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Best Payroll and Benefits Software

Best Payroll Vendors (Q1 2024)

The Best Payroll Vendors plus pricing guidelines, implementation advice and more!

Phil Strazzulla
Written by
Phil Strazzulla
HR Tech Expert, Harvard MBA, Software Enthusiast
Contributing Experts
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Last Updated: Dec 13, 2023
TOP
Global Payroll and Compliance for 150 Countries
Deel
4.4
Popularity Score
4.6
User Score
4.5
Product  Score
Visit Website
TOP
Global Payroll and Compliance for 150 Countries
Deel
4.4
Popularity Score
4.6
User Score
4.5
Product  Score
Learn More
TOP
Popular, Scalable Payroll Platform
ADP
4.0
Popularity Score
3.0
User Score
3.6
Product  Score
Visit Website
TOP
Popular, Scalable Payroll Platform
ADP
4.0
Popularity Score
3.0
User Score
3.6
Product  Score
Learn More
TOP
Dependable Payroll, Benefits, and More
Gusto
4.0
Popularity Score
4.0
User Score
4.1
Product  Score
Visit Website
TOP
Dependable Payroll, Benefits, and More
Gusto
4.0
Popularity Score
4.0
User Score
4.1
Product  Score
Learn More
Over 3 million HR leaders trust our advice

Introduction to Payroll and Benefits Software

Are you looking to upgrade your payroll vendor to a more automated and modern solution? We’ve reviewed hundreds of payroll software tools since we’ve been writing about such products since 2017. We’ve seen dozens of them with a remarkable benefits management module. This beckoned putting together a separate list; one for SMBs that would derive value from combining payroll and benefits into a single platform. Please note, this list is really for companies that are less than 1,000 employees!

In addition to the best payroll software, we're also going to tell you a bit of advice around what to look for in these vendors, pitfalls that we've seen HR teams fall into, the key benefits, and some pricing guidelines.

We hope this is a useful resource as you look to pick the payroll company that is best for your business.

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Best Payroll and Benefits Software

Deel

: Global Payroll and Compliance for 150 Countries

ADP

: Popular, Scalable Payroll Platform

Gusto

: Dependable Payroll, Benefits, and More

Remote

: Payroll & Benefits for Remote Teams

Paycor

: Straightforward Payroll and More

PayChex

: Payroll Solution for US & Europe

QuickBooks

: Payroll & Financials

Paycom

: Payroll & Expense Management

Rippling

: All-in-One Global Payroll

OnPay

: Low-Cost, Highly Adaptable Payroll

PapayaGlobal

: EOR-focused global payroll

Zenefits

: Great Payroll with Full HRIS

Namely

: Streamlined Payroll & HR suite

Paylocity

: All-in-One Payroll Solution

Our Criteria: Here's How We Chose The Best Payroll and Benefits Software

To select the best payroll and benefits software and to ensure we specifically list products offering this combination of functionality rather than general payroll software, we did demos, conducted user interviews, and tested dozens of tools that met the basic requirement. The ones that made the cut excel particularly in three key factors: ease of use, payroll automation, and benefits packages.

  • Ease of use: The sweet spot is a tool where everything is easy to figure out; you’re not overloaded with buttons and text, yet you don’t sacrifice robustness and capabilities. These tools are all remarkable in the way they solve this challenge. 
  • Payroll automation: Something is not quite right if a payroll tool doesn’t let you automate a good portion of the job with confidence. We prioritized vendors who are pushing the envelope here. 
  • Benefits packages: To be a best-in-class payroll and benefits tool, the benefits module needs to go beyond the basics. Tools that just do 1-2 benefits on top of payroll don’t cut it. We’re looking for those that offer good variety, and even for international teams, on top of a world-class payroll product. 

To learn more about our process for vetting software companies, you can read this blog on how we evaluate HR tech vendors.

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Compare the Best Payroll and Benefits Software

Popularity Score
Best for
Key Differentiator
Pricing
Free Trial
Customers
Users Score
Product Score

Deel

Most Popular
4.4
Teams that include full-time employees and contractors
Good bet for EOR/Contractor Management parity
Starts at $49/month
No
15,000+
4.6
4.5

ADP

Most Popular
4.0
Large companies looking for a service-oriented approach
Widely-used, scalable payroll system for large businesses
Custom Pricing
Yes
35,000+
3.0
3.6

Gusto

Most Popular
4.0
Budget-conscious companies and startups and small HR teams
Payroll + benefits for SMBs, great UX
Starts at $6/month/person
Yes
200,000+
4.0
4.1

Remote

Most Popular
4.0
Remote companies with a global workforce
Payroll & core HR for remote-focused teams
Custom Pricing
Yes
Undisclosed
4.6
4.5

Paycor

Most Popular
4.1
US companies <1,000 employees, and looking for an HCM tool
Straightforward and payroll platform + US-focused HCM
Custom Pricing
Yes
40,000+
4.2
4.0

PayChex

Most Popular
4.1
SMBs who only need payroll from their accounting tool
Good payroll solution for US & Europe
Starts at $39/month
No
740,000+
3.9
4.1

QuickBooks

Most Popular
4.1
Small business owners with a simple company structure
Payroll and finance functions accesible for SMB owners
Starts at $22/month
Yes
29 million
4.0
4.0

Paycom

Most Popular
4.1
Mid to large businesses looking for payroll & HR services
Payroll + HR management for companies of all sizes
Custom Pricing
No
12,000+
3.9
4.0

Rippling

Most Popular
4.2
SMBs with a strong focus on automation and global payroll
Full HCM + international & US payroll and in-house EOR
Starts at $8/employee/month
No
2,000+
4.2
4.1

OnPay

Most Popular
4.3
Small and budget-conscious companies who'd favor an HRIS
Cost-effective and highly customizable payroll system
Starts at $36/month
Yes
10,000+
4.8
4.7

PapayaGlobal

Most Popular
4.2
Starts at $12/month
Yes
600+
4.4
4.3

Zenefits

Most Popular
4.0
US companies with less than 1,000 team members
Comprehensive HRIS-integrated payroll for US-based SMBs
Starts at $8/employee/month
Yes
10,000+
3.9
4.0

Namely

Most Popular
4.7
Mid-sized US companies looking for a self-service tool
Modern payroll solution with streamlined UX
Custom Pricing
No
12,000+
4.1
4.6

Paylocity

Most Popular
4.0
US-based mid-sized companies looking for payroll + benefits
Comprehensive payroll platform with great customer support
Custom Pricing
No
13,000+
4.3
4.1
Phil Strazzulla
HR Tech Expert, Harvard MBA, Software Enthusiast

Need Help? Get Custom Recommendations for Best Payroll and Benefits Software

Talk to An Advisor

Detailed Reviews of the Best Payroll and Benefits Software

Deel

Visit Website
Deel
Learn More
Popularity Score
4.4 / 5
User Score
4.6 / 5
Product Score
4.5 / 5

Why we picked Deel

Deel’s software was designed for payroll compliance in over 150 countries. It also incorporates some core HR features and has a notably easy-to-use interface.

PROS

  • Deel excels in customer support, offering around-the-clock in-app help and an industry-leading 2-3 day onboarding speed. Users can also access local payroll experts across jurisdictions, which aids contractors in establishing themselves as LLCs, for instance.
  • Integration with popular software like Quickbooks, Bamboo HR, and Greenhouse, along with customizable integrations, streamlines processes.
  • Tech-enhanced self-service approach for quick setup. Identity verification is swift, often under 24 hours.
  • Automated invoice generation for both company and contractor/employee sides.
  • One of the best features of Deel is its customer service. They offer 24/7 in-app support and the fastest-in-class onboarding speed of 2-3 days. Users get access to local payroll experts in each jurisdiction, and support is available for contractors facing challenges setting themselves up as an LLC.
  • Integrates seamlessly with common platforms like Quickbooks, Bamboo, Greenhouse, and more. They also offer custom integrations to automate and sync processes.
  • Self-service approach; tech-enabled features so customers can jump in quickly and easily. Our user researchers found it quite easy to set up: the identity verification process consistently took less than 24 hours, and in some cases, it took mere minutes.
  • Automated invoices, which are a breeze to do as long as they’re in English, both on the company and the contractor or employee’s side.

CONS

  • The benefits offered could be considered basic compared to more specialized vendors.
  • Certain modules like onboarding automation are only offered as add-ons at an additional cost.
  • Flexibility is limited in modifying contracts or service agreements; changes often require addenda.
  • A $5 payout fee is applicable.
  • Invoice generation appears to be available exclusively in English.
  • Some of Deel’s best and most powerful services, like onboarding automation, appear to be add-ons, which might be too costly for some companies
  • There is little to no flexibility when it comes to altering their contracts or service agreements, so many changes would require an addendum.
  • There is a $5 fee per payout
  • As far as we’ve seen, it’s not possible to generate invoices in another language.
Deel's payroll service software dashboard

Deel Review

Deel is one of the top companies for international payroll. If you have an international team of remote workers, it’s a tool that’s worth looking into. You can use it to hire people as contractors or as full-time employees through either the EOR or PEO offerings.

The tool itself is quite easy to use and ever-expanding. Since we first became familiar with the tool, Deel has grown to include basic HR features, as well as a myriad of other hiring workflows. These include background checks, equity plans, flexible workspaces, employee onboarding, visa and immigration consulting, and more.

Deel Customers

Deel's client list includes names like Brex, Google, Duffel, Andela, HomeLight, and Makerpad.

Deel Pricing

An interesting aspect of Deel is its free sign-up option, allowing you to explore the tool without any charges until you bring on your first team member. Afterward, Deel's pricing model takes shape as follows:

  • Contractors: Priced at $49 per contractor per month, Deel handles payroll and compliance for contracts in 150 countries.
  • Full-time: Starting from $500, this plan enables you to employ full-time team members in a new country without the need to establish a legal entity. Deel takes on the role of Employer of Record and manages the employee on your behalf.

Best For

Businesses with multi-country payroll needs; good for those that have a mixed bag of full-time employees, contractors, and freelancers overseas.

Deel in action
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ADP

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ADP
Learn More
Popularity Score
4 / 5
User Score
3 / 5
Product Score
3.6 / 5

Why we picked ADP

Possibly the longest-standing company in the payroll market, ADP deserves a mention. Their breadth of features includes many other HR workflows which fit enterprises and SMBs alike.

PROS

CONS

ADP's business payroll service software dashboard

ADP Review

ADP is perhaps the best known company in the payroll space. Given their scale, they can offer just about everything your business needs when it comes to payroll and benefits.

ADP Customers

The Boston Globe, Whole Foods, The Bancorp, BP, Douglas Ellman Real Estate, Margaritaville, LongHorn Steakhouse

ADP Pricing

Sometimes ADP has special offers, like getting 3 months free when you sign up for their small business payroll processing plan. However, they don't share the prices for their payroll packages, so you'd have to request a quote to move forward.

Best For

ADP is a good bet for companies of many sizes, but they’re certainly not the most self-service product out there. Their products are worth looking into if you’d prefer to have professionals work with you on setting up payroll.

ADP in action
Reviewer's Rating
5/10

I typically use it every week. I use it to check my bi-weekly pay stub and access payroll info. We also use it to post job applications and advise HR of vacancies. Previously it was used to submit performance reviews which were done quarterly or semi-annually depending on the role (now using PATI). I would also use it to review the organizational chart for contact info when needed. I also found the quick links and HR/benefit information to be very useful and would frequently login just to find links and information about other company resources.

What do you like about this tool?

I really like that all the HR resources are essentially located in one place, especially with links embedded to external sites (eg. benefit provider). I also really like that I can access all my payroll info online in one place. The organizational chart feature is also really helpful for identifying the reporting structure for areas of the business I was less familiar with and help me connect with the appropriate team member on cross-functional projects.

Why did your organization buy this tool, and how long have you used it for?

We bought ADP to cut back on internal payroll costs, provide employees with online access to their payroll info, avoid manually mailing out paper T4's every year, consolidate HR information and links into 1 platform, streamline data entry requirements for the payroll team, help move employee calls and inquiries to the ADP team, free up internal payroll/HR time, and streamline HR recruiting and tracking request. I have been personally using it for around 2 years now I believe.

What do you dislike about this tool?

The login process always feels very cumbersome with the multiple authentication steps and 2FA. The performance review functionality was extremely tedious - there were a lot of different screens and it wasn't easy to locate reviews or edit them - it just seemed much more complicated than it needed to be and a lot of my managers struggled to complete their reviews even with instruction manuals. I also wish there was a way to inquire about any payroll discrepancies directly - employees would have to email me (with no visibility as a District Manager) and I would have to forward payroll and it always seemed to slow down the efficiency, especially when the answer was something simple.

How is this tool different than their competitors?

More functionality and works as a total company website as opposed to just a payroll viewing platform. Much more visually appealing and easy to navigate than some other platforms (like some SAP ones I've seen)

What Instructions should people think about when buying this type of tool?

How much functionality you want out of the platform - just access to paystubs or a fully integrated HR platform. Customization options - for example we could add custom fields like t-shirt size for team events and/or self-declaration options (eg. covid vaccination status)

How has this tool changed or evolved over time to meet users needs?

We're still relatively new to the platform, so it's hard to say what is an ADP change or just an organizational learning, but I have seen the addition of new self-declaration fields in the employee profile. The benefits section and external links continue to expand as well. We struggled with the performance review section, but I believe this is now being worked on in the backend by our L&D team.

What specific type of user or organization is this tool very good for?

For a large organization looking to streamline HR / payroll operations, particularly if trying to move away from paper-based payroll/pay stubs.

What specific type of user or organization would this tool not be a good fit for?

Likely a smaller organization that just doesn't have the need for such a complex, integrated system

Gusto

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Gusto
Learn More
Popularity Score
4 / 5
User Score
4 / 5
Product Score
4.1 / 5

Why we picked Gusto

Gusto is a versatile solution: flexible pay schedule options, payroll deductions, automated tax filing, benefits, self-service, and more. SMB users particularly appreciate its compatibility for both W-2 employees and domestic and international contractors.

PROS

  • Gusto payroll works for U.S.-based workers (W-2 employees and contractors) and for international contractors.
  • The software supports online signatures and automated tax filing.
  • Flexible payroll options accommodate different schedules and unlimited pay runs.
  • Automatic deductions streamline benefits administration.
  • Phone support, email, and customer service resources are available.
  • Licensed benefits advisors are accessible to all plan users.
  • Transparent pricing with no long-term contracts and no account setup fees.
  • The dashboard feature keeps tabs on compliance tasks
  • The hiring and onboarding sequence is nicely streamlined between HR and the new hire
  • Post-offer, pre-start tasks are made easy with integrations like CorpNet (state tax set up) Checkr (background checks)
  • Easy payroll for U.S.-based W-2 folks, domestic, and international contractors
  • Person-to-person phone support, email, and other customer service resources
  • The business model is responsive to customer needs

CONS

  • No payroll support for international employees.
  • There is no native accounting feature for tracking earnings and spending.
  • Simple plan lacks native time tracking and online signatures, requiring third-party integrations.
  • The analytics dashboard is basic.
  • Federal/state compliance alerts and existing broker/health insurance integration require the Premium plan or add-ons.
  • A free trial is not available.
  • Gusto can support payments for international contractors, but not employees
  • No native accounting feature to keep earning and spending under the same roof
  • Analytics dashboard is simplistic

Gusto Review

We have found Gusto to be a versatile payroll and benefits software that caters to the needs of small and medium-sized businesses.

One of the standout features of Gusto is its support for W-2 employees and domestic and international contractors. The software's capabilities extend beyond payroll, providing support for online signatures and automated tax filing, which streamline administrative tasks. We have a weak spot for flexibility, and Gusto doesn’t disappoint us by providing different pay schedules and unlimited pay runs.

Gusto has also known among HR folks for its support responsiveness. The platform provides phone support, email assistance, and licensed benefits advisors for all plan users to ensure that users can receive prompt service when needed. It also is praised for having a transparent pricing structure, eliminating long-term contracts and account setup fees.

However, it's important to note that Gusto does not currently support payroll for international employees. Additionally, the software lacks a native accounting or spend management features, so users must rely on third-party integrations.

The analytics dashboard, while functional, may be considered basic. And please be aware that federal/state compliance alerts and integration with existing brokers are exclusive to Gusto’s highest tier plan or available as add-ons.

A free trial is not an option here, limiting the opportunity for businesses to explore the tool before committing.

Gusto Customers

American Canning, Matchless Builds, Citizen Pilates, Pain Clinic, Distant Moon.

Gusto Pricing

Gusto offers flexible pricing options to cater to different business needs.

  • The Simple plan is available at $40 per month plus $6 per person, while the Plus plan is currently on a limited-time sale at $60 per month plus $9 per person.
  • For more customized solutions, the Premium plan offers tailored options and custom pricing.
  • For businesses with contractor-only workers, Gusto provides a monthly plan at $6 per person.

Best For

Gusto offers an affordable basic plan, making it accessible for budget-strapped startups. Additionally, the top-tier Premium plan is an excellent choice for SMBs with available capital to invest in human resources, particularly if they have a small HR department.

Gusto in action
Reviewer's Rating
8/10

With my current consulting client, we use Gusto for a few different workflows. We use it for payroll, sending offer letters, managing our 401K program as well as new employee onboarding. In previous companies I worked at, we used it for payroll. In my opinion, the greatest strength of this tool is running payroll. It’s super simple to use.

What do you like about this tool?

The ease of payroll and ability to have payroll run on auto-pilot is AWESOME. The customer service is friendly and for the most part quite efficient. The UI is pretty good compared to a lot of other platforms I've used.

Why did your organization buy this tool, and how long have you used it for?

We initially chose Gusto when the company was first established. We needed a simple payroll solution that would work for a company of our size, which at the time was just one W-2 employee on the payroll. We used the solution for about eight months before transitioning to a different solution that would allow us to manage payroll and offer benefits under one platform. Prior to that, I personally used the solution at another company for almost a year.

Since I also do freelance HR consulting, I am now working with a client who also uses Gusto. In this company, we use it for payroll, benefits management, and 401K.

What do you dislike about this tool?

Paying international contractors has been challenging in my experience. I'm not a huge fan of having the employees separated out by whether or not they are onboarded yet. I would rather see all employees with a status showing whether or not they have completed onboarding.

How is this tool different than their competitors?

Payroll is a breeze! It's really one of the best tools I've used for payroll for a small company. The customer service is stellar.

What Instructions should people think about when buying this type of tool?

Think about your long-term growth plans. I think Gusto is best for smaller companies. Think about whether or not you'll be paying contractors and especially international contractors because that can get complicated. And when you are first implementing the tool, do your best to have someone who understands the platform and how to best optimize it for your team do the set up.

How has this tool changed or evolved over time to meet users needs?

I'm not sure but I do often see that they are rolling out beta features, which leads me to believe that they are always evolving to meet customer needs.

What specific type of user or organization is this tool very good for?

I think Gusto is best for small businesses, especially for small businesses that may not have a dedicated HR personnel. It's easy enough to use that the average business owner should be able to navigate it without too much trouble.

What specific type of user or organization would this tool not be a good fit for?

I think it may not be the best platform for larger orgs, especially for orgs with complicated pay needs, i.e. international contractors.

Remote

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Remote
Learn More
Popularity Score
4 / 5
User Score
4.6 / 5
Product Score
4.5 / 5

Why we picked Remote

Remote is an excellent choice for distributed teams who require a top-notch payroll and benefits service. Their customer care is outstanding: 24/7 live chat, free HR tools, local experts for employers, plus technical support for workers. They also operate as local entities in more than 60 countries.

PROS

  • Benefits plans are locally curated. Health, dental, vision, life, mental health support, and disability are all covered, as is pension/401(k).
  • Local entity ownership helps Remote have more control over service costs, resulting in more flexibility in its pricing and service.
  • Transparent rates. No markups on benefits premiums.
  • Self-service features are easy to navigate.
  • 24/7 HR support from regional experts.
  • Option to provide equity-based compensation to employees.

CONS

  • Remote currently offers no off cycle payroll, and only wire transfers and direct deposit are available.
  • Lacks phone support.
  • Very few pre-built integrations (Greenhouse, BambooHR, and HiBob). Companies will likely rely on its custom API to connect their current ATS and other HR tools with Remote.
Remote's Payroll Service Dashboard

Remote Review

Remote helps distributed teams provide a better experience for their workers via country-custom benefit plans and easy-to-access employee self-service features. Remote is one of a few providers that owns legal entities in the regions where it offers EOR services, which gives them an advantage by greater flexibility in services and lower costs for its customers. Both of these are significant features that companies who use third-party aggregator services ll cannot offer.

Remote’s benefits are offered without premium markups, and they offer everything from paid time off to holidays, health care, and life insurance. Remote gives you access to region-specific advice and support to help you finalize your benefits plans.

Remote offers a 15% discount for eligible startups and nonprofits for up to 12 months. They also offer free service for up to ten employees for companies who hire refugees.

The apps, though well-made and frequently updated, were surprisingly hard to find online.

Both the Android and iOS apps are easy to navigate and have essential features like submitting expenses, booking time off, accessing payslips, and, according to Remote, there’s more in the pipeline.

Remote Customers

Arduino, GitLab, Paystack, Loom, cargo.one, Secureframe, Phaidra.

Remote Pricing

  • Contractor Management plan: $29/contractor/mo
  • Employer of Record plan: $599/employee/mo (when paid annually)
  • Global Payroll and Remote Enterprise plans: Custom prices – contact Remote.
  • Startup and nonprofit discount: Eligible startups and nonprofits can get 15% off EOR and Contractor Management services for 12 months.
  • Refugee discount: Up to 10 employees free when hiring refugees

Best For

Remote is best for teams with a globally distributed workforce.  This tool makes it easy to hire, onboard, provide benefits for, pay, and retain top international talent.

It’s also a great option for startups, and nonprofits who can benefit from their 15% discount, and for those who hire refugees,

Remote in action
Reviewer's Rating
5/10

Remote was introduced to an international employee or contractor after they were hired and the first part of their onboarding process. They were asked to complete basic personal information; such as address, contact info, emergency contacts, and bank details for payment. Medical benefits were offered to employees and could be elected through the platform. Once employees and contractors were onboarded they could access their portal at any time to view their personal details, and pay stubs. Payroll ran on a bi-weekly and semi-monthly basis for employees and contractors, this was dependent on their in-country laws and was processed completely by Remote. We would fund the platform a month in advance for payroll. In some cases we had employees who submitted timecards for overtime differential.

What do you like about this tool?

The platform was easy to onboard new employees, and select and edit all personal and employment details. Employees and Contractors were paid timely and we never ran into any payroll issues of people not being paid on time. We had monthly calls with our Account Rep who was always willing to step in to escalate or help answer any questions we had or anything that came up that was employee specific.

Why did your organization buy this tool, and how long have you used it for?

Our org purchased the platform so we could pay and offer benefits to our international employees. I used Remote for just under 2 years. We had over 50 employees in 5-10 different states and using this platform allowed us to offer benefits in those local countries, along with any other country-specific benefits that in some cases we were required to offer. Remote also served as our EOR, employer of record, and provided legal protections related to employee terminations. All international employees and contractors were onboarded into the platform at hire and could access their portal at any time.

What do you dislike about this tool?

There was no reporting function. There would be payroll reconciliations each month, sometimes there was a payment due to us and other times we underfunded accounts, this posed problems with forecasting and budgeting for our finance team. It was unclear and not detailed on employee pay stubs to see what the benefits breakdown was for employees and employers. Meaning who was covering what percentage or what amount was being paid by each party on a biweekly or monthly basis.

How is this tool different than their competitors?

I know Remote is an EOR and not all international platforms are. Over the last year I used a different international platform and did prefer that over Remote. The functionality was built out more, support was more responsive and as the HR admin I had more control over the contracts and editing.

What Instructions should people think about when buying this type of tool?

How many employees or contractors you are planning to hire internationally. Does Remote support those countries and in what way? What is your annual budget for an International HRIS tool? How do you want federal taxes to be withheld from international employees or contractors? Do you want to offer benefits to international employees? If so, what benefit tiers are you looking to offer, can Remote support your company goals.

How has this tool changed or evolved over time to meet users needs?

Remote increased the number of countries they offered onboarding and hiring during the time I used the platform.

What specific type of user or organization is this tool very good for?

Companies looking to hire internationally and ones' where they do not want to be the Employer of Record and would prefer the HRIS have an entity in the countries you are looking to hire in and be the EOR.

What specific type of user or organization would this tool not be a good fit for?

Organizations that do not have any plans to grow globally.

Paycor

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Paycor
Learn More
Popularity Score
4.1 / 5
User Score
4.2 / 5
Product Score
4 / 5

Why we picked Paycor

Paycor is the go-to option for U.S.-based businesses because it goes beyond the average payroll and benefits solution by offering recruiting and employee performance in one place.

PROS

  • Paycor is a very user-friendly payroll solution. The interface is simple and intuitive, and easy to navigate.
  • The self-service employee portal lets employees access their HR information and benefits online.
  • Offers multiple subscription options, making the tool more accessible to businesses of different sizes.
  • No limit to the number of payrolls you run each month.
  • Frequently runs discount offers with set-up fees waived on all plans.
  • A free trial is available per request.
  • Offers on-demand payment options in all plans.
  • Accessible via mobile devices.
  • Paycor payroll solution and mobile app are both straightforward to use.
  • Intuitive self-service employee portal.
  • Offers multiple modules for small businesses and custom plans for teams with 50-1000 employees.
  • Unlimited payrolls.
  • Offers discounts frequently. Though not listed on their site, a free trial is available to those who contact the support team directly.
  • On-demand pay is available for all plans.
  • With the acquisition of the people development platform Verb, it has improved its employee learning experience.

CONS

  • Paycor offers various support options, including phone, email, and chat. However, they aren’t very responsive to customers’ queries.
  • Undisclosed pricing.
  • It provides time tracking as a paid add-on.
  • The reporting functionality can be challenging to use, as data is sometimes unavailable.
  • Can be challenging to customize the software if you have a unique set of requirements.
  • Undisclosed pricing.
  • Customer support is reported to be slow at times.
  • It is not a good fit for teams with 1000+ employees or those requiring advanced customization to meet their unique requirements.
Paycor's dashboard - one of the best payroll service

Paycor Review

Paycor is featured here because it’s flexible and feature-rich. Users can purchase Paycor’s payroll alone and upgrade for onboarding, time-off management, and other HR functions as needed.

The first thing that caught our eye was Paycor's payroll. The solution can handle all-state and global payrolls, but please note that their global payroll services are outsourced to third-party services by location.

Available payment options are in pretty good shape. They offer on-demand pay, direct deposit, Paycor wallet, and access to Autorun, and each of these features is available on the basic plan.

Running payroll on Paycor is straightforward. The UI is simplistic, and navigation is intuitive for most users.

Employees can make benefits selections via the web or mobile apps. Both offer access to self-service payroll, onboarding, and attendance. As a security measure, changes to employee data are reported immediately to admin users.

However, rather than making this information available to any website visitor, Paycor only offers benefits guides, calculations, and other resources to their customers. Their data reporting capabilities left something to be desired, especially on the lower-tier plans.

Customer service being sometimes difficult to reach is also a disappointment, especially considering how critical prompt support is when it comes to payroll.

Paycor Customers

Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Detroit Zoo, the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Fire FC.

Paycor Pricing

Fees vary depending on the number of employees and features selected.

Best For

Paycor is particularly well-suited for organizations operating within the United States and employing up to 1,000 individuals. Its strengths shine particularly for sectors such as manufacturing, healthcare, food and beverage, nonprofits, and professional sports organizations.

Paycor in action
Reviewer's Rating
9/10

I use Paycor daily and really appreciate how its workflows allow me to move candidates through the various stages of our hiring process, from initial screening to final offer. Moreover, Paycor's integration with our payroll system eliminated the need for manual data entry and ensured that all employee information was accurate and up-to-date. I could access employee data and manage HR operations from anywhere, at any time, through the Paycor mobile app.

What do you like about this tool?

The mobile feature of this system is a great convenience for managers and employees alike, as it enables them to easily access on the go. The user interface is visually appealing and easy to navigate, which makes it a pleasure to use on a daily basis. In addition, the reporting functionality is simple and intuitive, and the customer service team is highly responsive and helpful in case of any issues or questions.

Why did your organization buy this tool, and how long have you used it for?

Our company was struggling with the hiring process and needed a more efficient and cost-effective solution than our current system. We needed a system that would help us manage job postings, resumes, candidate communication, and applicant tracking in one place. We also wanted a solution that would integrate with other HR tools we were using, such as our payroll system. Paycor provided us with a cost-effective and comprehensive solution that helped us improve our recruitment process and streamline our HR operations. It helped us save time, reduce costs, and improve our hiring outcomes. I have used Paycor for 3+ years.

What do you dislike about this tool?

I think the ATS function was better when it was under Newton, but since it was acquired by Paycor, it has taken some time to adjust to the changes. I also wish it was capable of serving larger organizations to compete with iCIMS or Workday.

How is this tool different than their competitors?

Paycor stands out from its competitors due to its user-friendly interface, customizable features, and seamless integration with other HR tools like payroll systems which is why I prefer Paycor.

What Instructions should people think about when buying this type of tool?

When purchasing a tool like Paycor, people should consider important criteria such as the software's integration capabilities, installation process, security features, customer support, available features, and pricing. These factors can help individuals make an informed decision and choose a software solution that best fits their needs and budget.

How has this tool changed or evolved over time to meet users needs?

The beauty of using this system has been that you are grandfathered in from the time you purchase the tool. Which means as they continue to update the system with innovative functions they do not charge extra.

What specific type of user or organization is this tool very good for?

I think it's excellent for small to mid-size organizations

What specific type of user or organization would this tool not be a good fit for?

Large organizations

PayChex

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PayChex
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Popularity Score
4.1 / 5
User Score
3.9 / 5
Product Score
4.1 / 5

Why we picked PayChex

PayChex is a top player in HR software for SMBs, with an offering that includes PEO, 401(k) management, benefits, and of course, easy payroll.

PROS

CONS

Paychex Payroll Software Dashboard screenshot

PayChex Review

Nearly 700,000 clients us PayChex to run their payroll, nearly all of them are less than 1,000 employees. Simply put, this is one of the largest providers in the space.

PayChex Customers

ESET, Funnelbox Inc., Smile Cafe, H.Y.P.E. Counseling Services, ASG, Pet Partners

PayChex Pricing

PayChex's pricing is not provided on their website, but the process to get a quote is pretty quick and simple.

Best For

Mainly, PayChex can handle payroll for SMBs.

PayChex in action
Reviewer's Rating
7/10

Paychex was a great payroll service to use since the company is a medium sized business. It helped us compliantly garnish child support and work around loans with the pay stub being very detailed for the employee. The continuous articles in regards to new HR standards were great to keep up to date with new laws. The employee portal was a great tool so employees could manage their personal plans, alleviating extra work for the payroll department. The onboarding feature was also convenient to cut down on errors that are all too common with new hire paperwork. Being able to perform background checks on potential management was also a wonderful feature.

What do you like about this tool?

The multiple blogs on the ever changing employment laws was a huge benefit to the company. Being able to have employees manage their deductions and plans is also a great way to alleviate pressure off the payroll department. Customer service was also very kind and helpful when questions or issues would arise. Being able to have a company calculate and file taxes was also a great way to reduce accounting labor.

Why did your organization buy this tool, and how long have you used it for?

We used Paychex for approximately 7 years to streamline the payroll process between multiple restaurants. After many years of self service payroll, Paychex helped us make payroll more error proof. It was used in organizing employee compliance and benefits. It was also great for tracking taxes and being able to send needed info to the accounting department. It was easy to use when garnishing child support from employees' paychecks.

What do you dislike about this tool?

Paychex sales team is not as knowledgeable or fluid as their customer service staff members were. We did encounter login issues frequently. It usually was rectified with opening and closing the program but it was still time consuming. As pleasant as customer service is, I would like to be able to make minor changes without having to call a specialist.

How is this tool different than their competitors?

Paychex is a good service for smaller companies. I feel that integration and reports were not as easy to use as other programs such as Toast or 7shifts.

What Instructions should people think about when buying this type of tool?

The cost is fair although the tool can be time consuming. It is a great tool to keep up to date with employee relations and laws. I feel Paychex is continuing to grow and be better but I would compare other companies before signing a contract.

How has this tool changed or evolved over time to meet users needs?

Paychex has evolved with the changing labor laws and requirements and keeps their clients up to date. I also feel that they are streamlining scheduling and AR/AP into the application

What specific type of user or organization is this tool very good for?

Small offices or businesses.

What specific type of user or organization would this tool not be a good fit for?

Large companies or companies who do not have much time to devote to completing weekly payrolls.

QuickBooks

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QuickBooks
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Popularity Score
4.1 / 5
User Score
4 / 5
Product Score
4 / 5

Why we picked QuickBooks

Quickbooks is a trusted name in financial tracking, payroll, expense reports, and even time and attendance software for small businesses.

PROS

CONS

Quickbooks' payroll software dashboard

QuickBooks Review

Many small businesses use Quickbooks for their accounting and financial reporting. They know that small business owners may not have enough time to be doing payroll, so their solution focuses a lot on running things automatically and freeing up your time. The same goes for taxes, as they'll calculate, file, and pay your payroll taxes for you, in some cases.

QuickBooks Customers

QuickBooks Pricing

For payroll, Quickbooks has three plans:

  • Core: The basics to pay your team and have payroll taxes done for you at $22.50 per month
  • Premium: Manage your team's payroll with HR support and some employee services for $37.50 per month
  • Elite: This plan provides access to on-demand experts in order to simplify payroll to the max. It starts at $62.50 per month.

QuickBooks often offers discounts for its plans. They currently have a 50% discount on all plans for the first three months of subscription.

Best For

SMBs with a fairly simple payroll structure but little time to handle it all themselves.

QuickBooks in action
Reviewer's Rating
7/10

We use QuickBooks on a weekly basis for all of our AP and AR needs. We send client invoices through QB, and we pay vendor invoices through a QB integration with Bill.com. We also use QuickBooks to distribute team payroll on a bi-monthly payroll. All of these features are directly tied to our management of the company's P&L and Balance Sheet.

What do you like about this tool?
  • QuickBooks is very affordable and reasonably intuitive.
  • Out-of-box, it comes with a generous offering of features, and you are able to add more through its ability to connect with third-party applications (Bill.com).
  • The online version allows us to access our financials from any computer, and there is a mobile app available for quick views and expense tracking.
  • QuickBooks also has a fairly extensive self-help library if you are unfamiliar with certain features or processes.
Why did your organization buy this tool, and how long have you used it for?

My company was in the market for a new accounting software to handle AR, AP, and payroll. The software we used before QuickBooks Online was too complex and more robust than what we needed, and the pricing structure was simply unaffordable. We've been using QuickBooks Online for 3+ years. It handles all of our invoices and vendor payments, and also helps us manage and distribute our payroll.

What do you dislike about this tool?
  • Unfortunately, QuickBooks has terrible customer service. In most cases, it is extremely difficult to contact a human customer service representative, and their support ticket system is very slow.
  • QuickBooks also has issues connecting with smaller banks, so some features may not be available if you use a local bank or credit union.
  • There are also a number of CSS and UX issues that hide certain Call To Action buttons or make them altogether unusable.
How is this tool different than their competitors?

QuickBooks stands out from its competitors through its offering of a robust set of features at an affordable price. The price structure allows for affordable scalability, as you only need one license for each business entity. The interface is user-friendly and does not require a lot of details steps in order to customize your experience.

What Instructions should people think about when buying this type of tool?

Before purchasing a license, you should think about how businesses you want to connect to the application. Other platforms may accommodate more elaborate business structures. You should also think about the total feature set you are looking to obtain. QuickBooks is great for general accounting, but its reporting capabilities are somewhat limited compared to other more customizable platforms.

How has this tool changed or evolved over time to meet users needs?

QuickBooks continues to add integrations that increase the number of available features without directly altering the platform. Connections to third-party services like Bill.com allow you to do more than what is offered out of the box.

What specific type of user or organization is this tool very good for?

QuickBooks is great for small businesses and business owners that handle all of their own accounting needs.

What specific type of user or organization would this tool not be a good fit for?

QuickBooks is not ideal for companies that are looking for advanced accounting reports or performance metrics. Larger organizations that have dedicated implementation teams would be better suited for a more customizable platform.

Paycom

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Paycom
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Popularity Score
4.1 / 5
User Score
3.9 / 5
Product Score
4 / 5

Why we picked Paycom

Paycom offers online payroll services and HR software solutions for both big and small businesses to manage the entire employment life cycle.

PROS

  • Paycom's payroll system is easy to use and customize.
  • They now have a Global HCM offering with the aim of expanding access to users in over 180 countries.
  • Customers have praised the responsiveness of the support team and their willingness to help with any issues that arise.
  • Paycom assigns each account a dedicated rep who can provide support and answer questions.
  • Paycom is constantly updating its software with new features and improvements.
  • It has a reasonably functioning mobile app.

CONS

  • Paycom does not integrate directly with QuickBooks, so users that use both systems must manually enter data into Paycom.
  • Some customers have experienced slow access to tax reports.
  • Some of the members on the customer support team are new and at times, don’t have answers to questions or solutions to issues. 
  • Paycom price has increased in recent years.
  • No free trial.
  • Integrations are limited.
Paycom's payroll platform dashboard

Paycom Review

We recommend Paycom for medium to large businesses since the platform provides payroll and HR solutions, which from our experience, are comprehensive and user-friendly.

Paycom impressed us with its guided self-service technology, Beti, which is accessible on browsers and mobile devices. The Android app received positive feedback for its user-friendly interface and comprehensive employee self-service features, including time clock punching, time-off requests, accessing pay stubs and benefits, reviewing paychecks, and submitting receipts for reimbursement.

As an admin, you can customize employees’ access to these features and manage HR tasks on the go. Employees have control over their HR data, including earnings and personal details. However, Paycom currently offers only direct deposit and paper checks, with no available pay card option.

While originally focused on serving the U.S. market, Paycom has expanded its reach with the introduction of their Global HCM, enabling users in over 180 countries to access its services. This enhancement demonstrates Paycom's dedication to addressing the needs of global teams, further solidifying its value-for-money proposition.

While Paycom has its strengths, we noticed there are a few areas where it falls short. Integration options remain limited, relying solely on API integrations, which can prolong implementation and require IT involvement. The connection with third-party software, like QuickBooks, is not seamless, resulting in manual data entry. Additionally, customer support quality varies, with some representatives lacking system knowledge, leading to delayed issue resolution or multiple follow-ups.

Paycom Customers

Paycom Pricing

The pricing of Paycom’s plans isn’t disclosed on the website. You do have to contact their sales team to get a custom quote.

Best For

Paycom’s full-service payroll makes it a great solution for midsize and large businesses to have a full suite of payroll and HR services.

Paycom in action
Reviewer's Rating
10/10

I use Paycom for posting jobs, payroll, tax accountability, ATS, and resume scorecards. It has helped us optimize a lot of the admin stuff and maintain records better. When posting jobs, it offers a diverse list of places where we can post the positions that are free, at cost and college job boards which can be helpful for small firms with tight budgets. It helps us with tax compliance and kinda helps us project how many candidates we are going to seek in certain geographical areas. The ATS, helps us keep our collection of resumes to a minimum so that we can eliminate repeats.

What do you like about this tool?

I love that we were able to use Paycom for our specific needs. I feel that Paycom understands the small business and mid-size business needs. Paycom listens to their customers and are always seeking to make their product better!

Why did your organization buy this tool, and how long have you used it for?

We purchased Paycom 5 years ago and have been using it since. We were using an outdated product for payroll that didn’t offer a diverse use across the board in terms of add-ons. The ATS system worked well with a tool called Job Scan, this helped reduce people applying for several positions with the same resume. Now that most small and large companies have employees in other states, Paycom has the info to keep the taxes aligned. Self Service was also a main factor; we needed a tool that would allow employees to be able to access their information so that our small staff wasn’t constantly having to field the calls for things like W-2s that should be easily accessible.

What do you dislike about this tool?

I wish there was more product training at a lower cost. Every time we get a new admin we have to pay for additional training. I would like to see more add-ons like the other companies who wanted our business. More computability with the old Deltek software that we were using so that the change over was smoother.

How is this tool different than their competitors?

Paycom is different from the competitors because the customer service is phenomenal! They listen to the customer!

What Instructions should people think about when buying this type of tool?

When buying a payroll tool, the first thing I would recommend is analyzing your company’s needs. I believe assessing how the employees use the product is important in making the decision as well!

How has this tool changed or evolved over time to meet users needs?

Over the years, Paycom has made the software more user-friendly, introduced communities, and improved mobile support.

What specific type of user or organization is this tool very good for?

Paycom is great for small to midsize businesses

What specific type of user or organization would this tool not be a good fit for?

Paycom would not be good for an engineering firm because of the way the hours are billed!

Rippling

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Rippling
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Popularity Score
4.2 / 5
User Score
4.2 / 5
Product Score
4.1 / 5

Why we picked Rippling

Rippling is a great choice for SMBs who want payroll to be a seamless and highly accurate process they don’t have to worry about.

PROS

  • All-in-one platform for payroll, employee management + PEO services offered, and even a suite of other IT products
  • With 500 integrations, they likely integrate with other key tools from your tech stack.
  • All-in-one platform for employee management + PEO services offered, and even a suite of other IT products 
  • With 500 integrations, it’s very likely that they integrate with other key tools from your tech stack.
  • Operates globally with any currency
  • Workflow automation
  • Analytics opportunities
  • Provides a holistic view of company outflows—headcount costs included

CONS

  • Very SMB focused
  • Decent prices for the core HR tools, yet extra features (sold as add-ons) can be too pricey for some.
  • Some shortcomings are reported with benefit carriers, and users may be limited to their partner ecosystem.
  • Total buy-in to Rippling is essential 
  • Very SMB-oriented, in case you’re a larger company. 
  • New features tend to be buggy in ways that tech teams are not accustomed to fixing
Rippling's Online Payroll Software Dashboad

Rippling Review

Rippling was started by Zenefits alumni. They focus on helping small and medium organizations extinguish HR and IT busywork with one solution. The tool is built to be used, with ease, across every department.

Their product aligns with what you’d expect from a Silicon Valley-based startup: a great UI, eye-catching design, and fast performance. Notably, they have over 500 integrations (and counting) so they are likely to be able to meet any team where they are at, technically speaking.

Rippling Customers

Proxy, Dwell, Superhuman, Expensify, Checkr

Rippling Pricing

Rippling’s pricing starts at $8 per month per user and will vary depending on which modules you’d like to use (or if you want the whole platform) and for how many people.

Get a quote

Best For

SMBs with a strong need for automation in HR processes.

Rippling in action
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OnPay

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OnPay
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Popularity Score
4.3 / 5
User Score
4.8 / 5
Product Score
4.7 / 5

Why we picked OnPay

We love OnPay because it takes less than one hour to setup and is the lowest cost option on the market.

PROS

CONS

OnPay's Payroll Software Dashboard

OnPay Review

OnPay is perfect for smaller companies (500 employees or less) who want a simple and straight-forward payroll process, plus help with HR. Onpay customers love the customer service and the transparent pricing - it’s one monthly fee for everything. They offer benefits management in all 50 states including medical, dental, vision, and 401k retirement plans.

OnPay Customers

OnPay Pricing

OnPay charges a base fee of $36, plus $4 per employee per month. They also offer a one month free trial.

Best For

OnPay is a great solution for smaller, budget conscious companies that also want a basic HRIS in addition to payroll.

OnPay in action
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PapayaGlobal

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PapayaGlobal
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Popularity Score
4.2 / 5
User Score
4.4 / 5
Product Score
4.3 / 5

Why we picked PapayaGlobal

Papaya Global stands out in the realm of payroll software for enabling seamless, secure payments to contractors and employees in 160+ countries, backed by robust security and compliance measures.

PROS

  • Papaya ensures prompt payouts within 72 hours across 160+ countries.
  • Transparent pricing with a 60-day money-back guarantee.
  • Dedicated customer success managers in your time zone, providing localized assistance without extra charges.
  • The starter monthly fee is reduced to $12 per employee for full-service payroll.
  • Offers comprehensive solutions (data and insights, benefits, immigration, payment services, employee data management) at an accessible entry price.

  • Papaya Global packs the EOR services you need to do global payroll and employment compliantly in over 160 countries.
  • Automated payments in over 100 currencies, 80 of them directly to the worker's bank account through its global banking partners.
  • Dedicated customer support providing locations-specific knowledge regarding employment and payroll.
  • End-to-end payroll guaranteed payouts in 72 hours.
  • Offers four standalone solutions: data and insights, supplemental benefits & immigration support, payment services, and employee data management, making the platform more affordable and scalable.

CONS

  • Lacks local entities in service countries; no tax penalty guarantee information available.
  • No free trial or plan is offered.
  • Additional fees include setup, onboarding, cycle per employee, year-end fees, and a required deposit.
  • Limited existing integrations, but free use of pre-built APIs and custom API integrations.

  • No free trial or free plan.
  • Doesn’t own entities in all the countries it serves. The platform forms relationships with existing local in-country partners to handle employment in a specific region on the client’s behalf.
  • BI analytics reports and global immigration services cost additional fees.
  • Charges extra fees for setup, onboarding, employee cycle, and tax filing. Also requires a refundable deposit.
  • Built-in integration options aren’t very robust. However, the platform does offer pre-built APIs, SFTP, and custom API integrations for free.

PapayaGlobal Review

Papaya Global is highly favored by both users we've engaged with and our editorial team. We’ve been familiar with the tool since early 2021, and it immediately stood out for its transparent pricing, comprehensive HR tools, robust BI analytics, and local customer support.

The platform caters to employers and staff alike, providing unified access to payroll, payments, and workforce analytics. It ensures automated payments in local currency, customized benefit packages, and multilingual pay slips across 160+ countries. Additionally, AI-powered engines scrutinize invoices for precision.

In-house benefits experts are at your service for location-specific advice at no extra cost. Employees benefit from a user-friendly self-service portal for onboarding, time off requests, document checks, and payslip reviews. The recently launched mobile app (as of February 2023) offers even greater accessibility, allowing access to payment calendars, bank details, and company announcements on the go.

They also offer a unique global equity management feature, enabling equity distribution to employees, regardless of location. The platform excels in providing dynamic visual insights for payroll and HR, billing, and administrative data.

There are critical factors to consider when evaluating Papaya Global for your company’s needs. For example, depending on the service region, Papaya may or may not have its own local entity set up, which means they will rely on third-party local partners. Additionally, though pricing transparency is a strength, additional expenses like setup fees per location, onboarding fees, cycle fees per employee, year-end tax filing fees, and a refundable deposit should be considered. We advise evaluating and outlining all the ins and outs specific to your team’s needs and then meeting with Papaya Global’s team for a comprehensive quote tailored to you.

PapayaGlobal Customers

Fiverr, Toyota, Wix, Deezer, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft

PapayaGlobal Pricing

  • Full-Service Payroll service: Starts at $12 per employee per month, with flexible options based on operational needs.
  • Payroll Platform License service: Begins at $3 per employee per location for tech upgrades.
  • Data and Insights Platform License service: From $150 per employee per month, offering real-time analytics on payroll costs and headcount.
  • Payments-as-a-Service service: Starting at $3 per employee per month, delivering a dedicated workforce payment platform.
  • Global EOR plan: Ranges from $650 to $1000 per employee per month for comprehensive EOR management.
  • Contractor Management & IC Compliance plan: Tailored services for outsourced contractors, starting at $2 per contractor per month.
  • Global expertise services: Starting at $190 per month per employee, this lets you add the global health plan, immigration support, and global equity for employees.

Best For

Papaya Global is a good choice for streamlining global payroll and benefits operations in countries with established entities. It's particularly valuable for businesses with international hires within Papaya Global’s extensive country coverage.

PapayaGlobal in action
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Zenefits

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Zenefits
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Popularity Score
4 / 5
User Score
3.9 / 5
Product Score
4 / 5

Why we picked Zenefits

Zenefits is known for effortless payroll and a self-service experience that's intuitive and simple. They're also known for a full HRIS, benefits management, onboarding, and more.

PROS

  • Zenefits shines as a leading name in HR tech and payroll software tailored for small American businesses.
  • Among its sector peers, Zenefits boasts an intuitive platform with an exceptional visual design, making it easy to navigate.
  • The scalability of Zenefits is a plus. Its flexible pricing structure enables you to adjust and customize as your needs evolve, seamlessly adding or removing modules to suit your requirements.
  • It’s one of the top names in HR tech and payroll software for American small businesses. 
  • Their platform is one of the best-looking and easiest to figure out among the sector. 
  • Zenefits can grow with you. Its pricing plans allow you to pay and tweak as you go, add certain modules when you need them, or get rid of them if you don’t.

CONS

  • While catering to small businesses, Zenefits lacks the option to craft a personalized bundle of services or modules. For instance, it doesn't offer a standalone ACA module, necessitating the purchase of a complete HRIS plan to access it.
  • Targeted at small to mid-sized enterprises, Zenefits might not be the optimal choice for large-scale organizations.
  • Primarily focused on the US market, Zenefits may not be the best fit for modules like payroll and benefits if your team operates primarily in another country and requires localized expertise.
  • As oriented to small businesses as the tool is, it doesn’t give you the chance to create a custom bundle of the services and/or modules you’d like to have. For instance, Zenefits does not offer a standalone ACA module. Therefore, you will need to purchase an entire HRIS plan if you want to access that offering.
  • In addition, Zenefits focuses on small to mid sized companies. If you're an enterprise organization, you may want to consider another option. 
  • Zenefits is also rather focused on the US market at this point. So, if your team is mostly in another country and you need more of a local know-how, it might not be the best bet for certain modules like payroll and benefits.
Zenefits payroll dashboard

Zenefits Review

Zenefits is best known for their product experience with an effortless payroll and a self-service benefits experience. They work with companies that are as small as 1-employee to companies with up to 1,000 employees.

Zenefits Customers

Quora, Goals for Autism, Universal Group, Reddit, Asana

Zenefits Pricing

Zenefits' Payroll tool starts at $6 per month per employee.

Best For

SMBs and companies with less than 1,000 team members.

Zenefits in action
Reviewer's Rating
5/10

I use Zenefits for HRIS, payroll, benefits, PTO, time tracking and handbook creation and updates. We are currently using Zenefits on a daily basis as it is easy to process off-cycle payroll runs. The extensive library of resources available on a wide range of topics helps in finding a clear answer on whatever issue you may have. Complex issues are easily resolved via email. Communication with support is clear, concise and thorough.

What do you like about this tool?

It makes managing benefits, HR documents, and time off requests so easy! I love having a simple tool to manage all things important in one place. Whether its from my desktop or the mobile app, I can access everything I need. Leveraging Zenefits for all of our HR records helps us streamline and reduce paperwork, while making things accessible in one place for all administrators and managers, and limiting sensitive personal information to only HR personnel. Employees can easily update their direct deposit information, taxes, address via self-service through the mobile app.

Why did your organization buy this tool, and how long have you used it for?

My organization had grown substantially and had no HRIS, payroll or benefits platform in place; prior to this growth, everything had been done manually. Selecting Zenefits was an easy choice due to pricing, ease-of-training employees and ongoing support. We utilized Zenefits for two years for its payroll, core HR functions, time tracking, benefits and PTO functionality. Its valuable insights and attractive pricing make it a great choice for smaller businesses.

What do you dislike about this tool?

Zenefits cannot appropriately cap 401k contributions resulting in overcontributions for many employees. Some integrations are challenged/non-existent and require uploads and data feeds. There is no dedicated account manager. Tax notifications can be difficult to get answered, often taking several weeks or months after submission. For several weeks, Zenefits was sending HR-related alerts to my personal email.

How is this tool different than their competitors?

I prefer Zenefits as an interim in-house solution for establishing in-house frameworks. It is ideal for small organizations with uncomplicated HR needs. Zenefits provides the necessary core functions and versatility required for a growing organization at a reasonable price and satisfactory customer service. Where more complex matters are concerned, I believe Zenefits struggles with viability.

What Instructions should people think about when buying this type of tool?

Zenefits is perfect for smaller organizations with uncomplicated needs and limited budgets. Possible integrations should always be considered; the absence of ability to integrate can be a tremendous burden on time, reducing ROI. It is also critical to consider the expertise of HR employees where HR technology is concerned, as well as any training and support needs as these are critical to the internal success or failure of any platform.

How has this tool changed or evolved over time to meet users needs?
What specific type of user or organization is this tool very good for?

Zenefits is good for small organizations with less than 50 employees, either locally or nationally.

What specific type of user or organization would this tool not be a good fit for?

Larger organizations with complex needs such as large workforces, international employees, contractors, multiple EIN's, multiple integrations and/or complex tax matters.

Namely

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Namely
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Popularity Score
4.7 / 5
User Score
4.1 / 5
Product Score
4.6 / 5

Why we picked Namely

Namely provides a quick and easy payroll solution with modern design and UX. Their all-in-one HR platform can be used by any company really, though they pay close attention to mid-market companies.

PROS

  • Namely's user interface is highly praised by users. It is clean and quite intuitive despite the platform's comprehensive feature coverage.
  • The employee onboarding module includes a user-friendly wizard that effectively guides new hires through necessary steps and tasks.
  • Along with Namely’s built-in features for data management, recruiting, onboarding, time off tracking, payroll, and benefits administration, Namely offers managed payroll and benefits administration services for those needing extra assistance.
  • The majority of users are able to navigate Namely without any issues. They find the UI to be intuitive and clean, despite the fact that the platform has lots of features. 
  • Namely’s employee onboarding module gets a alot of praise from users. It features an easy-to-follow wizard, which helps new hires get on quickly and be clear on what they need to do. 
  • Besides the platform’s built in features for data management, recruiting, onboarding, time off tracking, payroll and benefits administration, there are also managed payroll and benefits administration services you can opt for to reduce the burden on your internal teams. 

CONS

  • Namely primarily caters to U.S.-based companies, which makes it unsuitable for organizations needing to manage pay and benefits for employees in other countries.
  • The implementation process of Namely can be time-consuming, typically taking a minimum of 6-8 weeks.
  • Despite how big of a player Namely is in the HR space, it lacks employee development features like skill training, career pathing, and succession planning.
  • Before purchasing Namely, it is essential to ensure compatibility with your current benefits provider, as there have been reported instances of Namely's team encouraging users to switch to more expensive providers.
  • Namely primarily operates in the U.S., which means if you’re looking for a global payroll and benefits provider, this platform isn’t for you.
  • Though many praise the platform’s ease of use, it does take long to implement it. Namely’s own team says that an average implementation takes between 6-8 weeks.
  • For a platform of Namely’s size, there currently aren’t any features that focus on employee development such as skill training, career pathing, succession planning etc. 
  • You’ll need to check beforehand if Namely can work with your existing benefits provider, if you have one. There have been a few reports (but not few enough to ignore) about Namely’s team convincing customers to change their benefits provider to providers that charged them more. 
Namely's payroll dashboard

Namely Review

Namely’s all-in-one platform comes with a payroll module for processing salaries on time and without any errors. It can help you with a lot, including calculating wages, deductions, and taxes, and generating pay stubs for your employees. The platform is also always up-to-date with the ever-changing payroll regulations and tax laws to ensure you don’t get penalized and that everything pertaining to your employees’ payments is above board.

We like any product with employee self-service features and Namely checks that box of ours. Your staff can log in to a dedicated dashboard to access and manage their payroll information, update personal details, and view pay stubs whenever needed. Namely also packs a robust reporting module to get a holistic view of your company’s payroll and valuable statistics to make informed decisions.

Namely Customers

Greenhouse, Bevi, and Workwave are among Namely’s 1000+ customers.

Namely Pricing

Namely has custom pricing that varies according to the extent of your need. You can contact the Sales team for an estimate.

Best For

Namely predominantly serves mid-sized companies across different verticals.

Namely in action
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Paylocity

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Paylocity
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Popularity Score
4 / 5
User Score
4.3 / 5
Product Score
4.1 / 5

Why we picked Paylocity

Paylocity is among the top payroll vendors in the US market thanks to its ease of use and excellent customer support. It’s also quite comprehensive, offering a range of tools from tax to global payroll management, and benefits administration.

PROS

  • Paylocity’s customer support is highly rated for always being available to answer questions.
  • Global payroll support for 100+ countries.
  • Provides free and unlimited training modules on the website.
  • Paylocity’s mobile app has a good UI and functionality
  • The tool is easy to use for both employees and employers.
  • Has 350+ pre-built integrations.
  • Paylocity’s customer support is highly rated for always being available to answer questions.
  • Global payroll support for 100+ countries.
  • Provides free and unlimited training modules on the website.
  • Paylocity’s mobile app has a good UI and functionality
  • The tool is easy to use for both employees and employers.
  • Has 350+ pre-built integrations.

CONS

  • Undisclosed pricing.
  • It doesn’t have a free trial or free plan.
  • Support is available in English only.
  • It isn’t the best solution for remote teams looking for a tool to manage payroll and benefits for their contractors.
  • Undisclosed pricing.
  • It doesn’t have a free trial or free plan.
  • Support is available in English only.
  • It isn’t the best solution for remote teams looking for a tool to manage payroll and benefits for their contractors.
Paylocity Payroll Program dashboard

Paylocity Review

Paylocity is one of the largest payroll providers in the United States but that’s not the main reason we were drawn to it. Our top deciding factors, instead, are its customer service, user-friendliness, and affordability.

We have heard a lot about Paylocity’s customer support, so we wanted to see it for ourselves. We got in touch with the Paylocity team to book a demo, and we really enjoyed the punctuality as they answered our questions and guided us through the software’s setup.

Paylocity is very user-friendly. We like that the ease of use applies not only to the web version but to the mobile app. It is particularly helpful for employees to access the self-service from anywhere to do a quick check on their payroll and benefits, make changes, and submit claims.

While not as advanced as some top enterprise-oriented payroll and benefits vendors, Paylocity’s reporting capabilities can be of benefit to mid-sized teams. There are a few reporting options to choose from or customize to track your benefits costs and see how employees are using their benefits. This information can be helpful enough in making decisions about benefit plans.

Though Paylocity doesn’t disclose its pricing on the website, businesses have praised the platform for its affordability compared to similar options in the marketplace.

Paylocity Customers

Momentus, Watters, Weigel’s, ILC, Upward, HMC, Polywood.

Paylocity Pricing

The exact pricing of Paylocity's offering is not publicly-disclosed.

Best For

Paylocity is a great option for companies, ideally midsized, looking for an established payroll and benefits software tool that is budget-friendly, user-friendly, and has great customer service.

Paylocity in action
Reviewer's Rating
9/10

For onboarding, I get to create a profile for candidates so they can receive the onboarding package, also, I love how we can send it in Spanish as well. I’m able to help the HR team complete the tasks, which is not hard to use. Also, we get access immediately, when we submit it, making the whole process breezy. Regarding Payroll, I have heard great things about how convenient it is. I haven’t had the opportunity to try it firsthand though.

What do you like about this tool?
  • It’s a useful tool for onboarding and payroll.
  • I like the app, the design is very nice and it's easy to use.
  • I have used other onboarding platforms and they are quite difficult to understand or process.
Why did your organization buy this tool, and how long have you used it for?

For over 3 years, our company has been using Paylocity for onboarding and payroll purposes, but not their ATS feature. This system has been extremely helpful to keep track of the onboarding activities, which helps to keep everything organized and in one place. Also, for Payroll, the app is easy to use and very clear from what I have heard from my teammates.

What do you dislike about this tool?
  • I would say, the platform is not modern enough.
  • They need to update it quite often. I haven't seen many changes since I started using it a year ago. Usually, I hear that they are launching new things, but I haven't seen it personally.
  • The ATS platform is not good. That's why we didn't get on it. It was not suitable, pricing-wise.
How is this tool different than their competitors?

Well it's efficient for what is needed. It is quite similar to when I was using Greenhouse in the past, but I believe Paylocity’s app is better than what I have seen before.

What Instructions should people think about when buying this type of tool?

It has the right tools for what is needed, I would say the cost is worth it for what they offer. Also, Paylocity has been in the market for a while and a lot of companies are using them. That’s key to keep in mind. The external reviews are good as well! However, it is vital to thoroughly examine using demos and trials to see if it’s the right fit for your company’s specific needs.

How has this tool changed or evolved over time to meet users needs?

It has helped the business as we didn't have a system like this before. That said, I haven't seen many changes since I started using it a year ago.

What specific type of user or organization is this tool very good for?

For small businesses that are growing/expanding or any company that has over 50 employees.

What specific type of user or organization would this tool not be a good fit for?

Well, for a company with less than 50 employees, the price wouldn't be worth it.

Why use Payroll and Benefits Software?

There are a few apparent use cases for payroll and benefits software. However, we also wanted to explain some of the benefits that may not be quite as self-evident. Here is the “why” behind buying new payroll and benefits software:

  • Pain-free payroll: All of these solutions will handle running payroll for you in a streamlined way that reduces your time and effort. To teams using outdated systems or completing operations manually, this could mean hours or even days saved per pay period.
  • Simplify health benefits: These solutions guide you through the benefits selection process, sometimes with a trusted consultant who recommends packages that are a good fit for your company. Your employees are then able to choose which option is right for them during open enrollment, qualifying events, or onboarding.
  • Access to experts: Managing benefits and payroll internally can be complicated, especially if this is not the focus of your day to day. There are a wide range of regulations and requirements that you must be aware of and keep up-to-date with, as they can change frequently! To assist with this, the best benefits and payroll solutions not only offer day-to-day customer support, but also will work closely with you when making strategic decisions and throughout regulatory updates.
  • Access to better health plans: The best payroll and benefits solutions provide you with greater access to competitive benefits plans so that you can create a package that makes the most sense for your employees. You will also be able to more easily compare plans from different providers and therefore ensure you have selected the best package for your business’s needs.
  • Cost effective: Using an external vendor for payroll and benefits will help decrease the number of employees you need dedicated to this function, and help save on costs in technology, support, and training.
  • Save time: On average, over 20% of small businesses spend 120+ hours on dealing with federal employee taxes alone. And there are only so many hours in the day. Small and medium businesses that arm themselves with the right solution to handle payroll and efficiently manage benefits save a lot of time, resulting in their ability to better allocate time to their core business and product.
  • Ease of use: Software solutions today are serious about their product experience. They have built their platforms with their various end users in mind and provide them with a simple to use, mobile friendly and feature rich experience.  Your employees can now look up co-pays on mobile when at the doctor, or request time off in given pay period.
  • Increase employee retention: Benefits and payroll are paramount to retaining your employees. With greater access to a wide range of health, dental, and vision insurance, plus retirement plans such as 401k and 529 savings plans, you will be able to assure that your employees are taken care of when in need which influences employee retention.
  • Aids in your talent strategy: Attract talent by offering the best and most comprehensive benefits packages. In a recent survey, AICPA found that 80% of those surveyed would choose a role with a comprehensive benefits package versus a position with a much higher salary but no benefits.
  • Enhanced security benefits: Most top payroll and benefits vendors will have high levels of security that contemplate HIPPA and have varying levels of SOC compliance.
  • Compliance guarantee: The IRS has stated that an estimated 40% of small and medium businesses are fined for late or incorrect filings and payments. Payroll and benefits software have access to the most up-to-date information which means that you never have to worry about missing tax notices and other regulatory notices. This is a huge benefit as you will help protect your company and reduce your risk of compliance related expenditures.

Pro Tips on Payroll and Benefits Software

Some Pitfalls to Avoid

There are pitfalls that we’ve identified to help you avoid during the entire decision making process and implementation:

  • Choose a payroll service that has a track record for serving companies of your size.
  • Remember, change management requires a team effort. You may need to involve a few different teams during the buying and implementation process including your operations, HR/recruiting, information technology, and communications teams.
  • Core features that you probably already have and that employees/HR are used to, like direct deposit, automated pay stub distribution, and payroll taxes need to be in any future offering you use.
  • Don’t forget about integrations! We’ve mentioned a few that you may want to consider in our demo questions.
  • Make sure the vendor that you choose can operate in all of your office locations (don’t forget your remote employees).
  • Documentation is paramount - get your ducks in a row in advance to help streamline implementation and prevent any delays or impact on employees.
  • Choose a vendor that is compliant with the most recent regulations and that takes data privacy very seriously. HIPAA and tax payment violations can be extremely costly.
  • If you already have your own insurance broker with whom you like to work, make sure that your new vendor allows for this - not all of them do and those that do may charge an additional fee.
  • If you are moving to benefits with a provider, do not forget to report any employees who are on COBRA to the new provider and make sure to ask if they assist in COBRA administration.
  • Lastly, choose a vendor that you can grow with. Make sure that the vendor is confident in their ability to work with you based on your targeted employee growth rates as a company.

ROI of the right Payroll and Benefits Solution

While there are costs associated with these tools, the rationale for partnering with the right vendor is pretty clear.  The average salary for a benefits administrator is ~$50,000 per year and a payroll administrator’s average salary is also about $50,000 per year.  The ability to remove one to two FTEs from your headcount at these rates will pay for your solution several times over.

At some point you may want to move more of your payroll and HR in house, but this doesn’t happen for most organizations until they hit 500 employees.  When you hit a milestone like this, it’s best to re-evaluate where you are and what makes sense for your human resource function.

Payroll Services Pricing

Pricing for payroll and benefits providers is typically priced per employee per month. Therefore, larger organizations should expect to pay more. Pricing also depends on the feature set you are looking for. Only running payroll and benefits is far more affordable than adding on employee onboarding, and other feature sets typically found in a more robust HRIS including an employee directory, performance management, etc. So, there is typically a base price that grows with more features.

See below for an example pricing chart that includes a base monthly price for a few company sizes. Most providers have multiple base plans with add-on options. Contracts are typically monthly or annual (annual contracts will include a discount on pricing). Please note that this is an example only and you should consult with each vendor as there are many factors that go into pricing for your specific use (*These examples do not include benefits premiums.) Two last points, you can many times negotiate away the initial setup fee, and some vendors will be beyond these ranges (PEOs, full HCM suite) - but you get what you pay for so don’t be turned off initially by much larger price ranges for a given vendor.

Payroll Software Pricing Guidelines

Number of Employees

Estimated Annual Cost

10$2,000
100$15,000
1,000$50,000
10,000$150,000

*Note: Some vendors charge a base monthly rate plus a monthly rate per employee. Others charge only a monthly rate per employee. As you grow, the per employee rate may decrease depending on vendor.

Lastly, make sure you ask about any other fees that will come up during the course of the year.  Some vendors charge for filing W-9s and 1099s - and these costs can add up!

Key Features of Payroll Software

The majority of the top rated benefits and payroll vendors provide feature-rich offerings that are wrapped into an intuitive user experience. Business owners and HR teams alike need to be aware of these key features. While we’ve focused on payroll and benefits, there are additional add-ons that you may also be interested in, especially if you do not currently have another solution in place. Many of these also map to the demo questions we have suggested below:

Payroll Features:

  • Automated and Unlimited Payroll Runs (plus contractor & vendor payments, tips reporting)
  • Off-Schedule Payroll Runs
  • All Tax Filing/Payments
  • Multiple Pay-Rates and Schedules
  • Reporting including Year-end Payroll Reporting
  • Direct deposit

Employee Benefits Features:

  • Employee Self-Service (including self-service benefits enrollment and changes)
  • Benefits Administration & COBRA administration (Health, Dental, Vision)
  • Additional Benefits Options including 401k/retirement, life insurance & disability, FSA, HSA, commuter and additional supplemental benefits

Other Important Features:

  • Time Tracking & Paid Time Off
  • HR Documentation & PTO Policies
  • Employee Directory & Surveys
  • Workers’ Compensation & Risk Mitigation
  • New Hire Onboarding
  • HR Expertise (varied based on level)
  • Online Resource Center (best practices, FAQs, and more)
  • Mobile Friendly and/or Mobile App

Choosing the right vendor - questions to ask on demos

Once you have chosen a few vendors to demo, it is imperative to ask pertinent questions. Here is a list of questions we think you should ask on demos.

Support:

  • Who will be on my support team during implementation, how will that change after I’m setup?
  • What the the specific steps our company will have to go through to get this setup and how long does each take?
  • What internal stakeholders do I need to bring into this?
  • What are the support SLAs?
  • How big is your biggest customer and how small is your smallest customer? What is the size of your average customer?
  • What are the most common reasons that companies don’t succeed?
  • How will our pricing change as we scale?

Tech & Security:

  • Can you walk me through the typical workflows that HR would go through?  Employees?
  • What is the mobile experience for HR and employees?
  • What’s on your product roadmap?
  • Do you support multi-factor authentication?
  • Do you support single-sign-on?
  • Are you SOC 2 compliant?
  • What is your security audit process?
  • How do you keep our data safe?

Regulatory & Compliance:

  • Do you have a regulatory compliance team?
  • Who handles regulatory updates for taxes, HR, or benefits?
  • How will I get updated on regulatory changes relevant to my business?
  • Do you handle payroll in my state (within U.S.)?
  • Do you handle international payroll (if you operate internationally)?
  • Are you GDPR compliant?
  • How are tax filings handled?  Is there an extra charge for this?
  • Do you handle new hire onboarding reporting and forms?
  • Are you ACA compliant? What about HIPAA and ERISA?
  • How will you handle benefits for my employees in different states and, if applicable, remote employees?
  • How can my accountant or finance team access the relevant files?

Integrations and Process:

  • Is your offering full-service payroll or a tool that I will use to run my own payroll?
  • How are payroll taxes handled? How are tax forms generated?
  • What standard integrations do you support? Do you integrate to my existing technologies (accounting software, HRIS, ATS)?  
  • How will direct deposit work with our employee bank accounts?

Payroll Services Implementation

The great part about moving forward with one of our top picks is that they make it quite simple for you to get up and running (especially for small businesses). If you are switching from one software to another, or if this is your first time, you will have slightly different implementation processes.

Timelines will depend on how readily available your relevant documents may be (such as employee information like names, departments, positions, salary information, etc.) and how many employees you have. The smaller the company, the quicker the implementation.

Sample documentation that will be required can include:

  • Basic company information such as your EIN (employer identification number)
  • Basic employee information such as employees’ names, SSNs (social security numbers), mailing addresses, and salaries
  • Payroll and taxes information that you’ve already paid for the year (if you are switching providers mid-year)

Thus, implementation could take as little as one day for small businesses, or for larger companies, a couple of weeks.

The identified vendors all include implementation services and can assist in guiding you through this process. Once you’re a customer, they have a very strong incentive to make sure you are successful and will do whatever it takes to get you through the process expeditiously.

Payroll Software FAQs

What is payroll software?

Payroll software is a solution designed to manage, automate, record and organize payment of a company’s employees. 

What is benefits software?

Benefits software is a solution designed to take over all administrative benefits tasks, including managing and organizing health insurance, retirement programs, time off and leave. 

Can my company do payroll and benefits without software?

Yes, your company can process payroll and benefits without the assistance of software. However, manually taking care of payroll and benefits requires a lot of time and effort. On average, over 20% of small businesses spend 120+ hours dealing just with federal employee taxes. That’s before even considering benefits management. That time is better spent perfecting your business or product, therefore automating payroll is a worthy investment. 

Do software providers offer both payroll and benefits software together?

Yes, many payroll vendors offer a benefits solution and vice versa.

Final Advice on Buying Payroll Software

For most HR teams, it’s a matter of who to partner with, not if it should be explored in the first place.  Partnering with a top payroll and benefits solution can save your team a lot of time and money.  Our hope is that this page will arm you with the information you need to make the right decision, and guide you towards the top vendors in the space.

From here, we’d then advise that you jump into demos with 2-3 vendors to get started.  Remember to stay organized as you tick through the feature sets that matter to you on demos.  Good luck and let us know how it goes!

About Us

  • Our goal at SSR is to help HR and recruiting teams to find and buy the right software for their needs.
  • Our site is free to use as some vendors will pay us for web traffic.
  • SSR lists all companies we feel are top vendors - not just those who pay us - in our comprehensive directories full of the advice needed to make the right purchase decision for your HR team.

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