9 Best Payroll Services for Small Business (2022)


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9 Best Payroll Services for Small Business (2022)-featured

It’s thrilling to expand your staff as a small company owner. It indicates that your company is expanding and that more people are eager to devote time to your mission. On the other hand, how do you manage the logistics of them? Not that enjoyable (for most of us).

Online payroll and human resources (HR) tools relieve you of a lot of labour so you can concentrate on the tasks that brought you into company.


This list of the top payroll services was compiled by Forbes Advisor after considering several factors. Each payroll service received a star rating of up to five stars in accordance with those criteria.

Our standards (and their weights in percentages of 100) comprised:


Regarding pricing, we took into account the services’ lowest and highest price tiers’ affordability as well as if they provide a free trial.


We maintained consistency in our evaluations by checking for these aspects for each service, even if our reviews highlight a range of benefits appealing to small businesses: employee self-service portal, HR library, reporting for new hires, integrations with other parties, analytics, and ledger reporting.

Third-party evaluations

We examined evaluations written by actual users to see what they thought of each site.

Expert evaluation

We evaluated all of the aforementioned factors in relation to the competition to choose the nine finalists shown above.

What Is Payroll?

The overall remuneration an organisation gives its workers for their labour is referred to as payroll. The process of determining an employee’s net compensation and starting their payment is sometimes referred to as payroll. No matter how many employees you have, processing payroll is necessary to make sure they are paid accurately and that the right records are preserved.

Stages of Payroll Processing

Payroll is a multi-step procedure that begins before an employee’s first day on the job. Basic actions include:

Choose a pay period.

This is how often you’ll be paying your staff. The majority of companies decide to make payments on a weekly, bimonthly, or monthly basis.

Gather tax records and information about the employees.

The W-4 form, a state tax withholding form, and account information are among these papers.

Determine the gross pay.

Before taxes, an employee is entitled to their gross wage.

Calculate net pay.

Employees will get their net pay after you subtract taxes and any other deductions from their gross compensation.

Set up payment.

If you are manually processing payroll, you will cut checks and send them along with pay stubs. You start a transfer if you are paying via direct deposit. If you use a payroll service like Gusto to handle your payroll, the platform will start paying you according to a pre-established billing period.

Pay your taxes and keep track of your receipts.

Finally, you’ll maintain track of all salary and tax payments and pay any federal and state taxes due.

Payroll Procedures

Payroll processing may be done in one of three ways. Payroll may be processed manually, outsourced, or via a platform that offers payroll services.

When processing payroll manually, the tax due and the appropriate amount to be withheld from workers are calculated using Microsoft Excel or another piece of software. When there are few personnel, this strategy could be effective, but it often takes longer and raises the possibility of mistake. Given the complexity of the procedure, many businesses choose to either outsource it or employ an online payroll provider.

Platforms like Gusto and Wave can compile all the data for you, figure out the necessary tax withholdings, and start paying workers immediately. For small firms that do not wish to outsource this function, using such payroll systems might be a simple and affordable solution to relieve yourself of this task.

How Does A Payroll Service Work?

While each has a distinct style and a variety of features, most online payroll systems function very similarly. A cloud-based interface for both companies and workers is frequently included. Benefits and compensation are set up by employers, or by your accountant, bookkeeper, or HR representative, for workers and, on certain platforms, contractors.

You may welcome new hires to self-onboard using the employee portal so that you can quickly get their W-4 or W-9 form, contact information, and permission to enrol them in any applicable benefits.

Some payroll systems provide automated payroll, allowing you to determine employee compensation and let workers to log their time (if required), all while the provider performs payroll on time. The systems allow employees to input direct deposit information, and on the employer end, you link a company bank account so payroll runs without you needing to print and distribute checks.

If payroll is not automated, it must be done manually on schedule a few days before to payday, including inputting employee pay amounts and setting paydays.

Numerous online payroll systems offer accounting software interfaces as well as tools that make it easier for you to manage benefits on the same platform. Many employers provide employees the option to get a payment card, allowing them to receive cash prior to payday and make transactions immediately with the card.

Some HR systems that provide full payroll services incorporate coaching, education, and development programmes for employees in addition to pay and benefits.

How to Use a Payroll Service

The size of your team, the level of employee experience, and the technology you pick will all influence how your team utilizes an online payroll system. The majority of services provide top-notch sales and customer support representatives that can aid with setup and provide answers to any issues you may have along the route.

You may pay workers and, on certain platforms, contractors with a simple payroll solution. Use it to handle payroll checks, taxes, and reporting in addition to facilitating direct deposit.

You may utilize the platform to set up paid time off, retirement plans, insurance, and other benefits for workers and combine benefits with payroll since the majority of payroll providers also feature benefits management.

How to Choose a Payroll Service

The following attributes are provided by the top payroll services:

  • Deposits made electronically
  • Filling out and paying payroll taxes
  • Self-service for employees and self-onboarding
  • Including QuickBooks or other accounting programmes in the integration
  • simple reports
  • automatic updates for compliance

Payroll programmes don’t provide anything that you couldn’t accomplish manually using a spreadsheet without these capabilities.

To further evaluate your payroll needs, answer these ten questions about your business and its payroll system:

What Size Business Do I Have?

You don’t need to consider your company’s size in terms of revenue or clientele when thinking about outsourcing payroll. Just two factors need to be considered: how many workers do you already have, and how many are you likely to hire in the next one to two years?

Which Employee Types Do I Have?

Regular workers and independent contractors are both permissible to have on your payroll. You might also pay your staff an hourly rate, a set monthly income, or a basic salary plus commissions or tips.

To assess your payroll needs, you must be aware of the various payment structures and tax obligations for each of them. If you simply have independent contractors, an online payroll system, which is often less expensive, could be able to satisfy your demands.

How Can I Pay My Workers?

Do you need to manage check payments or direct deposits? Do you need to use services like Stripe and PayPal to send money abroad? Consider the simplest feasible way to transfer money from your bank account to your workers.

How Frequently Do I Pay My Workers?

Do you pay each employee separately or on a set timetable for each category, or both? You could be paying them, for instance, once a week or twice a week. You can be paying independent contractors whenever they send you an invoice.

Along with off-cycle payments like bonus payments, commission payments, and cost reimbursements, the payroll system should be able to manage these distributions.

Are all workers based in the same place?

You will have to adhere to extra rules if your staff is dispersed throughout the country or the world. Given that hybrid and remote work are becoming popular as a consequence of the pandemic, you need to decide whether you’ll ever have employees who work remotely.

Who is in charge of handling payroll?

You will probably be able to handle with a DIY payroll software, which might be less expensive, if you have a committed individual or team responsible for processing payroll. If not, you might think about spending more money on an outsourced payroll provider. This will make it possible to guarantee timely and accurate payment processing.

What Are the Payroll Laws in My Local/State?

The area, state, and nations where your workers live will determine the applicable payroll legislation. You must be aware of any local, state, federal, or international payroll rules that you must abide with. Get advice from a local payroll expert if you’re unsure by getting in touch with them.

How Would You Like to Handle Payroll Taxes?

As your firm expands, payroll taxes may become difficult and complicated. You must choose whether or not you want the new payroll system to take care of taxes. If the answer is yes, pay particular attention to the cost of year-end computations since they often have an added expense. If not, be sure to choose a trustworthy tax expert to manage this procedure on your behalf.

What Deductions Should I Budget For?

You must withhold payments for taxes (such as income taxes and social security taxes), wage garnishments (such as outstanding debts, alimony, child support, and other obligations), and benefits prior to disbursing them (health insurance, etc.).

How Much Can I Spend?

When selecting a payroll business, price is a crucial consideration. To satisfy your payroll demands, you must have an approximate amount in mind that you are ready to pay monthly or yearly. When you are tempted to spend more for à la carte options, this will guarantee that you don’t go overboard.

Payroll Services Cost

Every purchasing choice made for a corporation must take budget into account. Although payroll service providers often issue monthly bills, it’s crucial to consider yearly charges as well.

Online payroll providers sometimes charge each transaction or employee payment in addition to a set monthly fee. This suggests that the transaction cost will increase as the number of workers increases. Consider carefully how your payroll service costs will alter as you grow if you want to increase your personnel. The majority of payroll service providers offer a tiered pricing structure to accommodate various company sizes. Before enrolling, determine which tier will cost you the least over time.

To make sure your payroll service has all the “must have” features, you may need to choose premium add-ons. Take into account the price. Don’t overextend yourself, but do fit in some “nice to have” features as well.

In conclusion, the following are some expenses you should consider before deciding:

  • Base monthly payment
  • Setup and support charges
  • Fees for compliance and taxes
  • Pay per employee
  • Extra charges

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do payroll services work?

Employee payments are managed and automated through payroll systems. It aids companies in paying employees on time and according to tax regulations.

Which payroll firm is the best?

The size and demands of your organization will determine which payroll service is appropriate for you. Top small company payroll providers include OnPay, Gusto, and ADP RUN. Traditional businesses provide customizable plans to meet your demands, but platforms designed for startups provide transparent pricing and all-inclusive packages that enable quick launch.

What characteristics ought to a small company payroll service have?

For your small business, the features you need in a payroll service include one that is easy to set up, offers payroll processing and management, enables tax filing, generates thorough payroll reports, offers direct deposit to your employees, permits them to make changes as needed, and provides excellent customer service.

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