Best Payroll Companies & Services for Today's Businesses

Without question, one of the most important functions of your business is paying staff. These people keep your operations running, customers happy, and revenue flowing. More than that, employees rely on a regular income to sustain their own livelihoods, not just your business. To pay your staff what they are owed and to keep your business needs fulfilled, you need a fast and reliable payroll service provider.

Payroll services manage and assist in making payments to employees. They also help manage tax forms, compliance, and regulations. These days, payroll services are mostly online platforms with tools for automation and reporting.

Best Payroll Companies & Services

Gusto

Best overall payroll service, particularly for small businesses.

ADP

Best for large businesses with complex payroll & HR needs.

Paycom

Best for mid-market businesses that need a wide range of payroll services integrated with HR

UKG

Best for running high level HRIS reporting.

Workday

Best for large organizations looking to replace their legacy ERP systems with modernized payroll + HR

Paychex

Best customer support for small to medium-sized businesses on an all-in-one HR & payroll platform

Ceridian Dayforce

Best for continuous calculation and running audits mid pay period

Paylocity

Best for large businesses focused on data and efficiency

Bookkeeper.com

Best outsourced/virtual bookkeeping

Square Payroll

Best for payroll tax prep, paying contractors, and Square POS users

Rippling

Best for ease of use

OnPay

Best feature-rich payroll service at an affordable, all-inclusive price

Intuit QuickBooks

Best for QuickBooks accounting users

Paycor

Best for employee self-service and onboarding amid business expansion

What Features Should Payroll Companies & Services Offer?

With a myriad of online payroll options to choose from, here are some of the key payroll features you should really look for in a payroll service provider:

  • Full-service payroll
  • Automatic processing
  • Excellent support and customer service
  • Ability to integrate with time tracking, scheduling, HR, and accounting platforms
  • Same or next day direct deposit
  • Employee self-service
  • Intuitive UI

Gusto

Best overall payroll service, particularly for small businesses

Pros

  • Every plan includes full-service payroll
  • Health benefits and workers comp administration included in all plans
  • Accessibility, engagement, and user-friendliness on the end-user level
  • Simple Setup

Cons

  • Some important timekeeping and HR features require higher-level plans
  • Expensive per-employee cost
  • Does not scale well with growth
  • Slow customer service

Gusto merges basic payroll and HR services in a straightforward, modern, easy-to-use platform based in the cloud. You should use Gusto if you are a small business owner looking to move away from manual payroll processing to cloud-based, user-friendly payroll with basic HR analytics.

Who uses Gusto?

Gusto is primarily designed for small to medium-sized businesses and is heavily used by software companies, accounting agencies, and financial service providers.

What else do you get?

With all of Gusto’s plans, you’ll get full-service payroll including direct deposit and taxes, employee profiles and self-service, health insurance administration, employee benefits, and a full range of software integrations. Beyond payroll, Gusto also offers basic time tracking, hiring and onboarding, HR tools, and even Gusto Wallet for employees to directly access and spend their money.

How much does Gusto cost?

Gusto’s core plan starts at a rate of $39/month plus $6/month per user. Concierge, the most expensive option, goes for $149/month plus $12/month per user. See more features and pricing options here.

User reviews.

ADP

Best for smaller companies that want to use a tried and tested system

Pros

  • Very scalable to any business size, with an endless amount of add-ons to choose from
  • Wide range of features and products synced together, only requiring a single sign on
  • 24/7 customer support

Cons

  • Overly complex features paired with outdated UI might intimidate smaller businesses
  • Quote-based pricing makes upfront costs and budgeting unpredictable
  • Long and tedious implementation time
  • Charges per pay run
  • Additional fees for things like tax filing and W2 generation

One of the largest and oldest payroll software providers on the market, ADP is ideal for those looking for an extremely scalable solution that combines HR and payroll into a highly detailed and customizable system.

Who uses ADP?

ADP has products available for businesses of any size. There’s ADP Run for businesses with under 50 staff, ADP Workforce Now for mid-sized companies, and ADP Vantage for enterprise. Workforce Now is the most popular offering, particularly in the healthcare and computer software industries.

What else do you get?

Businesses usually choose ADP in an effort to combine HR and payroll into a single system. It offers detailed HR analytics that are directly linked to payroll for more accurate BI reporting. With ADP Workforce Now, you’ll get all your basic payroll and year-end tax filing functions. To get enhanced HR features like compliance reporting, onboarding, talent acquisition, and performance management, or add-ons like timekeeping, you’ll need to pay extra. Check out their full list of features here.

How much does ADP cost?

Unfortunately, ADP has quote based pricing, so you will need to contact their sales team to determine the cost.

Customer reviews.

Paycom

Best for mid-market businesses that need a wide range of payroll services integrated with basic HR

Pros

  • Comprehensive tax and payroll management capabilities
  • Self-service portal and app for employees to run their own payroll
  • Generates perfectly mapped reports ready for accounting software import
  • User-friendly expense management

Cons

  • Minimal pricing transparency and flexibility
  • High learning curve to getting started
  • Does not scale well for enterprise-level companies
  • Can’t include U.S. and non-U.S. based employees same payroll system

Paycom is a full-service HCM solution that specializes in detailed payroll processing, reporting, and user-self service. You should use Paycom if you are a mid-sized business that recently experienced growth and are looking to level-up your payroll and HR capabilities from what they were as a small business.

Who uses Paycom?

Paycom offers a full range of payroll analytics and features that are mostly unnecessary for small businesses. Mid-sized businesses in FinTech, healthcare, and IT tend to choose Paycom for its ability to pair comprehensive and speedy payroll processing with essential human resources functions.

What else do you get?

At its core, Paycom specializes in providing comprehensive payroll and HR services. Additionally, they offer talent management, time and attendance, and scheduling to round out an all-in-one mid-market solution. Find out more about their product offerings here.

How much does Paycom cost?

As their pricing is, unfortunately, quote-based, you won’t know how a basic plan will cost until you request a meeting.

Paycom reviews.

UKG

Best for complicated payroll and HRIS reporting

Pros

  • Very dependable payroll and benefits capabilities
  • Powerful reporting for HRIS managers

Cons

  • Ease of use on the end-user level is very poor and outdated
  • Very siloed between modules with complicated permission levels
  • Long and complex implementation process
  • Data security and reliability issues

UKG, or Ultimate Kronos Group, is the merger of workforce management company Kronos and the HRIS software Ultimate. Both systems are quite old and well established, and together, the company offers a wide array of HCM and payroll solutions. You should use UKG if you prioritize complex payroll and HRIS reporting over ease of use and self-service.

Who uses UKG?

Payroll products from UKG are designed with all business sizes in mind and are generally used in the healthcare and financial services industries within the US and Canada. HRIS managers in particular gravitate towards UKG for its comprehensive reporting; however, keep in mind that the system is not really designed for the frontline worker. As such, employee self-service is well below standard.

What else do you get?

You have the option of two different suites: UKG Pro and UKG Ready. Pro is for medium to large businesses with robust payroll that needs to be combined with HR and workforce management. Ready, on the other hand, is for small businesses that prioritize simplicity and only need basic payroll and HR solutions. With both products, you’ll receive streamlined and automated payroll, benefits administration, HRIS reporting, PTO, an app, and tax calculation.

How much does UKG cost?

UKG does not provide up font pricing information on its site and is entirely quote-based. For more information about their features or to look into pricing, go here.

UKG reviews.

Workday Payroll

Best for large organizations looking to replace their legacy ERP systems with modernized payroll + HR

Pros

  • Easy to use interface and mobile-first employee experience
  • Agile and continuous payroll processing and auditing
  • Real-time visibility into general ledger
  • Leading enterprise talent management and HRIS
  • Strong third party integrations with open API

Cons

  • Limited configuration to complex industry requirements
  • High costs and administrative upkeep, unsuitable for small to medium-sized businesses
  • Payroll and workforce management module one of their weakest offerings

Workday is a cloud-native software vendor for primarily financial management, human capital management, student information systems, and payroll. You should use Workday if you are first looking for a comprehensive HCM platform that happens to feature basic payroll, not the other way around.

Who uses Workday?

While mostly used for talent management, human resources, and more recently accounting, some enterprise companies in IT, financial services, and computer software use Workday for payroll. However, due to its limited nature, most businesses only use Workday for HR while integrating it with products like ADP for payroll and Workforce.com for workforce management.

What else do you get?

With Workday payroll, you get full service payroll alongside very basic time and attendance and scheduling. For further HR and financial features, you’ll need to also look into getting Workday HCM. check out their full range of products here.

How much does Workday cost?

Workday is one of the most expensive options on the market and is billed on an annual subscription basis. The pricing is quote-based, so you will need to contact the sales team directly.

Workday reviews.

Paychex

Best for high-quality customer support on a small business-oriented HR + payroll platform

Pros

  • Friendly and responsive US-based customer support
  • Can run payroll from anywhere on your phone
  • Straightforward employee self-service for viewing benefits, pay stubs, and insurance documents
  • Single sign-on for payroll and HR

Cons

  • Difficult to set up and run reporting
  • Dated interface
  • Inability to handle large amounts of data for enterprise-sized clients
  • Poor time tracking

Paychex provides integrated human capital management solutions for payroll, employee benefits, and business insurance. Small businesses in need of attentive support, basic online payroll processing, and intuitive benefits administration should use this platform.

Who uses Paychex?

Paychex is mostly designed for small business payroll in the US. It is particularly popular in the construction and real estate industries.

What else do you get?

In addition to payroll, Paychex offers integrated HR management as well as basic time tracking with on-premise time clocks.

They offer four packages: Paychex Flex Essentials, Select, Pro, and Enterprise. With Select, you get payroll, year-end tax filing, and minimum HR functionality, while with Pro and above you get a full range of HR, benefits, and payroll services. Time tracking packages are add-ons.

How much does Paychex cost?

Like many of its competitors, Paychex pricing is quote-based, meaning you will need to contact them directly to figure out what works best for your situation.

Paychex reviews.

Ceridian Dayforce

Best for continuous calculation and running audits mid pay period

Pros

  • Bundling payroll with HR and talent management in a single system
  • On-demand payment with Dayforce Wallet
  • Data is processed and committed continuously, limiting rework carried over into the next pay cycle

Cons

  • Difficult to set up custom reports, and expensive to have them built for you
  • Many hidden fees to get the support team to change and edit errors after implementation
  • Slow customer support
  • Long and complex implementation process

Ceridian Dayforce is an online HCM system that includes extensive payroll and tax management offerings. While claiming “all-in-one” status, Dayforce is mostly used for its continuously calculating payroll system as well as its top-of-the-line talent and performance management.

Who uses Dayforce?

Dayforce is popular in the retail and financial services industries, particularly among mid-market to enterprise-level businesses. Due to the complex and often overwhelming nature of the system as a whole, Dayforce is often seen as unnecessary for smaller businesses with simpler needs.

What else do you get?

In addition to full service payroll, tax form filing, and time tracking, Dayforce also has a full HCM suite consisting of HR analytics, benefits administration, leave management, customer experience, and more.

How much does Dayforce cost?

Like many of its alternatives, Dayforce pricing is quote-based, so you’ll need to contact sales directly.

Dayforce reviews.

Paylocity

Best for large businesses who want a little bit of everything

Pros

  • Detailed and intuitive BI reporting
  • Easy to toggle between payroll, HR, and other modules

Cons

  • Unreliable communication channels with support team
  • Frequent changes in account managers
  • Many hidden costs for additional features
  • Trouble handling multiple payrolls across multiple states
  • Poor third-party integrations

Paylocity is an online payroll and HR management provider best known for its intuitive dashboard and reporting capabilities. You should use Paylocity if you are a large business looking for efficient payroll processing alongside a host of other basic HRIS capabilities.

Who uses Paylocity?

The platform is mostly used by medium to large businesses in the non-profit, healthcare, and real estate industries. Most use cases consist of clients using Paylocity for strictly payroll and HR while integrating it with more advanced workforce management software for scheduling and time and attendance.

What else do you get?

Paylocity’s payroll offers essential functions such as expense management, tax services, on-demand payment, and garnishment management services. Beyond core payroll and HR, Paylocity additionally provides workforce management, talent management, onboarding, employee experience, and benefits administration.

How much does Paylocity cost?

Paylocity has quote-based pricing, so you’ll need to contact them directly to find out how much each feature will cost.

Paylocity reviews.

Bookkeeper.com

Best outsourced/virtual bookkeeping for small businesses

Pros

  • Eliminates the need for hiring internal payroll and accounting experts
  • High quality customer service with a personal bookkeeper
  • Reliable wage and hour law compliance
  • Interactive web page with a client and learning center

Cons

  • No visibility into real-time payroll data and reporting
  • Payroll is totally separate from time tracking and HR
  • High monthly service fee
  • No mobile app

Unlike the rest of the competitors listed, Bookkeeper.com is not a software vendor. Instead, it specializes in outsourcing all your payroll needs to teams of real-life payroll specialists. You simply provide them with all your employee data and they handle the rest. Bookkeeper.com’s payroll services cover things such as tax liabilities and forms, custom payroll reports, direct deposit, tax deposit, W-2s, and 1099s.

Who uses Bookkeeper.com?

Due to its limited visibility and minimal configuration, Bookkeeper.com is strictly meant for small businesses with extremely basic payroll needs. This hands-off approach for paying employees works best for businesses that wish to avoid the manual process of running payroll and need little to no insight into payroll and HR analytics.

What else do you get?

In addition to payroll, Bookkeeper.com also offers tax filing, financial planning, accounting, and bill-paying services.

How much does Bookkeeper.com cost?

Bookkeeper.com’s cheapest service package starts at $399, billed monthly. Plus and Advanced offerings are also available, for $599 and $799, respectively. They also offer custom pricing. Go here to see more about their pricing.

Square Payroll

Best for payroll tax prep, paying contractors, and Square POS users

Pros

  • Extremely efficient when paired with Square POS
  • Flat-rate, all-inclusive pricing
  • Integrated tips and commission
  • User-friendly

Cons

  • Very limited HR analytics and reporting
  • Limited options for adding deductions
  • Lack of customization
  • Inability to scale for larger businesses

Hosted online by the POS system of the same name, Square Payroll is the most convenient option for small businesses already using Square. It’s essentially full-service payroll on all your Square devices, complete with fluid POS and time tracking integration. As long as you don’t need HR analytics, or have an alternative system for it, Square Payroll is a great option.

Who uses Square Payroll?

Just as with Square POS, Square Payroll is most popular among small businesses in food and beverage, hospitality, and retail. While offering little in the way of human resources administration, onboarding, or talent management, it keeps operations simple and pays employees fast.

What else do you get?

Obviously, if you are considering Square Payroll you either already have or are looking to get Square POS. Beyond POS and payroll, Square also offers time tracking, tax filing, and instant payments.

How much does Square Payroll cost?

Square Payroll has a flat rate of $35/month plus a $5/month per person paid. Contractor pricing also exists at $5/month per person paid.

Square Payroll reviews

Rippling Payroll

Best for ease of use

Pros

  • Very user-friendly
  • Supports international payments
  • Extensive software integrations
  • Supports all brokers from both small and large group benefits

Cons

  • Can’t automatically run payroll every pay period
  • Limited access to the whole feature suite and updates without incurring hidden fees
  • Poor phone support

A modern take on the “one-stop-shop” software older companies like ADP and UKG claim to be, Rippling offers a competent payroll system among a host of other products including HR management, time tracking, and IT management. You should use Rippling if you are a mid-market IT business with multinational staff looking for a user-friendly, online payroll service.

Who uses Rippling Payroll?

Rippling is designed with tech start-ups and mid-market IT companies in mind. It is also used heavily in the financial services and advertising industries.

What else do you get?

Beyond payroll, Rippling offers many other software solutions which makes it attractive for tech companies. Its IT cloud features app and device management, while its HR cloud has benefits administration, time tracking, learning management, and talent management.

How much does Rippling Payroll cost?

Pricing for Rippling starts at $8/month per user. From there, all pricing is quote-based depending upon the features you select for your plan.

OnPay

Best straightforward payroll service at an affordable, all-inclusive price

Pros

  • Unlimited payroll
  • Transparent monthly pricing scale
  • High quality customer service and implementation
  • Handles Form 943 filings for agricultural companies
  • Health insurance coverage in all 50 states

Cons

  • Interface could be more intuitive
  • Lack of integrations for point-of-sale, hiring, performance management, and compliance
  • Direct deposit can take up to 4 days
  • No options for contractor payroll

OnPay is a full-service online payroll, tax, and HR software that takes pride in its affordability and transparency. If you are a small business looking to affordably fulfill basic payroll and HR functions in a single system, you should consider using OnPay.

Who uses OnPay?

OnPay is used mostly by small businesses in the construction, law, and real estate industries. While its interface is by no means flashy or modern, it gets the job done, is reliable, cost effective, and all-inclusive.

What else do you get?

Beyond payroll, OnPay includes human resources, leave management, and benefits administration in its pricing. Its benefits features and providers are especially comprehensive.

How much does Onpay cost?

OnPay offers everything for a monthly base fee of $36/month, plus an additional $4/month per user.

OnPay reviews

Intuit QuickBooks Payroll

Best for Quickbooks Accounting users

Pros

  • Integrates seamlessly with Quickbooks accounting
  • Same day direct deposit
  • Automated tax calculation and filing
  • Can automatically run payroll every pay periods

Cons

  • Very limited HR and talent management features
  • Difficult for non-Quickbooks accounting users to utilize
  • Inability to manage complex changes on the backend without support, such as liability and accrual adjustments

For many businesses already using the ever-reliable Quickbooks for accounting, Quickbooks Payroll might be the perfect option. It offers full service payroll, including automatic tax calculations and benefits administration. You should use Quickbooks Payroll if you already have Quickbooks for accounting and do not have complex or regularly changing payroll needs.

Who uses QuickBooks Payroll?

Quickbooks Payroll is popular among SMEs in accounting, financial services, information technology, and construction.

What else do you get?

Beyond payroll, the platform also offers time tracking, HR support, workers’ compensation, and retirement plans.

How much does QuickBooks Payroll cost?

Quickbooks has three distinct pricing tiers. Starting with Core at $45/month plus $4/employee per month, you’ll get full-service accounting, auto payroll, and next-day direct deposit. Premium costs $75/month plus $8/employee per month and gets you same-day direct deposit, time tracking, and workers’ compensation. Finally, Elite is $125/month plus $10/employee per month and gets you 24/7 support, tax penalty protection, and a personal HR advisor.

QuickBooks Payroll reviews

Paycor

Best for employee self-service and onboarding amid business expansion

Pros

  • Easy to directly edit employee time cards
  • Smooth onboarding and new hire reporting
  • Customizable pay grids

Cons

  • Does not support global payroll and HR operations
  • Once implemented, support is routed to a slow call center
  • Outdated UI
  • Employee information requires lots of manual updating

Paycor is an online HCM provider, with payroll and HR being the main solutions it is most well known for. You should use Paycor if you are a growing mid-market business with more advanced payroll needs, and are looking to efficiently onboard new hires into your system.

Who uses Paycor?

Paycor is popular in the computer software, healthcare, and info-tech industries. While offering packages for businesses under 50 employees, Paycor is more heavily used by medium-sized companies above 50 staff.

What else do you get?

As Paycor is an online HCM vendor, they run the gamut when it comes to products and features. Beyond payroll, you can expect HR management, leave management, reporting, onboarding, and more.

How much does Paycor cost?

Starting at $99/month plus $5/employee per month, a Basic service plan gets you payroll and tax services, HR management, and automated onboarding. Pricing goes as high as $199/month plus $12/employee per month, unlocking PTO management, HR analytics, time tracking, workers’ compensation, scheduling, performance review, and more.

Paycor reviews

Integrations to Consider When Choosing a Payroll Provider

When looking for payroll software, it's important to consider the necessary integrations you will need to make things run smoothly. While many of the payroll providers listed here claim to be “all-in-one” HCM solutions, the reality is that they are really only fit for payroll and sometimes HR. Often, they stretch themselves too thin by providing important services simply as add-ons. These add-ons tend to cause more problems than they fix.

The best payroll services know when and how to team up with others. That’s where specialized integrations come in. Here are some of the most common solutions that sync with payroll:

  • Scheduling
  • Time & Attendance
  • Human Resources
  • Accounting
  • Point-of-Sale

How Syncing Scheduling & Attendance Software to Payroll Helps Businesses Reduce Manual Payroll Work

Large retail, hospitality, and healthcare companies are able to better control their labor costs, comply with wage and hour laws, and schedule more efficiently using dedicated workforce management software.

Many payroll providers do not sync scheduling and time tracking in one system, causing inaccurate data inputs, increased manual entry, and higher labor costs. By combining scheduling and time tracking, and then syncing them with payroll, businesses can eliminate these inefficiencies.

Payroll and HR specialized systems have many issues when used on their own, including, but not limited to:

  • Manually reaching out to locations to track overtime spend across teams
  • Manually collecting and collating attendance data
  • Importing and exporting data from disparate software solutions
  • Leave management inaccuracies
  • Not reflecting labor law compliance on schedules
  • Inability to prevent wage and hour law violations before they reach payroll
  • Limited visibility into potential labor cost overspending on schedules
  • Inability to map scheduled wage costs to actual wage costs in real-time

By syncing your payroll system with an advanced workforce management platform, you can schedule and track time in unison, generating accurate timesheets that can be exported to payroll in a single click.

This kind of integration reduces administrative time spent on manually fixing errors during and after pay runs. With a workforce management integration, you schedule and collect accurate employee time on a continuous basis, eliminating payroll errors before they happen. No more fixing time and wage errors after they occur in your payroll system.

Get Payroll Done On Time with Workforce.com

Workforce.com is a full-service workforce management solution native to the cloud. It handles time and attendance, employee scheduling, and labor compliance in a single system, and generates accurate timesheets that can be exported directly into payroll.

From timesheets across multiple locations, to leave management & labor laws, there’s a lot involved in payroll that isn’t handled by payroll systems. With Workforce.com, you get best-of-breed scheduling & attendance synced effortlessly to your payroll & HRIS systems through pre-built API integrations.

Overtime calculations across all locations

For every single shift, Workforce.com calculates the cost of the shift based on the minimum wage, overtime, and other rules in your jurisdiction. There's no manual data entry and no human errors.

PTO & timesheets in an app that's used by everyone

Approving PTO and updating balances is a headache when everything lives in yet another system. With Workforce.com, PTO, timesheets, and schedules are managed in a single mobile app that everyone uses. At the end of the day, it's all synced to payroll as the single source of truth.

Got other questions? The answer is yes!

  • Can it retroactively pay people?
  • Does it integrate over SFTP?
  • Can it distribute credit card tips?
  • What about allowances?
  • Can it connect to Workday, Oracle, Netsuite, ADP, Gusto, Paycom, Paychex, Ultimate, Ceridian, or any other payroll system?
  • Export terminated employee timesheets before pay day?
  • Does it sync timesheets in under half an hour so payroll isn't blocked?
  • Can it work across multiple locations?
  • In different cities, states, or countries?
  • Does it recognize job codes?
  • Can it do test exports through a staging environment?
  • Will Workforce.com help me get every pay run done on time?

“Ultimately, I was looking to make sure a workforce management integration would be compatible with our payroll software. Workforce.com stood out to me because of the ease of export. I wanted to press a button and have it be miraculous - and that's what Workforce.com is." - Christine Kavic, CFO

To find out more about how to integrate scheduling and attendance with your payroll, book a call today.