Top 10 Payroll Software to Streamline Complex Payroll Cycles (Free & Paid)


  • Payroll tools are of the top importance as they single-handedly manage all the aspects of employee salary and wage.
  • All payroll services include some key features, from the automation of payroll processes to the calculation of taxes, bonuses, and time offs.
  • There are four types of payroll systems that you could adopt; this article will focus on the software-managed payroll system only.
  • There are several benefits these solutions bring, such as data protection, optimization in employee management, and minimized risk of errors.
  • The top 3 payroll software you should check out for sure are Rippling, Paychex, and ADP Workforce Now.

Automations have become a BIG trend, and there’s a good reason for it.

They simplify every complex process, save time on recurring tasks, minimize errors, and lower operating costs for all types of businesses.

For these reasons, every business owner notices that they should make use of them to increase efficiency and ensure business growth.

This is especially evident in payroll services ’cause there is a lot to streamline in employee salary and wage management for payroll professionals.

This article is solely dedicated to payroll solutions that can do several items on your ahead and keep every process in line.

Here is what you’ll find in this article:

So, let’s take it from the top with the definition of payroll services.

What Is Payroll Software?

Payroll systems are cloud-based platforms that are capable of managing and automating payroll processes by providing a wide range of payroll features and functions that advance business productivity and boost employee morale in the long run. 

If you can choose the right payroll service provider for your business, you’ll experience a significant change in how you maintain and process payroll, thanks to the powerful key features any advanced payroll company should deliver.

Types of Payroll Systems

Even though payroll systems alter according to the way of delivery, such as on-premises, hybrid, and cloud, in this article I’ll be focusing on the software for payroll service only.

Now, let’s move on to the methods that businesses can set up and run when it comes to payroll processing. Here are the four payroll options you could benefit from:

1️⃣ In-house payroll system: This method requires one in-house employee to bear on the whole payroll process with the help of online payroll software. Moreover, it’s a great fit for small businesses that don’t have crowded teams, requiring a more simple operation.

2️⃣ CPA-managed payroll system: As the name suggests, this method calls for a CPA (certified public account) to handle all aspects of payroll, taking off the responsibility of your payroll team. With someone who solely focuses on this matter, this method is recommended for midsize businesses with a big number of staff.

3️⃣ Agency-managed payroll system: In this method, a company agrees with an agency to get a full-service payroll. As a person with expertise will lead the process, it’s most compatible with big companies that go through more complex means and require more intricate measures.

4️⃣ Software-managed payroll system: This method includes the usage of online payroll providers, such as the ones you’ll find listed in this article. As this method enables you to run a payroll in minutes while giving you a 360-degree view on a monthly basis, all types of businesses can significantly benefit from using this system.

Benefits of Online Payroll Services

Just like HR systems, all basic payroll applications have a wide range of benefits, starting from automatic calculations to employee portals.

Yet, the most important advantage is the ability to lower the time spent on time-consuming activities as you’ll be relying on automation and automation only.

Other than this, all standard payroll solutions provide the benefits below:

  • Automatic payroll taxes,
  • Data protection,
  • Minimized risk of errors,
  • Increase in employee satisfaction,
  •  Employee self-service,
  • Employee time tracking,
  • Human capital management,
  • Optimization in every aspect of people management,
  • Talent management,
  • and assured compliance with company payroll policies and federal regulations.

 Top 10 Payroll Software for Payroll Accountants (Free & Paid)

Here are the advanced payroll tools that you can employ to automate and elevate your financial and operational tasks: 

#1 Rippling – complete package to streamline payroll processes and manage all operations seamlessly worldwide

Rippling gets to be the number one on this list ’cause it promises a lot and delivers successfully.

Starting from the hiring process, Rippling manages all of the operations you have — be it HR, IT, or finance.

What amazed me the most about this platform is the fact that it unifies all systems in one go and it does it so effortlessly that anyone without prior payroll experience can get the knack of it easily, thanks to its clean user-friendly UI.

Moreover, it automates nearly all of your payroll processes WHILE allowing companies to pay employees in their local currency, which is a dream come true for remote workers all around the world.

Let me mention what you can achieve via Rippling as your software for payroll service:

  • Track bank transfers and conversions,
  • Automatic calculations of payroll, deductions, bonuses, holidays, and time offs,
  • Assign administrative payroll tasks to corresponding members,
  • Build custom workflows that trigger notifications for specific actions and reminders,
  • Easily pay hourly employees,
  • Offer equity to every employee regardless of the country they’re based,
  • Make use of employee data via reporting,
  • Process off-cycle pay runs,
  • Onboard independent contractors and hires without any hassle,
  • and make use of 500 ready-to-install integrations.

⭐ Rippling G2 Rating: 4.8 (out of 1,792 reviews)

Rippling Pricing

Rippling starts at $8 per user on a monthly basis, but it has custom pricing; thus, you’ll need to reach out to their sales team. 

#2 Paychex – multifaceted platform that is capable of running payroll and HR processes at the same time without a hitch

Paychex Payroll software

Creating a suitable experience for businesses according to the number of employees it has, Paychex is a great solution for payroll and financial operations.

Robust reporting and analytics insights? ✅

New and changing regulations? Let Paychex take care of that.

Multiple payroll options? Direct deposit ✅ Paper checks ✅ Paycards ✅ You name it, Paychex has it.

Besides helping HR teams deal with their monthly tasks, this platform derives benefits from automations to streamline workflows so that teams can bring out their A-game without worrying over their repetitive tasks, such as calculating, paying, and filing payroll taxes.

Plus, this software has a self-service mobile application that you can make use of wherever you go. So, you can run the payroll on the go and customize the user interface according to the view that makes data entry easy for you.

Before I go, let me tell you that Paychex offers a 3-month free payroll services package for a chosen size of business from time to time. If you can’t catch it, then, go ahead and speak to the sales team requesting a demo.

Paychex G2 Rating4.2 (out of 1,442 reviews)

Paychex Pricing

Paychex has custom pricing; thus, you’ll need to reach out to their sales team.

#3 ADP Workforce Now – unmatched expertise in offering business payroll solutions with certified payroll professionals

Founded in 1949, ADP Workforce Now is no doubt one of the most experienced names in this industry.

This expertise is for you to find out, but before let me explain what ADP is capable to deliver a better payroll experience for businesses.

First of all, this software has basic plans that are custom-made for each business size: small, medium, and large — ADP is here to help you all out.

Secondly, it includes various HR services, from consulting to management and growth, which definitely enhance workflows by improving employee experience.

Besides, ADP offers you the help of certified payroll professionals 24/7 so that you can solve any difficulty that might occur on your end without any delay.

What more does ADP bring to the table?

  • Automated payroll and tax,
  • Time and attendance systems,
  • Talent management,
  • Benefits administration,
  • Human capital management,
  • Workforce management,
  • Integrations, 
  • Succession planning,
  • and HR outsourcing.

⭐ ADP Workforce Now G2 Rating: 4.1 (out of 3,194 reviews)

ADP Workforce Now Pricing

ADP Workforce Now has custom pricing; thus, you’ll need to reach out to their sales team.

#4 Gusto – best option for small businesses to cover all aspects of people management with ease

Gusto is another name I included in this list as it’s one of the few that offers unlimited payroll runs.

But that’s not all.

When using Gusto, you’ll notice how easy it has become for you to control costs, file taxes, check compliance, track projects, and most importantly obtain custom reports which are of great importance as they display all the required data for teams to come to a consensus regarding a decision in no time.

Plus, this tool is a great pick for small business as it’ll turn out to be cost-effective for them with the rich feature range it offers:

  • Employee profiles and self-service,
  • Employee benefits,
  • Next-day direct deposit,
  • Time and project tracking,
  • Workforce costing and reports,
  • Advanced employee onboarding tools,
  • and HR resource center.

⭐ Gusto G2 Rating: 4.1 (out of 678 reviews)

Gusto Pricing

  • Simple plan: $40/month + $6/month per employee
  • Plus plan: $80/month + $12/month per employee
  • Premium plan: For this plan, please contact Gusto’s sales team.

 #5 OnPay – best option for USA-based small businesses in need of a scalable software 

Named as the Top Payroll Service by Forbes Advisor in 2022, OnPay is a cloud-based payroll service provider that offers ALL FOR LESS.

From unlimited monthly pay runs to email notifications, this advanced payroll tool has the ability to serve all of your needs in payroll management. You can:

  • manage and run payrolls in no time — even when you’re on phone
  • make use of the free setup and data migration — if you’re switching from another tool
  • leave calculations to OnPay and automate taxes — including local, state and federal taxes 
  • bring your favorite accounting tools with you — such as Xero and QuickBooks Online
  • create custom reports depending on the information you seek the most
  • benefit from the WHOLE platform without any hidden or additional cost

Once again, let me remind you that OnPay is an USA-exclusive payroll tool; thus, if you’re looking for a global payroll software, let’s move on to the next candidate.

⭐ OnPay G2 Rating: 4.8 (out of 230 reviews)

OnPay Pricing

OnPay offers its services based on the number of the employees you have; it also adds $40 to the pricing in the name of base fee. Thus, it’d be better if you could check it’s site to see how much it’d cost you to use this system via its pricing slider.

#6 Oyster HR – best option for big companies with global teams to facilitate multi-country payroll

Oyster is a global HR tool that also serves as a payroll software as well.

From Albania to Venezuela, Oyster offers its services to 180+ countries — making it an expert at generating fully-compliant international payroll.

Moreover, it acts as the single source of truth for contract and tax documents while improving the overall employee experience by guiding and supporting all new hires via useful onboarding materials and dedicated customer service professionals.

Plus, Oyster has so many benefits that could easily pursue you to switch: simplifying remote working, managing all of your invoices, reimbursing expenses, running payrolls, getting a cost estimation, onboarding and offboarding, and finding and hiring talents all around the world — ALL IN ONE PLATFORM.

⭐ Oyster G2 Rating: 4.4 (out of 79 reviews)

Oyster Pricing

  • Contractor plan: $29/month per contractor
  • Employee plan: $499/month per employee when billed annually
  • Scale plan: For this plan, please contact Oyster’s sales team.

#7 Deel – great option for international businesses looking for a user-friendly payroll solution

Deel as a payroll solution

Running payroll in more than 90 countries, Deel is a simple tool designed for complex processes – that I can tell.

With its robust user interface, this platform offers teams the convenience of handling all processes regarding local compliance, taxes, and benefits by having a joint system of records where HR team members can collaboratively create personal profiles, manage people directory, and construct organizational charts.

Another advantage of Deel is the Slack integration it involves as it helps HR teams to streamline some processes through referrals, connections, pulse surveys, and 1-on-1s – all of which accumulate a great deal of insight, saving teams tons of time.

Also, let’s not forget that data management via Deel is extremely safe as it offers data protection through security standards, custom permissions, approvals, and your very own data logs.

Deel G2 Rating: 4.6 (out of 666 reviews)

Deel Pricing

  • For direct employees: It offers a free plan.
  • For contractors: It starts from $49.
  • For EOR employees: It starts from $599.

#8 Patriot Payroll – best option for USA-based companies looking for a more-detailed payroll system

Patriot Software does wonders when it’s time for payroll management — if you’re working in the USA.

This platform involves several elements that help simplify the whole payroll process, starting from the payroll setup as they offer to show you the ropes with a swift onboarding procedure.

Another element that’s worth mentioning is the reports and sections this platform puts out to ensure accuracy throughout the operation: payroll tax filing report, payroll tax deposit report, payroll register, individual paycheck history, payroll details, W-2 summary report, and deduction history.

What’s more is that it allows you to filter, sort, and export no matter which activity you’re performing.

Before you move on to the next candidate, I have to let you know that Patriot’s basic plan doesn’t manage your payroll taxes; you’ll have to file and deposit them manually.

So, it might be a good choice to start with the premium plan if it’s your first time using payroll software.

⭐ Patriot G2 Rating: 4.8 (out of 467 reviews)

Patriot Pricing

  • Basic Payroll plan: $17/month + $4/month per employee
  • Full Service Payroll plan: $37/month + $4/month per employee

#9 BambooHR – top-notch payroll services for small and medium businesses to simplify the payroll process

BambooHR as a payroll tool

BambooHR might be a company that you’ve heard of before because they’re everywhere and you cannot miss them due to their green theme.

However, let me fill you in on one thing: Green shouldn’t be the only thing that catches your attention as this single source of truth manages to help teams in all kinds of processes that include employees, from hiring and onboarding to employee experience and benefits.

For example, HR or finance teams no longer dedicate their time to manually done tasks because this payroll tool automates almost every process to help them along the way.

Recording time-offs? BambooHR got you.

Streamlining the payroll process? BambooHR does exactly that.

No more double entry? No more double entry.

Moreover, this software even has its own mobile hiring application called BambooHR Hiring, which makes it quite easy to recruit new hires on the go.

⭐ BambooHR G2 Rating: 4.5 (out of 1,352 reviews)

BambooHR Pricing

BambooHR has custom pricing; thus, you’ll need to reach out to their sales team.

#10 Paycor – outstanding performance in streamlining the payroll process and driving productivity and engagement

Paycor as a payroll tool

Paycor, as you can understand from its name, is a payroll tool that has all the core features to help teams keep everything on track when it comes to payroll.

This online payroll software doesn’t only run your payroll but also does it efficiently; for example, AutoRun manages all the processes as long as you put the correct dates for the mobile application to work, and voilà! Employees will have specific cycles to get paid and you won’t have to do anything regarding it except for filling in the data regarding direct deposit, pay cards, and earned wages.

Plus, you’ll have the luxury to sit and get real-time notifications regarding the actions you set.

Don’t forget that Paycor is a human capital management system that offers compliance solutions as well as workforce management!

⭐ Paycor G2 Rating: 4.0 (out of 644 reviews)

Paycor Pricing

Paycor has custom pricing; thus, you’ll need to reach out to their sales team.


Payroll is one of the most crucial matters in a company, regardless of the industry.

That’s why every business should have a solid payroll software for employee salary and wage management as well as workforce management.

In order to simplify the process to help you find your ideal payroll software, I prepared this list involving all the tools that bring their A-games in different areas.

AND IF you decide that what you’re looking for isn’t just payroll and you need all the benefits, you can check this article that involves great all-in-one HR software as a further reading:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most used payroll software?

According to the payroll accountants in G2, the most used payroll software are Rippling, ADP Workforce Now, and QuickBooks Payroll.

Does Google have a payroll service?

No, Google doesn’t have a payroll service at the moment. 

Can I do payroll without software?

Yes, you can, but keep in mind that handling the payroll process manually requires a lot of time and tends to more errors along the way.

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Renk Mert

Renk Mert

Sugar, spice, and everything nice... These were the ingredients chosen to create the perfect creative content writer. But UserGuiding accidentally added an extra ingredient to the concoction: *sass*. Thus, the daydreamer Renk with an undying love for cats was born. Feel free to contact me via LinkedIn to talk about user onboarding, inbound marketing, and even the series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.