Gusto is the best payroll software in terms of features and ease of use. They offer a ton of functionality and flexibility, so you can create the ideal payroll and HR setup for your small business.
It’s used by over 100,000 small businesses, just like you.
The cloud-based payroll system is simple to set up, plus it gives your workers a dashboard to manage their employee information.
You’ll find standard payroll management features like automatic deductions and filings, direct deposits, and W-2s and 1099s.
It will automatically calculate and file local, state, and federal taxes. There are also plenty of integrations with popular accounting software like Quickbooks, Clover, Xero, and more.
Note: We use Gusto at WPBeginner to manage payroll for remote team members across different states. We started using Gusto back when it was called ZenPayroll and have been loving it since then.
When we were smaller, we used their HR features, but we’ve outgrown it since our team is now worldwide, and Gusto doesn’t support non-US team members.
However, their platform is packed with enough HR functionality to be an all-in-one tool for most US based small businesses.
For example, you can set up employee health insurance enrollment, 401k, workers comp, commuter benefits, and employee savings programs.
Gusto has a range of employee onboarding features like custom offer letters, document signing and storage, onboarding checklists, even software account creation and management.
There are also time tracking tools, compliance paperwork filing, anonymous surveys, and virtual org charts for users on the higher plans.
Best of all, Gusto offers month to month pricing. So, there’s less risk when moving or starting your new payroll system.
The plans start at $19 per month for small teams of 1 to 2 people. Most small business owners will find the Core plan the most valuable, it starts at $39 per month. Higher level plans give you more features like time tracking.
Expert Review: We believe Gusto is the best payroll software for small businesses. They offer a hassle-free experience, and the best part is that they don’t nickel and dime you like payroll services from your bank or some other larger well-known industry players.
BambooHR is the best HR software for small businesses.
It’s a complete Human Resource Management System (HRMS) and is trusted by over 20,000 businesses to manage HR tasks. It’s very intuitive, easy to use, and well suited for companies of all sizes.
The cloud-based system focuses on HR tasks like hiring, compensation, onboarding, and company culture.
There’s an applicant tracking system (ATS) that speeds up the hiring process, and performance management features to improve your company culture.
It also includes employee benefits tracking, PTO management, easy employee onboarding, training, and more.
This SaaS tool is big on employee data collection, which makes it easy for business owners to make informed decisions about new hires.
It’s one of the few providers that qualifies as a Human Capital Management (HCM) tool, which helps your employees reach their potential.
Note: We have a worldwide remote team in 27 countries, so we started using BambooHR. They make it simple to manage everything across multiple countries and time zones.
Their Android and iOS mobile app is handy and lets team members manage their information at home or on the go. It also makes it easy to find employee contact information throughout your organization.
BambooHR offers custom pricing based on your business needs. But there are two different plans you’ll choose between.
The Essentials plan has standard HR management features like PTO, benefits administration, document storage, and more.
While, the Advantage plan includes an ATS, onboarding and offboarding features, and advanced reporting functionality.
Since BambooHR doesn’t offer full-service payroll features, we use Gusto and BambooHR together to manage all of our HR and payroll needs.
However, you will find addons for tax filing, time entry and timesheets, overtime pay, and various employee performance review tools and assessments.
BambooHR is designed with small businesses in mind, but it is also used by companies like ZipRecruiter, Grammarly, and Postmates. This software can grow with you as your company grows, and we can vouch for that 100%.
Expert Review: We believe BambooHR is the best HR software for small businesses, hands down. This is why we use it on WPBeginner.
OnPay offers HR payroll software and is a great option for growing small businesses and startups.
Their payroll solution is flexible and supports business owners who have contract, part-time, and hourly employees. Managing all of this on your own can be difficult and time consuming, but with OnPay, it’s much easier to do.
Since payroll doesn’t run automatically, you can choose which employees you want to pay before you run payroll. It’s not as automated as other solutions, but some business owners might need more control.
You can pay employees via direct deposit, printed check, or debit card.
It includes other features like unlimited payroll runs, tax filing, support for multiple pay schedules and rates, unemployment insurance withholding, and more.
You can also integrate your business payroll with your preferred accounting and time-tracking software.
The pricing is straightforward, with a base fee of $36 per month and an additional $4 per person. So if you’re a 50 person company, you’ll pay $236 per month.
Since there’s only one plan, you get access to all features, including HR tools.
The bundled HR tools include templates for employee offer letters, paid time off management, HR document management, and more.
Expert Review: We believe OnPay is the best HR and payroll tool for businesses with contract and hourly workers.
Quickbooks Payroll is one of many Intuit products designed to make the lives of small business owners easier.
If you’re already using QuickBooks accounting software, adding QuickBooks Payroll only takes a couple of clicks. It has a beginner friendly user interface and makes payroll tasks a breeze.
You’ll find useful features like business receipt capture, automated taxes and payroll, in-depth reports, and support for all 50 states.
Quickbooks has also partnered with MammothHR to bundle the HR features you require.
They offer no contract pricing that starts at $45 per month for the Core plan. This plan gives you all the necessary features to manage HR and payroll including, automated payroll, health benefits, 401k plans, and more.
You’ll also find higher-level plans that start at $75 per month and give you additional features like same-day direct deposit, workers comp support, and mobile time tracking.
Expert Review: We believe QuickBooks Payroll is the best payroll and HR software for businesses who use Quickbooks accounting software. With that said, we use QuickBooks for our bookkeeping and accounting, but we prefer to use Gusto because they help us with state compliance and really make the experience hassle-free.
Paychex is another common choice for online HR payroll software for small businesses.
It’s easy to use and comes equipped with payroll and HR features like new hire reporting, payroll tax administration, direct deposit, time tracking, and more.
Where it really stands out is its reporting features.
If you’re on one of the higher plans, you can access 160 different reports or create reports based on your own parameters. This will help you make data-driven decisions to grow your business.
The easy to use online dashboard lets you manage your payroll processes, health insurance and benefits, retirement, and more. Workers also have an employee self-service portal to manage their personal information.
You can also link your existing accounting software like Quickbooks or Xero directly into payroll.
The best plan for most small businesses will be PayChex Flex Select. This plan includes standard payroll features, along with HR and employee management functionality.
Pricing for the PayChex plans is hidden online, but it’s quote based pricing, so you’ll pay based on the features you need.
If you want advanced HR features like employee training and performance feedback, you’ll need the Paychex Flex Enterprise plan.
Expert Review: We believe Paychex is the best payroll and HR software for businesses who need detailed reporting.
ADP offers robust payroll services for small and growing businesses.
ADP is a leader in providing outsourced HR for large-scale companies. But, they offer the RUN service, which compiles decades of HR experience into an easy-to-use software.
With ADP RUN, you’ll find standard features like easy tax filing, automated payroll, direct deposit, compliance for all 50 US states, along with mobile and web-based timecards for employees.
There are also integrated HR features like employee health insurance, retirement services, and built-in onboarding processes for new employees.
ADP doesn’t share its pricing publicly.
But, the pricing is custom to your business. If you only need payroll assistance, this will be cheaper than bundling payroll and HR software together.
The more expensive plans offer features like employee background checks, integration with ZipRecruiter, and more advanced payroll features like unemployment tax deductions and wage garnishment.
Expert Review: We believe ADP is the best long-running payroll and HR provider for business who need a wide range of services. However their pricing may feel unfriendly towards small businesses.
Which is the Best HR Payroll Software for You?
After carefully researching all of the top HR payroll service providers, we believe that Gusto is the best HR payroll software in the market.
Their plans are flexible and affordable and can support single person businesses up to businesses with thousands of employees. Alongside these features, you’ll find a helpful and dedicated customer support team.
The best part is that Gusto is a complete all-in-one solution. It offers automated payroll, tax support, HR features, and unique employee benefits that other software solutions don’t provide.
For all the reasons above, we decided to use Gusto in our own business and rate it as the best HR payroll software in the market.
In our research, BambooHR and OnPay came as very close seconds. We use BambooHR in our own business for every single HR-related task. However, the lack of full payroll features stops it from being an all-in-one tool.
You can’t go wrong using either of these tools. If you don’t mind using more than one software, the combination of Gusto and BambooHR supports our worldwide remote business of over 150 employees, and it can do the same for you.
We also looked into other service providers like Patriot, Zenefits, CoreHR, Paycor, SurePayroll, and more.
However, we decided not to list them all so we can help make your decision easier by avoiding choice paralysis. Our goal is always to make it easy for you to choose the best software provider for your business needs.
HR Payroll Software FAQs
After helping thousands of business owners choose the best HR and payroll software, we’ve answered many different questions.
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about HR and online payroll solutions.
What is the easiest payroll software to use?
The easiest payroll software to use is Gusto. The user onboarding is straightforward, simple, and even fun. As an HR manager or business owner, you can simply set up your automated payroll and taxes.
Plus, your employees have dashboards to manage their employee information, download pay stubs, and more.
With that said, most online payroll processing software in our list are easy to use. OnPay is another good option for delivering a good user experience.
What is the best HR software for small businesses?
The best HR software for small businesses is BambooHR.
The customizable plans ensure you’re getting the perfect HR solution for your unique business needs.
Plus, it can support small, midsize, and large companies with ease.
It’s what we use to manage HR for our 150+ person global remote team.
What is the best free payroll software?
There are free payroll software available, but we don’t recommend using them.
Payroll is a complex process that requires employee tracking and payment, plus withholding the correct amount for taxes.
Paid payroll software like OnPay and Gusto are more accurate and secure than free alternatives. They help you save time while avoiding the regulation hassle, so you can focus on growing your business.
Can I use Excel for payroll?
Yes, a lot of small business owners use Excel to calculate payroll by hand. However, this only works if you have a small number of employees and a relatively static business.
Also, there’s no guarantee that the calculations you’re doing will be accurate.
If you have the budget, we recommend investing in paid payroll software. There are affordable options, especially if you only have a few employees.
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