for quote.

Civica offers solutions for specific market sectors, including state and local government, healthcare, and public safety. Their payroll software offers most of the common features, such as tax calculations and filings, autopsy functionality, and reporting capabilities.

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Accent HRP

Contact for quote.

Accent HRP's payroll management tool supports basic payroll activities but lacks features such as flexible payment schedules.

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PayDirt Payroll

Free and paid options.

PayDirt Payroll is a platform designed for businesses in Canada and provides common payroll software features, including direct deposits, payroll stubs, and expense tracking, as well as mobile access, but lacks automatic deductions and email support.

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Humanic Payroll

Contact for quote.

This basic solution integrates with accounting and time-tracking software but lacks features such as expense integration, digital paystubs, and flexible payment schedules.

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Contact for quote.

Ramco's payroll software includes built-in timesheets plus accounting and time-tracking integrations but lacks some standard features, such as payroll reports and flexible payment schedules.

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Sprout Payroll

Contact for quote.

Sprout Payroll is designed for businesses in the Philippines. The payroll software helps businesses automate payroll processing and supports most functions, but lacks built-in timesheets and accounting integrations.

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Spine Payroll

Contact for quote.

This user-friendly option has many common features, including automated taxes, payroll reports, leave tracking, and an employee self-service portal but is missing direct deposits and check printing.

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AME Payroll

From $339.00

AME Software Products, Inc. offers intuitive payroll software solutions with a limited range of features at a competitive price.

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Contact for quote.

This global human capital management software is fairly comprehensive and helps to streamline and automate payroll activities. Features include tax management, employee self-service, and mobile access. However, implementation can be tricky at first and the reporting function could be improved.

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From £35.00 /mo.

Telleroo is user-friendly and supports automated payroll and supplier payments but is otherwise very basic, lacking some crucial capabilities, such as automated taxes, deductions, compliance management, and payroll reports. It is also only available to U.K. businesses.

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Contact for quote.

Access's payroll solution is a rudimentary option, lacking automated taxes, deductions, and automated payments, but offering a few convenient features, such as built-in timesheets and mobile access.

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$24.95 /license.

Breaktru Software offers a basic payroll solution that is easy to use and includes some essential features but lacks multi-state payroll processing capacities.

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PayWindow Payroll

From $89.95 /license.

This solution offers most of the common payroll software features, including vacation tracking and direct deposits, and some advanced ones, such as multiple pay rates, but lacks built-in timesheets and expense integrations.

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Merit Payroll

Contact for quote.

Merit Payroll is targeted at U.K.-based recruitment agencies and includes invoicing capabilities.

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Prices for some products may vary by region. Companies may also offer discounted rates on annual packages.

Pros and Cons:


  • Run payroll automatically each pay period.
  • Ensure accuracy by tracking hours worked, deductions, etc.
  • Give employees online access to paystubs.
  • Save money by doing payroll yourself instead of hiring an accountant or bookkeeper.


  • Some platforms charge on a per-user basis.
  • Specialized features may cost extra.
  • Manual entry may still be necessary in some cases.

Gusto Simple vs. QuickBooks Payroll Core:

When compared to QuickBooks' Payroll Core, Gusto's Simple plan offers more integrations and has better employee portals with complete access to digital paystubs, lifetime accounts, and the ability to file documents using e-signatures.

In addition, there is no extra cost for paying contractors using Gusto, while QuickBooks' plans do not include contractor payments — their individual contractor payment packages start at $15.00 per month.

Gusto Simple vs. QuickBooks Payroll Core Comparison:


Gusto Simple

QuickBooks Payroll Core


$40.00 /mo. +$6.00 /employee /mo.

From $45.00 /mo. +$5.00 /employee /mo.


QuickBooks, Xero, Freshbooks, TSheets, Homebase, When I Work, and more.

TSheets and QuickBooks Accounting.

Pay 1099 Contractors


Additional monthly fee for direct deposits.

Lifetime Employee Access




Digital Paystubs

Gusto Plus vs. TriNet Zenefits Essentials:

Gusto Plus and TriNet Zenefits Essentials represent the best value for mixed-user HR and payroll solutions. Although TriNet Zenefits charges $6.00 per employee per month for their payroll add-on, you can use it with their Essentials package for a total of $14.00 per employee per month billed annually or $16.00 per employee month-to-month.

With TriNet Zenefits Essentials plus the payroll add-on, users get access to integrations, compliance help, custom employee handbooks, and more. Gusto Plus offers a similar set of features and costs $60.00 per month plus $9.00 per employee per month for the first six months, after which it costs $80.00 per month plus $12.00 per employee per month.

Gusto Plus vs. TriNet Zenefits Essentials Comparison:


Gusto Plus

TriNet Zenefits Essentials (With Payroll Add-On)


$80.00 /mo. +$12.00 /employee /mo.

From $10.00 /mo. +$6.00 /employee /mo.

Employee Surveys


Custom Employee Handbook



Freshbooks, QuickBooks, TSheets, When I Work, Boomr, and more.

Zapier, Box, QuickBooks, Expensify, JazzHR, and many more.

Automatic Tax Filling

Compliance Help


Gusto Premium vs. QuickBooks Elite:

The Premium plan is Gusto's top tier. In addition to all of the features included in every other Gusto plan, the Premium package includes HR templates, compliance updates, dedicated support, and more. By comparison, QuickBooks Payroll Elite includes a customized setup, time tracking, and 24/7 expert product support.

Both plans offer superior support compared to more affordable options, but interested individuals need to contact Gusto for their Premium plan pricing.

Gusto Premium vs. QuickBooks Elite Comparison:


Gusto Premium

QuickBooks Elite


Contact for quote.

$125.00 /mo. +$10.00 /employee /mo.

Compliance Assistance

Job Description Templates


Dedicated Support

✓ (U.S. customers only)

Payroll Feature Glossary:

256-bit SSL Encryption:

This refers to a 256-bit cipher key for encryption on an SSL connection, making data more secure.

Accounting Integrations:

The option to integrate major accounting functions onto one system with accounting software such as QuickBooks Payroll, Xero, and FreshBooks, allows users to manage all payroll activities from one singular portal, making it easier to compare information across categories.

Activity Dashboard:

The home page of payroll software is referred to as the activity dashboard, and it is from this dashboard that users can access apps and services, reminders, calendars, to-do lists, employee data, and payroll data insights.

All Tax Forms:

This feature refers to the ability to file federal, state, and local tax forms using the software.

Automated Taxes:

This is the most common feature we found in payroll software and refers to the automatic calculation, filing, and payment of local, state, and federal taxes.


This allows team members to approve or reject payroll requests. Some payroll software solutions also allow instant messaging and media sharing.


This refers to a tool for calculating tax and benefits deductions from wages.

Federal R&D Tax Credit:

R&D tax credit, or research and experimentation tax credit, is awarded to businesses that incur expenses from research and development projects in the U.S. This includes wages paid to employees conducting research, money spent on equipment, and payments to energy consortia.

FICA Tip Credit for Restaurants:

FICA Tip Credit is awarded to employers when a server's tips exceed the minimum wage requirements. Tips are considered income tax, so employers are rewarded for reporting all tip earnings as well as benefits and meals.


Garnishments are a portion of an employee's wages that employers withhold for outstanding, court-ordered payments, such as debt and child support. The amount is sent directly to the entity.

Integrated Pre-Tax Benefits:

Money is deducted from employees' wages before taxes and is put towards benefits.

Multiple Pay Rates:

This refers to a feature whereby an employee is paid multiple rates for various jobs they perform for the business.

Net-to-Gross Calculations:

With this tool, gross wage payments before taxes are calculated based on net payment amounts.

Payroll Reports:

Payroll reports are submitted to notify the government of tax liabilities. The payroll report should include bank transactions, deductions, taxes, and paid time off.


This function allows employees to be reimbursed for business-related expenses, such as travel costs and off-site meetings.

SuperStream Compliant:

SuperStream is a mandatory system used by Australian employers to make their compulsory superannuation guarantee payments for employees.

Time-Tracking Integrations:

This feature allows users to import data on employees' hours with time-tracking systems.

Unlimited Bonus and Off-Cycle Payrolls:

This function allows one-off payments, like bonuses, to be processed without tax deductions.

Benefits of a Payroll System:

  • Run payroll automatically at predetermined intervals.
  • Easily add, edit, and save employee information.
  • Give employees access to digital paystubs.
  • Save time.
  • Administer payroll yourself instead of hiring a payroll manager.
  • Generate payroll reports.
  • Store payment records in the cloud.

What is the Easiest Payroll Software to Use?

Most users report the leading platforms Gusto, QuickBooks, and OnPay to be easy to use. This is because they have intuitive interfaces and are designed to be used by people with little to no background in payroll.

This is ideal for small business owners who want to do their own payroll quickly, as all they have to do is enter their employee information and payment preferences.

AI could be used to manage compliance.

Payroll platforms are beginning to integrate AI as a means of automating compliance management. Machine learning makes it possible for AI systems to gather rules and regulations and apply them to data sets, limiting human error. suggests that AI could also be used to monitor all data in payroll systems and make efficiency suggestions.

One good example of this is Alight Solutions, a payroll tech provider that launched a virtual assistant called Eloise. Eloise can aggregate and analyze payroll data so that employers can minimize errors and maximize efficiency.

We expect to see more developments like this in the near future as the rapid advancement of AI and machine learning presents a unique opportunity for payroll management tools.


How much does payroll software cost?

The base cost for small business payroll software is between $0.00 and $50.00 per month or more, depending on the number of employees you have and the features that you need. Some companies charge per license.

What software do you use for payroll?

The most popular payroll software solutions include Gusto, TriNet Zenefits, and QuickBooks Payroll.

Where can I find payroll software for Mac computers?

Any online payroll software will work on a Mac. There are fewer offline payroll options all the time, but check out the App Store to see what's available.

Payroll Software For Accountants

What are some payroll software providers for accountants?

Is it still possible to get paycheck printing software?

Yes. Even though more and more people are switching to direct deposit and completely digital payroll solutions, companies like Gusto, TriNet Zenefits, and QuickBooks Payroll still make it possible for you to print checks.

Best Payroll Software for Large Companies

What are the best payroll software providers for large companies?

Is it still possible to find offline payroll software?

Yes, although it's becoming more difficult. VersaCheck ONLINE is among the remaining offline platforms.

What is the best small business payroll software for restaurants?

Is there a simple payroll software small businesses can use with a short learning curve?

Yes. QuickBooks Payroll, BrightPay, and Payroll Mate all get high marks for ease of use. Most payroll software vendors will let you have a demo or free trial to see what it's like to use.

Are there any open-source payroll software options?

Yes, there are a few, including TimeTrex and OrangeHRM.

Different Types of Payroll Software

What are the different types of payroll software?

  • Free.
  • Paid.
  • Open-source.
  • Web-based (online).
  • Offline.
  • For accountants.
  • For enterprise.
  • For small businesses.

Is there an online accounting software with payroll?

Yes. Options include QuickBooks, Wave, and AccountEdge Pro.

Is there a basic payroll software that can handle time tracking and attendance?

Yes, there are several accounting and payroll software companies that make attendance payroll software, including QuickBooks, Sage, and AccountEdge.