Written by Zara Chechi Reviewed by Heleana Neil Updated on October 2, 2023 On this page What Is Payroll Software for Small Businesses? 1. Paychex 2. Rippling 3. ADP 4. Gusto 5. Zenefits Our Methodology: How Did We Find the Best Payroll Services? Our Expert Verdict FAQs Expand Our site is reader-supported – by clicking our links, we can match you with a potential supplier, and we may earn a small commission for this referral. According to our extensive market research, Paychex is the best payroll software for small businesses. Our expert testers were impressed with the fact that Paychex enables you to pay your employees instantly, as appreciated its live training courses.But why is payroll software important? According to legal powerhouse Ernst & Young, 1 in 5 company payrolls contain errors, with each one costing an average of $291 to correct. Using payroll software can reduce the risk of errors, therefore saving you money and protecting your reputation as a business that pays employees and taxes correctly.That said, when you choose a payroll software provider for your small business, you should make sure its pricing, features, and support offering fit the bill and meet your needs. What Are The Best Payroll Software Solutions for Small Businesses? PaychexRipplingADPGustoZenefitsThese are the payroll software providers we recommend based on our in-depth research into the market. Clicking the links above will take you to the providers' websites to compare prices and features.The quickest way to find the best payroll software for your small business is using our free quote comparison tool. Answer a few questions about your needs, and we'll match you with trusted providers who'll get back to you in no time with custom, no-obligation quotes to compare.However, if you'd like to know more about our research into the best payroll software for small businesses, just check out our ranking and reviews below. Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Our Top Pick Paychex The Super Compliant Rippling The Highly Scalable ADP The Most Flexible Gusto The Budget-Friendly Zenefits 4.6 4.5 4.4 4.3 3.9 Price Range $44/month-Custom Price Range $8/month-Custom Price Range Custom Price Range $41/month-Custom Price Range $14-$27/month per employee Free Trial Free Trial Free Trial Free Trial Free Trial Data Security Certifications ISO: 27002 Data Security Certifications ISO: 27001; SOC I; SOC II Data Security Certifications ISO 27001 Data Security Certifications ISO 27001 Data Security Certifications SOC II Try Paychex Try Rippling Try ADP Try Gusto Get free quotes What Is Payroll Software for Small Businesses?Payroll software is an application that allows business to automate and manage payments to their employees, including tax deductions and pension contributions, as well as keep records of these payments. The best payroll companies offer software that is easily integrated to your venture's existing structure, and that can be scalable according to your needs.Small businesses can use payroll software to process employee pay in bulk. You can use payroll software that's integrated with HR to oversee time and attendance, manage employee benefits, and more.By automating tasks that would be performed by humans, small business owners can reduce payroll errors and amp up the productivity of their accounting and HR teams. 1. PaychexIf you want payroll software that pays your staff instantly Paychex 4.6 Pricing $44/mo-Custom Try Paychex Quick overview Paychex is a payroll, HR, and benefits management company based in Rochester, NY. Since its foundation in 1974, it has catered to the needs of small and medium-sized businesses, and became a payroll powerhouse, serving over 670,000 companies both in the US and in Europe. The company is known for championing the small business community, having led and publicised major research into this market since 2014. Read more + Read less - Strengths Offers mobile app Offers 24/7 customer support via live chat Enables businesses to create custom integration with third-party apps Weaknesses Doesn't offer free trial or demo Doesn't handle international employee payments Doesn't offer compliance breach alerts Pricing See more See less PlanPrice Essentials $39/month (+ $5/month per employee) Select Custom Pro Custom What Do I Need to Know About Paychex?QuestionsAnswersWhat data security certifications does Paychex have?ISO: 27002Can Paychex perform automatic payroll runs?YesHow long does Paychex take to get a payment to your employee?It offers real-time paymentDoes Paychex come with a mobile app for employees to use?YesDoes Paychex provide real-time reporting on payroll metrics?YesWhich kinds of third-party software does Paychex come ready to integrate with?Accounting, benefits administration, HR, and time and attendanceWhat other software does Paychex sell?HR, applicant tracking, benefits management, and learning managementWhat Makes Paychex Good for Small Businesses?Paychex's greatest strength is that it allows small businesses owners to instantly pay their staff, massively improving employee satisfaction. Due to its Paychex Real-Time Payments feature, the software boasts the quickest payment time of all those our researchers tested. In comparison, the quickest Rippling allows you to pay your employees is in two days.With prices starting at $44 per month, Paychex isn't the cheapest provider on the market — and unlike Gusto, it doesn't offer a free trial. Paychex is more expensive than Rippling (whose prices start at $8 month) and Zenefits (whose starting price is $14 per month).That said, if they invest in it, small business owners can benefit from Paychex's 24/7 customer support, an unique benefit among the payroll companies we analysed. Paychex also offers live training sessions that can ease its onboarding process, along with plentiful resources that allow you better understand your payroll-related tax requirements.However, Paychex doesn't handle the payment of international employees and doesn't alert you of any labor law compliance breaches. If you need a provider that packs these features, Rippling is a better choice. 2. RipplingIf you want payroll software with compliance breach alerts Rippling 4.5 Pricing $8/mo-Custom Try Zoho Desk Quick overview Rippling is a business solutions company founded in 2016 and based in San Francisco, CA. It started out focusing on HR and IT software, but it has since expanded its services. It now also offers payroll and benefit management software and, since late 2022, spend management systems. A tech unicorn, it has its roots in the Silicon Valley and is now valued at over $11.2 billion, serving over 400,000 users. Read more + Read less - Strengths Offers mobile app Offers free demo Packs three data security certifications Weaknesses Pricing isn't transparent Doesn't offer 24/7 customer support Doesn't offer native integration with third-party HR systems Pricing See more See less Pricing optionsPrice Starting price $8/month per employee Custom price Based on factors such as number of employees and the solutions you need What Do I Need to Know About Rippling?QuestionsAnswersWhat data security certifications does Rippling have?ISO: 27001, SOC I, and SOC IICan Rippling perform automatic payroll runs?YesHow long does Rippling take to get a payment to your employee?2 or 4 daysDoes Rippling come with a mobile app for employees to use?YesDoes Rippling provide real-time reporting on payroll metrics?YesWhich kinds of third-party software does Rippling come ready to integrate with?Accounting, benefits administration, and time and attendanceWhat other software does Rippling sell?HR, applicant tracking, benefits management, and learning managementWhat Makes Rippling Good for Small Businesses?Rippling is a provider that's big on labor law compliance, with stringent data security procedures and features to help you stay on top of data-related requirements. For starters, it has achieved three data security certifications (ISO: 27001, SOC I, and SOC II), which is the highest number among all the providers our expert team evaluated. It also automatically alerts you of compliance breaches your business might be in — a feature Paychex and Zenefits lack.Onboarding-wise, Rippling has an asset in its Implementation Managers, which are specifically designated to businesses and can teach them how to use and set up the platform.Unfortunately though, Rippling doesn't offer a 24/7 support channel, unlike Paychex, and it doesn't offer fully transparent pricing, like Gusto does. That's because, despite advertising its minimum charge of $8 per month per employee, it actually operates a custom price model based on add-ons, meaning you pay according to each solution you need. Also, its payment time of two working days or four working days didn't particularly impress us, as it simply follows the average industry standard.Rippling is particularly suited to small businesses owners that have staff in other countries, as it handles international employee payment. However, it doesn't pack any ready-made integrations with third-party HR systems, which can be a problem if you'd like to integrate Rippling with your current HR software. ADP will serve you serve better if you're looking to do that. 3. ADPIf you want payroll software that's easily scalable ADP 4.4 Pricing Custom Try ADP Quick overview ADP is a business solutions giant based in Roseland, NJ. Founded in 1949, it offers both payroll and HR services to more than one million clients in 140 countries. Its industry cred is second to none: in 2022's Global Payroll Awards, ADP was crowned Global Payroll Supplier of the Year. It also was named the Best International Payroll Service Provider at the CIPP Annual Excellence Awards for four consecutive years. Read more + Read less - Strengths Comes with a mobile app Offers a free trial Provides live training sessions Weaknesses Pricing isn't transparent Doesn't offer email as a customer support channel Compliance breach alerts are only available as a separate product Pricing See more See less Custom Based on factors such as number of employees and the services you need What Do I Need to Know About ADP?QuestionsAnswersWhat data security certifications does ADP have?ISO: 27001Can ADP perform automatic payroll runs?YesHow long does ADP take to get a payment to your employee?24 hoursDoes ADP come with a mobile app for employees to use?YesDoes ADP provide real-time reporting on payroll metrics?YesWhich kinds of third-party software does ADP come ready to integrate with?Accounting, benefits administration, HR, and time and attendanceWhat other software does ADP sell?HR, applicant tracking, benefits management, and learning managementWhat Makes ADP Good for Small Businesses?ADP packs an incredible suite of integrations, both with the native platforms it sells and with third-party software you may already own, or may be interested in getting. For small business owners, this makes for a highly scalable tool that can be expanded with ease as your venture grows.ADP also offers live training sessions, which help with its implementation. In this regard, ADP is better than Zenefits, which doesn't offer this kind of support.Working solely with custom prices, ADP's pricing isn't transparent like Gusto's. This can pose a problem to business owners who are looking to choose a system quickly and want to know from the get-go whether it fits their budget. As it stands, you'll have to go through a quoting process to get hold of actual prices.However, ADP can get your employees paid within 24 hours, which occupies a solid middle ground among most of the providers our research team tested. For example, it beats Rippling's two working days and four working days options, but it doesn't trump Paychex's real-time payments.All that said, the main area we found ADP to be lacking in is customer support: it doesn't offer 24/7 customer support and is the only payroll software our experts tested that doesn't provide an email support channel. If you need more support options, we recommend Rippling. 4. GustoIf you want payroll software with a flexible contract Gusto 4.3 Pricing $41/month-Custom Try Gusto Gusto review Quick overview Gusto is a software company founded in 2011 that packs one of the best cloud-based payroll solutions on the market. Initially called ZenPayroll, it's based in San Francisco, CA, and known for its support for paying contract workers, with one of its plans fully aimed at contractor-based ventures. The provider serves over 300,000 businesses nationwide, offering payroll management (its core product), as well as HR and benefits management systems. Read more + Read less - Strengths Offers mobile app Doesn't require fixed-term contract Provides live training sessions Weaknesses Doesn't offer 24/7 customer support Doesn't offer global payroll Doesn't offer native integration with third-party HR systems Pricing See more See less PlanBase price Contractor Only $35/month (+ $6/month per contractor) Simple $40/month (+ $6/month per employee) Plus $80/month (+ $12/month per employee) Premium Custom What Do I Need to Know About Gusto?QuestionsAnswersWhat data security certifications does Gusto have?ISO: 27001 and SOC IICan Gusto perform automatic payroll runs?YesHow long does Gusto take to get a payment to your employee?Same day or two daysDoes Gusto come with a mobile app for employees to use?YesDoes Gusto provide real-time reporting on payroll metrics?YesWhich kinds of third-party software does Gusto come ready to integrate with?Accounting, benefits administration, and time and attendanceWhat other software does Gusto sell?HR, applicant tracking, and benefits managementWhat Makes Gusto Good for Small Businesses?Gusto is a great choice for startup and small business owners who are testing the waters, as it doesn't require a fixed-term contract — and it's the only payroll software we evaluated that offers this benefit. In our deep research into the payroll market, we found that most providers work with annual contracts, so Gusto's monthly approach is refreshing and gives great flexibility to ventures.Starting at $41 per month, Gusto's pricing is similar to (if slightly cheaper than) Paychex's, which starts at $44 per month, but it's more expensive than Zenefits', which charges $14 per month as a minimum. Unlike Paychex, however, Gusto offers a free trial.Gusto also impressed our researchers when it comes to payment time, as it enables you to pay your employees as fast as on the same day you process their payroll.With two data security certifications under its belt (SOC II and ISO 27001), Gusto maintains an excellent level of compliance when handling your sensitive data. However, it doesn't alert your company of any compliance breaches, leaving that monitoring to you. If you need an extra hand with that, Rippling — and its automatic alerts — is a better choice. 5. ZenefitsIf you want payroll software but are on a budget Zenefits 3.9 Pricing From $14/mo Get free quotes Quick overview Zenefits is a technology company founded in 2013 and based in San Francisco, CA. After starting out as employee insurance broker and benefits management system, it changed its business model as now offers software as a service (SaaS) that handles tax, payroll, and HR management. Acquired by outsourcing firm TriNet in 2022 (and officially known as TriNet Zenefits since then), it caters largely to startups as well as small and medium-sized businesses. Read more + Read less - Strengths Offers mobile app Offers free trial Pricing is very transparent Weaknesses Doesn't offer 24/7 customer support Doesn't provide live training sessions Doesn't offer compliance breach alerts Pricing See more See less PlanPrice (per employee) Essentials $8/month (+ $6/month for payroll add-on) Growth $16/month (+ $6/month for payroll add-on) Zen $27/month (already includes payroll add-on) What Do I Need to Know About Zenefits?QuestionsAnswersWhat data security certifications does Zenefits have?SOC IICan Zenefits perform automatic payroll runs?YesHow long does Zenefits take to get a payment to your employee?2 or 4 business days before the check dateDoes Zenefits come with a mobile app for employees to use?YesDoes Zenefits provide real-time reporting on payroll metrics?YesWhich kinds of third-party software does Zenefits come ready to integrate with? Accounting, benefits administration, and time and attendance systemWhat other software does Zenefits sell?HR system, applicant tracking, and benefits managementWhat Makes Zenefits Good for Small Businesses?Zenefits greatest draw to small business owners is its economical, transparent pricing. Its starting price of $14/month is considerably lower than the average payroll services cost. Plus, its simple plan structure allows businesses to predict their expense with the provider quite easily. If you need to know straight away if a provider fits your budget, look no further. You can even test it before you commit, since it packs a free trial, like Gusto.Zenefits' payment times of two working days and four working days are the same as Rippling's and are average considering the industry standards. When it comes to onboarding, the provider offers in-depth materials to help users understand the platform, but it doesn't offer live training sessions like ADP does. This can delay the process of getting Zenefits efficiently up and running in your small business.For all its prowess, it's worth noting that Zenefits lacks 24/7 customer support (a feature Rippling offers), which can pose a problem for small businesses that operate around the clock. It also doesn't offer ready-made integrations with third-party HR systems, which doesn't make it an ideal choice if you're looking to have Zenefits work alongside your current HR software. To do this, we recommend Paychex. Our Methodology: How Did We Find the Best Payroll Services?Five researchers carried out in-depth research into payroll services according to a comparison framework designed by our research team leader. For each provider we've asked these questions:What accreditations and industry recognition do they have?How easily can your employees engage with and access the payroll process?How compliant are they with data security and privacy?Are they a scalable service that includes other HR functions should you grow to need them?We've factored all these questions into our rating system and come out with a ranking of the best payroll services. Verdict Paychex is the best payroll service for small businesses we tested during our market analysis. Our experts were particularly impressed with its speedy real-time payments, its 24/7 live chat support channel. Because of these factors, we gave it a very high 4.7/5 score in our research grading, despite it lacking the compliance breach alerts that Rippling packs.If you're still not sure about Paychex, just give our free quote comparison tool a try. Through it, we can match you with the providers best suited to your business' needs and they'll get back to you with custom, no-obligation quotes. FAQs Which company is best for payroll? Paychex is the best company for payroll according to our research. It offers great 24/7 customer support and ready-made integrations with major third-party HR systems. This means you can reach out to it at any time should you need it as well as easily have it synced with your existing HR structure. Crucially, it also allows you to pay your employees instantly — a rare feature in the payroll industry. Can I do my own payroll for my business? You can do your own payroll for your business and signing up with a payroll software provider is one of the most effective ways to do it. Payroll software can calculate, file and pay your payroll taxes, increase efficiency, and provide your employees with access to their own payroll portal. What is the cheapest way to payroll a small business? Zenefits is the cheapest way to payroll a small business. With prices starting at $14/month per employee, its costs are generally lower than the average charged by payroll software providers. It packs many industry standards, such as a mobile app, real-time reporting, and in-depth training material, for an economical price tag. How much does payroll cost for small businesses? Payroll software providers generally charge a monthly base fee of around $8-$44. Alongside this base fee, there is also usually a fee per employee, which tends to be around $5-$12.The base fee is fairly affordable and the cost for each business will depend on how many employees you have. This pricing structure is a flexible and affordable way to pay for payroll services, as you are paying based on the size of your business. Written by: Zara Chechi Business Services Expert Zara is a Payments Expert, specialising in writing about Point of Sale systems. With a Law Degree from City University of London, she has used her legally-honed research and analytical skills to develop expertise in the Business Services world. Featured in FinTech Magazine, she quickly became an expert in payroll, POS systems, and merchant accounts. Reviewed by: Heleana Neil Business Services Editor Heleana Neil specialises in Business Services, managing the strategy and production of content for SMBs, helping businesses with the challenges and opportunities they face today. Covering everything from payroll to payment processing, Heleana uses her expertise to help business owners make better, informed decisions and grow their companies.