Free Payroll Software: Make Your Small Business’s Payday a Breeze

Payroll software is one of the most important tools a small business can have at their disposal. Even if you only have a handful of employees, payroll can be complicated. Calculating state and federal taxes, paid time off, and timesheet totals take a toll on your time!

If you, like many small business owners, worry about the bottom line when it comes to payroll support, don’t worry! While there are plenty of paid options out there too, quite a few free payroll services offer support with payroll processing, tax calculations, and direct deposits—without charging any fees. 

Using payroll software is one easy way to free up valuable time to focus on what truly matters: growing your business. Let’s take a closer look at how payroll software can help you save time and money—and make payday a breeze.

What does free payroll software for small businesses do?

Payroll software is an application that helps businesses process payroll efficiently by streamlining critical payroll processes. These include:

  • Calculating wages and salaries
  • Calculating and deducting payroll taxes
  • Calculating and tracking paid time off
  • Generating pay slips
  • Employee payments using direct deposit (if available)
  • Generating periodic payroll reports
  • Handling payroll tax filing, including calculating federal, state, and local taxes

The best payroll software applications will also offer integrations with other business systems. For example, payroll systems for businesses with hourly employees often integrate with time tracking software to calculate what an employee is owed for a given pay period.

Additionally, the software helps calculate paychecks and pays employees through direct deposit, ensuring compliance with payroll regulations. This service can help keep small businesses compliant with the law—without tons of training or expertise.

Payroll software can either be cloud-based or on-premises. Most small businesses typically opt for cloud-based systems, as they don’t typically maintain internal servers.

Make payroll software work for you.

It can seem daunting to set up a new way of doing payroll when you’ve already got a system down. But with integrated payroll software, your accounting becomes simpler—which can only be a good thing. 

Here are a few more benefits to payroll software for small business:

Greater efficiency. Payroll software processes your payroll significantly faster than any manual payroll system. Most payroll software will also automate other related processes, like timesheet integration. It can also calculate the important stuff like taxes and other deductions to keep you inside the law.

Improved accuracy. Say goodbye to typos: with less manual input, there’s less room for error. Provided that the entered data (hours worked, tax withholding information, etc.) is correct, the resulting pay calculation is more likely to be accurate. 

Heightened security. Put your privacy concerns to rest: free payroll software securely protects sensitive data through encryption and other security measures.

Streamlined processes. Payroll management software is designed to streamline and enhance an organization’s payroll processes, boosting overall efficiency in data gathering, payroll calculations, and distributing payments to employees.

Data transparency. Payroll software systems centralize all payroll data in one location, making it easy to access and read. When the comings and goings of your business’s money are all laid out, your decision-making is better informed—and easier to link to outcomes.

Customizability. Tailor your payroll software solution to the specific needs of your business. Additional software features, reporting capabilities, and integration with other workforce management tools can easily combine with payroll systems to establish a comprehensive HR and payroll dashboard. 

As your business grows, you can even upgrade to paid plans for more advanced features so your free payroll solution grows with you.

Greater control. When you manage your payroll in-house, you have greater control over your own payroll operations from start to finish. When changing circumstances hit your small business, weather the storm more easily by modifying payroll protocols at the tips of your fingers.

Compliance support. Keep your business on the level—don’t skimp on payroll compliance. Many software solutions come equipped with payroll compliance features built in to help your business avoid costly compliance mistakes.

Employee self-service. Payroll software can give your team the ability to perform specific payroll tasks online. No need for HR or payroll department intervention to give your team access to their pay slips online or to update their personal information.

The 5 best free payroll software for small businesses.

There’s plenty of high-quality free payroll software options to choose from. We’ve compiled the five best options that cater specifically to the payroll needs of small businesses. 

With these solutions, even the smallest companies can manage payroll efficiently. Here are our top five picks for systems that will make your payroll faster, smarter, and easier to manage.

1. Homebase

Homebase is built for small business owners like you. You have a lot on your plate—so put payroll on ours!

Access timesheets and payroll in the same place to see how your labor expenses shake out at a glance. Put an end to arduous tracking of break times, clock-ins and clock-outs, and time cards—Homebase puts it all together in one single system. 

Manage payroll with just a few clicks, wherever you are! With our mobile app, run payroll on the go—or set and forget it with our auto-payroll feature.

Best of all, you never have to worry about payroll compliance again. Homebase automatically calculates hours, breaks, overtime, wages, and taxes based on your city, state, and federal labor laws. 

You can even set up paid time off policies and track balances and accruals. And say goodbye to cumbersome FLSA record-keeping; Homebase stores time card and payroll records for you, making them easy to find whenever you need them.

Give our free payroll software for small businesses a try!

2. Payroll4free provides a suite of features that small businesses can leverage for payroll processing. They offer payment processing for employees and contractors, tax computations and forms, baseline HR management tools, capabilities for 401(k) and other deductions, tracking of employee vacation time, detailed payroll reports, and an employee portal. 

The free plan includes federal and state tax filing options, making it easier for small businesses to stay compliant. Upgrades also provide the option to integrate with a Payroll Tax Services option that  deposits and files your payroll taxes for you. 

Another upgrade feature includes the use of their bank for processing payments via direct deposit as an alternative to using your own account. They even offer tax filing services, so you can rest easy knowing all your tax obligations are met.


Primarily software for human resources management, offers unlimited payroll processing and HR management tools at no cost. Among its extensive features is tracking of employee hours, attendance, paid time off (PTO), overtime, undertime, and expense accounts. 

The software also automatically sends pay slips on a weekly, semiweekly, monthly, or even semimonthly basis so your team has the records they need, when they need it. maintains a completely free platform, operating on crowdfunding and advertisements displayed on the platform. As a result, it doesn’t offer the option to upgrade features through paid plans. However, as new features are introduced by its developer, users can look forward to future enhancements—accessed free of charge.

4. ExcelPayroll

If you’re used to doing payroll using Microsoft Excel, this might seem like a natural choice! Though not a dedicated accounting software, ExcelPayroll offers versatility and powerful computational abilities,making it a great choice for basic administrative tasks.

ExcelPayroll, also known as ExcelBook Accounting, is a free, ready-to-use application designed for small businesses to handle payroll. It includes seven modules:

  • Ledger
  • Receivables
  • Payables
  • Stock
  • Fixed Assets
  • Payroll
  • Job Costing

While low on integration tools, ExcelPayroll is a great starting tool for any small business looking to upgrade their payroll processes.

5. TimeTrex

TimeTrex is a workforce management solution offering free payroll management tools as part of its Community Edition plan. Its time and attendance tracking, employee scheduling, leave management, HR, and payroll management features provide a key combination of team management tools for any small business. 

TimeTrex automates payroll to simplify money management. Different automation rules can be established for calculating garnishments, benefits, insurance, employee leave, overtime, premiums, accruals, and multiple pay rates, giving you a high degree of control over your business’s financial management.

TimeTrex’s paid plans enhance the Community Edition plan’s features. Starting from just $3 per user, gain access to a mobile app version, facial recognition for time clocks, geofencing for monitoring employee time in the field, document management, invoicing, customer support, accounts receivable (A/R), and talent management.

A guide to running and writing an employee performance review for your small business

The best free payroll software for your small business is at your fingertips.

When choosing the best payroll software for your business, consider the factors that make your business unique. The number of employees, complexity of your payroll, and budget make a big difference to the integrations you need. 

All in all, the best payroll software is one that not only meets your current needs but also has the flexibility to grow with your business. 

For free payroll software designed specifically for small businesses, Homebase has your back. Get started entirely for free and get rid of payroll headaches for good.

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