What is Payroll Software?

Payroll software is offered by HR technology vendors, but it can also be part of an ERP system. This software is used to perform a lot of tasks, such as calculating employees’ salaries, cutting deductions, depositing the salary directly into staff members’ bank accounts, producing tax forms and payslips and more. The app helps reduce manual errors as well as cycle times. Setting up this software and getting started with it will also be very easy. Moreover, payroll management software offers benefits such as secure financial transactions, efficient handling of employee data, and getting detailed reports on staff payroll. You can learn more about this software by reading about popular systems in this category. We especially recommend Xero which has been rated as the best in this group.

Top 10 Most Popular Payroll Software


Our Score 9.4

User Satisfaction 99%

Gusto is the winner of our Expert's Choice Award. It provides payroll, benefits, and workers' comp insurance to small businesses in the US. Read Reviews


Our Score 9.2

User Satisfaction 100%

OnPay is an award-winning solution taht combines the latest internet technologies to give you a simple yet robust alternative to high priced, traditional payroll service. Read Reviews

ADP Workforce Now

Our Score 9.3

User Satisfaction 99%

ADP Workforce Now is a web-based human resources (HR) application designed especially for midsize businesses. Read Reviews


Our Score 9.1

User Satisfaction 97%

Xero is the winner of our 2017 Expert's Choice Award. It is a popular online accounting app designed for the needs of small and medium businesses in multiple industries. Read Reviews

Dayforce HCM

Our Score 9.1

User Satisfaction 100%

Dayforce HCM is a cloud-based platform for workforce management, payroll and tax, analytics, benefits, document management, talent management, and HR management. Read Reviews


Our Score 9.1

User Satisfaction 99%

Wave is the world's fastest growing software for small businesses' 100 % free accounting and unlimited invoicing. Read Reviews


Our Score 9.0

User Satisfaction 85%

Zenefits is a software application that provides a range of human relations services on a budget for small and medium businesses. Read Reviews

Intuit Payroll

Our Score 8.8

User Satisfaction 96%

Intuit is a full-service payroll solution that provides all of the features and functionalities small businesses need to run their payrolls. Read Reviews


Our Score 8.8

User Satisfaction 95%

Namely is the HR, Payroll, and Benefits platform your employees will love. Finally, there’s HR software that employees actually use, built to fit your company culture. Read Reviews


Our Score 8.8

User Satisfaction 99%

Sage HRMS is a robust HR management software developed by HR professionals to help users be in control of every aspect of human resource management. Read Reviews

How To Choose The Best Payroll Software

Payroll management is a critical aspect for all companies. Firms can either outsource the task to a third-party or manage payroll in-house. If you decide on the latter, there are numerous online payroll management programs available to help you. This can make it a difficult task to select an appropriate solution for your needs. For your convenience, we have prepared this buyer’s guide which will assist you understand the vendor landscape better, and pick out the best payroll software platforms for enterprises.

Get to know each product with free trial

A good course of action is to sign up for at least a few free trials or demo and basic unpaid plans plans from leading payroll software providers. With this method you will have the opportunity to test the important elements and you will get a good comparison of the capabilities of each app. It will also give you a better understanding of what is payroll management software.The best thing to do is to try software tools that currently have the highest rankings in the SmartScore and Customer Satisfaction Rating in our payroll software reviews and and choose the best payroll software for your business: Xero reviews, AccountEdge, KashFlow, and PaymentEvolution.

Targeted Businesses

This section will help you determine which kind of payroll software is right for you depending on the type of business you’re running:

  • Small businesses – These firms look to streamline their HR process with a dedicated payroll solution that is easy on their budget. Example vendors are ADP and Triton HR.
  • Medium-sized companies – These buyers look for more than basic payroll functionality. They want additional features like recruitment, attendance tracking, scheduling, workforce management, etc. and therefore look to invest in a comprehensive HR management solution. Example vendors are Vista HRMS, NuViewHR, Kronos, ADP, and Ascentis.
  • Large enterprises – These companies typically invest in an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that includes payroll management. They wish to integrate payroll with other HR functions, as well as with accounting and related departments. Example vendors are Lawson HR, Ominprise HRM, Sage, and Epicor HR.

What are Examples of Payroll Software?

  • Xero: An online accounting app for businesses from all scales and industries, but also individual accountants and bookkeepers. It focuses on collaboration, and keeps teams connected wherever they are.
  • Intuit Payroll: A powerful payroll management software for small business hat handles both payroll and tax processes timely and efficiently.
  • Paylocity: Advanced payroll and HR suite designed for the lower end of the SMB market. Its highlights are self-service features and advanced reporting.
  • SurePayroll: A comprehensive online payroll solution which manages payrolls quickly and accurately, and calculates payroll taxes in seconds.
  • AccountEdge: A small business solution for Mac and Windows which runs accurate reports on all areas of your business.

Types of Payroll Software

One of the things that makes choosing payroll management software so difficult is the variety of programs that can be used for the purpose. They range all the way from basic tool suites to ultra costly and accurate programs. The list of features can also be categorization criteria, as certain programs do nothing but generate audit reports, while others are more robust and they allow users to track tax code changes and to forecast them, and even do some custom branding. The basic division criterion is deployment, depending on which you can choose between:

  • On-premise payroll management systems. These are covered with a single license, and are hosted on the client’s local server. They qualify as the most expensive ones, due the fact that they require complex setup and occasionally some hardware installation.
  • Software-as-a-service (SaaS) payroll management systems. These are usually paid per month, and are hosted on the vendor’s server. The business owner is not responsible for installation, updating, and maintenance.
  • Cloud-hosted payroll management systems. Most of these offer free basic plans, and qualify as the most affordable ones due to their universal access and the fact that the client doesn’t need to update them or to pay for maintenance.

Key Features of Payroll Software

The following features are essential for payroll software:

  • Compensation. What you’d generally expect from a payroll manager is to process and distribute paychecks, but the scale of these programs is much broader. One of their key features is compensation, which means they can do business salary management and keep track of leave/bonus systems and track salary transfer.
  • Benefits. Payroll management systems are enabled to track performance, and to reward it. Sick leaves, absences, and overtime can be calculated easily, meaning that no employee will be discriminated in any way. Later on, the system administers salaries and tax deductions, and calculates the benefits.
  • Employee records. Payroll management systems allow to summarize and update employee information in individual records, available to each department to make the most of your human resource. Together with personal data, these records contain history of employment, and can be customized to add information you think is relevant.
  • Time-off tracking. Once again, payroll management systems track the sick leaves, vacation accrual, and other absences of your employees, and calculate their salaries considering this information. Automating time-off management and approval ensures there will be no mistakes when balancing the changes with your payroll system.
  • Tax filings. The systems can help you prepare detailed tax filings, allowing you to schedule, pay, balance, and file payroll taxes all on the same platform. To make matters even better, advanced payroll management systems store this information in a comprehensive, easy-to-browse database.
  • Reports. What is really critical to every payroll management system is reporting, where you should expect your system to perform Direct deposit reports, Online payment reports, Annual reports, etc. For the purpose, the toll is supposed to contain a robust suite of analytic tools, in particular tables, graphs, and charts.

Benefits of Payroll Software

Payroll software offers plenty of benefits such as saving time and money, and eliminating compliance risks.

  • Saving time – You can save plenty of time and in turn money by purchasing a good quality payroll software. These applications are intuitively designed, which means your HR employees can easily learn to operate them. A manufacturing company found that it was able to drastically reduce the time needed for payroll management by using ADP’s solution. It used to spend two days to perform the payroll tasks manually, but the application cut down the time to just half a morning.
  • Reducing risk and increasing accuracy – Payroll software is a boon for companies looking to comply with tax requirements and filing tax reports. Manual payroll processing can lead to human errors which can significantly affect a company. In fact, companies face the risk of penalties if they do not comply properly with tax regulations. Payroll management solutions can complete tax reports and filings for your company, and even remind you about their due dates. Plus, they also perform the daunting task of tracking changes in tax code.
  • Generating detailed reports – Payroll software can help you track data over time and easily generate insightful reports for auditors, accountants, and internal decision makers. Examples of such reports include employee participation in 401k plans, annual tax remittances, and summaries of quarterly expenses.

List of Payroll Software Companies

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Our Score Read More

FinancesOnline utilizes our special SmartScore™ approach to examine all the solutions in the Payroll Software category to help you decide on the best possible solution. It pays attention to the following elements: key functionalities, collaboration possibilities, customization, integrations with other services, ease of use, help & support, how secure a software is, support for mobile devices, scores in other media. At the moment, Xero is the leader in this category and is recommended by our experts. Following extensive research and analysis it received the best results among its competitors and our reviewers strongly suggest that you include it as one of the options for your company.

User Satisfaction Read More

A look at general user satisfaction with the products in our Payroll Software category based on our unique algorythm that analyzes user reviews, comments and opinions across a broad range of social media sites to help you make an educated purchase choice.











Pricing Read More

Every vendor in the Payroll Software category will provide a different set of pricing plans for its app and every package will include a different set of features. Below we list the general pricing for the most affordable plan provided for each app. Keep in mind that advanced features may have an extra cost.


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by quote

by quote

Devices Supported Read More

A summary of what type of devices and operating systems are supported by the listed B2B solutions in the Payroll Software category, including mobile platforms and web-based solutions.






Laguages Supported Read More

Find out which languages and geographies are supported by the popular B2B services in the Payroll Software category, including services aimed at international markets and prepared for multi-cultural teams of employees.








Pricing Model Read More

Learn which pricing models are supported by the vendors in the Payroll Software category to see which one suits your business needs and expenses best. Be aware that certain solutions can provide free or freemium accounts for you to try out first.


Monthly payment

One-time payment

Annual Subscription


Customer Types Read More

An overview of what groups of clients a specific B2B software in the Payroll Software category provides for, from small businesses and non-profits to large enterprises.

Small Business

Large Enterprises

Medium Business


Deployment Read More

An overview of what types of service deployement are offered by each B2B vendor in the Payroll Software category. Even though almost all modern SaaS solutions are cloud-hosted some solutions may offer an on-site deployment model as well.

Cloud Hosted

On Premise

Open API