The 5 Best Online Payroll Software for Small Businesses


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There are a lot of things involved in the payroll process. Manually inputting employee time-ins and time-outs, tax processes, printing paychecks, etc. takes a lot of resources when you think about it. If you want to be more efficient with your time, money, and effort, and simplify your payroll and other related processes, then maybe you should think about investing in payroll software.


What Is Payroll Software?


Payroll software is an application that automates the process of paying employees. Payroll software that is effective and well-integrated will be an asset to companies. It can help them keep in line with tax laws and other regulations and even cut down on expenses. This benefits HR (human resources) departments as they can focus their resources on other areas of business. 


Payroll Software Most Common Features


The primary goal of the payroll process is to accurately and promptly compensate employees for their work. When considering implementing a payroll system, you should take the following key features into account:


Direct Deposit


As stated earlier, giving employees immediate and trouble-free access to their paychecks is imperative. Your work relationship with your employees or contractual workers will be strained if they do not get their payments on time. Direct deposit also benefits the company as they don’t have to spend resources printing and giving out physical paychecks.  


Payroll Reports


Payroll reports include employer tax information and other financial information like hours worked by employees, pay rates, taxes withheld from wages, etc. Because of the nature of these reports, this key feature is crucial. The option to customize allows companies to generate reports tailored to company needs. 


The option to have automated report templates is just as essential as the ability to customize these reports, though. Sometimes you just need to generate simple reports at the click of your mouse. 


Before choosing payroll software, clarify what reports you can run and what data is accessible in these reports.


Built-in tax tables that automatically update when there is a change in tax rates is a feature you can find in some of the best payroll software solutions. This type of software makes it so that you don’t have to eyeball how much you need to deduct. Payroll management software that automates tax filing and the generation of W-2s makes the whole tax process much less “taxing”.


The 5 Best Online Payroll Software for Small Businesses


1. Gusto 


A screenshot of the Gusto online payroll software for small businesses website home page.


Gusto is an HR platform that offers tools for hiring, paying, and managing teams. Their offerings include:


  1. Full-service payroll – automatic tax filing and help with compliance, international contractor payments, direct deposits, and more
  2. Employee benefits – healthcare packages and financial benefits like 401(k) retirement savings 
  3. Time and attendance – automatically calculates hours, overtime, and holidays, provides project tracking and cost reports, and more
  4. Hiring and onboarding – job postings, applicant tracking system, custom onboarding checklists, and more
  5. Talent management – performance reviews, training, learning and developmental tools, and more
  6. Insights and reporting – access to HR experts, competitive compensation tools, automatic custom reports, and more


2. QuickBooks


A screenshot of the QuickBooks online payroll software for small businesses website home page.


Quickbooks offers accounting tools directed at small and growing businesses. They offer:


  1. Tax penalty protection – they will pay up to  $25,000 if they incur a penalty
  2. Same-day direct deposit 
  3. Calculating, filing, and paying payroll taxes for you.
  4. Payroll that runs automatically.
  5. Time tracking – check timesheets before approving pay and create invoices on the go.
  6. 24/7 expert support – get answers anytime, can set up payroll for you if you give them the necessary information
  7. Access to an  HR advisor
  8. Create and e-file 1099-MISC and 1099-NEC forms.


3. Stripe Payroll


A screenshot of the Stripe Connect online payroll software for small businesses website home page.


Stripe offers fast, automated, and global payouts as well as simplified compliance efforts.


With Stripe, your sellers, freelancers, or employees can get paid as soon as the next business day. Additionally, there is an option of Instant Payouts where you can send funds directly to their bank accounts. Stripe also accepts payments in over 135 currencies. 


Stripe offers onboarding and verification processes to help your business keep up with any changes in compliance requirements.


4. Onpay


A screenshot of the Onpay online payroll software for small businesses website home page.


Not only is their software fast and can bear all the load, but Onpay also has a team of experts that can assist in setting you up and give you helpful advice. From helping you get informed on anything payroll to providing benefits to employees, their professionals have you covered. 


Onpay works with QuickBooks, Xero, and other top timekeeping software. 


It offers unlimited monthly pay runs and covers all tax filings and payments for W-2 and 1099 workers. You can choose to pay by direct deposit, use a debit card, or cut a check. Multiple pay rates and schedules are available, and it does unemployment insurance withholding for you. You also get custom reporting, accounting and time tracking integrations, and payroll management in multiple states.


5. Patriot


A screenshot of the Patriot online payroll software for small businesses website home page.


Patriot is an accounting and payroll software made to be the best value for money, powerful, and very user-friendly.


You can count on Patriot payroll software to give you a free and straightforward setup process, accurate tax calculations, free direct deposit or print checks, customizable payrolls, and more.


Adding onto your payment plan unlocks more functionality like Time and Attendance Software to track employee time and HR Software for organizing employee data.


Final Thoughts on Payroll Software


Payroll software and support streamline a lot of processes. It meets both the needs of the employer as well as those they employ. It ensures that your employees or freelancers get their pay hassle-free, on time, and consistently. Additionally, this assists businesses with tax compliance and other financial regulatory needs whilst automation frees up their HR departments to focus on other aspects of the business. 


Payroll integrations that are seamless and easy to incorporate into existing processes and platforms is crucial. This is how you can take advantage of the systems that you need but never have to deal with disparate data or waste time managing things that can be automated, plus you always get a smooth user experience.


About EcomBalance


EcomBalance is a monthly bookkeeping service for eCommerce companies. EcomBalance handles your bookkeeping and sends you a Profit and Loss Statement, Balance Sheet, and Cash Flow Statement by the 15th of each month. EcomBalance also has a sister company, AccountsBalance, that caters to agencies, software companies, coaches, and other online companies.

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Julia Valdez

Julia Valdez is Freelance Writer and Agency Owner. She regularly writes on topics related to Business Finances, Growth, Hiring, Entrepreneurship, and more.

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