The Top 9 Payroll Services For Small Businesses in 2023

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By mixrondonia

Looking for reliable payroll services for your small business in 2023? Look no further! In this article, we’ll be sharing the top 9 payroll services for small businesses.

Managing payroll can be time-consuming and complicated, but with the right service provider, you can streamline the process and focus on growing your business.

From user-friendly platforms to affordable pricing, these payroll services have been carefully selected to help you find the best fit for your small business needs.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into the top 9 payroll services for small businesses in 2023.

Payroll processing can be a daunting task for any business owner, especially those running a small business. Fortunately, there are many payroll processing services available to make this process easier and more efficient. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at what payroll processing services are, and how they can benefit small business owners.

What is Payroll Processing?

Payroll processing involves the calculation and distribution of employee paychecks, as well as the deduction and remittance of taxes and other withholdings.

This can be a time-consuming and complicated task, especially for businesses with a large number of employees.

Why Use Payroll Processing Services?

There are several reasons why small business owners may choose to use payroll processing services.

Firstly, it saves time and effort, freeing up business owners to focus on other areas of their business.

Additionally, payroll processing services can help ensure that all taxes and withholdings are calculated and deducted correctly, reducing the risk of errors and penalties.

Payroll Services For Small Businesses

As a small business owner, expanding your team is exciting. More people are willing to devote their time to your idea, which indicates that your company is expanding.

However, what about the practicalities of managing them? Not all that enjoyable (for most of us).

Online payroll and human resources (HR) software relieves you of a significant amount of work so you can concentrate on the tasks that brought you into business.

We’ve compiled a list of the top payroll services below to make it easier for you to compare them and decide which one is ideal for your company.

Reasons to Trust Forbes Advisor for Small Businesses

The Forbes Advisor Small Business team is dedicated to providing you with objective information and complete editorial independence.

We make use of product data, strategic methods, and expert insights to inform all of our content and help you make the best decisions for your business journey.

To assist you in identifying the top 9 payroll services for small businesses, we carefully evaluated 24 payroll services.

In determining our ratings, we take into account variables including clear pricing, worker independence, compatibility with third-party integrations, availability of customer assistance, and user reviews.

Our editorial staff is the only one to decide on any ratings.

Best Payroll Services of 2023

  • OnPay: Best overall
  • Gusto: Best for automating processes
  • ADP RUN: Best for customization
  • Paychex Flex: Best for simplicity
  • Justworks: Best for complex hiring
  • TriNet: Best for employer of record (EOR)
  • Wave Payroll: Best for solopreneurs and contractors
  • Paycor: Best for growing enterprises
  • Deluxe: Best for marketing and business development


For small businesses, OnPay is a simple, all-in-one payroll and HR solution. It has a single, affordable pricing that covers all services: $40 plus $6 per employee every month.

Get access to W-2 and 1099 payroll, automatic tax payments and filing, an employee self-service portal for self-onboarding, documentation, and PTO monitoring, and payroll for W-2 and 1099 workers.

With access to the majority of big suppliers, you can handle benefits like insurance and retirement plans.

OnPay lacks integrated accounting features but interfaces with well-known HR and accounting programs like When I Work, Xero, and QuickBooks.

Who ought to use it?

Small companies, such as start-ups, solopreneurs, neighborhood stores, nonprofits, places of worship, and farmers, are catered to by OnPay.

OnPay is a user-friendly, small-business-friendly cloud-based platform for payroll processing and human resources (HR).

There is only one plan, and it includes all features, including an employee portal that enables self-registration by employees, unlimited payroll runs, and the capacity to pay W-2 and 1099 workers.

OnPay’s major selling point is payroll processing, but it also has useful HR tools and features like a resource library for HR professionals, new hire reports, and personalized personnel checklists (which are useful for compliance assessments).

Through the integration of an additional app, OnPay can add a few services that are lacking, such accounting or time tracking.


Gusto is a platform for managing human resources (HR) and payroll for enterprises and small businesses that relieves you of the most difficult aspects of benefit administration and payroll processing.

Payroll for both workers and independent contractors is made easier, as are employee benefits like health and retirement.

Additionally, the platform offers extras like automated charitable giving and a wallet that gives staff members more control over how and when to use their money.

We examined Gusto’s platform to assist you in determining whether it is appropriate for your company.

Gusto Pros and Cons

Like any piece of software, Gusto succeeds in some things and fails in others. Gusto can prove to be a wise investment for your daily operations, depending on the size of your organization and your industry.


Gusto’s extensive automation of HR, accounting, compliance, and other crucial company processes is one of the main factors influencing corporate decisions.

Gusto might provide significant time and cost advantages over employing HR specialists or small business accountants, or DIYing a number of essential business functions, for tiny, scrappy operations trying to automate as much as possible.

Employers and employees may both utilize Gusto with ease. Even better, full-time employees can use Gusto’s spending account to receive their paychecks up to two days early and its high-yield savings account to increase their earnings in addition to their regular paychecks.


Gusto doesn’t offer any accounting or billing tools, in contrast to some popular software like QuickBooks and Wave that combine both accounting and payroll platforms in one location.

Because of this, your accounts payable and receivable must run on separate platforms, while Gusto’s interfaces with accounting software might be able to help you with this.

Last but not least, Gusto’s monthly pricing is off-putting to many businesses; if it feels like an unnecessary expense to you, it probably is.

You should contrast Gusto’s monthly fee with your typical operational expenses.


ADP is a payroll and HR software that is available to companies of all sizes.

While its RUN service is intended for start-ups and small enterprises with fewer than 50 employees, its main platform caters to major businesses.

ADP Run provides automatic tax filing and reporting, payroll facilitation for employees headquartered in the United States, and optional benefits management on an employee self-service interface.

Learn more about ADP Run and what it can do for your team by reading on.

ADP RUN in a Nutshell

ADP RUN is a straightforward platform for managing payroll and benefits for new and small enterprises, with opportunity to expand into enterprise plans with the main ADP platform.

Without speaking to a sales professional about the particular requirements of your business, it is challenging to obtain pricing information for ADP RUN plans.

The Essential plan, the entry-level payroll-only option, starts at $59 a month plus $4 for each employee, according to users.

Payroll add-ons and other services come with a larger price tag. Additional fees may also apply to add-on features.

You might be able to receive a free trial of the service or cheaper beginning prices by speaking with a sales representative.

Tiers of subscriptions include:

Payroll with direct deposit, a platform for self-service employees, and onboarding for new employees are essential.

Benefits administration for retirement plans, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and tax form filing can be included for an additional cost.

See also: Accounting software for multiple small business

Payroll that is enhanced includes background checks, unemployment insurance, and computerized check signature.

Benefits administration and tax form filing might be included at a higher price.

Complete: Payroll features, employee handbook, document management, training, and toolkits are all included.

Benefits administration and tax form filing might be included at a higher price.

Payroll administration and HR administration, as well as individualized HR help and training for issues like sexual harassment.


Payroll administration is ADP RUN’s primary task. You have two options for paying U.S.-based workers: automated direct deposit or payroll checks delivered to your company prior to each pay period.

If your account has at least one W2 employee, ADP RUN enables you to manage and pay 1099 workers.

But if you don’t, you won’t be able to pay a 1099 worker. For 1099 payments, ADP also provides its WorkMarket solution.

Benefits Management

Any ADP RUN plan can add benefits administration as an extra. You can choose between

Retirement: Purchase a group retirement plan through the internal broker of ADP, and administer benefits via your payroll system.

Workers’ compensation: Use the insurance firm linked with ADP to purchase workers’ compensation insurance or pay-as-you-go plans.

Health insurance: Get a group health plan from the insurer affiliated with ADP, and handle benefit administration using the payroll software.

Time Monitoring

To enable employees to clock in and out using the platform, you may add time tracking and attendance as an add-on to any ADP RUN plan.

Compliance and Taxes

Payroll taxes are automatically filed and paid for both you and your employees by ADP. It will also submit W-2s and send copies to the employees upon payment of an extra cost.

Paychex Flex

For companies of all sizes, Paychex offers an enterprise payroll and human resources solution.

Its payroll platform, Paychex Flex, is designed for small enterprises with fewer than 50 employees. It provides simplified payroll processing without the HR and benefits administration that other rivals offer, together with a platform for employee and contractor self-service.

This can be a suitable choice for smaller firms in search of an economical payroll solution.

EmployX Flex In a Nutshell

As an alternative to the more complicated Paychex platform for larger enterprises, Paychex Flex is a straightforward payroll application for small firms. It provides simple employee payroll, which is just what small businesses need.

Beyond that, the platform’s options are quite limited in comparison to rivals, while Paychex as a whole provides a range of integrated solutions you can buy under one brand to match your needs.


Three price tiers are available for Paychex Flex: Essentials: $39 per month plus $5 per worker

Choose: Special pricing based on business requirements.

Pro: Personalized price based on business needs


Paychex Flex manages payroll, pays employees via direct deposit, or enables you to generate checks on your own printer and hand them out to workers.

Payroll taxes will be handled for you, however there may be additional expenses involved.

Employees can use the platform’s self-service employee portal to independently verify their pay stubs and tax forms. W-2s and 1099s are distributed and filed by Paychex for an extra cost.

Make Contractors Pay

Similar to how you can pay workers, you can pay contractors with Paychex Flex by printing and mailing checks or by direct transfer.

Contractors can view their pay stubs and 1099s online thanks to the self-service portal, which they have access to.

Time Monitoring

Paychex Flex includes Paychex Flex Time, a supplementary service that interfaces with Flex and enables employees to track time, attendance, mileage, and other things.

Paychex Flex does not contain time tracking on its own.

You can automatically pay or reimburse employees based on what they track in the platform thanks to Time’s seamless integration with Flex.

The disadvantage is that you might have to pay extra for the feature as it isn’t part of a Flex subscription.

Compliance and Taxes

Paychex Flex will automatically determine, file, and pay payroll taxes for you and your staff in exchange for an additional charge.

Additionally, you can pay a fee to have your W-2 and 1099 forms completed and delivered for you at tax time.

Free labor compliance posters are available online through Paychex Flex, which you can share electronically with remote workers or print out to post for on-site personnel.

Additionally, you have the choice to buy workers’ compensation insurance through the insurance broker employed by Paychex, ensuring that you meet all requirements.


Payroll services are provided by Justworks, a professional employer organization (PEO) and human resources information system (HRIS).

As a result, it’s a capable cloud-based system that may assist you in managing and running the administrative aspects of your organization, like paying your employees, vendors, and contractors and providing benefits.

With Justworks, you can securely manage key human resources (HR) functions like payroll, staffing, benefits administration, and healthcare enrollment.

It functions as a professional employer organization, or PEO, which means it charges a little fee for the assistance of a bigger business with an HR team.

You may use Justworks to choose the best insurance plans and employee benefits, set up workers’ compensation, get assistance with challenging HR problems, and more.

It also connects with any other programs you might already be using.


TriNet supplies organizations with a feature-rich software solution that gives them all the help they might need to manage their employee-driven business.

Because the company is a PEO, it inherits a shared employer obligation from the company. Your staff will work for TriNet as employees before being leased back to your company.

The beauty of TriNet’s solution is that it frees company owners from worrying about processing payroll or responding to inquiries regarding employee benefits, allowing them to concentrate on managing and expanding their business.

For some companies, this is a pipe dream, while others prefer to invest the time and money to offer these services to their staff directly.

With its broad range of service options and competitive price, TriNet rates among the best possibilities if a PEO solution is a good fit for your company.

TriNet does not publicly provide its pricing information, but based on our research, you should budget at least $150 per employee each month for basic payroll and benefits administration.

Wave Payroll

Although it has many useful features and is easy to use, Wave Payroll also has a number of shortcomings.

If you reside in a particular state and pay your employees there, you can file your taxes automatically; otherwise, you’ll need to fill out some paperwork.

Wave Payroll’s self-serve employee interface makes onboarding new employees simple. By logging onto the system, your employees may complete their profiles, submit their own personal and tax deduction information, and access pay stubs and tax forms.

If your staff members prefer direct deposit, they should get their paychecks three days after you submit the payroll. If not, they can decide to receive payment via check.

Since Wave Payroll doesn’t provide a print-and-mail option, you will need to have checks available for printing if they choose the check option.

Before making any payments, you get 30 days to test out Wave Payroll. If you decide to use the software on a monthly basis, you must next give your payment information.

To make sure it’s a solid solution for your organization, make sure to test out all the features from both the corporate and employee perspectives.

There are timesheets accessible, but you have to manually enter the number of hours worked.

This might be effective if you only have a small number of hourly employees, but if you have a larger crew, it might end up being a major time sink.

Pricing The pricing for Wave Payroll is a little different in that, depending on the state in which you’re processing payroll, you pay either $20 or $35 per month as a basic payment.

You can have automated tax filing through Wave for $35 per month, and Wave can pay and file your taxes in 14 states (see Wave’s website for the complete list).

If not, the fee is $20 each month, and you are responsible for doing your own taxes. Every individual on your payroll, whether they are employees or contractors, is subject to a $6 monthly fee.

It’s important to remember that not all contractors get paid on a monthly basis. Instead, they are categorized as “vendors” and you simply have to pay $6 for each contractor you pay each month.

You will be charged $18 if you have six contractors on call but only need to pay three this month.

Like regular employees, contractors can be paid via direct deposit, but it’s crucial to identify them appropriately on your payroll so that your tax information is right.


A publicly traded HR company called Paycor presently provides services to over 2 million subscribers and has previously raised more than $250 million in investment.

Given that it provides assistance in so many areas that HR departments require, it is more than just a payroll service.

You can add services like time tracking, benefits administration, and career and talent development.


Paycor’s ability to provide a variety of payment plans makes it a scalable solution, which is one of the reasons it is included in the list of the top payroll services for small businesses.

If you need to run a one-time payment or have various payroll schedules, the unlimited payroll runs are helpful.

Employees have more autonomy when selecting benefits, asking for time off, and examining pay stubs thanks to the self-serve portal (and mobile app) for employees.

On-demand pay is a useful perk of using Paycor because it isn’t always available in payroll systems.


Time tracking is an add-on, whereas Paycor is capable of being a full HCM solution. In addition, its cost makes it ideal for medium-sized to large organizations.

The additional costs for various situations, such as paycheck rollbacks, tax adjustments, and check copies, should also be kept in mind.

Keep a look out for deals from Paycor that may let you avoid paying the setup cost, which is normally charged for most programs.


In order to broaden its software selection and provide its customers with HR-focused choices, Deluxe acquired Payce Payroll in 2016.

Deluxe’s previous concentration was on business management, marketing, and payment processing software. A strong option for businesses seeking for an all-in-one solution can be Deluxe.

Sadly, Deluxe’s standalone payroll program is among the least effective of the ones we’ve reviewed.

Its pricing can be a little bit higher, and the features it offers are not as numerous or fascinating as those of other payroll software solutions.

Additionally, you need to add some features like benefit administration that are already present in leading software like Gusto.

Generally speaking, Deluxe can be simple to set up, but the more customization you do, the harder it is to use, and many firms will want to make customizations to get the most out of the software.

Although Deluxe can be a complete HR software solution, many of those features are only available in more expensive packages or as add-ons.

Payroll tax services

Payroll tax services are essential for any business that employs workers. These services help businesses calculate and pay the taxes that are required by law for their employees’ wages.

Payroll tax services ensure that businesses remain compliant with tax laws and regulations, while also helping to reduce the risk of penalties and fines.

Some common payroll taxes that businesses must pay include Federal Income Tax, Social Security Tax, Medicare Tax, and State Income Tax.

Calculating these taxes can be complex, and mistakes can be costly. That’s where payroll tax services come in.

Payroll tax services typically offer a range of solutions, including tax calculation and filing, compliance management, and tax reporting.

These services can be customized to meet the specific needs of different businesses, from small startups to large corporations.

One of the key benefits of payroll tax services is that they can help businesses save time and money.

By outsourcing the payroll tax process to a third-party provider, businesses can free up their own resources to focus on core operations.

Additionally, payroll tax services can help businesses avoid costly mistakes, such as missing filing deadlines or miscalculating taxes.

When choosing a payroll tax service provider, it’s important to consider factors such as cost, features, and reputation.

Some of the top payroll tax service providers include ADP, Paychex, Gusto, and OnPay. These providers offer a range of payroll tax solutions, from basic tax filing to full-service payroll management.

In summary, payroll tax services are an important aspect of managing a business that employs workers.

By choosing a reliable and reputable payroll tax service provider, businesses can ensure compliance with tax laws and regulations, while also streamlining their payroll process and reducing the risk of costly mistakes.

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