Best Online Payroll Services 2020

Payroll is expensive, time-consuming, and faulty. Without a decent online payroll system, its weak process can hurt your small business.

Monday, January 20th 2020 in Business by Mark Andrew
Best Online Payroll Services 2020

Payroll is expensive, time-consuming, and faulty. Without a decent online payroll system, its weak process can hurt your small business.

At any given moment, payroll can disrupt workers, the workplace, and workflow.

Mismanagement of the payroll system costs you more than you know. Not only is it stealing your employees' happiness, but it is also causing your company to lose a lot of money.

Needless-to-say, payroll processing is every business owner's nightmare.

Small business owners do not have to run payroll alone. There are plenty of online payroll providers that offer business payroll services.

The difficulty lies in choosing one.

The Difference Between the Two Main Types of Payroll Solutions

There are various payroll solutions you can use. The two main types of solutions are payroll desktop systems and cloud software.

  1. Desktop Payroll System

You install the payroll system on your desktop. It becomes the only place where you can access payroll information.

  1. Cloud Payroll Software

You can access the payroll software from any device, as long as there is an Internet connection.

These solutions handle all payroll tasks, like:

  • Attendance
  • Time-tracking
  • Wage calculations
  • Employee pay
  • Tax payments
  • Tax filing

It also records employee benefits and pays into the company’s general ledger.

You can delegate payroll to the human resources department or the accounting department. It is up to you.

The goal is to choose which payroll solution method best suits your company's needs.

4 Payroll Methods for Small Businesses

Not every small business is the same, nor are any of their owners. Each will prefer a specific method to manage their business payroll.

1) Internally Managed Payroll Systems

This payroll system is a method best suited for companies with limited employees.

Small businesses can make managing payroll records easier without significant discrepancies.

If you prefer to be in complete control of your small business's payroll, you can. There are only a few requirements.

You must gain basic payroll knowledge first. Then apply it to maintain payroll records and awareness about the various laws and taxes.

2) Professionally Managed Payroll Systems

This is an outsourced payroll system. The solution uses the hiring method. Where you hire expert bookkeepers and certified public accountants (CPA) to handle payroll.

If you prefer, you can hire contract professionals from reputable accounting firms instead.

Be aware that only some specialists are willing to manage the entire process. Some will only handle some aspects of the payroll method.

If this happens, transactions, bank deposits, and deductions will become your duties. Thus, be mindful of the choices you make.

3) Payroll Services Managed by Payroll System Agencies

Reducing payroll errors requires the payroll process to work well.

To ensure your payroll system is well-managed, hire a payroll service agency.

They take on all payroll responsibilities, including direct deposits and deductions, monthly.

Such payroll service agencies often take full control of the payroll process. They will work hard to avoid late payments.

4) Software Managed Payroll Systems

Software managed payroll systems are gaining popularity. Many online payroll software and employee portals are available today.

By installing the software on your computer, you can manage your business payroll.

Think of it as an assistant of sorts.

You and the online software will work together to manage your company's payroll. Enter the payroll data into the platform for the software to record and calculate.

Processing payroll information does not have to be a task you dread, nor must it be a long-term burden.

You need to turn to the top service provider. One that can handle all your payroll processing business needs.

Let a payroll solution take control of data entry, payroll tax filing, and payments.

Find online payroll software to suit your company's self-service or full-service payroll needs.

Once you select the payroll provider and solution, decide which method is best for you.

To reduce the time it will take to research everything, we have created a comprehensive list for you. Below are our recommendations for the best online payroll service providers.

Choosing the Right Online Payroll Service for your Small Business

Use our list of the best payroll processing providers to guide you on your search for a payroll service.

Weigh each payroll management system and its offerings. Discover which one has the most adequate tools, add-ons, and mobile app.

Check if the payroll software offers onboarding help, customer support, and employee self-service. Do not hold back on sharing any concerns or questions about each system you review.

Questions to Ask When Searching for an Online Payroll System:

  • Is the payroll system dashboard easy to use?
  • Do some payroll providers offer customizable plans and services?
  • What methods do payroll companies offer?
  • Is it ease of use when operating the software or employee portal? Or does it only cause full-on confusion/frustration?
  • Do the services include managing direct deposits, pay stubs, tax forms, PTO, and more?
  • Besides delivering payments to bank accounts on-time, what else do payroll solutions offer? Does it come with other kinds of features like new hire reporting, HR tools, etc.?
  • What is the base fee for each payroll solution?

Take your time to consider everything. Look at what each payroll solution offers to determine which one will work for you.

Measure each feature by its level of importance to cut the list down to a smaller one. Knowing the advantages of online payroll solutions can help with your decision-making.

Online Payroll Advantages For Small Businesses

Many small businesses choose an in-house payroll processing system. It is often a full-service payroll department or the owner trying to do their own payroll.

There are several advantages to switching to an online payroll service.

Online Payroll Advantages:

  • Affordable
  • Cost-effective
  • Speediness
  • Time-efficient
  • Accurate
  • Convenient
  • Peace of mind
  • Works out payroll calculations and deductions quicker
  • Helps employees view and update benefits, retirement, or insurance information
  • Meeting payroll deadlines
  • Reduces the need to train or maintain payroll-related employees
  • Accessible data and reports
  • Reduce labor costs
  • Tracking paid time off (PTO) and attendance information
  • Keep up with changing government regulations and compliance.
  • Track employee tax information
  • Administers and collects human resources forms
  • Focus your energy more on core competencies, not tedious ones

15 of the Best Small Business Online Payroll Service Providers

Make sure you do not settle with some random online payroll service provider. Look at all the advantages your small business earns to gain by using an online payroll solution.

1. Gusto

Starting Price: $39/month, plus $6 per employee/month

Gusto is an all-in-one payroll, human resources, and employee benefits system. A user-friendly package removes the tedious and error-filled tasks from your plate.

It covers basic payroll to 401k and workers’ compensation.

Gusto can integrate with various software. Add it to the system you are already using for tasks like:

Accounting, time tracking, and benefits administration.

2. OnPay

Starting Price: $36/month, plus $4 per worker/month

OnPay is a straightforward and intuitive payroll system. Its tools help with planning, reviewing, and form submissions.

It has unlimited payroll processing, a mobile program, and transparent monthly pricing.

If your small business's basic payroll needs are inadequate, OnPay is an option for you.

3. Patriot Software

Starting Price: 30-day trial. $14 / month.

Patriot Software is an affordable online payroll option for small businesses.

It provides pre-printed checks for customers, free setup, and support. It services companies with up to 100 employees.

Patriot Payroll Software offers simplicity and smooth usability to all its users.


Starting Price: Contact for pricing.

Paycor is an easy to use and robust solution. This is an excellent payroll solution for medium and small businesses.

You can manage payroll on your desktop computer or mobile phone.

Optimize your payroll services with general ledger integration and reporting tools.

Paycor lets you make direct deposits, edit employee information, and receive notifications.

You can view your total payroll costs before the pay runs, so you always know your business’s total expenses.

5. Sage 50cloud

Starting Price: $50.58/month per user

Sage 50cloud is an easy-to-use desktop software that offers the power of the cloud. Sage has several packages for businesses of all sizes.

Businesses with over 10 employees can sign up for Sage Business Cloud Payroll. It is a complete custom package.

For businesses with fewer than 10 employees, it offers an "essential product." It comes with basic payroll features.

Its complete solution lets you spend less time on accounting and more time on your business.

6. Intuit Quickbooks Payroll

Starting Price: Free 30-day trial, $22.50 introductory price. $45/month after the initial cost, plus $4/employee. If you choose the 30-day trial, you will not get promotional pricing when the trial is over.

Most know Intuit as an accounting software provider. But they also have payroll solutions for small businesses -- Intuit Quickbooks Payroll.

Intuit offers three different business payroll plans. They range from payroll basics to white glove automated payroll and tax management.

Intuit's payroll option links up with Quickbooks Desktop. This is excellent for businesses that already use that as their accounting software. Make your work life more comfortable.

7. ADP Workforce Now

Starting Price: 2-month trial, Contact for regular pricing.

ADP (Automatic Data Processing) offers payroll software called ADP "Workforce Now." This is a complete HR suite. This is for accurate delivery and timely payroll processing for your business.

ADP "Workforce Now" is a payroll solution for businesses of all sizes.

If your company has only a handful of employees or it is a multinational corporation, ADP has you covered.

ADP’s small business packages are for companies with 1 to 49 employees.

With ADP "Workforce Now," you will receive:

  • Payroll
  • Tax filing software
  • Time tracking
  • Attendance tracking
  • Benefits planning
  • Insurance services
  • And much more

The payroll solution helps take the guesswork from the payroll process.

8. Xero

Starting Price: Prices vary per region/country. In the United States, subscription rates start at $9/month.

Xero is cloud-based accounting software designed for small-and-medium-sized businesses.

It comes with enterprise-grade functionalities that handle many tasks. This includes invoicing, inventory management, bank reconciliation, and expense management for various currencies.

Yet, this payroll feature is only available for the U.S. and Australian markets.

One of the payroll platform's most advanced features is syncing. Xero lets you sync employees' productivity data and prepare income tax returns.

Xero will integrate with Gusto and Neatly, among others, for the US only.

Along with payroll functionalities, its app is available for Android and Apple devices.

9. Dayforce HCM

Starting Price: Pricing is only available by quote.

Dayforce HCM is a cloud-based platform. Its features include workforce management, analytics, benefits, and HR management.

Its unified and fully-integrated platform gives you access to real-time data.

You can manage compliance better and improve HR record-keeping.

Dayforce HCM offers multi-currency and multi-language support for companies with employees living abroad.

You can access it using both desktop and mobile devices even when you are away from the office.

10. SurePayroll

Starting Price: Free 1-month trial. Request a payroll quote.

SurePayroll is a simple payroll solution for small businesses. Its online payroll is easy to set up, quick to learn, and can run on your computer or smartphone in minutes.

The solution provides several payroll features for small businesses. Including simplifying a once complicated payroll process. It can be as simple as 1-2-3.

  1. Enter your employees’ hours or salary.
  2. Preview the deduction for taxes (state and federal taxes or other year-end taxes).
  3. Owners approve the payroll, and that is it.

SurePayroll provides accurate and compliant payroll.

Payments, credits, and deductions include:

  • 401k and Safe Harbor 401k
  • Commuter benefits
  • Garnishment deductions
  • HSA
  • FSA

11. Square Payroll

Starting Price: $34/month

Square Payroll is a simple and intuitive solution. This system is for those within the retail business. It also pairs well with Square Point-of-Sale. A product where owners can hire contractors or hourly employees.

From the Square app, hourly employees can clock in and out from anywhere. It also takes care of taxes.

Square Payroll integrates with a full suite of providers. You and your employees can access benefits like health insurance, 401k, and more.

12. Zenefits

Starting Price: $10/month, plus extra fees for add-ons.

Zenefits is an online platform built to help small and medium businesses. It handles HR administration, including complex payroll management processes.

Some features include business intelligence, an employee directory, and payroll sync. It offers ACA compliance, mobile optimization, and many others.

Zenefits unifies all your company’s HR functions into an easy-to-use online dashboard. It gives you greater control and your employees more access.,

With this software, you can stay up to date on earnings, deductions, and taxes.

13. Namely

Starting Price: $12/month per employee.

Namely is a high tech HR service with payroll tax compliance and further essential tools.

It features a social news feed, organization charting, and an employee database. It also offers workflow maps, calendars, and more.

Namely is a forward-thinking solution that offers a mobile app and employee engagement. It is a full-service people operation platform that amplifies your greatness.

14. WebHR

Starting Price: Free sign up, then employee fee of $3.00/month. The price increases with each add-on.

WebHR is a global payroll provider and HR solution. It is a social all-in-one cloud-based software that processes payroll and boosts productivity.

The solution is for small-and-medium-sized businesses or enterprises. It handles everything from hiring to retiring and everything in-between.

WebHR is an innovative, reliable, and efficient way to manage payroll to save you money.

15. Paychex Flex

Starting Price: Request a free quote.

Paychex Flex is a cloud-hosted system that provides payroll services. It offers many useful features, including payroll processing and tax obligations.

The system can manage employees, part-time W-2 workers, 1099 contractors, and freelancers.

It offers a flexible payroll schedule and pay-period. It provides weekly and monthly options, along with others.

You can access Paychex Flex using a mobile application on any iOS or Android device. It offers direct deposit payments and a 24/7 customer support team.

Enter payroll information like salaries, hours worked, and pay rates for payroll processing.

Connect with a PEO (Professional Employer Organization) via the Paychex PEO services. They help businesses focus on what matters most.

Their full-service HR outsourcing and payroll administration systems are ready for you.


Simplify the entire payroll process with an online payroll solution for small businesses.

When studying online payroll services, use essential factors to choose a suitable one.

  • Your budget
  • Specific features/add-ons
  • Your Industry
  • The size of your business
  • The number of employees, contractors, and part-time workers

Consider what your business "needs" from an online payroll solution.

If your business does not have a lot of employees, you should choose the basic payroll system. Primary features include employee pay, payroll tax payments, and filing your tax forms.

If you have many employees, your small business needs will change. You will have to obtain more than the basics. Especially if your business is growing at a speedy pace.

Depending on the size of your company, you may need to gain extra HR and payroll support.

Think about the crucial features and add-ons first. Look at your current payroll situation to figure out what it is lacking.

Find an affordable solution that can fill all the "payroll gaps" you discover.

Does your HR team or administrative department handle your payroll? Ask employees in either department about how they process payment.

Learn how to make this process much more comfortable and more productive.

Offer them a shortlist of features, like time tracking tools, bookkeeping, and a few others. Request and receive vital employee feedback.

Employees may offer their own suggestions that could be worth paying extra for now and in the long run.

Although open-minded about adding to or replacing your payroll, remember to remain selective. Every payroll decision you execute matters and will impact your business.

After all, you are not only looking for a payroll solution. Instead, you are in search of only the best payroll service for your small business.

Take a good long look at the entire list of payroll services for small businesses. Review their offerings, and you will learn many offer free trials or free quotes.

Take advantage of these opportunities. If you are unsure about which solution to buy, try out the packages first. This will help you learn more about payroll solutions that sound like a perfect fit, at no cost to you.

Also, make sure you do not overlook the total cost of potential solutions.

First, compare pricing and features. Use this information to decide on which payroll solutions hold the most value.

Next, select payroll add-ons that meet your specific needs.

Before you hand over your credit card, debit, or cash, do the calculations to determine the total cost.

Add up the extra fees associated with each add-on feature. Take that number and add it to the cost of the service, including employee fees.

Review the total cost to find out if the solution is still affordable.

You might come to discover that its value decreases as the total cost increases.

Every business owner knows that payroll is a significant expense. When deciding to change your system, avoid replacing it with another expensive system.

It is a common, costly mistake that can happen if you take your eye off the total cost.

Take the time to examine each online payroll solution to find the best one for you.

Ensure the online payroll service you pick for your small business is worth every penny.

About the Author

Mark Andrew

Mark is a freelance content writer specializing in topics such as Internet marketing for small businesses. His goal is to help small businesses owners understand what types of services and products truely bring in more business.


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