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List of Best Payroll Services & Companies for Small Business

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This Article focuses on a List of Best Payroll Services & Companies for Small Business. Paying your employees on time and without any problems used to require a lot of work. But with convenient payroll services online, today’s employers are doing so with ease. What used to be a nightmare for the payroll administrator is now a simple task of clicking or tapping a few times to get things rolling. 
In fact, there are even payroll service providers that offer fully automated payroll runs. So, you can get all of your workers paid promptly and without a hitch without even lifting a finger. 

In times of economic belt-tightening, it’s important to be efficient as possible, and payroll services help you automate tasks that in the past would have cost you manpower.

From the major corporate services to simple payroll services for small businesses, there’s something for everyone out there today looking to get their payments in order for 2023. You just need to know where to look.

If you’re tired of spending hours of time poring over the grueling task of crunching numbers and cross-referencing data frames, it’s time you stepped into the 21st century and got yourself a reliable payroll software.

Growing your team as a small business owner is exciting. It means that your business is growing and more folks are willing to invest their time into your vision. The logistics of managing them, on the other hand? Not that much fun (for most of us).

Online human resources (HR) and payroll software takes a lot of the work off your plate so you can focus on the work you go into business to do. Below, we’ve rounded up the best payroll services to help you compare and select the platform that’s best for your business.

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Payroll Processing Stages

Payroll is a process with multiple steps that start before an employee’s first day. The basic steps include:

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  • Decide pay cycle. This is the frequency with which you are paying your employees. Most employers choose either a weekly, biweekly or monthly cycle to make payments.
  • Collect employee information and tax documents. These documents include the W-4 form, state tax withholding form and bank account information.
  • Calculate gross pay. Gross pay is the amount employees are owed before taxes.
  • Determine net pay. You will withhold taxes (and any other deductions) from the gross pay and employees will receive the net pay.
  • Initiate payment. If you’re running payroll manually, you’ll cut checks and mail them out with pay stubs. If you are paying through direct deposit, you’ll initiate a transfer. If your payroll is managed through a payroll service such as Gusto, the platform will initiate payment based on a predetermined billing cycle.
  • Pay taxes and keep records of payment. Lastly, you’ll pay federal and state taxes owed and keep a record of all payroll and taxes.

How To Use a Payroll Service

How your team uses payroll software will vary depending on the size of your team, the expertise of your employees and the system you use. Most services come with excellent sales and customer service reps who can help you get set up and answer questions you have along the way.

A basic payroll solution helps you pay employees and, on some platforms, contractors. Use it to facilitate direct deposit as well as to manage payroll checks, taxes and reporting.

Most payroll services also include benefits administration, so you can use the platform to set up paid time off, retirement plans, insurance and other benefits for employees, and integrate benefits with payroll.

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How To Choose A Payroll Service

The best payroll services offer the following features:

  • Direct deposit payments
  • Payroll tax filing and payment
  • Employee self-service and self-onboarding
  • Integration with QuickBooks or other accounting platform
  • Basic reports
  • Automatic compliance updates

Without these features, payroll tools don’t offer much you couldn’t do manually with a spreadsheet.

Here is a List of the Best Payroll Services For Small Business


  • Best forHourly employees, retailers, SMBs
  • Starting priceFrom $29
  • Benefits & HRHealth, 401k, workers comp, pre-tax

Square is one of the best payroll services for small businesses on the market, particularly if you are already using Square for your point of sale needs. One of the least expensive options, Square handles all your payroll, comes with the usual benefits like health insurance and 401k, and has plenty of integrations to work with.

Square fully automates your payroll, and you can run unlimited payrolls throughout the month. You can track employee hours, import time cards and tips, and set and forget tax filing. And what’s more, Square is available throughout the United States. So, no matter where you’re located, you can access these payroll services online.


  • Fast and easy software to use
  • Run payroll multiple times per month
  • Affordable and feature-rich


  • Reporting feature is limited
  • Doesn’t support all payment options


  • Best forEmployee benefits
  • Starting priceFrom $8
  • Benefits & HR401k, supplemental, FSHA HSA, commuter

Zenefits is an easy to use payroll service that provides self-service as its default for an easier and faster user experience. And while its payroll services are great, Zenefits really shines in the employee benefits department. You can get everything from employee medical, dental, and vision to life and disability insurance, 401k retirement funds, FSA and HSA accounts, commuter benefits, and more.

That’s not to say Zenefits doesn’t have a solid payroll services online, because it does. The payroll end is reliable and straightforward. Zenefits includes features like unlimited pay runs, garnishments, tips reporting, and contractor payments. You’ll also be able to get dynamic mobile paystubs via a user-friendly app.


  • Extensive employee benefits
  • Easy to use self-service dash
  • Powerful business intelligence reporting


  • Can’t do everything from the mobile app
  • Bit of a learning curve


  • Best forAutomatic filling of tax benefits and payroll processing
  • Starting price$8 per user per month
  • Benefits & HRYes. Benefits tracking through sync with HR management

Rippling’s Payroll tool is a useful addition to its employee benefits management module, which it integrates with fully. Although the tool only supports payments by check and direct bank deposit, it is capable of supporting quick, one-click 90 second payroll for companies with 1 employee or more than 1,000. Rippling can put together custom quotes for prospects depending on the modules and seats required.


  • Integrates with HRM component
  • 90 second one-click payroll
  • Automatic tax filing


  • Check and bank support only
  • Separate subscription to HRM


  • Best forSmall businesses and independent accountants
  • Starting priceFrom $36 per month + $4 per person
  • Benefits & HR401(k), worker’s comp, health insurance

From its clean, easy-to-use interface to its single pricing structure, Onpay offers an accessible yet customizable payroll platform for small and growing businesses. Onpay may not be the biggest product in the payroll market, but it offers surprising depth and capabilities that allow businesses to streamline their payroll needs without much legwork. 

For the payroll service itself, Onpay covers all the bases that a small business would need: the platform helps you easily do payroll for W2 employees and 1099 contractors, with automated tax filings and payments, and handles HR benefits, workers comp, and insurance for 50 states.


  • Extremely accessible and user-friendly
  • Integrations with Quickbooks, time-tracking software, and more
  • Automated tax filing


  • Not ideal for larger businesses
  • Limited to US-based businesses


  • Best forBusinesses seeking scalability
  • Starting priceFrom $49
  • Benefits & HR401k, child support, health

Paycor is not as well-known as the really big names like ADP and Gusto, but it’s managed to generate quite a following nevertheless. This is due to the fact that Paycor is a no-nonsense, feature-rich payroll and human resource management service that delivers on its promises. Paycor comes complete with features like direct deposit, convenient mobile app, optimized payroll processing, and customizable widgets, so you can do just about anything you want within the software.

One more thing businesses really like about Paycor is that it comes with a lot of the more sophisticated features that high-price range payroll service providers offer at a significantly lower price tag.


  • Competitive pricing with room to scale
  • Huge knowledgebase of human resources
  • Strong reporting and analytics tools


  • No pricing info published online
  • Employee review process is clunky


  • Best forSMBs, startups, enterprise corporations, restaurants, retail, healthcare, contractors
  • Starting priceFrom $39 per month
  • Benefits & HRWorks with all third-party benefits, including 401K, workers’ comp, unemployment insurance, garnishments

There’s a reason Deluxe has been around for more than a century and has close to 5 million businesses trusting their payroll to this brand. It’s because Deluxe provides some of the most comprehensive HR and payroll services in the industry and includes the important features like tax filing, digital onboarding, employee self-service, and workers’ comp administration.

Deluxe has flexible payment options like direct deposit, pay cards, or paper checks. These can be set to a regular pay cycle for automated payroll processing. Employees will appreciate that they can access their own payroll reports that include deductions, spendings, and even paid time off. Deluxe also manages your HR benefits, providing online enrollment and custom HR document management.


  • Full service HR & payroll + tax filing
  • Features like digital hiring and onboarding
  • Workflow automation


  • Confusing pricing plans
  • No free trial

Quickbooks Payroll

  • Best forComprehensive general ledger-linked payroll
  • Starting priceFrom $22.50
  • Benefits & HRHealth benefits

QuickBooks by Intuit is another well-known name that has recently stumbled into the payroll industry. A reputable accounting software, QuickBooks now offers payroll services that sync seamlessly with all of your accounting programs for a 360-degree inclusive service.

One of QuickBooks’ strong points is the tax filing services it offers. It’s one of the best payroll service providers for handling year-round tax organization. QuickBooks automatically files all of your taxes, deals with deductions, lets you create custom tax categories, and tracks things like sales tax if you have an Ecommerce shop. It’s a very tidy way of staying on top of one of the major aspects of your business.


  • Smooth onboarding support
  • Extensive tax-filing features
  • Fully integrates with your accounting software


  • Not as customizable as competitors
  • Not as many features included in basic plans


  • Best forSMBs looking for more than just payroll
  • Starting priceQuote-based
  • Benefits & HRHealth, retirement, onboarding, management

Paychex is a cloud-based payroll services provider that has plans for every size business but is particularly well-suited for smaller businesses up to 50 employees. Paychex Flex, the SMB-focused plan, lets you update the database via desktop or mobile dashboard, set automated rules, and run payroll quickly and efficiently. In fact, with self-service, Paychex lets your employees take the bulk of the data input off your shoulders entirely.

In addition to running payroll, Paychex will calculate, pay, and file all of your taxes from local to federal. Pay your employees with direct deposit, paper check, or pay cards – whatever works best for you. Paychex plans also include features like onboarding, HR analytics, and an events calendar for seamless calculations.


  • User-friendly software anyone can run
  • Great choice for small businesses
  • Affordable without missing out on features


  • Lots of reports options can be confusing
  • New version launch takes getting used to


  • Best forPowerful payroll services mid-enterprise biz
  • Starting priceFrom $39
  • Benefits & HR401k, SIRA, SEP IRA, health, workers’ comp

ADP is one of the oldest payroll services online or off, which should tell you something about how much experience these fellows have under their belt. Offering a full range of HR benefits and services, payroll services, and time and attendance management, ADP is a professional payroll service for businesses looking for more than your basic software. From HR guidance, resources, and dedicated service managers to full tax compliance, reporting, and self-service capabilities, ADP has an impressive array of features and services on offer.

ADP will automatically calculate tax liability, withhold and pay taxes on your behalf, and handle all reporting and issuances, including W-2s and 1099s. What’s more, ADP doesn’t just stop at your local boarders. This payroll service handles issues in more than 140 countries around the globe.


  • Professional, top-rated features and service
  • Oldest payroll services online
  • Full service, all-inclusive benefits & payroll


  • Not as cheap as some competitors
  • No pricing plans for really small businesses


  • Best forSMBs, independent contractors, freelancers
  • Starting priceFrom $6
  • Benefits & HRMedical, dental, vision, 401k, commuter, 529

Gusto is one of the best payroll services for small businesses of today, and it’s also a good choice for freelancers and contractors. Providing automatic tax filing, a list of HR benefits, including health, dental, vision, college funds, 401k, and the ability to run unlimited payrolls, Gusto is a cost-effective way for businesses to streamline their monthly accounts.

It’s also nice that Gusto integrates with a lot of other applications, including accounting programs like QuickBooks Online, Xero, and FreshBooks. You can also sync your time tracking apps (like Time Tracker or Homebase) and expense management tools like Expensify to have an all-inclusive database for your accounts.


  • Loads of useful integrations
  • Fully automates payroll and taxes
  • Good for contractors and freelancers too


  • No 24/7 customer support
  • Not all HR benefits available in all states

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