Best Payroll Software for Small Business: Intuit Quickbooks Payroll vs ADP vs Paychex vs SurePayroll vs Gusto vs OnPay & More

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Quickbooks logo
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Gusto logo
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SurePayroll logo

Trying to figure out how to save time and resources to run your small business as efficiently as possible? Have you considered investing in a payroll service online? If not, you should. The best online payroll services save you precious time every month that you could be spending on more important parts of your business—and at a pretty affordable cost. Hate worrying about payroll taxes? Online payroll services take that headache off your plate as well! Our online payroll services reviews below can help you decide if online payroll is in your future.

What is the Best Payroll Software for Small Business?

All of the payroll accounting software reviewed here is online, so there’s nothing to download or install. And all of the services we’ve included in this comparison give you plenty of mobility—you can easily run payroll online from your smartphone or tablet while you’re on the go.

Intuit QuickBooks Payroll Review

#1

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Intuit QuickBooks Payroll takes our top spot for best payroll software for small business. Intuit is a breeze to use and offers all the features you’ll need at three affordable pricing tiers. We love the variety of pricing options—something most other services we’ve reviewed here don’t offer. Budgeting is often a huge priority for small businesses, and you can save a ton of money with Intuit’s lower plans (although the lowest plan doesn’t include tax forms). You get easy integration with QuickBooks, and their tax features are impressive. They also offer a few additional services at extremely affordable pricing, including Employee Time Tracking and Worker’s Comp Plans. The only downside we found? They don’t offer live tech support on weekends; however, they are live 12 hours each weekday. We highly recommend you consider their Enhanced or Full Service plans!

Pros

Cons

  • Affordable monthly pricing
  • Can run unlimited monthly payrolls
  • Free direct deposit or print paychecks yourself
  • Automatically calculates and fills out tax forms (easy one-click e-pay) with Enhanced version
  • Full-service tax service option with accuracy guarantee
  • W-2 and 1099 processing
  • Easy integration with QuickBooks
  • Excellent customer support
  • Online resources include payroll calculator, small business blog, community forum and how-to articles
  • Basic plan doesn’t include tax forms
  • No weekend live support
  • No dedicated account specialist

Pricing

Try Intuit QuickBooks Payroll before you buy with their 30-day free trial of their Enhanced Service. In addition to the base price of all plan levels, you incur a $2 per employee per month fee.

 BasicEnhancedFull Service
Month-to-Month$25$39$99
6 Months/Month$20$31.20$79.20
Tax Forms & FilingNo tax forms or filing.Includes payroll tax forms.Tax forms filed and paid automatically

Coupon

Get 20% off of Intuit Quickbooks Payroll for your first six months by using this link!

How Does Intuit Payroll Work?

See how Intuit helps a restaurant owner with 15 employees simplify her payroll management.

Gusto Review

#2

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Gusto comes in a close second behind Intuit QuickBooks Payroll in our battle of online payroll solutions. A relative newcomer, Gusto has made a real name for itself since its 2011 launch. Once you get into Gusto, it’s easy to see why. The simple yet modern interface is easy to set up and maintain, and their employee portal is the best we’ve seen. Gusto offers everything you’ll need for a small business to manage payroll and related tax filings in their base price, including year-end filings, pay-as-you-go workers’ comp, compliance management and a dedicated specialist (most other services charge added fees for these features).

Pros

Cons

  • Competitive pricing for number of features
  • Best interface and we’ve seen with easy setup
  • Can run unlimited pay cycles per month for one monthly fee
  • Free direct deposit or print paychecks yourself
  • Full-service payroll tax forms and payments (accuracy guarantee)
  • W-2 and 1099 processing
  • Integrates with QuickBooks, FreshBooks, Xero and other accounting software
  • Customers report responsive, helpful tech support
  • Online resources include blog, articles, videos
  • No customer support on weekends
  • No community forum
  • No dedicated account representative for businesses with less than ten employees

Pricing

Gusto offers a 30-day free trial so you can try before you purchase.

  • $39 per month base price
  • $6 per person per month

Coupon

There are not any Gusto coupons at this time.

SurePayroll Review

#3

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SurePayroll, now owned by Paychex, is one of the oldest online payroll manager services around. But SurePayroll has kept up with the times—they’re among the quickest online payroll processing services we’ve seen. Once you set up your employees and payroll criteria, all you have to do is click one button to process every pay cycle. But even if you have multiple payrolls to run, it’s still a quick and easy process. They also offer full-service payroll tax filing with their monthly pricing and hold multiple industry awards for excellent customer service. If you’re looking for more services, SurePayroll offers a few add-ons, including 401(K), Health Insurance, Workers Comp.

Pros

Cons

  • Competitive pricing for number of features
  • Quick, simple processing each month even running multiple payrolls
  • Free direct deposit or print paychecks in house
  • Full-service payroll tax forms and payments with accuracy guarantee
  • W-2 and 1099 processing
  • Integrates with QuickBooks, Xero, AccountEdge and other popular accounting software
  • Award-winning customer support
  • Online resources include payroll calculators, blog and articles
  • Additional fee for end of year tax form filing
  • No customer support on Sundays
  • No community forum
  • Dedicated account specialist unavailable

Pricing

When we ran a quote for SurePayroll, it said the following: Price is good for one year, and will be subject to increases thereafter. So your price may go up, but to be fair, your price could go up with any of these services.

  • $39.99 per month for 10 employees, semi-monthly pay +$4 per employee per month

Coupon

There are not any SurePayroll coupons at this time.

Comparison Table

Read our Small Business Accounting Software Reviews

See our side-by-side table to help you compare all of our reviewed online payroll software features, pricing and more. *In this table, monthly pricing is an estimate for a small business with 10 employees being paid at a semi-monthly rate. Some of the companies we reviewed have base rates and an added fee per month per employee; some give you an instant quote based on the number of employees and frequency of payroll runs. We created the monthly estimate so you can best compare pricing across the board.

 Winner: Quickbooks2nd Place: Gusto3rd Place: SurePayrollADP PayrollBenefitMallOnPayPaychex
Winner: Quickbooks2nd Place: Gusto3rd Place: SurePayrollADP PayrollBenefitMallOnPayPaychex
Visit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit Website
Read ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead Review
Monthly Price*$119$99$79.99Contact ADP$163.58$76Contact Paychex
Out-of-State Tax$12$0$0$0$0$10$0
Free Trial30 days30 daysnonenonenonenonenone
Hourly, Salary & Contracted PayCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Unlimited Pay Runs Per MonthCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Direct DepositCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
In-House Check PrintingCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
PTO AccrualCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Payroll DeductionsCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
ReportingCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Employer ContributionsCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Wage GarnishmentsCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Employee PortalCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
New Employee ReportingCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Automatic Payroll TaxesCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
End Year Tax FilingAdded feeCheckmarkAdded feeAdded feeAdded feeAdded feeAdded fee
Mobile AppsCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Accounting Software IntegrationCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
24/7 Tech SupportCheckmarkCheckmark
Dedicated Account SpecialistCheckmarkAdded feeCheckmark
Visit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit Website
Read ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead Review

Other Best Small Business Payroll Software Reviews

As a small business owner, you know the legal headaches of doing payroll and payroll taxes accurately. It’s a heavily regulated part of any small business, and if not done right, you face severe penalties from the Internal Revenue Service. Many of the online payroll services we’ve reviewed here are an affordable way of making sure your employees get paid, and your tax and other related obligations are satisfied with relative ease. The following payroll companies didn’t make our top three, but you may discover a service that fits your needs perfectly. Click on a link below to see our reviews of other online payroll service providers.

ADP Payroll Review | BenefitMall Review | OnPay Review | Paychex Flex Review

ADP Payroll Review

ADP Payroll logoVisit Website

ADP is one of the most popular and well-known services for workforce management, including payroll services online. They offer three plan levels, Essential, Enhanced and Complete Payroll+HR. When comparing these levels to other best online payroll services we’ve reviewed, the features of their Enhanced plan more closely match what other services offer. ADP’s pricing is higher than most services in our reviews (even their lowest plan). ADP is a reliable, strong contender in online payroll, but its high cost may deter small businesses looking for more affordable options with a robust set of features. If your business is mid-sized, however, you should consider ADP.

Pros

Cons

  • Easy and unlimited payroll runs each month
  • Full-service payroll tax forms and filing with accuracy guarantee
  • Free direct deposit and in-house check printing
  • W-2 and 1099 processing
  • Integrates with QuickBooks and other popular accounting software
  • 24/7 customer service
  • Good online resources for businesses of all sizes
  • Customers report higher pricing than many other small business payroll services (must contact ADP for pricing)
  • Added fee for year-end tax filing
  • No dedicated specialist


Pricing

You must contact ADP Sales to get a price quote for your small business. They do offer 2 months free when you sign up for a payroll plan.

BenefitMall PayFocus Review

BenefitMall logoVisit Website

BenefitMall is a service with a strong focus on human resources and workforce management. The company’s online payroll service, PayFocus, does a good job at processing payroll and handling payroll taxes. BenefitMall recently released PayFocus + HR Software, which gives small businesses a combination of payroll processing and human resources services. And you get a dedicated account specialist to help with all of your business needs. You also have the option of PayFocus Full Service, where your account specialist takes processing off of your hands. BenefitMall bases their pricing per payroll rather than per month. While you can still run unlimited combinations of payrolls, it may get pretty expensive depending on your needs. And their pricing is on the high side. But if you’re looking for payroll and more specialized HR assistance, BenefitMall is a solid choice.

Pros

Cons

  • Unlimited payrolls per month
  • Free direct deposit or print paychecks in house
  • Full-service option with dedicated specialist and accuracy guarantee
  • W-2 and 1099 processing
  • Integrates with many accounting software
  • Dedicated account specialist
  • Good variety of add-ons, including 401K, Worker’s Comp, ACA Compliance and more
  • Higher than average pricing
  • Additional fee to file end of year tax forms
  • Doesn’t offer 24/7 customer service
  • Online resources not as extensive as many other services

Pricing

BenefitMall’s pricing differs from other services—they charge per payroll rather than per month.

  • $163.58/month (based on 10 employees and bi-weekly pay cycles)

OnPay Review

OnPay logoVisit Website

OnPay is a simple yet sleek and affordable online payroll service best geared toward small- to mid-sized small businesses. You’re not going to find many add-ons with OnPay, but that’s not their niche. They offer solid, unlimited payroll cycles each month, and they do all the payroll tax forms for you (including filing). Their base rate of $36.00 per month and $4 per month per employee. OnPay is an affordable monthly price for what you get.

Pros

Cons

  • Very competitive monthly pricing
  • Quick, easy processing with unlimited pay schedules per month
  • Print paychecks in house
  • Full-service payroll tax forms and payments with accuracy guarantee
  • W-2 and 1099 processing
  • Integrates with QuickBooks and Xero
  • No 24/7 customer service
  • No dedicated account rep
  • Online resources are very limited compared to others

Pricing

Your first month is free with OnPay.

  • $36 per month
  • $4 per month per employee

Paychex Flex Review

Paychex Flex logoVisit Website

Paychex, the parent company of our number three pick SurePayroll, has been an industry leading payroll, human resources, and benefits outsourcing company for several decades. Its Paychex Flex online payroll service is a solid, reliable choice for businesses of all sizes. But it tends to be more expensive for smaller sized businesses than many other payroll services we’ve reviewed here—and with a few missing features (most notably, you can’t run unlimited payrolls each month, and you can’t print checks in-house). But if you have the budget, definitely look into Paychex Flex. They offer 24/7 customer support and a dedicated specialist.

Pros

Cons

  • Easy processing once you get set up
  • Full-service payroll tax management with accuracy guarantee
  • Free direct deposit
  • W-2 and 1099 processing
  • Integrates with QuickBooks, Sage, Kashoo and more
  • 24/7 customer service and a dedicated specialist
  • Good online resources for all business sizes
  • Many customers say they’re more expensive than competitors (you have to contact Paychex for a price quote)
  • Can’t run unlimited payrolls each month
  • Year-end tax filing is an added fee
  • No in-house check printing

Pricing

You have to contact Paychex for an individual price quote.

Rethink Your Accounting Software

While you’re searching for the best payroll software, you may want to analyze your accounting software needs. As your business grows and adapts to new technologies, you may need various features when it comes to accounting software. Read our Best Small Business Accounting Software to keep your books correct and organized.

Which payroll software would you recommend for a small business and why? 

Sally has coupled her passion for writing with her (slight) obsession for the latest high tech gadgets. While she’s not daydreaming about the beach, she’s taking advantage of all the activities her hometown has to offer in the Blue Ridge foothills.

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1 Comment on "Best Payroll Software for Small Business: Intuit Quickbooks Payroll vs ADP vs Paychex vs SurePayroll vs Gusto vs OnPay & More"

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Bizowner
Bizowner

Paying employees is a necessary evil. I have yet to outsources this to an accountant but need a way to make this easier each month so am going to try one of these out. Intuit looks like a solid product, plus a good brand name to back it up.

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