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 full-service payroll with team and project tracking tools
- Rippling: Best for tech-heavy companies that want 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 retailers and restaurateurs using Square POS
- ADP: Best for growing companies looking for scalable plans
- OnPay: Best for budget-conscious employers looking for affordable human resource and payroll tools with robust system permissions
- SurePayroll: Best for small businesses that need a low-cost do-it-yourself (DIY) payroll service (although it also offers a full-service package)
Top Human Resource Payroll Software Compared
All of the human resource and payroll software we reviewed offer employee information management, online onboarding, and state new hire reporting tools. Below are some of the standout features.
Starter Monthly Pricing
Payroll Tax Filings and Year-end Reporting
$6 per employee + $39 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
Year-end reporting costs extra
$6 per employee + $40 base fee
$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
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.
Since Our Last Update:
OnPay revised its monthly pricing (from $36 + $4 per employee to $40 + $6 per employee) and QuickBooks Payroll increased per-employee monthly fees of its basic “Core” plan (from $4 to $5). TriNet Zenefits also added a new recruiting solution (monthly fees start at $62), while Gusto replaced its four plans with three new pricing options and changed the base fee of its basic “Simple” plan—from $39 to $40 per month.
Gusto: Best Overall Human Resources Payroll Software
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 39 states as of this writing.
Scoring 4.66 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.
Gusto Key Features
Reasonably priced payroll plans
Gusto’s core product is payroll, and it offers its online tools at reasonable rates, with monthly fees that start at $40 plus $6 per employee. This is unlike TriNet Zenefits and Rippling, which offer their pay processing solutions as paid add-ons. For those needing to pay contract staff, Gusto has a contractor payroll plan that only costs $6 per contractor monthly. However, it doesn’t compare to Square Payroll’s low-cost, contractor-only option, which is priced at $5 per contractor monthly.
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. You can also pay via paper checks, but you have to print your own. If this isn’t an option for you, consider ADP or Paychex, as both offer paper checks with signing services.
Employee financial assistance
Employees with financial emergencies can get money between paydays through the “Gusto Cashout” option. Available via the free “Gusto Wallet” app, this feature lets your staff withdraw up to 40% or a maximum of $500 ($200 only for the first transaction) of their average paycheck, whichever option is less. Although Gusto considers this a loan, it doesn’t charge interest fees since the requested amount is automatically deducted from the employee’s next paycheck. Aside from Square Payroll and Paychex, which offer early access to earned wages, none of the other providers in this list have a similar feature.
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. However, Gusto’s health insurance coverage is limited—it isn’t available in Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, 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). Note that with Rippling, you have to pay extra for its benefits modules.
Gusto provides small businesses with essential HR tools that they would need. These include online offer letters, state new hire reporting, paid-time off (PTO) and time tracking, job postings, applicant tracking, performance reviews, and a self-onboarding portal. Gusto even offers analytics to help you understand workforce costs and see how much time employees spend working on projects and tasks.
It also provides access to software provisioning tools for new hires and surveys to measure employee engagement. However, it lacks the learning management solution that ADP, Paychex, and Rippling offer, as well as the compensation and salary benchmark tools that TriNet Zenefits provides.
Access to HR experts
Having access to HR experts who can answer your compliance and HR queries is helpful. With Gusto, you can contact SHRM- and HRCI-certified HR professionals—provided you subscribe to its highest plan.
Rippling: Best for Tech-heavy Businesses Needing Modular HR, Payroll & IT Tools
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.
Scoring 4.36 out of 5, Ripping 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.
Rippling Key Features
Compared to the other providers in this guide that offer bundled plans with a fixed set of features, some of which you may not need, Rippling lets you select your needed HR and IT tools. While you have the freedom to choose which features to get, you’re required to purchase its core workforce management platform before you can buy other modules. This can get pricey as you add more functionalities to its system—but Rippling can also create a custom package that fits your needs. However, 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 features.
Similar to TriNet Zenefits, Rippling’s pay processing solution is a paid add-on to its core platform. It offers unlimited pay runs, direct deposit payments, payroll tax filings, and year-end reporting. If you have international staff, Rippling (like ADP) can help manage your global payroll needs.
Rippling grants you access to several benefits options such as health insurance, retirement plans, FSA/HSA, and commuter benefits. Similar to Gusto and TriNet Zenefits, if you’re already working with a broker that manages your plans, Rippling lets you add your preferred broker as a user in its system for a fee. Note that the other six human resource payroll software that we reviewed don’t offer this option.
Unlike the other software in this list, which either don’t have IT features or only handle software setup for new hires (like Gusto), Rippling offers app and device management solutions to streamline IT provisioning and deprovisioning processes. Aside from helping manage computer inventories, it can 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 are included in its integration options.
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. However, it doesn’t have ADP’s wide job posting reach and Paychex’s and Zenefits’s compensation management tools.
Aside from its feature-rich human resource and payroll software, it 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.
You can contact Rippling’s customer service team through email and chat, but if you want one-on-one HR phone support, you have to pay a flat monthly rate. It also doesn’t provide a dedicated payroll specialist (Paychex offers this) who can help you manage pay and tax concerns.
QuickBooks Payroll: Best for QuickBooks Users
If you use QuickBooks accounting and want a simple payroll solution with basic HR functions, QuickBooks Payroll may be right for you. It allows unlimited pay runs with automated payroll tax payments and filings, including year-end tax reporting. It works with SimplyInsured to provide health benefits and Mineral for HR support. 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 Key Features
Automated payroll and tax services
QuickBooks Payroll offers full-service payroll with unlimited pay runs, year-end W-2/1099 reporting, and tax filing services. However, if you don’t want to manually input local tax rates into its system and file the applicable local tax forms yourself, then you have to subscribe to its highest plan. 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.
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. Note that most of the providers in this guide have a standard two-day processing timeline. Square Payroll may also offer next-day direct deposits and even instant payouts, but you need to have an active Square Payments account.
QuickBooks Payroll’s health insurance plans are available in all US states as opposed to those of Gusto and TriNet Zenefits, which both have limited coverage (39 and 49 states, respectively). However, it doesn’t have Gusto’s college savings accounts and ADP’s employee discount perks.
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.
QuickBooks Payroll’s HR features aren’t as advanced compared to ADP, Paychex, Rippling, and TriNet Zenefits. It only offers basic tools that small businesses would need such as employee onboarding, new hire reporting, customizable job descriptions, and time tracking through its QuickBooks Time solution.
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.
Paychex: Best for Solopreneurs & Businesses Needing Dedicated Payroll Support
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 4.16 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).
Paychex Key Features
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 has three tiers) that come 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.
Payroll and payroll tax processing
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, and filings to federal, state, and local agencies (including W-2/1099 tax reporting) 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.
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. However, it lacks ADP’s employee discounts and Gusto’s college savings plans.
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.
However, 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).
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.
TriNet Zenefits: Best for Highly Regulated Businesses
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 Key Features
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.
While TriNet Zenefits, like Rippling, requires you to purchase its payroll module separately, it comes with all the tools you need to process employee and contractor payments. It also offers payroll tax filing services and year-end W-2/1099 reporting at no extra cost (Paychex and ADP charge additional fees).
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.
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.
Access to HR experts
Unlike Square Payroll, which doesn’t have HR advisory services, TriNet Zenefits has a team of HR and payroll professionals who can provide expert compliance, HR, and employee management advice. However, this service costs extra ($10 per employee monthly).
Square Payroll: Best for Small Retail & Restaurant Businesses Using Square POS
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.
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 Key Features
Low-cost contractor-only plan
Priced at only $5 per contractor monthly, Square Payroll has the most budget-friendly contractor-only plan in this guide. Gusto has a similar option but charges a slightly higher monthly fee ($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 Gusto and 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.
Some of Square Payroll’s employee benefits options include health insurance, retirement plans, and workers’ compensation. If you prefer a wider selection, consider Gusto (offerings include a college savings plan), Paychex (has financial wellness tools), and ADP (provides employee discounts).
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.
ADP: Best for Growing Companies Looking for Scalable Plans
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.
ADP Key Features
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 (over 25,000 job sites via ZipRecruiter), and legal assistance (like consultations for contract review and debt collection) through Upnetic Legal Services. Note that Paychex’s hiring services are paid add-ons, plus it doesn’t have employee discounts and legal assistance services.
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). The creation, delivery, and filing of W-2/1099 tax forms at year-end are also 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 good options but their payroll and tax filing modules are paid add-ons to its core platforms. QuickBooks Payroll also offers robust payroll tax administration services, but you need to get the highest plan for local tax filings. 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.
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.
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 (Gusto’s coverage is limited to 39 states, while TriNet Zenefits’ health plans don’t cover Hawaii).
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. While Paychex and Gusto offer hiring services and solutions, their job posting reach isn’t as extensive as that of ADP. Rippling also provides a similar service, but its recruiting tools are a paid add-on to its core workforce management module. However, Rippling offers a more flexible PEO solution than ADP, as it allows users to easily turn it on and seamlessly transition to using its HR software again (ADP doesn’t have this option).
OnPay: Best for Budget-conscious Companies Looking for HR Payroll Tools With Robust System Permissions
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 those of Rippling, ADP, TriNet Zenefits, and Paychex—OnPay only provides essential tools for onboarding, new hire reporting, and online document management.
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.
OnPay Key Features
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. It also offers printable year-end W-2 and 1099 tax forms, but charges an additional fee if you want OnPay to print and mail the forms directly to employees and contractors.
Multiple employee payment options
OnPay can pay employees through debit cards, paychecks, and direct deposits. However, it doesn’t have QuickBooks Payroll’s next-day option and Square Payroll’s instant payments. And 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.
With benefits options available in all US states, you are assured that your employees have sufficient health insurance coverage. This is unlike the health benefits of Gusto and Zenefits, which are limited to 39 and 49 states, respectively.
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.
HR documents and templates are also available, but it lacks in-house HR advisory services. OnPay offers this service through its partner, Mineral, but you have to pay $20 to speak with an HR professional. If you prefer having easy access to HR experts you can contact for compliance issues, we recommend Gusto, QuickBooks Payroll, ADP, and Paychex. Rippling and TriNet Zenefits also provide HR advisory services but you have to pay extra for them.
Straightforward and affordable pricing
OnPay may not have multiple plans like the other human resources payroll in this guide (except Square Payroll), but it offers an affordably priced package that costs $36 plus $4 per employee monthly. Providers like Square Payroll, SurePayroll, TriNet Zenefits, and Rippling 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.
SurePayroll: Best for Small Businesses Looking for a DIY Option
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 3.68 out of 5, SurePayroll’s pricing, reporting capabilities, and pay processing tools helped boost its ratings. However, its limited customization, integration, and payment 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.
SurePayroll Key Features
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.
However, if you prefer 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. QuickBooks Payroll is also great for fast direct deposit payments (with next- and same-day options).
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.
SurePayroll also offers a tax accuracy guarantee, wherein it will pay all tax penalties for filing errors made by its representatives. But if you want a tax penalty protection that covers even tax mistakes that you might make, consider QuickBooks Payroll, as it provides this program to its Elite plan subscribers.
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 (Gusto’s is unavailable in 11 states while TriNet Zenefits’ plans don’t cover Hawaii), you are granted access to 401(k) plans and pay-as-you-go workers’ compensation. But 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 partner restaurants and retail shops.
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.
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.
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. ADP and Paychex scored the highest here because both have robust HR solution suites.
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. Many of the HR payroll software we reviewed scored 4 and above here, except OnPay and Paychex, since both charge additional fees for some of their payroll tax administration services, and TriNet Zenefits, because it has limited employee payment options.
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. Among the eight software we reviewed, only ADP, Gusto, and QuickBooks Payroll received high scores here (4 out 5).
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. Although Gusto, QuickBooks Payroll, and SurePayroll earned perfect scores in this criterion, having met all of our requirements, OnPay offers the lowest fees for 10 employees among all the providers we reviewed—costing only $912 per year (as of this writing).
5% of Overall Score
Preference was given to software with built-in basic payroll reports and customization options. All of the human resource and payroll software that we reviewed earned perfect scores here.
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. Of the nine HR payroll solutions included in this guide, only Gusto, Rippling, and Paychex got perfect marks. The limited number of online user reviews available (below 500) as of this writing pulled the scores down for the other six.
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.