9 Best Human Resources Payroll Software for 2023
This article is part of a larger series on Payroll Services.
Human resources payroll software combines both HR and payroll features in one platform. By sharing information between the two functions, you can save time and increase accuracy. The best human resource and payroll software not only offer solutions that integrate well with each other but have reasonably priced plans and online tools that are easy to learn and use.
In this guide, we researched and compared 13 popular options and narrowed the list down to our top nine recommendations.
- Gusto: Best overall human resource payroll software for businesses needing payroll, team, and project tracking tools
- Rippling: Best for tech-heavy companies wanting modular HR, payroll, and IT solutions
- QuickBooks Payroll: Best for QuickBooks accounting users
- Paychex: Best for solopreneurs and employers needing dedicated payroll support
- TriNet Zenefits (formerly Zenefits): Best for businesses in highly regulated industries
- Square Payroll: Best for small retail and restaurant businesses
- ADP: Best for growing companies looking for scalable plans
- OnPay: Best human resource and payroll software with robust system permissions
- SurePayroll: Best low-cost do-it-yourself (DIY) payroll service (although it also offers a full-service package)
Top Human Resource Payroll Software Compared
Starter Monthly Pricing
Payroll Tax Filings and Year-end Reporting
$6 per employee + $40 base fee
$8 per employee + $35 base fee**
Included in monthly pricing**
$5 per employee + $45 base fee
$5 per employee + $39 base fee
Year-end reporting costs extra
$10 per employee
$6 per employee
$5 per employee + $35 base fee
$2.50 per employee, per weekly pay run + $49 base fee
Year-end reporting costs extra
$6 per employee + $40 base fee
Up to six months
$5 per employee + $29.99 base fee***
$9.99 monthly for OH/PA local tax filings
*Free trial offers may change at any time. Visit the provider’s website for the latest promo on offer.
**Pricing is based on a quote we received (includes time tracking, onboarding, and payroll)
***SurePayroll also offers a DIY tax filing plan priced at $19.99 + $4 per employee monthly
All of the human resource and payroll software we reviewed offer payroll, employee information management, and state new hire reporting tools. Below are some of the standout features.
Health Benefits in All States
Applicant Tracking and Job Postings
Advanced HR Solutions
37 states only
HI, VT, and DC are not covered
Hiring services cost extra
Hawaii isn’t covered
Hiring packages start at $62 monthly
(job postings to 25,000 job sites)
HR Payroll Software Pricing Calculator
Do you want to compare costs? Use our online calculator to compute the estimated monthly and annual costs of our top recommended human resource and payroll software.
Gusto: Best Overall Human Resources Payroll Software
- Full-service payroll with tax payments and filings included in all plans
- Offers an affordable contractor-only option
- Employee benefits plans include non-standard options (like 529 college savings)
- Unlimited and automatic pay runs
- Health insurance coverage limited to 37 states
- Lacks payroll mobile app
- No dedicated payroll specialist
- Time tracking, hiring, and performance reviews included in higher tiers
Plans & Pricing
- Simple: $40 per month plus $6 per employee monthly
- Plus: $80 per month plus $12 per employee monthly
- Premium: Custom priced
- Contractor-only payroll plan: $35 plus $6 per contractor monthly
- Full-service payroll, four-day direct deposits, and state new hire reporting
- State payroll tax registration: Pricing varies per state
- HR advisory services for Plus plan only: $8 per employee monthly (this is included for free in the Premium tier)
- International contractor payments across 90-plus countries: Custom-priced
Gusto is a highly rated and popular small business payroll software with basic HR functions (such as time tracking, hiring and onboarding, new hire reporting, and performance reviews) in its higher-tier plans. It can process both employee and contractor payroll, files the applicable payroll taxes and year-end W-2/1099 reports, and even handles tip credits. Health benefits options are also available, although the coverage is limited to 37 states as of this writing.
Since Our Last Update: Gusto is no longer offering the Cashout program, which enabled employees to access a portion of their earned salaries between paydays. In addition, Gusto has increased the pricing of its contractor-only payroll plan—from $6 per worker monthly to $35 plus $6 per contractor monthly. As part of a new promo, new clients who sign up for this plan will get discounted pricing of only $6 per contractor monthly (no base fee) for the first six months. After this period, you will be charged the regular monthly fee.
Scoring 4.53 out of 5, Gusto earned the highest overall rating in our evaluation due to its intuitive interface, solid payroll tools, reasonably priced plans, and reporting capabilities. Many users also love its user-friendly platform that makes processing employee payments easy for them. However, Gusto lost some points for not providing health insurance in all 50 states and a robust HR solution suite like ADP, Paychex, TriNet Zenefits, and Rippling do.
- Unlimited and automatic payroll runs: Unlike Paychex or ADP, Gusto lets you run payroll as many times as you want and need without having to pay extra. It even has an “AutoPilot” mode that processes your payroll automatically.
- Multiple payment options: Salaries are remitted to the employees’ accounts either through pay cards or direct deposits. Gusto’s standard direct deposit timeline is two or four days, although it has a next-day option if you subscribe to its higher plans.
- Employee benefits: Gusto can manage your benefits plans or integrate your existing broker and eligible health plans into its system for a fee ($6 per eligible employee monthly). It offers a wide range of options that include commuter benefits, HSA/FSA, 529 college savings accounts, and retirement plans.
- HR tools: Gusto provides small businesses with essential HR tools that they would need to hire, onboard, and offboard employees. Gusto even offers analytics to help you understand workforce costs and see how much time employees spend working on projects and tasks. It also has online surveys for measuring employee engagement.
While Gusto has a reasonably priced contractor-only payroll plan ($35 plus $6 per contractor monthly), it doesn’t compare to Square Payroll’s low-cost, contractor-only option, which is priced at $5 per contractor monthly. Gusto also doesn’t print paychecks for your employees—you have to do this yourself. If this isn’t an option for you, consider ADP or Paychex, as both offer paper checks with signing services.
In addition, Gusto’s health insurance coverage is limited—it isn’t available in Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming. For health benefits that cover all 50 states, consider any of the human resource payroll software in this guide except TriNet Zenefits (its health plans aren’t available in Hawaii) and QuickBooks Payroll (coverage doesn’t include Hawaii, Vermont, and District of Columbia). Note that with Rippling, you have to pay extra for its benefits modules.
Rippling: Best for Tech-heavy Businesses Needing Modular HR, Payroll & IT Tools
- Offers modular HR, payroll, benefits, and IT solutions that integrate seamlessly; you can choose only modules that you need
- IT tools streamline computer and app provisioning and deprovisioning processes
- Integrates with 500+ third-party software and apps
- Unlimited and automated payroll
- You must purchase its core “Rippling Unity” workforce management platform before you can get its other modules
- Can get pricey as you add more solutions/modules
- HR help desk option with phone and email support costs extra
Rippling Plan & Pricing*
- $35 plus $8 per employee monthly
- Includes Rippling’s core workforce management platform, employee onboarding and offboarding, full-service payroll, time tracking, and software integrations
- App, device, and computer inventory management: $8 per employee monthly
- Benefits administration: Pricing varies, depending on your insurance broker
- HR help desk: Custom-priced
- Global payroll: $20 per employee or contractor monthly
- EoR services: $599 per employee monthly
*Pricing is based on a quote we received.
Rippling is a highly adaptable human resource payroll software. Its core platform is a workforce management solution that includes onboarding/offboarding tools, document management, system permissions, workflow automations, and a unified database. Depending on your HR needs, you can add other modules to its platform if you want full-service payroll, benefits, time and attendance, applicant tracking, and learning management functionalities. It even has IT tools for managing the business software and computers that employees use. This makes Rippling optimal for tech-heavy businesses as it can streamline and automate HR, payroll, and basic IT processes.
Since Our Last Update: Rippling has released a new headcount planning and compensation bands solution. This feature provides you with a single source of truth for all your headcount numbers and compensation costs, streamlining the process of tracking approved headcount for new hires while preventing out-of-compensation band salary offers.
Scoring 4.36 out of 5, Rippling earned top marks for reporting, pricing, user popularity, HR functions, and payroll features. It lost points because live phone support with an HR expert costs extra and it doesn’t provide a dedicated payroll specialist like Paychex does. Nonetheless, many users left positive reviews on third-party sites like G2 and Capterra, wherein they praised its intuitive platform, robust HR functions, and seamless third-party software integrations.
- US and global payroll: For US-based companies, Rippling offers unlimited pay runs, direct deposit payments, payroll tax filings, and year-end reporting. If you need to hire and pay international staff, Rippling offers Employer of Record (EoR) services to help manage your global hiring and payroll needs.
- IT solutions: Rippling can help you manage computer inventories, set up app accounts for new hires, and install the required business software on company-issued laptops. For your resigning staff, Rippling automatically revokes system access on your employee’s last working day. It can even remotely lock devices and wipe data from computers.
- Robust software integrations: Rippling is the only provider in this guide that connects with over 500 third-party apps. Given its extensive network of partner systems, it’s highly likely that the business software you’re using is included in its integration options.
- HR tools: From job postings to applicant tracking, Rippling has the hiring tools you need to find and screen qualified candidates. It also offers onboarding, new hire reporting, and learning management solutions. Tracking employee attendance is also possible through its time and attendance module.
- Flexible PEO service: Rippling offers a professional employer organization (PEO) service in case you’re looking for a co-employment option to help manage your day-to-day HR, payroll, and benefits administration processes. Both ADP and Paychex also have PEO solutions, but lack Rippling’s flexible services, which allow you to easily turn off its PEO and transition to its HR platform with a click of a button.
Rippling may have a feature-rich HR payroll platform, but it doesn’t have ADP’s wide job posting reach and Paychex’s and TriNet Zenefits’s compensation management tools. And while you can contact Rippling’s customer service team through email and chat, it doesn’t provide the phone support that the other providers on our list offer.
Rippling can also get pricey, depending on the number of HR, employee benefits, payroll, and IT modules that you’ll get. If you have a limited budget and only need payroll, benefits, and basic HR, we recommend OnPay, as it has only one plan that’s reasonably priced ($40 plus $6 per employee monthly) and comes with all of its functionalities.
QuickBooks Payroll: Best for QuickBooks Users
- Offers next- and same-day direct deposits
- Unlimited and automatic payroll
- Tax penalty protection program; QuickBooks to cover tax penalties (up to $25,000/year) regardless of who makes the mistake
- Seamless integration with QuickBooks Accounting
- Time tracking and local tax filings included in premium tiers
- Tax penalty protection available only in highest plan
- Integrates mostly with QuickBooks products; you need its accounting platform to access third-party software integrations
- Basic HR features
- Health insurance coverage is limited (unavailable in HI, VT, and DC)
QuickBooks Payroll Plans & Pricing
- Core: $45 per month plus $5 per employee monthly
- Premium: $75 per month plus $8 per employee monthly
- Elite: $125 per month plus $10 per employee monthly
- Contractor payments plan: $15 monthly for 20 workers, plus $2 per additional contractor
- Ideal for businesses that only pay contract workers
If you use QuickBooks accounting and want a simple HR payroll solution that connects seamlessly with it, then QuickBooks Payroll may be right for you. It allows unlimited pay runs with automated payroll tax payments and filings, including year-end tax reporting. What sets QuickBooks Payroll apart from the other human resources and payroll software in this guide is its fast direct deposits, wherein its standard processing timeline is a next-day option. Other providers may offer a similar service but will require you to either subscribe to its higher tiers (such as Gusto) or use its online payment solution (like Square Payroll with its Square Payments tool).
QuickBooks Payroll earned 4.32 out of 5 in our evaluation with high ratings (4 and above) in reporting, payroll functionalities, pricing, and ease of use. It didn’t rank higher on our list because it doesn’t offer advanced HR tools like TriNet Zenefits’ compensation planning module, Rippling’s and Paychex’s learning management solutions, or ADP’s job postings to 25,000+ job sites. However, users still appreciate its efficient pay processing tools and fast payment options.
QuickBooks Payroll Overview
- Seamless integration with QuickBooks Accounting: QuickBooks Payroll easily connects with QuickBooks Accounting, which makes updating general ledgers after each payroll period easier for you.
- Fast direct deposits: QuickBooks Payroll processes direct deposits faster than the other providers on our list. It has same-day direct deposits included in its higher tiers and a next-day option as its standard processing timeline.
- Robust tax penalty protection: QuickBooks Payroll offers a tax accuracy guarantee and a tax penalty protection program. The first one covers penalties for late tax payments, provided you gave the accurate information to QuickBooks and have available funds in your account to pay applicable payroll taxes. The second option is only for its Elite plan subscribers, wherein QuickBooks will shoulder tax penalties (up to $25,000/year), regardless of who made the mistake. None of the providers on our list have a tax penalty protection program as robust.
- Access to HR experts: Get answers to your compliance and HR questions through QuickBooks Payroll’s HR advisory services (provided through Mineral). Available for Elite plan subscribers, you can consult with certified HR professionals on critical HR issues either via phone or online. Its services also include helping you create company policies and an employee handbook.
QuickBooks Payroll’s HR features aren’t as advanced compared to ADP, Paychex, Rippling, and TriNet Zenefits. And while it may offer full-service pay processing with unlimited pay runs and year-end W-2/1099 reporting, the tax service included in its starter plan doesn’t cover local tax filings. Note that the other human resource payroll software we reviewed offer tax filing services that cover all levels (federal, state, and local)—regardless of the plan selected.
In addition, if you want benefits plans that include non-standard options, consider Gusto’s college savings accounts or ADP’s employee discounts from its partner retail shops.
Paychex: Best for Solopreneurs & Businesses Needing Dedicated Payroll Support
- Special package for solopreneurs includes payroll, incorporation support, and access to a 401(k) plan
- Has multiple HR and payroll plans
- Offers a dedicated payroll specialist
- Automated payroll and payroll tax filings
- Pricing isn’t all transparent
- Dedicated HR support costs extra
- Learning management tools and access to a dedicated payroll specialist are included in higher tiers
- Time tracking is a paid add-on
Paychex Plans & Pricing
- Paychex Flex Essentials: $39 monthly plus $5 per employee monthly
- Paychex Flex Select: Custom priced
- Paychex Flex Pro: Custom priced
Paychex Plan for solopreneurs and the self-employed
Paychex is a feature-rich human resource and payroll software. It has a wide range of tools and services that help you manage the entire employee lifecycle—from hiring to retiring. What’s great about Paychex is that apart from providing 24/7 customer support, it assigns a dedicated payroll specialist to its clients. Plus, it has small business tiers that are perfect for startups and a special plan for solopreneurs. The other providers in this guide don’t offer dedicated payroll support and solopreneur options.
In our evaluation, Paychex earned a 4.26 out of 5 with perfect marks in HR features, reporting, and popularity among users. Many like its efficient payroll, onboarding, and employee self-service tools. However, it scored the lowest in pricing because most of its products and plans are custom-priced (except for the starter tier of its Paychex Flex solution).
- Multiple plan options: Paychex’s multiple plans target businesses of different sizes, including those run by only one person. Solopreneurs can start with its Paychex Solo option, which includes payroll, a retirement plan, and business incorporation services. If their operations expand, requiring them to hire workers, then they can transition to its Paychex Flex product, which comes with more compliance support and advanced HR tools for handling employees. Note that while ADP also offers flexible plans that can handle the growing HR and payroll needs of your business, it doesn’t have a special package that’s geared toward the self-employed.
- Employee benefits: In addition to retirement, health insurance, FSA/HSA, dental, and vision plans, Paychex offers financial wellness tools—the other human resource payroll software that we reviewed don’t have this.
- HR tools: Paychex’s HR solution suite is similar to that of ADP, but more robust than those of Square Payroll, OnPay, QuickBooks Payroll, and Gusto. These four mainly offer onboarding, online document management, and new hire reporting functionalities, although Gusto also provides performance review tools. Paychex has all these functionalities and more, including learning management, employee attendance tracking, background screening, hiring, and PEO services.
- Strong support: Paychex assigns a highly trained payroll specialist to its clients to serve as their single point of contact for everything related to pay and tax processing. It also provides 24/7 phone support with customer service reps that are all US-based.
Paychex’s payroll tools can handle both employee and contractor payments, although it lacks the separate contractor-only payroll plans that Gusto and Square Payroll offer. Tax calculations, payments, filings, and year-end reports will be managed by Paychex, but some of these payroll administration services require add-on fees. For a payroll solution that doesn’t charge extra for filing tax forms, consider any of the providers in this guide except ADP and SurePayroll (which charges $9.99 monthly for OH and PA local tax filings). QuickBooks Payroll is also a good choice, but you have to subscribe to its Elite plan if you want local tax filings.
Further, if you require a wide job posting reach, consider ADP, as it can advertise your job listings to over 25,000 sites. TriNet Zenefits is also a good choice if you’re looking for a compensation planning solution, while Rippling is great for those wanting basic IT tools to streamline computer and software provisioning and deprovisioning processes (Paychex doesn’t have these features).
TriNet Zenefits: Best for Highly Regulated Businesses
- Reasonably priced plans with multiple options
- Strong compliance tools with HR advisory services
- Time tracking and employee scheduling included in all plans
- Unlimited pay runs
- Payroll and advisory services are paid add-ons
- Medical, vision, and dental plans not available in Hawaii
- All plans and add-ons have a minimum five employee requirement
TriNet Zenefits Plans & Pricing*
- Essentials: $10 per employee monthly
- Growth: $20 per employee monthly
- Zen: $27 per employee monthly
- Contingent workers: $6 per worker monthly with any plan
- Payroll: $6 per employee monthly
- HR advisory services: $10 per employee monthly
- Benefits administration if you have your own broker: $5 per employee monthly
- Recruiting: Starts at $62 per month
*All plans and add-ons require at least five employees. Annual plans are also available with slightly lower rates.
TriNet Zenefits (formerly Zenefits) is an HR program to which you can add payroll and HR advisory services—even its most basic plan comes with hiring, onboarding, PTO and time tracking, and document management solutions. It works with insurance brokers to provide health plans in 49 states—Hawaii not included. We found TriNet Zenefits optimal for businesses in highly regulated industries because of its solid tools that not only automate HR and benefits compliance but also monitor your compliance status.
Earning an overall rating of 4.01 out of 5, TriNet Zenefits scored well (4 and up) in nearly all of our criteria, given its efficient HR and reporting functionalities. Users also like its user-friendly interface and how well its solutions integrate with each other. However, it didn’t rank higher on our list since it doesn’t offer automatic pay runs, dedicated support, health insurance coverage across all US states, and check printing/signing services (which both ADP and Paychex offer).
TriNet Zenefits Overview
- Feature-rich HR platform: TriNet Zenefits has an HR solution suite that includes a wide range of essential features. Aside from processing payroll, it can help you onboard new hires, manage compensation plans, monitor performance reviews, and even run employee surveys. However, its HR plans lack the hiring tools that Gusto offers in its higher tiers. Similar to Rippling and Paychex, you have to pay extra (monthly fees start at $62) to unlock its recruiting tools.
- Time and attendance tools in every plan: Time and attendance tools are included in all of its HR plans, making it easy for you to capture actual employee time data for pay processing. Note that SurePayroll and OnPay don’t have time tracking capabilities, while Gusto and QuickBooks Payroll offer this in their higher tiers. Rippling, ADP, and Paychex also have time tracking functionalities, but as a paid add-on.
- Employee benefits: Aside from access to employee benefits options (like medical, dental, vision, FSA/HSA, and retirement plans), TriNet Zenefits provides online tools to streamline benefits administration. You can use its partner brokers to manage your plans or pay a monthly fee ($5 per employee) to have your own broker administer your benefits.
TriNet Zenefits, like Rippling, requires you to purchase its payroll module separately. If you don’t want to pay extra for it, consider the seven other providers on our list. If you need global payroll tools, both Rippling and ADP are great options. Gusto also supports international payments, but only for global contractors.
And, given TriNet Zenefits’s five-employee minimum for all of its plans, startups and very small businesses that employ fewer than five employees are better off with either Paychex or SurePayroll as both offer affordable payroll plans without any headcount requirements.
Square Payroll: Best for Small Retail & Restaurant Businesses
- Has a low-cost contractor-only plan
- Seamless integration with Square POS
- Offers fast direct deposits, including an instant payment option
- Automatic and unlimited payroll
- Standard direct deposit has a four-day processing timeline
- A Square Payments account is needed for next-day direct deposits and instant payments
- Limited HR solutions; doesn’t offer hiring, job posting, and learning management tools
Square Payroll Plans & Pricing
- Pay employees and contractors: $35 per month plus $5 per employee monthly
- Pay contractors only: $5 per contractor monthly
Most people know Square for its POS and payment processing, but it also handles payroll and basic HR functions through its Square Payroll solution. It sets itself apart from most other human resource and payroll software on our list in that it has a low-cost plan for contractors, offers an instant payment option, and connects seamlessly with Square POS (which is popular among small retail and restaurant businesses).
With an overall score of 3.96 out of 5, Square Payroll didn’t rank high on our list because it lacks expert HR advisers on staff and has limited HR functions. However, its payroll features are strong with tools that include multiple payment options, automatic and unlimited pay runs, year-end W-2/1099 reporting, and automatic payroll tax filings. Users who left reviews on third-party sites like G2 and Capterra also rated it positively for ease of use, affordability, and payroll functionalities.
Square Payroll Overview
- Low-cost contractor-only plan: Priced at only $5 per contractor monthly, Square Payroll has one of the most budget-friendly contractor-only plan in this guide. Gusto has a similar option but charges a slightly higher monthly fee ($35 plus 6 per contractor), while the other seven human resource payroll software we reviewed don’t have a special contractor plan.
- Multiple employee payment options: Employee salary payouts can be made through direct deposits, paychecks, and via its “Cash App.” While the standard direct deposit processing timeline is four days, this can be shortened to a next-day option and even instant payments if you have a Square Payments account. Plus, like Paychex, it has an on-demand pay feature that enables employees to withdraw a portion of their earned wages in case of financial emergencies.
- Payroll tax filing and reporting: Square Payroll offers automatic payroll tax filings for all levels (federal, state, and local) at no extra cost. This is unlike Paychex and ADP, which charges fees for year-end tax reports, and QuickBooks Payroll, which requires you to upgrade to its highest tier if you want local tax filings. Square Payroll will also prepare and file W-2 and 1099 tax forms at year-end—a service that costs extra with ADP.
- Square POS integration: Given the seamless connection between Square Payroll and Square POS, you can easily import tips, commissions, and even employee time data for pay processing.
Square Payroll’s HR functionalities are limited to new hire reporting, employee onboarding, and PTO tracking. It can capture employee clock-ins/outs, but it has to be through the Square POS and its Square Team app. If you’re looking for advanced HR features, Rippling, ADP, Paychex, and TriNet Zenefits are great options.
While its employee benefits include standard plans like health insurance, retirement, and workers’ compensation, the options are limited. If you prefer a wider selection, consider Gusto (offerings include a college savings plan), Paychex (has financial wellness tools), and ADP (provides employee discounts).
ADP: Best for Growing Companies Looking for Scalable Plans
- Feature-rich platform; comes with job posting, background checks, new hire onboarding, payroll, benefits, and training solutions
- Has multiple products and flexible plans that cater to different business sizes
- Offers secure paychecks with advanced fraud protection
- Automated payroll and tax filings
- Non-transparent pricing
- Year-end tax reporting and form delivery cost extra
- Time tracking, workers' compensation, and benefits plans are add-on products
ADP Run Plans & Pricing
- Essential: $49 base monthly plus $2.50 per employee, per weekly pay run
- Enhanced: Custom-priced
- Complete: Custom-priced
- HR Pro: Custom-priced
- Time and attendance: Custom-priced
- Employee benefits: Custom-priced
ADP is optimal for those needing a human resource and payroll software for managing a wide range of functions. It has a comprehensive solution suite with flexible plans that can handle basic to complex HR and payroll processes. This makes ADP a good choice for growing businesses that don’t want to deal with the hassle of switching companies because they’ve outgrown the one they’re with.
Scoring 3.96 out of 5 in our evaluation, ADP’s robust solution suite that includes payroll, employee benefits, onboarding, online training, and hiring tools contributed to its high scores. Users also appreciate its ease of use and how its payroll solution helps them save time and simplify processes. However, it lost points due to its non-transparent pricing.
- Flexible plans: ADP and Paychex are very similar, as both have plans and products for businesses of all sizes. What ADP lacks is a pricing plan for solopreneurs and the self-employed—an option that Paychex offers. However, compared to those of Paychex, the features included in ADP’s plans are slightly more robust, as it comes with employee discounts, a wide job posting reach (via ZipRecruiter), and legal assistance (like consultations for contract review and debt collection) through Upnetic Legal Services.
- Payroll processing: ADP makes processing payroll easy, given its cloud-based system that automatically calculates earnings, deductions, and tax withholdings—it can even handle international payroll for global employees. It remits payroll tax payments and files the applicable tax forms to federal, state, and local agencies at no cost (Paychex charges extra for this).
- Employee payment options: Salaries are remitted to employee accounts via direct deposits and through Wisely Direct debit cards. Secure paychecks that include check signing and stuffing services are also available in ADP’s higher tiers. Note that aside from Paychex, the other providers in this guide don’t have similar paycheck services.
- Employee benefits: What sets ADP apart from the other human resource payroll software that we reviewed is its employee discount program—a perk you can offer to your staff that allows them to get discounts from ADP’s partner brands and retail shops. Plus, it also provides access to the usual benefits options, like retirement and health insurance plans, that are available across the US.
- HR tools: ADP has comprehensive HR solutions for managing hiring, training, performance reviews, employee attendance, and more. It even lets you post open jobs to more than 25,000 job sites, enabling you to easily find qualified candidates and hire employees.
The creation, delivery, and filing of W-2/1099 tax forms at year-end are included in ADP’s services, but this requires add-on fees. For year-end reporting and tax filings that come with no extra cost, consider Square Payroll and Gusto. Rippling and TriNet Zenefits are also good options, but their payroll and tax filing modules are paid add-ons to its core platforms.
In case you have a small team and prefer to handle tax filings yourself, consider SurePayroll, as it offers a DIY plan apart from its full-service payroll package. And while ADP offers PEO services, it isn’t as flexible as Rippling’s PEO solution, which allows you to easily turn it off and seamlessly transition to using its HR software again.
OnPay: Best HR Payroll Tools With Robust System Permissions
- Has an affordably priced plan
- Offers full-service payroll with automatic tax filings
- Files Form 943 for agriculture companies
- Unlimited pay runs
- Lacks multiple tiers that cater to varying payroll and HR needs
- Eligibility for either two- or four-day direct deposits is based on OnPay’s risk assessment
- Limited third-party software integrations
- Basic HR features
OnPay Plan & Pricing
- $40 per month + $6 per employee monthly
OnPay offers one of the most affordable full-service packages among the human resource payroll software that we reviewed. It only has one plan (priced at $40 + $6 per employee monthly), which comes with all of its features—from multistate pay processing and employee benefits to PTO tracking and full customer support. This means that you don’t need to upgrade to higher plans to unlock additional features as you would with other providers like Gusto (whose starter “Simple” tier only covers payroll for one state, but costs the same as OnPay).
Its payroll and tax filing services even cover unique industries, such as farm and agricultural businesses, enabling it to handle Form 943 (Annual Federal Tax Return for Agricultural Employees) filings and tax processing for workers on H-2A visas with ease. However, its HR features aren’t as robust as the other human resources payroll software on our list—OnPay only provides essential tools for onboarding, new hire reporting, and online document management. It does, however, have extensive permission settings (six levels) for determining who can access specific tools.
Scoring 3.89 out of 5 in our evaluation, OnPay received high ratings (4 and up) in reporting and pricing. Its direct deposits that take longer than two days, lack of expert advisers on staff, and limited advanced HR functionalities (such as learning management and performance reviews) contributed to its low scores. However, users still like its affordability and intuitive interface that’s easy to navigate.
- Straightforward pricing: OnPay may not have multiple plans like the other human resources and payroll software in this guide, but it offers a reasonably priced package that costs $40 plus $6 per employee monthly. Providers like TriNet Zenefits may appear to charge slightly lower monthly fees, but you actually end up having to pay more in a year, mainly due to either its high base monthly or per-employee fees.
- Unlimited payroll and automated tax filings: OnPay offers unlimited monthly pay runs and can handle multiple payout schedules for both W-2 and 1099 workers. It remits payroll tax payments and files the applicable tax forms for you (Paychex charges extra for this). For those with unique payroll and tax filing needs, such as farms and agricultural business owners, OnPay can file Form 943 and process taxes for workers on H-2A visas.
- Multiple employee payment options: OnPay can pay employees through debit cards, paychecks, and direct deposits. However, while it offers two- and four-day direct deposits, you can’t select the option you want—OnPay will identify this for you based on the results of its risk assessment.
- Employee benefits: With benefits options available in all US states, you are assured that your employees have sufficient health insurance coverage. This is unlike the health insurance plans of Gusto, QuickBooks Payroll and Zenefits, which aren’t available in all 50 states.
- HR tools: Aside from online offer letters and new hire reporting, it offers onboarding solutions that include digital I-9 and W-4 forms, customizable checklists, and an e-signature tool. It even has six levels of permissions, allowing you to delegate tasks and select who has visibility into its payroll and HR tools.
If you want fast direct deposits and payments, consider Square Payroll, as it offers instant pay-outs, and QuickBooks Payroll, as next-day direct deposits are included in its starter tier. And if you need advanced HR solutions, we recommend Gusto, ADP, Paychex, TriNet Zenefits, and Rippling, as these providers have feature-rich HR platforms to help you manage the entire employee lifecycle with ease.
SurePayroll: Best for Small Businesses Looking for a DIY Option
- Affordably priced
- Offers a full-service plan and a basic option with do-it-yourself (DIY) tax filings
- Unlimited and automatic pay runs
- Has pre-employment screening solutions that include background checks and online skills testing
- Charges additional fees for Ohio/Pennsylvania local tax and multiple state tax filings
- Software integrations are limited and cost extra
- Lacks online onboarding
- Basic HR tools
SurePayroll Plans & Pricing
- Self-service “No Tax Filing” plan: $19.99 monthly + $4 per employee
- Requires do-it-yourself (DIY) tax filings
- Full-service package: $29.99 monthly + $5 per employee
- Multistate tax filings: $9.99 per month
- Ohio/Pennsylvania local tax filings: $9.99 per month
- Accounting integration: $4.99 per month
- Time clock integration: $9.99 per month
Small businesses with only a handful of employees can benefit from using SurePayroll’s self-service DIY plan. Its low-cost “No Tax Filing” option (priced at $19.99 plus $4 per employee monthly) not only saves you money but also provides the tools you need to calculate earnings/deductions and pay employees—provided you’re willing to handle tax payments and filings yourself. It also provides access to employee benefits plans, pre-employment screening, and state new hire reporting tools. For employers who don’t want DIY tax filings, SurePayroll has a full-service package that takes the hassle out of remitting tax payments and submitting tax forms, including year-end reports. It can even handle the payroll and tax administration needs of household employers, making it our top-recommended nanny payroll service.
Scoring 3.70 out of 5, SurePayroll’s pricing, reporting capabilities, and pay processing tools helped boost its ratings. However, its limited payment and integration options prevented it from getting a higher score in our evaluation. It also didn’t help that its average number of user reviews on Capterra and G2 is below 500 as of this writing, which pulled its user popularity rating down. Although, this doesn’t mean that SurePayroll isn’t highly regarded by its actual users. Many reviewers left positive feedback online that highlighted its user-friendly interface, affordability, and good customer support as its best features.
- Payroll processing: SurePayroll has solid payroll tools that can handle payment processing for contractors, hourly and salaried employees, nannies, and household workers. It offers automatic and unlimited pay runs, supports multiple pay rates, and pays employees via two-day direct deposits and checks that you print yourself.
- Payroll tax filings: Apart from quarterly and year-end tax reporting, SurePayroll can help you file 940, 941, W-3, and 1096 tax forms. It also manages 1040-ES and Schedule-H tax filings for nanny taxes. However, unlike most of the human resource and payroll software in this guide (except ADP and Paychex), it charges extra for multistate and OH/PA local tax filings.
- Employee benefits: Its partnership with Paychex Insurance Agency, a group of experienced insurance experts, enables SurePayroll to help you find benefits plans that fit your business needs. Apart from health insurance that’s available across the US, you are granted access to 401(k) plans and pay-as-you-go workers’ compensation.
- HR tools: Its platform may not be as full-featured as Rippling, ADP, Paychex, Gusto, and TriNet Zenefits, but it offers basic HR solutions for managing new hire reporting and background screening. It even provides access to behavioral assessments and skills testing to help you make better hiring decisions.
If you require check signing services, consider either ADP or Paychex. Gusto and Square Payroll are also excellent choices if you want multiple payment options that include early access to earned wages, while QuickBooks Payroll is great for fast direct deposit payments (with next- and same-day options). And if you’re looking for non-standard benefits options, consider Gusto, as it has a 529 college savings plan, or ADP, because it offers employee discounts with its partner retail shops.
HR vs Payroll Software: What’s the Difference?
While some of the systems we considered have basic HR features along with payroll, others have core HR products that are pretty robust and allow you to add on payroll services. To help you find the right solution for your business, it’s useful to see the differences in the software types and when each might be your best fit.
This is the best of both worlds. Integrated HR payroll software operates payroll and HR functions together so that a change in one, such as adding a new employee, is reflected in the other—like getting the new employee’s information into the payroll. It can make it easier to do HR analysis, manage benefits, and prevent errors in employee information.
Straight payroll software handles the tasks of organizing and executing paying employees and filing taxes. It lets you track employee hours, wages, taxes, and deductions. Some print paychecks, while others remit salaries to pay cards or via direct deposits. It may have little to no HR support.
Payroll services handle all your payroll needs. You provide the information, and they run your payroll, ensure compliance, and get your people paid. Naturally, it’s more expensive than purchasing software—but you have the work done for you by payroll experts, and it may pay for itself in time with savings in HR labor costs. It might also be limited in HR support.
How We Chose the Best Human Resources Payroll Software
We selected human resource payroll software that processed paychecks for hourly, salaried, and contract workers and can handle direct deposits and checks. We also looked for solutions that can calculate deductions and tax withholdings, file tax reports, and provide basic payroll reports. Lastly, all the companies we reviewed either include HR tools in their payroll system or have HR products that work with their payroll module.
Click through the tabs below for a more detailed breakdown of our evaluation criteria.
35% of Overall Score
We looked for HR services and functions like online onboarding, state new hire reporting, self-service portals, and a staff of expert advisors. We also gave additional points to software providers offering health insurance available in all 50 states and advanced HR solutions like hiring, compensation, learning, and performance management.
20% of Overall Score
We gave the most credit to solutions that process direct deposits in two days or less, have multiple payment options, handle year-end tax reporting, manage tax payments and filings (federal, state, and local taxes), and offer a penalty-free guarantee.
20% of Overall Score
We looked for features that make the software easy to use, such as having an interface that’s intuitive and customizable. Extra points were given to providers that offer integration options, set-up assistance, live phone support, and a dedicated representative.
15% of Overall Score
We checked to see if the provider has transparent pricing, zero setup fees, and multiple plan options with unlimited pay runs. We also gave additional points to those with plans that cost $1,200 or less per year for 10 employees.
5% of Overall Score
Preference was given to software with built-in basic payroll reports and customization options.
5% of Overall Score
We considered online user reviews—including those of our competitors like G2 and Capterra—based on a 5-star scale, wherein any option with an average of 4+ stars is ideal. Also, software with 1,000 or more reviews on third-party sites is preferred.
A platform that has a combination of HR and payroll functions not only streamlines processes but also provides a unified database to store employee information. It can make tasks like onboarding, benefits administration, and performance reviews easier to handle since you don’t have to use separate systems to manage HR functions.
We found that Gusto offers the essential human resource and payroll features that small businesses need. While its health insurance is not available in all states, businesses located in areas where it does offer health plans can take advantage of its affordable pricing and intuitive interface with solid payroll and HR tools. Sign up for a Gusto plan today.