Payroll tools for small business in 2021: 10 best tools to use

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Payroll and HR management can be time-consuming for small business owners, especially when they have to manage all of the other tasks involved in running the business. To avoid costly mistakes, it is important to pay attention to details and be familiar with compliance procedures.

You might not want to risk it when you are already so busy. There are many tools available for small business owners, including professional services to manage payroll.

Why Use Payroll Tools?

Online payroll software offers the following advantages compared to traditional paper-based HR and payroll infrastructure:

  • Automated Payroll Processing. payroll software will help you to manage your finances more efficiently. Payroll software does the math quickly for you. The software then deposits the employees’ pay directly into their accounts. Paying employees with payroll software can reduce the amount of paperwork.
  • Fewer errors. Human error is more likely to occur when you calculate paycheck amounts manually. Payroll processed electronically allows the computer to perform all calculations. This can minimize errors. Although errors may still occur if incorrect information or wages are entered into your software platform, they will be less likely to occur if the data is correct.
  • Access to employee data. To ensure that employees receive their paychecks via your payroll system, you must upload the employee’s personal information. This information is often useful. You can easily view the working hours and leave records of employees if your payroll platform is integrated with your time-and-attendance software. Some full-service payroll programs include time tracking features that help track employee time and attendance.
  • Employee benefits are streamlined Small business owners can access higher-level insurance policies that would not be available otherwise. Even payroll companies without this feature can streamline your benefit offerings because they automate all paycheck deductions. You can now confidently deduct contributions to a 401(k).
  • Increased security. You risk losing your payroll records if you manually process them on paper. They may also be vulnerable to security breaches if you do it this way. You can address these two potential issues better if you manage payroll digitally. Physical damage is not a concern since most payroll platforms are cloud based and store data in multiple locations. cybersecurity structures, on the other hand, are much more difficult to break than standard keyed locks.
  • Customizable Payroll Reports. You’ll need payroll reports to file for tax deductions. These reports can be generated easily by payroll software, and you can also customize their structure. You can get the most important payroll data quickly and in a format that suits you.
  • Future budget planning. You can also use customized payroll reports to calculate your budget for the future quarters and years. You can use them to determine if you need to freeze hiring or if you have the room to hire more people.

Payroll services for small businesses: 10 of the best.

We’ve compiled some of the best payroll solutions for small businesses, with quotes from actual business owners, so that you can make an informed choice.

1. Payroll by Intuit

Intuit is a well-known accounting software company, but did they know that they also offer payroll services? You can choose between three different small business payroll packages, ranging from basic features and software bundles to more advanced ones.

You can integrate the payroll plan if you use QuickBooks (r). You’re not sure whether Intuit QB (r) payroll is right for you? Try it out for 30 days with a free trial.

2. Gusto

Gusto provides an integrated payroll, HR and benefits package that is easy to use. This solution automates your daily tasks so that you don’t have worry about errors or repetitive work. This platform is also designed for small business owners. If you aren’t familiar with certain topics, you can find resources that will help you.

One user’s 5-star review.

“I am a small-business owner and I only hired my first two employees last year. I was new to payroll and felt a little intimidated by the many requirements. Gusto was the best option I found after researching several payroll software programs. It was very easy to use. It contains articles that explain the different requirements for payroll taxes, how to hire employees, and what forms you need to fill out. It took some time to set up, but it was a fairly reasonable process.”

Source: Capterra, 11/14/2018

3. Paycor

Paycor (r), a software company that serves over 30,000 small- and medium-sized businesses, combines payroll, HR and recruiting into one solution. You can manage employee data, make direct deposits and receive notifications whether you are using the mobile app or desktop version.

This reviewer says

PayCor is used throughout the organization. PayCor is used to manage payroll, benefits, time and attendance and onboard new staff. PayCor is used by our employees to request vacations, monitor their punches, and read HR communications. PayCor allows me to communicate across three shifts with my employees, saves me time in managing payroll and benefits and helps supervisors manage and approve time cards.”

Source: TrustRadius 8/20/21

4. PatriotPayroll

Patriot Payroll was designed specifically for small businesses that have less than 100 employees. It is a completely online option that’s one of the most affordable on the market. It simplifies the processes involved in employee payroll. Patriot Software provides free setup and customer service, as well as a free 30-day trial.

This 5-star review is worth checking out:

“Patriot Software offers affordable and easy-to-use software.” The support staff are friendly and easily reachable. “If you are looking for an accounting program that will be easy to use and affordable, I recommend Patriot.

Source: Capterra, 1/13/2017

5. RUN powered by ADP

Automatic Data Processing, a leading provider of payroll services, has more than 600,000 clients. Although they provide solutions for companies of any size, RUN powered by ADP(r) was designed specifically for small business owners looking to save on administrative tasks in HR and payroll.

ADP (r), even at a higher price, might offer the features you need. Try it out for free for two months before making a decision.

What a small-business owner has to say

“RUN is an excellent solution that provides a great deal of support for small businesses looking to manage payroll. Automating a small company is crucial, especially if you are wearing multiple hats. RUN allows me to concentrate on my business while not having to worry about payroll.

Source: Capterra, 8/30/2016

6. Paychex (r) Flex

Paychex Flex (r) is a cloud-based system for small and midsize businesses. Paychex (r) Flex covers the basics as well as elements such a 401(k), business insurance and tax filing. The company also takes pride in their 24/7 customer support.

Paychex Flex is rated 5 stars by this small business owner:

Paychex was the best payroll service I had ever used. It has been five years since I switched from another company. Paychex has been a great choice for me. I run a seasonal business with 10 employees. I received the help I needed from the start, at a lower rate than before.

Source: Capterra, 6/7/2017

7. Square (r) Payroll

Square, the company that created the popular Square (r), point of sale system, also offers a small business payroll solution. Square Payroll is a simple, intuitive app that allows employees to clock in or out from their smartphone. You don’t need to worry about taxes.

Square (r), Payroll is a good option compared to others, especially since you can access health insurance, 401Ks, and other benefits.

This small business owner has a five-star rating:

No more payroll hours! “No more hours spent on payroll!”

Source: Capterra, 4/12/2018

8. OnPay

OnPay (r), a payroll system, is known for its low cost, monthly plans, and user-friendliness. OnPay (r), a payroll platform, can manage your HR and benefits and provide you with hands on customer service throughout the setup process. The company provides a number of non-payroll services, including PTO tracking, approval and messaging tools.

What a small business owner said about OnPay (r).

The OnPay (r), customer service was excellent from the very first call. It was easy to transfer our data from an old, cumbersome payroll platform to the new, simple & streamlined OnPay (r). Communication, information, assistance & kindness throughout the process have been a significant improvement from our previous experience. The response time is also super quick!”

Source: Capterra, 4/21/2021

9. is also known as

Namely (r), an HR platform, offers a wide range of small business payroll services. The company’s robust time tracking integrations and expert help are well-known. It also offers a streamlined process to enroll employees in benefits.

Here is a review of a small-business owner that was enthusiastic:

“Namely(r) is a great platform to manage HR, payroll, and benefits within an organizational framework. It helps create better workplaces, with varied functionality that can adapt to small and mid-sized businesses, and to comply with different regulations.”

Source: Capterra, 10/10/2020

10. Xero

Xero is technically an accounting platform. However, its payroll integration with Gusto is so popular, that many small business payroll experts recommend Xero as well. Additionally, Xero’s Payroll On Autopilot (r), automates payroll and sends email notifications about payments to employees. Xero’s (r) contractor payments are also streamlined.

See this review for more information:

“Xero’s (r) payroll solution was easy to use and affordable. That combined with the ease of use and the cloud-based accounting is why Xero (r) is my go to choice for small business accounting/bookkeeping. It is much easier to maintain your books when you can connect your bank to Xero(r) and import your transactions. It was a pain to wait until the end of each month before I could enter my transactions in my checking account. “This is so much simpler!”

Source: Capterra, 1/26/2019

Payroll for Small Business Resources: Additional Best Payroll for Small Businesses Resources

SmartBiz Loans has a number of blogs that offer small business advice and insight.

  • Small Business Owners’ Guide to Avoiding Payroll Mistakes this Year. Learn how to avoid human errors, which are common in the payroll process.
  • Paying Your Employees. Discover the forms that you will need to pay your employees.
  • Payroll Software Advantages. Learn how payroll software can improve accuracy, data security and cost-effectiveness.

What You Need to Know: SmartBiz(r) Small Business Blog, and other communications related from SmartBiz Loans (r), are intended to give general information about relevant topics for managing a small business. This is not an exhaustive analysis of the topics covered, and it is not meant to make specific recommendations for you or your company in relation to the issues addressed. For more information, please consult with legal and financial professionals.

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