Katie OrmsbyPayroll Software Expert

Katie enjoys helping readers make sense of Payroll Software options. She's previously written business and shopping features for The Seattle Times and Seattle Met magazine. She has a degree in journalism and political science from the University of Washington.

Top Payroll Solutions for Your Business

Handling payroll is a critical piece of any business’s operations. Processing payroll involves strict deadlines, financial balancing and accounting, and many time-consuming tasks. From ensuring employees are paid on time to withholding taxes to managing benefits like sick and vacation time, getting payroll done isn’t easy.

Payroll can also be complicated, especially if you’re a small business owner who’s trying to manage it all on your own. But thanks to payroll services and software, it doesn’t have to be so difficult.

In fact, when you choose a payroll service to handle your payroll needs, the entire process can become effortless. Here’s why so many businesses choose to outsource their payrolls to services and software.

What Is a Payroll Service?

A payroll service is an external service that takes care of your company’s payroll process. These incredibly helpful services can handle every aspect of payroll, including collecting wages and hours worked, handling tax withholdings and deductions, and making direct deposits.

Payroll services can offer as much help as businesses need. These efficient services can handle important tax documents, take over internal human resources responsibilities, and even oversee retirement and other benefit programs.

And if you want more from a payroll company, it’s possible. Some payroll programs offer helplines for employee questions, handle state and federal government forms and requirements, and even onboard new employees’ documents.

Different Types of Payroll Services

Payroll services are incredibly popular with today’s business owners – and for good reason. They make the payroll process efficient and easy. And, with both online payroll software and outsourced payroll services available, you can choose a payroll service that meets your company’s exact needs.

The following are the two most common types of payroll service options:

Outsourced Payroll Service

These services operate as their very own businesses. They provide businesses with a team of payroll experts who are well-versed in payroll tax and regulatory requirements, ensuring your payroll process is compliant and out of your own hands.

An outsourced payroll service takes your payroll process offsite. It’s like another company handles your payroll for you. The payroll service will handle administrative tasks, like direct deposits and automated deductions, as well as tax-related tasks like filing and payments.

Online Payroll Software

Payroll software puts your entire payroll process online, automating most of the tasks and simplifying it overall. You can manage every aspect of your company’s payroll online, accessing it 24 hours a day from any device with internet access.

An online payroll software option will also allow you to control every piece of the payroll process seamlessly. You can enter, update, and track employee work schedules, benefits, and payments. You can file taxes online, make payments, and even manage deductions. Some payroll software companies even have a payroll app, if you’re interested in mobile payroll.

Payroll software simplifies the process and makes it so much easier to do your own payroll.

The Benefits of Using Online Payroll Services

Switching from a self-managed payroll to a payroll service or software can have many benefits. The following are some of the biggest reasons to make the change.

Save Time: Whether you’re a small business owner or part of a major corporation, payroll processing is hugely time intensive. It can be a full time job on its very own, with pay periods falling every other week. And a payroll service or software can cut down the amount of time you must spend entering data, checking reports, and processing payroll.

Save Money: Having cheap payroll software handle your payroll processing can save significant money. You won’t need to pay employees to handle the workload, and they can instead focus on devoting their time to other tasks. Eliminating mistakes can also save you money, as you won’t need to dedicate extra time or cash to fixing problems. So, the cost of payroll software is often worth it. Compare options to find the cheapest payroll provider for your needs.

Better Security: Using a payroll service eliminates any worries about theft or other criminal activity happening within your company. Even when you trust your employees, processing payroll in-house opens you up to the risk of identity theft, embezzlement, or tampering with company records. However, a payroll service will be well-established, secure, and backed by promises of total security.

Government Compliance: A big piece of payroll is ensuring your company is adhering to government tax regulations and properly reporting tax information. A single mistake can result in an IRS audit and big financial penalties. However, a payroll processing service or software can ensure you’re in compliance with all government rules, regulations, and tax rates – preventing you from any problems or crises.

Payroll Services vs. Payroll Software: Which is Best?

Business owners have to choose between payroll services and payroll software when opting for a professional solution. And if you’re wondering what makes these two different, here are the facts.

Payroll Software: Payroll software is used by you or your employees to manage all payroll processing. You enter employee time details and the software calculates each paycheck. You’re then responsible for printing your own checks or setting up direct deposit. While it streamlines the process, you do handle taxes and payments.

So, if you’re interested in payroll options that make it easy to create your own pay stub, then payroll software can help.

Payroll Service: A full-service payroll service will take charge of the entire payroll process for you. This means the service runs your payroll online, does all of the tracking and logging, handles check writing and direct deposits, and even files your federal, state, and local payroll taxes. So, if your business deals with certified payroll reports, then some payroll services can automate the process. You don’t have to touch anything, and payroll is both out of sight and secure.

Compare payroll services to find the right fit for your small company or large corporation.

How to Choose the Right Payroll Provider

Putting your payroll in the hands of a professional payroll service or software can be a huge help to any business owner. Many payroll providers even have payroll software for small businesses with one employee. You’ll save time and money, enjoy greater security, and rest easy knowing your payroll is in the hands of knowledgeable experts.

In order to find the right payroll system for your business, compare what the best payroll software companies offer and get free quotes for pricing information. Then, you can choose the right provider for all of your needs. Many top payroll companies even provide one to three months of free payroll services. Get started and make doing payroll easier than ever.

Compare Our Featured Picks


Originally founded in 2011, Gusto is a payroll company that puts small businesses first. Today, over 100,000 client companies take advantage of their straightforward platform and ease-of-use focused customer experience. Gusto operates in all 50 states, aims to keep their pricing as transparent as possible, and syncs with all major accounting software.

Gusto’s focus is on payroll and onboarding, so keep in mind that extras like HR resources aren’t available in all plans. However, their cloud-based platform, automatic payroll tax filing, automatic payments, 2-day direct deposit, and built-in time tracking make even Gusto’s most basic levels of support an all-in-one package. With Gusto, you get value for your subscription that will keep both you and your employees happy. Read the full review.


Founded in 1971 on $3,000 of startup capital, the Paychex of today is one of the largest payroll providers in the U.S. With a suite of personnel services handling payouts, HR, benefits, and more, Paychex hasn’t just revolutionized payroll. They also boast top-notch security and dedicated account managers to help make sure you don’t spend more time managing your payroll software than your employees.

Paychex is a payroll company that understands the needs of small businesses. Since it offers comprehensive HR resources, Paychex could be an especially interesting option for those who want a dual payroll and HR platform. If you sign up right now, you can get three months of free payroll processing. Read the full review.


Onpay is a payroll service that does a lot more than payroll. They offer cloud payments, built-in HR resources, automated taxes, and world-class customer support to help keep their business (and yours) running smoothly. Additionally, the slide tool on their website allows you to estimate what you’ll be paying based on the number of employees you have.

Starting at just $40 a month, Onpay delivers payroll options tailored to your business. They have a plan for you, whether you have one employee or a thousand, and were even rated “Outstanding” by PCMag in 2021. Likewise, their white-glove customer service makes it easy to resolve any issues that may arise with their system. Read the full review.