Best Payroll Software for Startups & Small Businesses

Are you looking for the best payroll software to manage employee payments and automate every step of your payroll process? 

The payroll process is not just limited to delivering monthly paychecks. It involves many background operations like collecting payroll inputs from respective teams, calculating the salary, distributing verified payslips, compiling tax reports, and tax filing for the statutory.

Managing all these aspects manually can be tiring and tends to have some human errors. This is where a payroll software can help you manage all these operations digitally without costing your time. 

A payroll software does all the heavy lifting for you – from onboarding new employees to running the payroll process with proper tax compliance per their local regulations. 

In this article, we have picked some of the best payroll software and reviewed them to help you find the most suitable software to set up a payroll system for your business. 

Ready? Let’s get started.

1. Deel – Overall Best Payroll Software

If you want to set up a payroll system for your global teams, Deel would be the best payroll software for your business. It is an advanced payroll software for remote teams that connects localized compliance and payments in one system & automates everything. 

Deel ensures that every payroll process is structured to keep things hassle-free and manageable. Moreover, its vast network of 200+ local legal & accounting partners does all the legwork for you – from taxes to contracts and local laws.

It lets you track all your global payroll data from a single and easy-to-use dashboard. You can filter details based on the country and category breakdown within seconds to figure out what’s happening. 

Overall, Deel is an advanced payroll management software that lets you hire employees and contractors from anywhere in the world without stressing about regional legal compliance. Moreover, it lets you offer them competitive employee benefits to attract the best talents to your team.

Pros of Deel – 

  • Super-simple to use 
  • Built-in compliance
  • Creates localized legal contracts in over 150 countries 
  • Offer localized benefits to employees 
  • Fund payroll in one click 
  • Covers all possible configurations – from contractors, full-time to EOR
  • Easy to set up contracts and withdraw money

Cons of Deel – 

  • There is no mobile app 
  • Pricing is quite expensive 
  • Sometimes it becomes difficult to make changes for existing team members

Pricing Plans – Deel has two separate pricing plans for contractors and employees, costing $49/month and $599/month. Over that, if you are a VS-backed startup with less than $10 million in funding, you can claim a 50% discount for the first year.

2. Oyster – Best Payroll Management for International Teams

Oyster makes it effortless for you to manage your cross-border teammates’ payroll and compliance. It automatically sorts out all the local deductions, taxes, and contributions for your team, irrespective of location, leading to a great employee experience. 

You can delight your employees with fast payment processing. There is no ordeal process during the payday because it has a pre-established expense protocol that smartly eliminates delayed payments. This will motivate employees to stay for a longer term and contribute more to your business. 

Finally, Oyster is designed to solve the complexities of providing full-time employment to people across the globe. You can offer a fully-compliant payroll that adds immense value to their efforts and hard work. It removes all the headaches so that you can focus on building the most potent team & grow your business.

Pros of Oyster Payroll – 

  • Hassle-free expense reimbursement 
  • Pay team members & contractors in their local currencies 
  • Built-in legal, tax, and privacy compliance
  • Time-off management 
  • IP Protection and liability insurance 
  • No setup or cancellation fee 

Cons of Oyster Payroll –

  • Its free plan does not include payroll features 
  • Charges a fee for currency conversion if you pay in a currency that’s different from the contract currency
  • Some users received delayed responses from the support team

Pricing Plans – Oyster has a free plan that allows contractor hiring in 180+ countries, localized pay, invoice & expense management, and global HR tools. To use its payroll service, you’ll have to upgrade to its paid plan costing $399/employee/month. 

3. Quickbooks Payroll – Best for integrated accounting & payroll system

Quickbooks is one of the best accounting software that offers a robust payroll system for small businesses. It strives for accuracy – this means Quickbooks will file your tax forms and payments on time. You can approve payroll, integrate employees and seamlessly manage everything in one place. 

It also lets you pay your employees a same-day direct deposit at no additional cost. You just have to select employees, enter relevant details and set the schedule to process payroll anytime before 7 am (PT) on payday. 

Next, the paychecks are deposited in your employee’s bank accounts on the same day. Not only do your employees get paid soon, but also you can get rid of last-minute adjustments. If needed, you can also access the next-day direct deposit option. 

Bottom line, with Quickbooks, your payroll runs on autopilot, and if you are already using Quickbooks for your accounting system, then there’s no better alternative for you. 

Pros of Quickbooks Payroll – 

  • Fast unlimited payroll runs 
  • Automated taxes and forms 
  • Expert product support 
  • Dedicated workforce portal 
  • 1099 E-file and Pay 
  • Same day direct deposit 
  • Tax Penalty protection 
  • Health benefits for your team 

Cons of Quickbooks Payroll –

  • Time tracking is not available in the Starter plans 
  • Can add more options for their pricing value

Pricing Plans – Quickbooks has 2 separate plans. If you wish to include accounting features and Payroll, there are plans available. Or, if you just need only payroll, there are dedicated plans at your fingertips. 

Now let’s have a look at the pricing plans – accounting + payroll bundle: 

  • Payroll Core + Quickbooks Simple Start Plan – $70/month + $4/employee/month 
  • Payroll Core + Quickbooks Essentials Plan  – $95/month + $4/employee/month
  • Payroll Premium + Quickbooks Plus Plan – $155/month + $8/employee/month

If you want to access only Quickbook’s Payroll features, here are its pricing plans –

  • Core Plan – $45/month + $4/employee/month
  • Premium Plan – $75/month + $8/employee/month
  • Elite Plan – $125/month + $10/employee/month

The best part is both levels of pricing come with a 30-day free trial. So you can get practical experience and decide which is your perfect fit.

4. Gusto – Best Payroll Software for US-based teams

Gusto is a full-service payroll software best suited for businesses with US-based teams. It lets you quickly set up payroll for employees and automatically synchronizes your team’s hours with everything summarized to review to ensure everyone is paid the right amount and on time. 

With Gusto, you don’t have to worry about payroll taxes – whether local, state, or federal taxes, it calculates and files them with the appropriate government agencies every time you run the payroll. Besides, it also keeps track of changing tax laws and performs all the calculations. 

The best part is you can also set the payroll to run automatically on each pay period – paychecks will be processed and deposited on every pay period with no effort from your side. 

In addition to this, it also gives you flexibility in handling your payroll operations. You can customize your payment schedule based on your team’s needs, allow for next-day direct deposit and offer bonuses by performing net-to-gross calculations. 

Thus Gusto provides you with everything needed to streamline and align your business’s payroll tasks. It simplifies time-consuming and complex processes, which helps in boosting your overall efficiency and productivity. 

Pros of Gusto Payroll –

  • Run unlimited payroll 
  • No payroll setup fees 
  • Paperless employee onboarding 
  • Minimum wage adjustments 
  • State tax registration in all 50 states 
  • Pay contractors across 80+ countries
  • Unlimited bonus and off-cycle payrolls 
  • Gusto debit card – direct access to money on payday
  • Supports claim for Federal R&D Tax credit 
  • Good customer support 
  • On the go access via mobile 

Cons of Gusto –

  • Time tracking is available only via integrations 
  • Next-day direct deposit is accessible only in higher plan

Pricing Plans – Gusto has 4 pricing plans – 

  • Core Plan – $39/month + $6/month per person 
  • Complete Plan – $39/month + $12/month per person 
  • Concierge Plan – $$149/month + $12/month per person 

5. Zoho Payroll – Affordable Payroll Software

Zoho Payroll is an affordable and end-to-end payroll software for small businesses. From hiring employees to automating payroll tasks, it streamlines and takes care of all core operations. You can also configure tax withholdings and exemptions, and it will calculate the federal & state taxes that you owe. 

It lets you run payroll for both hourly and salaried employees and pay different rates for their work. Even if you have approved the payroll soon, you can revert your processed pay run quickly and re-initiate the payroll process without costing your time and money. 

One of the distinctive advantages of Zoho Payroll is its comprehensive reporting. You can generate single-click reports that visualize a detailed payroll expenses summary, W-4 withholding for federal/state taxes and know how much you’ve paid to every employee by selecting a timeframe. 

Thus Zoho Payroll helps small businesses process all the payroll operations at ease so that employees will get paid quickly. It is currently available for companies in California, Florida, New York, Washington, Texas, etc. It is in the process of expanding to more states in the US. 

Pros of Zoho Payroll – 

  • Automatic Payroll calculation 
  • Access to streamlined employee self-service 
  • Pre-defined employee benefits – health insurance to 401(k) retirement plans 
  • Digital Pay stubs to employees
  • Automatic tax filing reminders
  • Personalize employee’s pre-tax and post-tax benefits
  • Let employees manage payroll via Android and iOS app
  • Integration with Zoho Books to automate payroll accounting

Cons of Zoho Payroll – 

  • Supports direct deposit of salaries only via Forte Integration
  • The UI of the mobile app could be improved

Pricing Plans – Zoho Payroll costs $19/month plus $3 for every employee. You can enjoy accessing the core payroll features, employee self-service portal, payroll benefits, administration, and accounting integration. 

Zoho Payroll also offers a 30-day free trial which gives you unbounded access to all the features with no credit card required. So you can signup and explore whether it ticks off your business’s payroll requirements. 

6. Payroll4Free – Free Payroll Software for Small Business

Payroll4Free is a free payroll software for small businesses. You can access all the essential services at no cost if you pay 25 employees or less. This includes payroll processing operations, tax calculations, forms, HR functions, direct deposits to employees, a dedicated employee portal, etc. 

It handles most of the setup process, but you’ll have to input your employee’s W-4 information manually. Once done, you can integrate or export your time-clocking software data to calculate paychecks. Even if you encounter any issues, you can contact their support team via phone or email. 

It also lets you set up any kind of earning, deduction, benefit, or contribution – from simple to complicated things. After specifying how it should be calculated, Payroll4Free will make it right on your employee’s paycheck without needing your manual effort.

Therefore, Payroll4Free is an excellent option if you’re just starting your business and looking for a basic payroll system for your team.

Pros of Payroll4Free – 

  • Easy to use 
  • Access to step-by-step account setup tool
  • Pay 1099 contractors and file year-end 1099 forms 
  • Print checks for employees or contractors anytime
  • 2048 bit SSL encryption 
  • Unlimited live customer service and support 
  • Vacation tracking capabilities 
  • Integration with outside software products 

Cons of Payroll4Free – 

  • It places ads on your payroll software frequently 
  • Highest compatibility only with Windows
  • The interface might look outdated

Pricing Plans – Payroll4Free is free to use for upto 25 employees. If you exceed this, you will be charged $35/month for each group of 25 employees after the first 25. 

However, it also has two optional paid services. If you want Payroll4Free to deposit and file your payroll taxes, you’ll have to pay $15/month. Also, if you want to use Payroll4Free’s bank to transfer direct deposit funds to employees instead of yours, a fee of $15/month is incurred. If you choose both services, it will cost you only $30/month. 

Which is the best Payroll Software for your business?

No matter your business size & type, payroll software is indispensable to maintaining consistency with processing payroll for your team. It lets you get rid of complex papers, spreadsheets, and delayed payments as everything is digitized.

Over that, it also saves you time by automating almost every boring and repetitive tasks, such as tax compliance and payment processing for each employee. 

Finally, choosing the best payroll software depends on your team location, size, and type of employment. So, ensure that you explore each software listed and choose the most suitable one. 

Here are our top picks for the payroll software –

  • Deel – Best payroll management for global teams 
  • Gusto – Best payroll software for US-based teams
  • Quickbooks Payroll – Best for integrated accounting and payroll system
  • Zoho Payroll – Most affordable payroll software

I hope this article helped you find the best payroll management system for your company. If so, do share and help your fellow entrepreneurs and HR professionals pick the most suitable one for themselves.

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