Best Payroll for Small Business: What it Does and 7 Top Options

For small business owners, staying on top of payroll is crucial but time-consuming. From tracking hours to calculating wages to issuing payments, payroll is a task best left to technology.

Automating the payroll cycle can save you precious time and energy. But with so many payroll solutions on the market, how do you find the right one for your needs? 

Not all options are created equal, and needs differ from business to business. We’ll help you find the best fit for your business by exploring what small business payroll software is and what it can do for you. 

What is payroll software?

Small business payroll software manages the entire payroll process, from hour tracking and pay calculation to pay distribution and deductionsThe best payroll software also handles filing payroll taxes with the government. That includes helping you maintain legal compliance and providing employees access to pay stubs and W2 forms. Unlike manual payroll, it automates calculations to prevent errors. 

As your business finds ways to do more with less, payroll software can take tedious tasks off your plate. It can also provide peace of mind, knowing that payroll is being handled automatically. Using software means one less thing for you and your team to manage.

Why do you need payroll software?

Payroll software saves you valuable time by automating calculations and filings. This means less time spent on paperwork and more time to focus on operating and growing your core business. You can also avoid costly issues through automation.

This is important, as 49% of US workers consider a new job after two payroll errors. Employees expect to be paid accurately and on time. Mistakes can hurt morale and drive people to quit. But the reality is that everyone makes mistakes! The right payroll software can keep them to a minimum. 

Small business payroll softwares can provide you with a level of security and accuracy that manual payroll processes don’t match. It can help ensure that your employee payments are accurate and withholdings are calculated correctly. 

Using the power of cloud-based payroll software, your small business can enjoy the same advanced features and capabilities as larger enterprises without the overhead costs of maintaining an in-house payroll team. This makes your pay system scalable as your business grows, so that payroll isn’t a barrier to your success. 

overtime wage calculator image for restaurant owner

How to find payroll software for small businesses

When evaluating different small business payroll softwares, there are several factors to consider. Here’s what you should keep top of mind.

Ease of use

Look for solutions with an intuitive user interface and navigation that doesn’t require intensive training to learn. Long and complicated implementation can come at a cost to your business. It may also lead to lower adoption rates.

It’s worth investing in solutions that you and your team can easily use. Companies that use payroll automation are 33% more effective. Automation streamlines payroll tasks and reduces errors, helping you save time and money.

Transparent pricing 

There are many affordable payroll software options out there, so doing some research is worth it. To account for budget, many quality payroll tools offer pricing tiers to align with your business needs and employee headcount.

Transparent pricing is essential if you’re on a limited budget. Look for providers that offer clear, upfront pricing with no hidden fees. Additionally, scalable pricing models that adjust based on your business size are ideal. This can help you avoid overpaying for features you don’t need.

Integration capabilities

Businesses of all sizes are digitizing. When looking for payroll software, try to find one that works with your ecosystem. Prioritize providers that can integrate with your existing business systems like time clocks and accounting software. That way you’re not duplicating data across apps or getting caught up in tech miscommunications.

Integration capabilities are crucial for ensuring a seamless flow between systems. Connect your systems and you can superpower your business to run more smoothly than ever. 

Tax compliance

Ensuring compliance with changing tax laws and regulations is a big part of payroll management. Look for providers with experience in handling tax compliance, including the ability to file payroll taxes on time. 

For example, Homebase will file a number of federal, state, and local payroll tax forms on behalf of your company. Homebase will also make copies of filed forms available to our clients in your account.

Solid customer support 

Having trouble with payroll tasks can be frustrating. A reputable payroll software provider should offer multiple channels to contact knowledgeable representatives who can assist with your questions.

Additionally, look for providers that offer comprehensive online resources like user guides and FAQs. You should feel empowered to troubleshoot common problems and make the most of the features you’re paying for.

Many providers let you take advantage of free trials or demos before purchasing. Once you’ve identified your must-have features, take each option for a test drive. Hands-on experience is the best way to learn what works best for your small business.

Best payroll for small business: Top choices for 2024

Not sure where to start your search? We’ve put together a shortlist for you to consider. Here are some of the top payroll companies for small businesses.

1. Homebase

Homebase offers an all-in-one app for small business payroll and team management. Homebase payroll integrates seamlessly with our tools for time clocks, scheduling, hiring, onboarding, and team messaging, so you can do everything from anywhere. 

We simplify your life by automatically converting clocked hours into timesheets to run payroll. Homebase also automates calculating taxes and filings to help businesses remain compliant. Our mobile app even allows employees to clock in/out and access pay stubs from anywhere, so your team is always informed.

2. Gusto

Gusto is a popular option because of its user experience and intuitive payroll administration tools. It automates payroll while helping with other HR tasks like onboarding. Gusto also provides employee self-service and an expert customer support team. Key features include integration with accounting software and paid time off tracking.

3. QuickBooks Payroll 

As an add-on to the QuickBooks accounting software, this payroll solution is a natural fit for small businesses. Users get full-service payroll with automated filings, and QuickBooks Payroll also gives employees tools to access pay stubs and W2s. Higher priced tiers also include health benefit administration.

4. OnPay

OnPay provides a cloud-based payroll application with a solid reputation for customer satisfaction. Their system handles payroll taxes and filings, alongside health insurance integration. Their employee self-service portals and mobile apps also have positive user reviews. 

5. SurePayroll

SurePayroll is positioned as one of the most affordable small business payroll solutions on the market. For a low base fee, it automates everything from payroll runs to year-end forms. SurePayroll integrates with major accounting platforms and handles payroll across states. 

6. Paychex

Paychex is another option offering payroll and HR solutions for small businesses. Their system automates payroll processing and handles background checks and onboarding. Plus, Paychex gives customers access to dedicated payroll specialists and HR advisors.

7. RUN Powered by ADP

Using ADP’s decades of payroll and HR expertise, RUN by ADP is their platform tailored for the small business market. It handles payroll and HR tasks like hiring, and ADP also provides RUN customers with dedicated payroll specialists.

Every small business has its own unique needs and preferences. With this list of payroll solutions, you can do more digging to determine which one will work for your business, so that you can set it and forget it. 

Ready to find the best payroll for small businesses?

With so many payroll software options on the market, you have to determine your must-have features and budget to narrow down your choices. The best payroll for small businesses will automate common tasks and free up more time for you to focus on the work you love. It will also give you confidence you’re handling payroll accurately and keeping compliant with legal regulations.

Don’t let payroll be a source of stress. Embrace the power of automation and take control of this crucial aspect of your operations to achieve payroll peace of mind.

The Homebase app is designed for small businesses like yours to make payroll simpler than ever. Minimize stress and ensure your employees are paid accurately and on time using our tools. Get started today

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