Best Human Resources Payroll Software for 2022

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 eight recommendations.

  • Gusto: Best overall human resource payroll software
  • QuickBooks Payroll: Best for QuickBooks accounting users
  • Paychex: Best for solopreneurs and startups
  • Rippling: Best for tech-heavy companies that want HR, payroll, and IT solutions
  • Zenefits: Best for businesses in highly regulated industries
  • Square Payroll: Best for small retailers and restaurateurs using Square POS
  • ADP: Best for growing businesses looking for scalable plans
  • OnPay: Best for agricultural companies needing HR and payroll tools

Top Human Resource Payroll Software Compared

*Pricing is based on a quote we received.

**May require additional fees

***Included in higher tiers

Gusto: Best Overall Human Resources Payroll Software

Gusto

Gusto logo

Overall Score: 4.44
OUT OF 5

What We Like

  • Full-service payroll with tax payments and filings included in all plans
  • Offers an affordable contractor-only option
  • Employee benefits options include pay advances
  • Unlimited and automatic pay runs

What’s Missing

  • Health insurance coverage limited to 39 states
  • Lacks payroll mobile app
  • No dedicated payroll specialist
  • Time tracking and performance reviews included in higher tiers
  • Limited advanced HR tools

Gusto Pricing

  • Core: $39 per month + $6 per employee monthly
  • Complete: $39 per month + $12 per employee monthly
  • Concierge: $149 per month + $12 per employee monthly
  • Contractor-only plan: $6 per person monthly

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 4.44 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, and Rippling do.

Gusto 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 $39 plus $6 per employee. This is unlike Rippling and Zenefits, which offer their pay processing solutions as paid add-ons. For those needing to pay contract staff, Gusto has a contractor payroll plan that costs only $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.
  • Employee benefits: Gusto can manage your benefits plans or integrate your existing broker and eligible health plans into its system for a fee ($6 per eligible employee monthly). It offers a wide range of options that include commuter benefits, HSA/FSA, 529 college savings accounts, and retirement plans. 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 Zenefits (its health plans aren’t available in Hawaii). Note that with Rippling you have to pay extra for its benefits modules.
  • HR tools: Compared to ADP, Rippling, and Paychex, which have feature-rich HR solution suites, Gusto provides only a handful of HR tools that the average small business owner would need. These include online offer letters, state new hire reporting, paid time off (PTO) and time tracking, performance reviews, software provisioning for new hires, surveys to measure employee engagement, and a self-onboarding portal.
  • 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.

Read our Gusto Review

QuickBooks Payroll: Best for QuickBooks Users

QuickBooks Payroll

Quickbooks Online logo that link to

Overall Score: 4.34
OUT OF 5

What We Like

  • Offers next- and same-day direct deposits
  • Unlimited and automatic payroll
  • Tax accuracy guarantee covers late filing and payment penalties—only if you gave QuickBooks the correct info on time and have sufficient funds on your account to pay taxes
  • Has a separate tax penalty protection program; QuickBooks to cover tax penalties (up to $25,000/year) regardless of who makes the mistake

What’s Missing

  • Time tracking and local tax filings included in premium tiers
  • Tax penalty protection available only in highest plan
  • Integrates mostly with QuickBooks products; you need its accounting platform to access third-party software integrations
  • Basic HR features

QuickBooks Payroll Pricing

  • Core: $45 per month + $4 per employee monthly
  • Premium: $75 per month + $8 per employee monthly
  • Elite: $125 per month + $10 per employee monthly

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 4.34 out of 5 in our evaluation with high ratings (4 and above) in reporting, payroll functionalities, pricing, and ease of use. While it also received a score above 4 for HR features, it doesn’t offer advanced HR tools like Zenefits’s 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 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.
  • Employee benefits: QuickBooks Payroll’s health insurance plans are available in all US states as opposed to those of Gusto and 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.
  • HR tools: QuickBooks Payroll’s HR features aren’t as advanced compared to ADP, Paychex, Rippling, and 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.

Read our QuickBooks Payroll Review

Paychex: Best for Solopreneurs & Startups

Paychex

Paychex logo

Overall Score: 4.16
OUT OF 5

What We Like

  • Special package for solopreneurs includes payroll, incorporation support, and access to a 401(k) plan
  • Has multiple HR and payroll plans
  • Offers a dedicated payroll specialist
  • Automated payroll and payroll tax filings

What’s Missing

  • Pricing isn’t all transparent
  • Payroll tax administration and year-end tax reports cost extra
  • Learning management tools and access to a dedicated payroll specialist are included in higher tiers
  • Time tracking is a paid add-on

Paychex Pricing

  • Paychex Flex Essentials: $39 per month + $5 per employee
  • Paychex Flex Select: Custom-priced
  • Paychex Flex Pro: Custom-priced

Paychex Plan for solopreneurs and the self-employed

  • Paychex Solo: Custom-priced

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 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 that 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. QuickBooks Payroll is also a good choice but you have to subscribe to its Elite plan if you want local tax filings.
  • Employee benefits: In addition to retirement, health insurance, FSA/HSA, dental, and vision plans, Paychex offers financial wellness tools—the other human resource payroll software that reviewed don’t have this. However, it lacks ADP’s employee discounts and Gusto’s college savings plans.
  • HR tools: Paychex’s HR solution suite is similar to that of ADP and 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, and hiring services. However, if you require a wide job posting reach, consider ADP as it can advertise your job listings to over 25,000 sites. 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).
  • Strong support: Paychex assigns a highly trained payroll specialist to its clients to serve as their single point of contact for everything related to pay and tax processing. It also provides 24/7 phone support with customer service reps that are all US based.

Read our Paychex Review

Rippling: Best for Tech-heavy Businesses Needing HR, Payroll & IT Tools

Rippling

Rippling Logo

Overall Score: 4.14
OUT OF 5

What We Like

  • Offers modular HR, payroll, benefits, and IT solutions that integrate seamlessly with each other; you can choose only modules that you need
  • IT tools streamline computer and app provisioning and deprovisioning processes
  • Integrates with 400+ third-party software and apps
  • Unlimited and automated payroll

What’s Missing

  • You must purchase its core “Rippling Unity” workforce management platform before you can get its other modules
  • Can get pricey as you add more solutions/modules
  • HR help desk option with phone and email support costs extra

Rippling Pricing*

  • “Rippling Unity” workforce management platform: $10 per employee monthly
  • Full-service payroll: $8 per employee monthly
  • Benefits administration: $6 per employee monthly
  • Flex HSA/FSA and commuter benefits: $6 per employee monthly
  • HR help desk: $100 per month
  • App management: $8 per employee monthly
  • Device management: $8 per employee monthly

*Pricing is based on a quote we received

Rippling is a highly adaptable human resource payroll software. Its core platform is a workforce management solution that includes onboarding/offboarding tools, document management, system permissions, workflow automations, and a unified database. Depending on your HR needs, you can add other modules to its platform if you want full-service payroll, benefits, time and attendance, applicant tracking, and learning management functionalities. It even has IT tools for managing the business software and computers that employees use. This makes Rippling optimal for tech-heavy businesses as it can streamline and automate HR, payroll, and basic IT processes.

Scoring 4.14 out of 5, Ripping earned top marks for reporting, HR functions, and payroll features. It lost points because pricing isn’t all transparent, 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 complimented its intuitive platform, robust HR functions, and seamless third-party software integrations

Rippling Features

  • Modular solutions: 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. 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 affordably-priced ($36 plus $4 per employee monthly) and comes with all of its features.
  • Payroll processing: Similar to 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.
  • Employee benefits: Rippling grants you access to several benefits options, such as health insurance, retirement plans, FSA/HSA, and commuter benefits. 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 (this costs extra with Zenefits and Gusto). Note that the other five human resource payroll software that we reviewed don’t offer this option.
  • IT solutions: 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 in 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 400 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.
  • HR tools: From job postings to applicant tracking, Rippling has the hiring tools you need to find and screen qualified candidates. It also offers onboarding, new hire reporting, and learning management solutions. Tracking employee attendance is also possible through its time and attendance module. However, it doesn’t have ADP’s wide job posting reach and Paychex’s and Zenefits’s compensation management tools.
  • Help desk: 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.

Read our Rippling Review

Zenefits: Best for Highly Regulated Businesses

Zenefits

Zenefits logo

Overall Score: 4.06
OUT OF 5

What We Like

  • Reasonably priced plans with multiple options
  • Strong compliance tools with HR advisory services
  • Time tracking and employee scheduling included in all plans
  • Unlimited pay runs

What’s Missing

  • Payroll and advisory services are paid add-ons
  • Medical, vision, and dental plans not available in Hawaii
  • All plans and add-ons have a minimum five employee requirement

Zenefits Pricing*

  • Essentials: $10 per employee monthly
  • Growth: $18 per employee monthly
  • Zen: $27 per employee monthly

Add-on tools and services*

  • Payroll: $6 per employee monthly
  • Advisory services: $10 per employee monthly
  • Benefits administration using own broker: $5 per employee monthly

*Requires at least five employees.

Annual plans are also available with slightly lower rates.

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 Zenefits is 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 4.06 out of 5, Zenefits scored well (4 and up) in nearly all of our criteria given its efficient HR, payroll, 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 dedicated support, health insurance coverage across all US states, and check printing/signing services, which both ADP and Paychex offer.

Zenefits Features

  • Feature-rich HR platform: Zenefits has a 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, it lacks the applicant tracking and job posting tools that Rippling, ADP, and Paychex offer.
  • Pay processing: While 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 Zenefits plans, making it easy for you to capture actual employee time data for pay processing. Note that OnPay doesn’t have this feature, while Gusto and QuickBooks Payroll offer this in their higher tiers. Rippling, ADP, and Paychex also have time tracking functionalities, but as a paid add-on.
  • Employee benefits: Aside from access to employee benefits options (like medical, dental, vision, FSA/HSA, and retirement plans), 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 OnPay and Square Payroll, which don’t have HR advisory services, Zenefits has a team of HR and payroll professionals who can provide expert compliance, HR, and employee management advice. However, this service costs extra ($8 per employee monthly).

Read our Zenefits Review

Square Payroll: Best for Small Retail & Restaurant Businesses Using Square POS

Square Payroll

Square Payroll logo

Overall Score: 3.96
OUT OF 5

What We Like

  • Has a low-cost contractor-only plan
  • Integrates with Square POS
  • Offers fast direct deposits, including an instant payment option
  • Automatic and unlimited payroll

What’s Missing

  • Standard direct deposit has a four-day processing timeline
  • A Square Payments account is needed for next-day direct deposits and instant payments
  • Phone support requires a customer code

Square Payroll Pricing

  • Pay employee and contractors: $35 per month + $5 per employee monthly
  • Pay contractors only: $5 per person monthly

Most people know Square for its POS and payment processing, but it also handles payroll and basic HR functions through its Square Payroll solution. It sets itself apart from most other human resource and payroll software on our list in that it has a low-cost plan for contractors, offers an instant payment option, and connects seamlessly with Square POS.

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 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 six 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, which charges fees for some of its tax services, 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.
  • Employee benefits: 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).
  • HR tools: Square Payroll’s HR functionalities are limited to new hire reporting, employee onboarding, and PTO tracking. It can capture employee clock-ins/outs but through the Square POS and its Square Team app. If you’re looking for advanced HR features, Rippling, ADP, Paychex, and Zenefits are great options.

Read our Square Payroll Review

ADP: Best for Growing Companies Looking for Scalable Plans

ADP

ADP logo

Overall Score: 3.96
OUT OF 5

What We Like

  • Feature-rich platform; comes with job posting, background checks, new hire onboarding, payroll, benefits, and training solutions
  • Has multiple products and flexible plans that cater to different business sizes
  • Offers secure paychecks with advanced fraud protection
  • Automated payroll and tax filings

What’s Missing

  • Non-transparent pricing
  • Year-end tax reporting and form delivery cost extra
  • Time tracking, workers’ compensation, and benefits plans are add-on products

ADP Pricing

  • Essential: Custom-priced
  • Enhanced: Custom-priced
  • Complete: Custom-priced
  • HR Pro: Custom-priced

ADP is optimal for those needing a human resource and payroll software for managing a wide range of functions. It has a comprehensive solution suite with flexible plans that can handle basic to complex HR and payroll processes. This makes ADP a good choice for growing businesses that don’t want to deal with the hassle of switching companies because they’ve outgrown the one they’re with.

Scoring 3.96 out of 5 in our evaluation, ADP’s robust solution suite that includes payroll, employee benefits, onboarding, online training, and hiring tools contributed to its high scores. Users also appreciate its ease of use and how its payroll solution helps them save time and simplify processes. However, it lost points due to its non-transparent pricing.

ADP Features

  • Flexible plans: ADP and Paychex are very similar as both have plans and products for businesses of all sizes. What ADP lacks is a pricing plan for solopreneurs and the self-employed—an option that Paychex offers. However, compared to those of Paychex, the features included in ADP’s plans are slightly more robust as it comes with job postings to over 25,000 job sites, employee discounts, and legal assistance (like consultations for contract review and debt collection) through Upnetic Legal Services. Note that Paychex’s hiring services are a paid add-on, plus it doesn’t have employee discounts and legal assistance services.
  • Payroll processing: ADP makes processing payroll easy given its cloud-based system that automatically calculates earnings, deductions, and tax withholdings—it can even handle international payroll for global employees. It remits payroll tax payments and files the applicable tax forms to federal, state, and local agencies at no cost (Paychex charges extra for this). 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 (similar to OnPay). For year-end reporting and tax filings that come with no extra cost, consider Square Payroll, and Gusto. Rippling and 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.
  • Employee payment options: Salaries are remitted to employee accounts via direct deposits and through Wisely Direct debit cards. Secure paychecks that include check signing and stuffing services are also available in ADP’s higher tiers. Note that aside from Paychex, the other providers in this guide don’t have similar paycheck services.
  • Employee benefits: What sets ADP apart from the other human resource payroll software that we reviewed is its employee discount program—a perk you can offer to your staff that allows them to get discounts from ADP’s partner brands and retail shops. Plus, it also provides access to the usual benefits options like retirement plans and health insurance that’s available across the US (Gusto’s coverage is limited to 39 states, while Zenefits’ health plans don’t cover Hawaii).
  • HR tools: ADP has comprehensive HR solutions for managing hiring, training, performance reviews, employee attendance, and more. It even lets you post open jobs to more than 25,000 job sites, enabling you to easily find qualified candidates and hire employees. While Paychex offers hiring services and solutions, its 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.

Read our ADP Review

OnPay: Best for Agricultural Businesses

OnPay

Onpay Logo

Overall Score: 3.81
OUT OF 5

What We Like

  • Has an affordably priced plan
  • Offers full-service payroll with automatic tax filings
  • Files Form 943
  • Unlimited pay runs

What’s Missing

  • Lacks multiple tiers that cater to varying payroll and HR needs
  • Eligibility for either two- or four-day direct deposits is based on OnPay’s risk assessment
  • Limited third-party software integrations
  • Basic HR features

OnPay Pricing

  • $36 per month + $4 per employee monthly

OnPay offers payroll services and payroll tax filings that cover unique industries such as farm and agricultural businesses. It can handle Form 943 (Annual Federal Tax Return for Agricultural Employees) filings and tax processing for workers on H-2A visas. Aside from benefits that are available across the US, it can help manage PTO policies and requests. It also offers a single plan with affordable pricing ($36 + $4 per employee monthly). Its HR features, however, are not as robust as those of Rippling, ADP, Zenefits, and Paychex—it only provides essential tools for onboarding, new hire reporting, and online document management.

Scoring 3.81 out of 5 in our evaluation, OnPay received high ratings (4 and up) in reporting, ease of use, 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 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.
  • Employee benefits: With benefits options available in all US states, you are assured that your employees have sufficient health insurance coverage. This is unlike the health benefits of Gusto and Zenefits, which are limited to 39 and 49 states, respectively.
  • HR tools: Aside from online offer letters and new hire reporting, it offers onboarding solutions that include digital I-9 and W-4 forms, customizable checklists, and an e-signature tool. HR documents and templates are also available, but it lacks HR advisory services. 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 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, per month. Providers like Square Payroll, Zenefits, and Rippling may appear to charge slightly lower monthly fees but you actually end up having to pay more in a year.

Read our OnPay Review

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. 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 its payroll system or have HR products that work with its 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 its payroll tax administration services, and 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 OnPay, ADP, Paychex, 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 and QuickBooks Payroll 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 eight HR payroll solutions included in this guide, only Gusto 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.

*Percentages of overall score

Bottom Line

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.

Visit Gusto

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