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11 Min. Read

8 Best Payroll Software for 2024

Payroll Software

Good payroll service software is key to growing your business. It ensures your employees are paid accurately and on time, and saves you time and money by increasing your administrative efficiency. Payroll software also automates important tasks to minimize inaccuracies, which can help avoid the possibility of a tax audit.

Whether you’re growing your small business or managing payroll for a large team, finding the right payroll system software streamlines your current operations and paves the way for expansion in the future.

Table of Contents

Top 8 Best Payroll Software

We’ve gathered the best payroll software for small businesses on the market and explored the features, disadvantages, and prices of each to help you find the best fit for your business.

Accounting Plus Payroll Together at Last

1. Gusto and FreshBooks (Best Overall)

Comprehensive, versatile, and affordable, Gusto and FreshBooks are an unbeatable combination for payroll efficiency. Gusto is a flexible payroll software that offers everything from unlimited payroll runs to automatic tax checking. It integrates seamlessly with FreshBooks in just a few easy steps. From there, FreshBooks automatically pulls all your payroll details so you can organize them as business expenses.

Choose from 3 tiered plans to fit your growing business. All Gusto plans include essentials like direct deposit and basic reports, so you can start small and expand your business.


  • Automatic payroll tax filing in all states
  • Unlimited payroll runs
  • All plans include basic reports
  • Integrates with FreshBooks payroll software so you can sync invoicing, payroll, and reports


  • Gusto monthly plans start at $40/month, plus $6/month per user

In addition to pulling your payroll records from Gusto, FreshBooks also includes access to other essential small business software like invoicing software, accounting software, and time tracking. Manage every aspect of your business from one convenient hub to save time and boost your accounting efficiency.

2. OnPay

OnPay is an affordable, comprehensive online payroll software that’s a popular pick for small businesses. It doesn’t have any hidden fees and the price includes things like W-2 and 1099 forms, making it an affordable pick for managing general payroll tasks.

This software doesn’t offer the option to do same-day or next-day direct deposit, meaning there’s minimal flexibility for delays. You’ll also have to run payroll and approve payroll manually since this feature isn’t automated in OnPay.


  • Files federal, state, and local payroll tax
  • Setup wizard for easy onboarding
  • Includes W-2 and 1099 filing at no additional cost


  • Manual payroll submission
  • Doesn’t offer same-day or next-day direct deposit


  • $40/month plus $6 per user

3. Rippling

A champion for software integration, Rippling integrates with over 400 apps to help you manage your small business. Since Rippling is primarily HR software that also offers a payroll feature, its sturdy integration options offer perks like time and attendance tracking to support the payroll function. 

The biggest inconvenience is that, unlike most payroll platforms, Rippling doesn’t offer pre-set plans. Instead, you need to contact them to receive a custom quote. This typically involves a custom base price, plus $8/month per user for the payroll function.


  • More than 400 app integrations
  • Lets you pay employees around the globe
  • Automatically syncs payroll data


  • Doesn’t offer readily available pre-made plans


  • Custom base price + payroll for $8/month per user

4. QuickBooks

QuickBooks Payroll is a good fit for anyone who already uses QuickBooks for accounting, or who is familiar with basic QuickBooks features. If you’re currently using QuickBooks, the payroll feature automatically integrates with your other systems so you can easily manage payroll alongside your other accounting.

QuickBooks is also a top pick for intuitive software that’s easy to set up. However, it’s also a costly pick—the most affordable plan starts at a base rate of $45/month, and any extra features jump up a cost tier.


  • Intuitive and easy-to-use
  • Integrates with other QuickBooks software
  • Quick and easy direct deposit


  • Lower value for cost
  • Lowest tier plan doesn’t include time tracking


  • Plans start at $45/month plus $5 per user

5. Paychex Flex

Paychex Flex is the top pick for generating reports and data, with over 160 options for turnover, taxes, wages, and other reports. It also integrates easily with apps like QuickBooks and Xero, and provides helpful features like compliance checks and automatic payroll tax filing.

However, the pricing system can be misleading. There are extra fees for things like setup, and you’ll need to get a custom quote if you’re considering the Select and Pro plans.


  • More than 160 reporting options
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Automatic tax filing and compliance checks


  • Hidden fees


  • Basic plan starts at $39/month plus $5 per person

6. SurePayroll

SurePayroll is a good option for basic payroll software on a tight budget. It delivers essential features like automatic payroll and unlimited full-service payroll, as well as calculating payroll taxes. The lowest pricing tier requires you to prepare and file these taxes manually, however.

While SurePayroll can be a good fit for smaller businesses, its limited features and integration make it difficult to scale with growing businesses. 


  • Offers very affordable basic plans
  • Unlimited payroll runs
  • Automatic payroll with reminders


  • Lowest tier doesn’t include payroll tax filing
  • Minimal integrations


  • No Tax Filing plan starts at $29.99/month plus $5 per employee

7. ADP

A great option for larger businesses and companies that are growing quickly, ADP offers a robust range of features for payroll and HR. All plans come with reporting, direct deposit, and a self-serve portal for employees so you can easily manage large teams.

ADP payroll delivers features for larger businesses and generally comes with a price tag to match. Rather than set price plans, you’ll have to seek a custom quote to assess the features and price for ADP’s services. 


  • Scalable for growing businesses
  • Strong reporting features
  • Self-serve portal for employees


  • Set-up fees
  • Requires a custom pricing quote


  • Custom pricing, typically starting around $150/month for 10 people

8. Patriot

An affordable option for small businesses, Patriot offers a basic payroll software program with direct deposit, printable checks, and W-2s, as well as an employee portal for accessing pay stubs. The higher-tier plan offers tax filing. 

Patriot caters to businesses on a tighter budget, which means that you only pay for the features you need—any extras are billed as add-ons. The per-employee fee adds up for larger businesses, so it’s not the best option for scaling if you anticipate rapid growth.


  • Good budget value
  • Intuitive interface
  • Includes a basic employee portal


  • Features like time tracking are billed as add-ons
  • Can become costly for larger businesses


  • Basic plan starts at $17/month plus $4 per person

What is Payroll Software? 

Payroll software is a digital system that helps you organize and process payroll, ensuring that employees are paid on time and payroll taxes are handled correctly. Understanding how a payroll system works is crucial for any business, as it simplifies the employee payment process, ensuring everyone gets paid accurately and on time.

Good payroll software automates payroll runs and typically includes options for direct deposit and check payment. It will often offer W-2 and 1099 tax forms and support for tax filing, and may even file these payroll taxes for you. 

It’s helpful to have payroll software that either includes features for time tracking and time off or is able to integrate with other apps that provide this information. Particularly for expanding businesses, being able to integrate your payroll software and other accounting systems can save you a lot of time in the future.

Paying Your Team Is Easier Than Ever

Payroll Software Comparison Table

We’ve compiled a comparison table of top payroll software and their starting price schemes. Most of these also include employee per-month user fees, so payroll software costs will change depending on the size of your business.

CompanyBest ForStarting Price
Gusto & FreshBooksBest for Freelancers, Small to Large BusinessesFree Trial – Sign Up Now!
OnPayBest for Small Businesses$40 per month(billed annually)
RipplingBest for Integrations$35 per month(billed annually)
QuickBooksBest for Integrated Payroll Solution$45 per month(billed annually)
Paychex FlexBest for Reporting$39-plus per month(billed annually)
SurePayrollBest for Running Payroll on Mobile Phone$29.99 per month(billed annually)
ADPBest for Large Companies$79 per month(billed annually)
PatriotBest Low-Cost Option$17 per month(billed annually)

Effortless Payroll Management with FreshBooks

The right small business payroll software ensures your employees and contractors are paid properly, saves you time, and grows with your business. It can also simplify tax season by preparing and filing your payroll taxes for you.

FreshBooks and Gusto payroll processing software offer the best fit for a small business payroll. You’ll get improved accuracy on your calculations and tax filings, as well as versatile payroll software that pays employees quickly. FreshBooks payroll software also integrates with other FreshBooks features so you can include time tracking, reports, and more. Try FreshBooks free to discover how payroll software can support your business today.

FAQs about Payroll Software

Looking for more information about payroll management software? Explore frequently asked questions on how payroll works, connecting your payroll software, the best payroll software, and more. 

Does FreshBooks offer payroll?

FreshBooks itself doesn’t offer any payroll solutions, but it integrates with Gusto payroll for a flexible combined payroll software system. Gusto provides payroll software like payroll runs and payroll tax filing, while FreshBooks handles time tracking and pulls in payroll details for your accounting.

How does payroll work in FreshBooks?

Gusto’s payroll services handle things like payroll runs and assisting with payroll tax compliance so you can simplify every part of paying your employees. Payroll syncs with FreshBooks, which automatically pulls in payroll as an expense so you can effortlessly manage your accounting.

How do I connect payroll to FreshBooks?

FreshBooks shows you all the steps you need to follow to sync Gusto’s easy payroll software to FreshBooks. You can find the full instructions here, or go to the Payroll setting on your FreshBooks dashboard and connect or sign up for a free trial of Gusto.

How is payroll reflected in my Books on FreshBooks?

Payroll is reflected as an expense in your books on FreshBooks. This includes payroll runs, direct deposits, W-2s, and 1099s. FreshBooks automatically imports these payroll details from Gusto into your expenses to make expense categorization quick and easy.

Is Excel good for payroll?

Excel can be helpful as a basic support tool for payroll, but it’s not payroll software in itself so you’ll still need to handle most things manually. The strongest option for payroll is a dedicated payroll software like Gusto + FreshBooks that automatically runs payroll, manages direct deposit, and provides payroll tax support.

Can I do payroll myself?

You can do payroll yourself, and it’s definitely easier to manage on your own if you have the right payroll software. Skip the manual payroll hassle and try a system like Gusto + FreshBooks so you can automatically manage payroll and receive support for payroll tax filing.

Can a small business write off payroll taxes?

Yes, the employer component of your payroll taxes is categorized as a business expense which you can write off. Gusto + FreshBooks makes this easy—Gusto helps you deduct payroll taxes, while FreshBooks automatically imports payroll as an expense on your books.

What is the best payroll and accounting software for small businesses?

The best payroll and accounting software for small businesses is Gusto and FreshBooks. Gusto handles all your payroll needs, from payroll runs to simplified payroll direct deposit. FreshBooks imports this information into your accounting system so you can quickly and easily manage expenses.

How do I set up payroll for my small business?

Setting up payroll for your small business involves gathering your employees’ financial information, determining pay periods, and setting up a payroll bank account. The easiest way to do this is with payroll software like Gusto + FreshBooks which walks you through the whole process.

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Sandra Habiger, CPA

About the author

Sandra Habiger is a Chartered Professional Accountant with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Washington. Sandra’s areas of focus include advising real estate agents, brokers, and investors. She supports small businesses in growing to their first six figures and beyond. Alongside her accounting practice, Sandra is a Money and Life Coach for women in business.