4 Best Payroll Software For Small Business Reviews 2021 | Make Sure That Your Employees Are Paid Right on Time

If you’re a small business owner, you want to make sure that your employees are always paid right on time and without delay. And if you want to save time and energy, you’re better off investing in payroll software that can handle this for you.

But in a sea of seemingly endless programs, how do you know which ones you can trust to keep your staff paid and paid correctly? We understand how valuable your time is. Running a business of any size takes a lot of dedication and focus. As such, you likely don’t have the time to sift through different payroll software options.

That’s why we did all the research for you. We narrowed down the best payroll software for small businesses so you can easily decide which one is most suitable for your business needs. For the sake of brevity, let’s get right to it so you can make the best decision for your business’s payroll.

Man giving a check

1. Gusto

Depending on how long you’ve been in business, you might already be familiar with Gusto. It was formerly known as ZenPayroll, but don’t let the name change fool you. Gusto remains just as popular and reliable as ZenPayroll.

What makes this option such a hit is its vast array of features, such as employee self-onboarding. This feature is a time-saving godsend for small businesses. Current and new hires use Gusto to enter their own personal information, including their bank data and account information.

From there, Gusto takes care of the rest, reporting new hires directly to the government. And when it’s time for your employees to get paid, Gusto automatically sends their pay stubs to the email address they entered into the system.

It’s truly a breeze to use and works like a charm. The streamlined automation takes the hassle out of payroll so you can focus on other areas of your business, like employee and client relations.


Gusto doesn’t start and stop with just payroll, however. It also takes care of your tax filings, as well. Your business’s federal, state, and local taxes get filed automatically. There’s even free direct deposit available through Gusto, making it a home run for small business owners.

Gusto on a phone with earbuds

And if you prefer, you can use Gusto to offer pre tax employee benefits, 401(k), and health insurance. Accounting and Gusto work hand-in-hand with one another, thanks to Gusto’s integration with accounting software like QuickBooks, Xero, and FreshBooks.

The only real caveat is that Gusto is designed to serve businesses with fewer than 100 employees. So if you have more than that on staff, you will need to look elsewhere for your payroll needs.

Gusto has several plan options available, so you can easily choose the one that has the features you need as a small business owner.

2. QuickBooks Payroll

Speaking of QuickBooks, no payroll software list would be complete without it. QuickBooks is a mainstay for small businesses, and for good reason. It offers a lot of resources and tools for streamlining the payroll process.

QuickBooks Payroll is better suited for small businesses with a lot of employees or larger corporations. Where QuickBooks shines is in its ability to handle all of your payroll, tax, and accounting needs. Since Payroll integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks, you can easily manage all aspects of your business’s finances.


What’s more, QuickBooks Payroll provides business owners with a full-service approach that takes care of all setup and integration into your business. With the help of the QuickBooks’ team, you will be guided through the setup process from start to finish, ensuring that you get the most from this software.

If you’re at all concerned with payroll mistakes, QuickBooks Payroll comes with a mistake-free guarantee for both payroll and taxes. If you’d feel safer trying out Payroll before you buy, QuickBooks offers a free 30-day trial.

Depending on your payroll needs, there are five unique plans available. The only drawback to QuickBooks Payroll is that it doesn’t make financial sense for businesses with fewer than 10 employees. If your staff is small, you might be better off opting for Gusto or our next picks.

Cash symbols on a laptop

3. OnPay

OnPay is perfectly suited to businesses with 10 employees or less. Its simplistic yet powerful format ensures that your staff will be paid accurately and on time. OnPay automatically takes care of payroll deductions and taxes, so you get a hassle-free, streamlined user experience.

Where OnPay differs from a lot of other payroll software is that it is completely cloud-based. This makes it easy to manage your payroll anywhere you have internet access. And thanks to a mobile app, you can access OnPay via your smartphone, as well as a tablet or laptop.


You’ll also appreciate OnPay’s customer service and support. You may contact them over the phone, by email, or even live chat, making sure that you always have a helping hand should you need it.

We like OnPay’s ease-of-use and affordable pricing structure. However, you’ll have to pay an extra fee for employees getting direct deposit. There’s also a fee for W-2 forms that are mailed or printed out.

These are small prices to pay when you consider how accessible and user-friendly OnPay is for small business owners.

4. Patriot Software

Lastly, there’s Patriot Software. This is another affordable payroll software option that is ideal for smaller businesses. If you aren’t looking to spend a small fortune on software but you need to make sure your employees are paid accurately, and on time, you’re sure to be impressed with Patriot Software.

It’s easy to use but has a load of features depending on the plan you choose. Starting at just $10 a month, you get Basic Payroll. For every employee, you’ll add $4. The smaller your team, the lower your monthly cost will be. This is a nice pricing structure that keeps things simple and straightforward.

The Basic plan includes the following features:

  • Customizable hours, money, deductions

  • Repeating, additional money types

  • Time and Attendance integration

  • Accounting Software integration

  • Free workers’ comp integration

  • Paying contractors in payroll

  • Electronic or printable W-2s

  • Optional 1099 e-Filing

  • Free employee portal

  • Free expert support

  • All pay frequencies

  • Free direct deposit

  • Unlimited payrolls

  • Multiple pay rates

  • Multiple locations

  • Free payroll setup

  • Time-off accruals

  • Mobile friendly

  • Departments

Cartooned people with a check

As you can see, you still get quite a bit of flexibility with the most basic plan. But if you’re looking for something more robust, Patriot Software has a Full-Service plan available, as well. This one’s a bit more expensive, costing $30 a month plus $4 for each employee.

However, you get several added features not found in the Basic plan. Not only are all features from Basic included in the Full-Service plan, but Patriot will file and deposit your federal, state, and local payroll taxes, as well as file your year-end payroll tax filings at no additional cost. As with all of Patriot Software’s tax filings, accuracy is guaranteed.

Patriot Software

Patriot Software guarantees that your staff will always be paid on time and without delay. Not only that, but it guarantees that all federal, state and local taxes will be paid on time, as well. And if you prefer, Patriot Software can take care of your W-2 and W-3 filings.

If you’d like to take this payroll software for a test run, Patriot offers a free 30-day trial. If you decide you like it, you’ll get free customer support and setup.

Depending on your business, the only potential downside is that you can’t pay contractors or vendors with Patriot Software. If you need to do so, you’ll have to get separate software. Since we’re focusing on payroll, we can’t knock Patriot Software too hard for this omission. It manages payroll to employees extremely well, making it a choice you can trust for your small business.


Thanks to these payroll software options, you can rest easy knowing that your employees will get paid accurately and on time. As a small business owner, this is essential to ensuring high company morale and productivity.

Before you decide on a payroll option, you’ll want to examine your needs carefully. You may not need to invest in the most expensive and robust software available, so be sure to research each offering’s features to make sure it’s a good fit for your business. In that process, you may as well seek professional advice from top formation services/ registered agents out there such as Nolo, Rocket Lawyer, Zen Business, or IncFile.

If you’re interested in learning more about small business, please be sure to check out the rest of our extensive blog section. We have a wealth of helpful articles that cover a wide range of topics. You can learn how best to run a small business, secure financing for growing your company, information about loans, and much more.

And as always, if you have any questions that we can help you with, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We specialize in securing personal and business loans and will be happy to help you get the funding you need.

Salary and payroll folders

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