This article is part of a larger series on Payroll Services.
If you use Mac computers and laptops for your business, it’s important to find a payroll solution that’s intuitive, user-friendly, and can help you pay employees accurately. Besides that, the best payroll software for Mac not only provides solid pay processing tools, but it also allows you to access its features across various Apple devices—from Mac computers to iPads and the iPhone. However, with a cloud-based system, you shouldn’t have to worry about Mac compatibility issues, as its tools are accessible online.
In this guide, we looked at a dozen payroll software that work on a Mac and narrowed our list down to the nine best options.
- Gusto: Best overall payroll software for Mac
- QuickBooks Payroll: Best for small business QuickBooks users
- Paychex: Best for solopreneurs and startups needing a dedicated payroll specialist
- Square Payroll: Best for small restaurants and retailers already using or planning to use Square POS
- OnPay: Best for businesses looking for an affordable payroll software with robust system permissions
- Paycor: Best for companies that want customizable payroll tools and a wide range of HR solutions
- Rippling: Best for companies that rely heavily on technology and require global pay processing tools
- ADP Run: Best for growing companies needing flexible plans that scale with their business
- SurePayroll: Best for microbusinesses needing a simple payroll solution
If you want a computer-installed system rather than a cloud-based solution, you should consider downloadable Mac payroll software that’s easy to use and comes with up-to-date tax tables.
- Aatrix: Best for budget-conscious companies that don’t need cloud-based software
- CheckMark Payroll: Best for small businesses that prefer a downloadable payroll system to print high-security checks
Best Mac Payroll Software Compared
Gusto: Best Overall Payroll Software for Mac Users
Gusto is a cloud-based payroll software that works well for both Mac and Windows computers. Given its reasonably priced plans and user-friendly online payroll tools, Gusto is an ideal pay processing solution for small business Mac users. Aside from automatic and unlimited pay runs, you get tax filings and payments for federal, state, and local taxes, including year-end W-2 and 1099 reporting. It also offers employee benefits plans and basic HR tools to help you onboard new hires and track staff attendance.
With an overall rating of 4.58 out of 5 in our evaluation, Gusto scored perfect marks in pricing, reporting capabilities, and popularity among users. Many find its online tools easy to use, allowing them to compute and remit employee payments with just a few clicks. However, it lost points due to its limited customizability and health insurance coverage (available only in 39 states as of this writing).
Gusto Key Features
- Multiple direct deposit and pay options: Apart from pay card and pay-on-demand, Gusto offers four- and two-day direct deposits. While it has a next-day option, this is available only in its higher tiers. If you require fast payments, consider QuickBooks Payroll since it offers next- and same-day direct deposits. For instant payouts, we recommend Square Payroll, although you need to have a Square Payments account to pay employees instantly.
- Employee benefits: For small businesses that don’t have an in-house HR team to handle benefits, the provider’s licensed brokers can help you select health insurance plans for your staff and manage online employee enrollments. Gusto offers commuter benefits, health insurance, retirement, college savings, life and disability, HSA, FSA, and pay-as-you-go workers’ compensation options. Note, however, its health benefits, life and disability, FSA, and HSA, are unavailable in 11 states (Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming). For benefits coverage that includes all US states, consider any of the other providers on our list.
- Hiring and time tracking tools: Gusto offers basic hiring tools and services that include offer letter templates, electronic signatures, onboarding checklists, new hire reporting, and online document storage. Like QuickBooks Payroll, if you subscribe to Gusto’s higher tiers, you get additional tools for monitoring PTO and tracking your workers’ actual work hours. ADP Run, Paycor, and Rippling offer time tracking solutions as well, but these are paid add-ons. Meanwhile, with Square Payroll, you need to use its Square Team App (for iOS/Android devices) to capture employee clock-ins/outs and import them into its payroll solution.
- Third-party software integrations: Gusto integrates with several software like accounting, expense management, performance, collaboration, time tracking, and point-of-sale (POS) systems. However, if you want a robust integration network, Rippling is a good choice, as it connects with more than 500 apps.
QuickBooks Payroll: Best for Small Business QuickBooks Users
QuickBooks Payroll offers reasonably priced plans with essential pay processing tools small businesses need. Given that its cloud-based payroll solution can be directly and easily accessed through the QuickBooks system, it saves QuickBooks accounting users time from having to separately set up a chart of accounts and import pay-related data into its platform. Similar to Gusto, it offers unlimited pay runs, full-service payroll, payroll tax filings and payments, employee benefits, online onboarding, and year-end tax reporting.
Scoring 4.39 out of 5 in our evaluation, QuickBooks Payroll was rated favorably for ease of use, payroll functionalities, and HR features—even getting perfect marks in pricing and reporting capabilities. However, it didn’t rank higher than Gusto due to its limited payment options (doesn’t have pay-on-demand) and small number of user reviews (average number of reviews on G2 and Capterra is below 500). You also have to upgrade to its highest tier if you want QuickBooks Payroll’s tax filing services to include local taxes.
QuickBooks Payroll Key Features
- Payroll processing: You can set up payroll to run automatically—provided that all employees are under direct deposits and your first pay run using QuickBooks has been successful. You also get unlimited payrolls, wage garnishments, and automated taxes (federal and state) with year-end filings for Forms W-2 and 1099. However, you have to upgrade to its Elite plan if you want automatic local tax payments and filings too. This is unlike most of the providers on this guide (except if you’re on SurePayroll’s self-service plan, in which you handle tax filings yourself) whose basic plans have tax filing services that cover federal, state, and local taxes.
- Fast payment options: QuickBooks Payroll is the only provider on this list that offers next-day payouts as its standard direct deposit processing timeline. It even has a same-day option for Premium and Elite plan holders.
- Tax accuracy and penalty protection: All plans are covered by QuickBooks Payroll’s tax accuracy guarantee, in which it will pay for any penalties arising from late payments and form submissions—provided that you forwarded the correct tax information and have available funds in your account to pay the applicable taxes. Those on the Elite plan also get an extra tax penalty coverage, wherein QuickBooks will pay for all the penalties (up to $25,000 per year), regardless of who makes the mistake—none of the other providers offer this as an option.
- HR support and tools: QuickBooks Payroll’s partnership with Mineral grants you access to HR advisers and compliance support, as well as customizable job descriptions, onboarding, and performance tools. However, these features, plus time tracking (via QuickBooks Time), are available only for those who subscribe to its higher tiers.
- Employee benefits: All of QuickBooks Payroll’s plans include access to health benefits and 401(k) options in all US states. Its integration with SimplyInsured for health benefits provides you with affordable coverage and an efficient way to manage your benefits, while its partnership with Guideline for retirement ensures that you get expert administration of 401(k) plans. However, it lacks Gusto’s college savings option and ADP’s employee discount perks.
Paychex: Best for Solopreneurs & Startups Needing Dedicated Payroll Support
What’s great about Paychex is that it offers solutions for all business sizes. Aside from its payroll plans for small to large companies, it has a special tier for solopreneurs and the self-employed, which includes payroll, startup/incorporation services, and a retirement plan option. None of the Mac payroll providers we reviewed offer a similar package. And with Paychex Flex as its main payroll platform, you get solid pay processing tools with essential HR solutions for managing new hire reporting, onboarding, benefits, time tracking, and even learning programs.
Scoring 4.38 out of 5 in our evaluation, Paychex posted perfect marks in reporting, HR features, and popularity among users. Its multiple payment options and tax filing services also contributed to its high scores. However, it lost points because not all of its pricing information is available on its website and it also charges extra for some of its payroll tax administration services (like year-end tax reporting).
Paychex Key Features
- Multiple plan options: With Paychex, you can select the payroll plan that fits your business size—regardless of whether you’re a very small company or solopreneur. Its Paychex Solo package comes with all the tools that self-employed business owners will need to pay themselves. And when the time comes for solopreneurs to expand their business and hire workers, Paychex offers multiple payroll packages that even comes with dedicated payroll support and payroll tax filing services. You may need to pay extra for its tax services, but if this is a deal-breaker for you, the other payroll software for Mac (except ADP Run) are great options.
- Employee payments: Paychex lets you pay employees either through direct deposits (two-day and same-day processing), paper checks, and pay cards. It offers pay check logo and signing services, although it doesn’t stuff checks into envelopes and deliver them to your office.
- HR tools: Paychex Flex may be a payroll platform, but it also comes with useful HR features to automate new hire onboarding, candidate screening, and learning management. You can even use its online library of HR documents to view and access business forms and important files, such as company policies. If you need to create an employee handbook, Paychex has an online handbook builder that includes federal and state policies—although, you can also add your company’s policies into the handbook.
Square Payroll: Best for Small Retailers & Restaurants Using Square POS
Square Payroll is optimal for small restaurants and retail shops already using or planning to use Square POS. Given the seamless integration between the two Square products, data imports of staff tips/commissions and employee attendance (Square POS can capture both information) for pay processing are much easier. Similar to Gusto and QuickBooks Payroll, Square Payroll comes with automatic and unlimited pay runs, as well as payroll tax filings and year-end tax reporting.
Scoring 4.05 out of 5, Square Payroll earned 4 and above ratings in payroll features, HR functionalities, reporting, and pricing. While it has a platform that’s easy to learn, it didn’t get a high score in our ease of use criteria because of its limited customization options and phone support that requires a customer code for you to get through. Another hard-hit criteria is popularity, mainly because its average number of user reviews on third-party sites (G2 and Capterra) didn’t reach 500. However, users still gave Square Payroll positive reviews, wherein many raved about its affordability and efficient payroll tools.
Square Payroll Key Features
- Seamless Square POS integration: Tracking and importing employee time data, as well as tips and commissions, are made easy given Square Payroll’s direct integration with Square POS. This reduces manual inputs while helping you manage payroll effectively.
- Affordable contractor-only plan: While both Gusto and Square Payroll both have contractor-only plans, Square’s package is more affordable—costing only $5 per contractor monthly (Gusto’s is priced at $6 per contractor, per month). And similar to Square Payroll’s “pay employees and contractors” plan, this package comes with unlimited pay runs, full-service payroll, year-end tax reporting, and multiple payment options.
- Multiple payment options: Square Payroll supports employee payments made through manual checks, direct deposits, and its Cash App (for iOS/Android devices). Note, however, that the standard turnaround time for its direct deposits is four days. Although, you can pay employees the next day or even instantly if you have a Square Payments account.
- Tax filing and reporting services: Square Payroll offers automatic tax payments and filings for federal, state, and local taxes. It also prepares and files W-2s and 1099s at year-end (this costs extra with ADP Run).
- Employee benefits: Square Payroll will provide your employees access to health insurance, pay-as-you-go workers’ compensation plans, and even retirement packages that will automatically sync with your payroll. However, it doesn’t have ADP’s employee discounts and Gusto’s college savings plans.
OnPay: Best for Companies Looking for Affordable Payroll With Robust System Permissions
OnPay is great for budget-conscious businesses, given its flat-rate and affordable pricing. With monthly fees of $36 plus $4 per employee (or $912 annually for 10 employees), it is the least expensive payroll software for Mac on our list. It’s also ideal for those needing robust system permissions to manage who has visibility into payroll and HR. Its six-level permissions even provide you with enough flexibility to control how you want to run payroll.
In our evaluation, OnPay earned an overall score of 3.98 out of 5. Its affordability, unlimited pay runs, and HR tools for managing PTO, benefits, and new hire onboarding contributed to its high ratings (4 and up). However, it scored the lowest in user popularity given the low number of user reviews in G2 and Capterra (less than 500, as of this writing). Despite this, many users still appreciate its ease of use and intuitive interface. However, some reviewers said that its PTO customization and software integration options are limited.
OnPay Key Features
- Unlimited payroll runs: Like most of the providers in this guide (except ADP Run), OnPay lets you run employee and contractor payroll as many times as you want in a month. Its services include tax payments and filings, as well as year-end tax reporting. This is unlike QuickBooks Payroll, which only offers local tax filings if you subscribe to its higher tiers, and ADP, which charges extra for W-2/1099 reporting at year-end. What’s also great about OnPay is that it can handle the payroll tax filing requirements for agricultural businesses—none of the payroll software for Mac we reviewed offers similar services.
- Essential HR tools: While it doesn’t have ADP, Rippling, and Paycor’s full suite of HR solutions, OnPay offers essential tools to help you streamline onboarding processes and state new hire reporting. It also has an online HR resource library if you need HR guides and legal templates. It even offers HR advisory services, but like Rippling, you have to pay extra if you want one-on-one HR support.
- Employee benefits: OnPay partners with top benefits carriers (like Aetna, United Healthcare, and Humana), allowing them to offer dental, vision, disability, and retirement plans to employees. And unlike Gusto’s health insurance, which covers only 39 states (as of this writing), OnPay’s health plans are available in all US states.
- Payroll support: If you have payroll inquiries or need assistance using its software, OnPay provides weekday support via phone, chat, and email support. However, you only get email support on Saturdays and Sundays. If you want 24/7 support, consider ADP Run.
Paycor: Best for Businesses With Complex Pay Processing Needs
Paycor has unified payroll and HR solutions designed to streamline day-to-day employee management tasks. It has robust online pay processing tools with paycheck stuffing and tax filings services, including proactive alerts to help reduce pay errors. It also provides a customizable pay grid with intuitive workflows, enabling you to process payroll based on your business’ unique and complex pay processing needs.
In our evaluation, Payroll earned an overall score of 3.92 out of 5. It scored the highest in user popularity, reporting, payroll features, and HR tools. It lost points in pricing because of its expensive starter plan, which costs $99 plus $5 per employee monthly. This is unlike the other payroll software for Mac that we reviewed that allows you to run payroll for under $50 per month. Plus, similar to Rippling, you have to pay extra if you want to access its other HR modules, such as recruitment, time and attendance, and benefits administration.
Paycor Key Features
- Feature-rich solution suite: Similar to ADP and Rippling, Paycor has a wide range of HR and payroll solutions—including recruitment, onboarding, time and attendance, payroll, employee benefits, and learning management. It even offers employee pulse surveys and analytics.
- Payroll processing: It supports automated payrolls with multiple pay options, like pay cards and two-day direct deposits. Paycor also offers paycheck stuffing services like ADP Run. Further, Paycor has automated workflows and a flexible pay grid that you can customize to fit your payroll needs—none of the providers on this list have fully customizable pay grids.
- Payroll tax compliance: Aside from tax calculations and filings and W-2/1099 processing, Paycor offers expert tax compliance support to help keep you informed and compliant with the latest laws and regulations.
- Third-party software integrations: Paycor’s integration options include OnShift, Deputy, Square POS, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, WageWorks, PlanSource, AssureHire, and GoodHire. But if you require extensive third-party integrations, consider Rippling’s partner network of more than 500 apps.
Rippling: Best for Businesses That Rely Heavily on Technology & Require Global Payroll Tools
Rippling’s base program is a workforce management platform with full-service payroll as an add-on module—international payroll included. It has the most integration options in this list of best Mac payroll software, with more than 500 partner apps—from accounting and information technology systems to office management and HR-related solutions. If you purchase its device management add-on, you can buy, set up, secure, and monitor software and company devices (like computers and laptops) that are issued to employees.
Overall, it earned 3.76 out of 5 in our evaluation. Rippling scored the highest (4 and above) in reporting, user popularity, HR features, and payroll functionalities. However, it lost points in pricing and ease of use because of its limited pricing transparency and the lack of phone support—you have to pay extra for its HR help desk services that include phone and email support.
Rippling Key Features
- Feature-rich HR and IT solution suite: Rippling offers a full HR solution suite that includes recruiting, onboarding, time and attendance, payroll, employee benefits, and learning management. It even has IT products that allow you to manage business apps and computers issued to employees, a feature none of the other providers on our list offer. However, it doesn’t offer a variety of benefits options as Gusto and ADP Run do—the former offers a college savings plan and the latter has employee discount perks.
- Full-service payroll: You can pay both employees and contractors via paychecks and two-day direct deposits, although it lacks ADP Run and Paycor’s check-stuffing services and QuickBooks Payroll’s fast direct deposit timelines (next- and same-day options). If you have a lot of staff transferring from one work location to another, Rippling automatically calculates payroll taxes and files the applicable tax forms with the IRS and other federal, state, and local agencies. It also handles your business’ HR compliance work. This is to ensure that your company is always compliant and up-to-date with the latest laws and regulations, including the use of all relevant forms like I-9s and W-2s.
- Job costing tools: Apart from capturing your staff’s actual work hours, Rippling can help you track how your workers spent their time and compute the applicable cost of that time (either by client, task, or work location). You can even change your employees’ pay rate depending on the type of job they’re handling, and it will automatically calculate the costs as your staff move from job to job.
- Flexible PEO: Rated highly in our best PEO companies guide, Rippling can provide you with the expert assistance you need to manage payroll and day-to-day HR operations. And unlike ADP, if you decide that you no longer need a PEO, then you can simply turn off Rippling’s PEO services from your account and start using its software again.
- Third-party software integrations: Among all of the Mac payroll software that we reviewed, Rippling has the most extensive network of third-party software partners. It provides over 500 integration options that include TSheets, Homebase, When I Work, GoodHire, Checkr, SurveyMonkey, Greenhouse, Guru, QuickBooks Online, Xero, Slack, Asana, DocuSign, and Adobe Sign.
ADP Run: Best for Companies Needing Flexible Plans That Scale With Their Business
ADP Run has a suite of cloud-based payroll and human capital management solutions. It’s great for businesses that plan to scale because it has a wide selection of products to fit your company’s growing HR and payroll software needs. It also has payroll packages for small businesses to large enterprises, including a professional employer organization (PEO) option. This enables businesses to easily upgrade their ADP plan without having to change providers and get extra HR support if the need for a team of HR professionals and experts arises.
Earning an overall rating of 3.71 out of 5 stars in our evaluation, the criteria where ADP scored the highest include HR features, payroll tools, ease of use, and reporting capabilities. It’s also highly rated by users given its easy-to-use interface and robust solution suite. However, ADP scored the lowest in pricing because it lacks unlimited payroll and transparent pricing.
ADP Run Key Features
- Multiple pay options: You can pay your employees via direct deposits, paychecks, and a Wisely direct debit card. If you prefer paychecks, ADP Run has check signing, stuffing, and delivery services—wherein it will send the checks to your business just in time for you to hand them out to employees. Apart from Paycor, the other providers we reviewed don’t offer this check-stuffing service.
- Secure paychecks: ADP offers highly secured payroll checks, which come with 10 advanced fraud protection features, that your company’s designated approver can sign off. None of the software on our list have this feature.
- Payroll tax support: ADP Run automatically calculates, pays, files, and reconciles payroll taxes (federal, state, and local). In addition, you get tax compliance support, wherein ADP will respond to tax agencies in case they have questions about tax deposits and returns that the provider made for you. However, year-end tax reporting costs extra. Plus, it lacks QuickBooks Payroll’s tax penalty protection that covers even your tax mistakes.
- Hiring solutions: What’s great about ADP is that aside from payroll, new hire reporting, and employee onboarding, you have additional access to basic hiring tools that include background checks and job postings on ZipRecruiter—provided you subscribe to its higher tiers. Rippling and Paycor require you to purchase a separate recruitment module, while the other providers on our list don’t have hiring capabilities.
- HR documents: ADP has a library of key HR documents that you can use for your checklists, best practice guides, and company policies. Aside from HR documents, you also get an employee handbook wizard to help you create a comprehensive handbook based on federal employment laws. However, access to these resources requires a paid subscription to one of ADP’s premium payroll packages.
- Third-party software integrations: ADP’s integration options include QuickBooks, Xero, Wave, SAP SuccessFactors, Workday, TSheets, Homebase, iCIMS, Docufree, OrgChart Now, Slack, and Pingboard. For those that want a bigger selection, we recommend Rippling, since its integration network includes more than 500 systems.
SurePayroll: Best for Microbusinesses Needing a Simple Payroll Solution
SurePayroll offers affordable and simple online tools for calculating salaries, taxes, and other earnings and deductions. This makes it ideal for those with less complex payroll needs, such as small and microbusinesses, including household employers wanting to pay their housekeeping staff and nannies (check our nanny payroll buyer’s guide if you have a household employee). You also have the option to save money filing payroll taxes yourself or have SurePayroll manage this for you.
Scoring 3.67 out of 5, SurePayroll’s ease of use, reporting capabilities, efficient payroll tools, and affordable pricing helped boost its ratings. It didn’t rank higher on our list given its limited payment options, third-party software integrations, and interface customizability. And while its average number of user reviews is below 500, and it isn’t as highly rated (with average scores of 4 and up on G2 and Capterra) as most of the Mac payroll software in this guide, many users left positive feedback that commended its solid customer support, user-friendly interface, and affordably priced plans.
SurePayroll Key Features
- Payroll processing: Aside from automatic and unlimited pay runs, SurePayroll can handle pay processing for contractors, hourly and salaried employees, nannies, and household staff. It also caters to the specific payroll needs of restaurants, agriculture businesses, churches, and nonprofit organizations.
- Payroll tax filings: While self-service plan holders have to remit tax payments and file tax forms on their own, those on the full-service tier are assured that SurePayroll will handle all tax payments and filings for them. Aside from W-2 and 1099 reporting, it can also help you file 940, 941, W-3, and 1096 tax forms, as well as 1040-ES and Schedule-H for nanny taxes. Further, all tax filings are covered by SurePayroll’s tax accuracy guarantee in which it will pay all penalties for tax errors made by its representatives. However, it isn’t as robust as QuickBooks Payroll’s tax penalty protection (for its Elite plan subscribers) that covers even the tax mistakes you might make.
- Employee benefits: SurePayroll has a wide range of affordable benefits options that include retirement, health insurance, and pay-as-you-go workers’ compensation plans. Although, it lacks ADP’s employee discount perks and Gusto’s college plan savings.
- Third-party software integrations: It integrates with some accounting and time clock software like QuickBooks, Xero, stratustime, and TimeForge. However, unlike most of the providers on this list, you have to pay extra for software integrations.
How We Evaluated the Top Payroll Software for Mac
In finding the best payroll software for Mac users, we compared several reputable providers and looked for essential features like automatic payroll runs, direct deposits, payroll tax payments and filings, and whether it offered basic and customizable payroll reports. We also considered its ease of use, pricing, customer support, and feedback from users.
Click through the tabs below for a more detailed breakdown of our evaluation criteria.
20% of Overall Score
Aside from the low or high cost of monthly subscriptions (wherein anything below $50 monthly for one employee is best), it’s beneficial if the provider offers multiple plan options, unlimited payroll runs, and zero setup fees. QuickBooks Payroll and Gusto received perfect marks here, having met all of our requirements for this criterion.
20% of Overall Score
Automatic payroll runs, payroll tax processing (federal, state, and local), year-end tax report preparation and filing, and direct deposit processing time of two days or less are just some of the essential functionalities that we looked at. We also checked whether or not the provider offered a penalty-free guarantee—in case they make a mistake when processing the client’s payroll. Both Square Payroll and Gusto scored the highest in this criterion, given their full-service payroll capabilities that include payroll tax filings (federal, state, and local taxes) and multiple pay options—from manual checks and direct deposits to a pay on-demand feature.
20% of Overall Score
15% of Overall Score
15% of Overall Score
In this criterion, we assess whether the software’s ease of use, pricing, and the width and depth of its payroll and HR tools are ideal for SMBs. Nearly all the Mac payroll software in this guide earned 3 and up scores here, except for ADP Run (due to its non-transparent pricing) and SurePayroll (given its limited HR tools).
5% of Overall Score
We checked reviews that actual users left on third-party sites like G2 and Capterra. The software providers that have more than 1,000 online reviews with average user ratings of four and up are Gusto, Paychex, Rippling, and Paycor.
5% of Overall Score
Aside from having access to basic payroll summaries, users should be able to customize and create new reports within the system. All of the Mac payroll software in this list earned perfect scores in this criterion.
Just because you’re a Mac user doesn’t mean that you get limited access to payroll software. There are plenty of online payroll solutions that are easily accessible using Mac OS or iOS. Many of these options have the essential tools you need to process employee salaries. What’s important is finding the best payroll service that can handle your company’s needs.
Based on our evaluation, we found Gusto to be the best overall payroll software for Mac users. With its cloud-based platform, you can easily access it through any device. It also offers reasonably priced plans with fees that start at $39 plus $6 per employee monthly, plus a contractor-only tier that costs $6 per person monthly. This makes Gusto an ideal option for small businesses that want quality services at reasonable rates.
Sign up for a Gusto plan today and see how its online tools can help streamline your payroll processes.