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7 Best Payroll Services For Small Businesses & Large Enterprises

Best payroll services

In this article, I’ll go over the best payroll services for small businesses and large enterprises available on the market today.

Payroll is traditionally one of the more difficult aspects of running a company. Business owners must ensure that everybody is compensated accurately, including estimates for taxes, salaries, and other benefits.

How difficult could it possibly be? Every year, the IRS fines approximately one-third of small businesses for payroll errors.

Payroll is becoming more complex as more companies use remote workers, independent contractors, ad freelancers. Modern payroll services, however, are evolving to cope with this situation.

7 Best Payroll Services For Small Businesses And Large Enterprises In 2024

When it comes to anything as critical as payroll, you don’t want to risk using a subpar service. The following are some of the best online payroll services, depending on the size of your company:

  1. ADP Payroll — Complete payroll solution for expanding workforce
  2. Paychex — Payroll management for complex payroll periods
  3. OnPay — Best payroll service for small businesses working remotely
  4. Gusto — Complete payroll solution with unlimited payroll cycles
  5. Square Payroll — Payroll management software for restaurants
  6. QuickBooks Payroll — Best online payroll service for tax filings
  7. Deluxe Payroll — Best payroll service for small businesses with HR

Read on to learn about the pricing, features, benefits, and drawbacks of each payroll service to determine which is best for your company.

Best Online Payroll Services Reviews

1. ADP Payroll — Complete Payroll Solution For Expanding Workforce

Adp payroll - Best Payroll Services For Small Businesses

One of the most widely used online payroll systems is ADP Payroll.

That’s because they have a fantastic all-inclusive HR solution that handles anything from recruiting to time monitoring, background checks, and payment processing.

But it’s in their app integrations that they really stand out. ADP works with a variety of benefit vendors to offer benefits to both staff and HR teams, such as LifeMart product discounts and integration of outsourced HR and time clock applications.

Their plans are designed to scale, making them ideal for expanding the workforce. Businesses can choose between two “tiers”:

  • Payroll for small businesses. This is their service for companies with less than 49 employees. A great option for new businesses.
  • Payroll for mid-sized and large businesses. This is their option for companies with 50 to 1,000 workers or more.

There are four different pricing options available at all levels for your company to choose from. From direct deposit and tax filings to more exclusive benefits such as legal aid and HR training toolkits, you can expect it all.

ADP Payroll also offers recruiting services. You’ll be able to run background checks, search through 25,000+ work boards to find the right candidate, and schedule interviews and job offers.

You’ll also be able to handle the employees’ sick days and PTO requests, as well as monitor their hours worked.

In terms of rates, you’ll need to visit their website and request a free quote. However, depending on the company’s particular requirements, you should expect to pay between $10 and $15 per employee.

2. Paychex — Payroll Management For Complex Payroll Periods

Paychex - Best Payroll Services For Small Businesses

Paychex has some of the best options for larger businesses. This is mostly due to their Paychex Flex program.

Paychex Flex is a streamlined online payroll solution from Paychex that allows you to process complex payroll on multiple schedules in just a few clicks. You’ll also have access to a variety of HR tools, such as HR management, employee onboarding, new recruit background checks, and analytics.

Employees can be paid by direct deposit, prepaid debit cards, or prepaid debit cards, depending on the package you select.

Paychex Go is a small business plan from Paychex. It costs $59 a month plus $4 per employee to get started. By creating a free account, you can easily sign up and get started. However, as a small business owner, I would rather look for other options because the plan is fairly limited.

Paychex Flex is a comprehensive payroll and HR solution for larger businesses. Pricing is tailored to your specific requirements. Paychex Flex has a number of extra features, including:

  • Accounting ledger service
  • Free app available for download
  • $1,000 in digital marketing (prepaid)
  • Customized reports
  • Live chat and phone help are available 24/7
  • Deduct and remit garnished payments automatically
  • Assigned payroll expert

The Flex package also includes employee benefits such as extra payment options, HR administration, onboarding necessities, financial wellness program, and employee screening.

One drawback of Paychex is that the signup process isn’t as easy as some of the other choices on the list. You’ll need to request a quote, so getting started cannot be done on your own.

3. OnPay — Best Payroll Service For Small Businesses Working Remotely


OnPay is secure and reliable, and it’s ideal for businesses with geographically dispersed teams and employees.

That’s because, unlike many other payroll providers, they don’t charge you extra for multi-state filings. You’ll be able to pay your employees no matter where they are located.

The pricing for the all-in-one payroll service is simple and clear. The monthly fee is $36 plus $4 per employee.

When compared to some of the other choices on the list, this is value for money, particularly when you consider all of the features you’ll get.


  • Automatic tax filing and payment
  • No limit to the number of monthly pay periods
  • Two-day turnaround
  • Works with W-2 and 1099 employees
  • Wage garnishment
  • Pay with a debit card, a direct deposit, or a live check.
  • Withholding of unemployment insurance
  • Pay scales and schedules that are flexible
  • Integrations with time-tracking software
  • More than 40 reports

OnPay also offers customized payroll solutions for companies in niche industries with specific requirements. Restaurants (taxation, wage reporting), forestry, non-profits, and churches (exemptions for taxes) are some examples.

You’ll have everything you need to run payroll for your business, plus HR benefits for a mixed workforce (independent contractors and W2 employees). Employee dental and health insurance, retirement benefits, and workers’ compensation are all simple to add on.

They’ll also deal with the IRS on your behalf if you have any tax problems.

Employees can also self-serve their payroll. Your employees can self-register, log in to their accounts even after they leave the company, and update their personal details at any time. Employees can also track their 401k accounts and other voluntary deductions.

Your first month with OnPay is completely free. They’ll also cover any expenses associated with switching from the previous payroll provider.

The only drawback of using OnPay is the lack of a mobile app. Although the website is mobile-friendly, mobile apps seem to be fairly common these days.

OnPay charges you an additional fee for any year-end forms mailed to your office or staff. However, you could still print them yourself to save money.

4. Gusto — Complete Payroll Solution With Unlimited Payroll Cycles


Gusto is a comprehensive option on the list of the best online payroll services. They provide services to over 100,000 companies throughout the United States.

The platform’s simplicity is one of the reasons why many businesses use it for payroll. Anyone can easily set up, handle, and pay staff.

Gusto helps you complete payroll within minutes. If things don’t change each pay cycle, the software can be run on autopilot.

Gusto’s user interface is also spectacular. Even if you’ve never used an online payroll service before, it’s extremely easy to use.

Gusto not only calculates the taxes but also files them for you. When you run payroll, local, federal, and state taxes are paid automatically to the appropriate government office. This feature is completely free, while the competitors charge a fee.

Gusto’s process for onboarding each employee is fantastic. They can onboard themselves, whether they’re a new 1099 contractor or W-2 employee.

W-2s, pay stubs and anything else the employees need will be available online. Also, retired workers can still access historical payroll data.

Gusto supports an infinite number of payroll cycles, allowing you to send payments when you like. You are not bound by weekly or biweekly schedules.

In addition to being a full-service online payroll provider, Gusto assists you with time-tracking, compliance, employee benefits, PTO, and more.

Gusto’s plans are as follows:

Core ($39/ month)

  • Self-service for employees
  • $6 per person per month
  • Vacation policies
  • Compensation management
  • Managing health-care benefits

Complete ($39/month)

  • All of the important features
  • $12 per person per month.
  • Time-tracking
  • Onboarding and offers for new employees
  • Surveys and an employee list
  • Administering time-off

Concierge ($149/month)

  • Complete set of features
  • $12 per person per month.
  • Human Resources information center
  • HR experts

Small teams having simple payroll will benefit from the Core package. You would need to switch to the Complete plan as your team grows. Gusto Concierge includes an all-in-one package comprised of HR experts that are tailored for larger companies.

Gusto allows you to combine workers’ compensation and health insurance. There are no administrative costs, so you’ll just be charged for the plans.

Additional base rates on a monthly basis, as well as costs for each employee involved, are charged for 529 college savings plans, 401k accounts, FSAs, HSAs, and commuter benefits.

Gusto is an online payroll provider that has all the necessary features. The price is the only possible downside.

Gusto has a 1-month free trial. Creating an account is free, and you’ll only be charged after you’ve completed the first payroll.

5. Square Payroll — Payroll Management Software For Restaurants

square payroll

The company Square is best known for its credit card processing services and point-of-sale (POS) applications. Square Payroll is an outstanding all-in-one payroll solution.

If you are already a user of Square POS, then going for this service is a natural choice. Those timecards can be synced with your payroll system.

Square is an ideal payroll service for any business that relies heavily on its online store or eCommerce since it also provides an eCommerce solution.

Whether you’re in the retail or restaurant business and have physical locations, Square is a must-have. They have the tools and integrations you’ll need to link your entire company online.

They also have one of the most effective methods for digitally tracking employee hours without the need to manually enter data for each pay period. Square will also assist you in calculating and splitting any credit card tips for your employees. That works well for restaurants.

Another great aspect of Square Payroll is its ease of setup. You can get started in a few simple steps, all of which can be completed online. Simply enter your company details, add the information of your employees, and do your payroll.

Alternatively, for self-service onboarding, you may invite your employees to enter their own details. Square Payroll has a fantastic mobile app that allows you to manage your payroll from anywhere.


Square Payroll has a simple and affordable pricing structure. The monthly fee is $29 plus $5 per employee.

Additionally, Square Payroll provides a one-of-a-kind solution for companies paying contractors. It is just $5 per month per contractor, and there is no monthly subscription cost. This is one of the most cost-effective pricing options available.

In general, Square Payroll is ideal for companies that already use the Square POS service. It includes everything you’ll need to handle payroll.

Having said that, I would not recommend it to larger companies in need of additional HR systems. In that regard, Square Payroll is somewhat constrained.

However, if you have a physical location, work in the food service or retail sectors, or run a small local company, you should give Square Payroll a try today.

6. QuickBooks Payroll — Best Online Payroll Service For Tax Filings

QuickBooks Payroll

QuickBooks is best known for its accounting integration and expense tracker software for small businesses. The company also offers an excellent online payroll service.

If you do use QuickBooks Accounting, it’s a no-brainer to use QuickBooks Payroll. It is simple to integrate the software into the current QuickBooks accounting package.

As a result, you’ll have a streamlined all-in-one solution for all of your HR, accounting integration, and payroll requirements.

Each pay period, all local, federal, and state taxes will be evaluated and charged automatically. After the initial setup, you can run Auto Payroll to reduce the time spent running payroll per week.

Quickbooks is one of my favorite pieces of software because it protects me from tax penalties. If there’s a payroll mistake, and you’re hit with a tax penalty, they’ll pay up to $25,000 in compensation.

During tax season, you can’t beat that kind of peace of mind.

As mentioned earlier, the most significant advantage of using QuickBooks Payroll is its integration with QuickBooks accounting.

For each pay period, the bookkeeping reports and records will get updated in real-time. This also simplifies the process of sharing payroll data with your accountant.

Here’s a quick rundown of QuickBooks Payroll’s pricing and plans:

Core ($45/month)

  • Complete payroll service
  • $4 per person per month
  • Health insurance benefits
  • Automated payroll
  • Direct deposit the next business day
  • Expert assistance

Premium ($75/month)

  • All of the Core features
  • $8 per person per month
  • User permission
  • Direct deposit the same day
  • Smartphone app for premium time monitoring
  • Human Resources support

Elite ($125/month)

  • All of the Premium features
  • $10 per person per month
  • Time monitoring with project preparation and geofencing
  • Special onboarding
  • Personal HR consultant
  • Tax penalty protection

In general, QuickBooks Payroll is quite reliable. For such a big company, they have excellent customer service. It’s simple to get help if you have any issues, concerns, or need assistance.

For all plans, QuickBooks Payroll falls short in terms of employee benefits and HR features. However, it’s still a good option to think about, particularly if you already use QuickBooks Online for your accounting needs.

7. Deluxe Payroll — Best Payroll Service For Small Businesses With HR

deluxe payroll

Human Resources and payroll are inseparable, and the roles you perform in both divisions always overlap. While some services don’t have enough HR features, others might offer too many. Deluxe provides a straightforward solution for basic HR and payroll management in a single bundle.

You get whatever you need with Deluxe Payroll to minimize time wasted on recurring tasks. Full-service for tax filings in all the states, time monitoring, direct deposit within two days, accurate reporting, and PTO administration are all available via the platform.

Deluxe’s HR capabilities shine through in the recruiting and onboarding resources. You have access to Deluxe Payroll’s Text To Apply function, which is a seamless way for talented individuals to send in applications for positions at your company in a fully compliant manner.

You can monitor anything in the Deluxe dashboard, including other work listings you have online. The app would also make it easier to post new job openings on job boards and popular social media sites. It also simplifies the process of pre-screening and scheduling interviews.

Deluxe makes it much simpler once you’ve found a suitable new hire. Onboarding resources include document management for new hires, customizable forms for onboarding, and simple state and federal reporting. You can even do SSN verification for no cost.

And that’s only for the basic plan of Deluxe’s HR and payroll services.

Plans And Pricing

  • Lite ($39/month plus $7/person) – complete payroll service including HR reports and features for recruiting and onboarding
  • Blended ($49/month plus $7/person) – HR-centric approach with no tax or payroll features
  • All-Access ($39/month plus $12/person) – All of the features in Lite and Blended plans

Although the Lite plan might be a little pricey for basic payroll features, the All-Access plan provides more value for money, especially when you consider the functionalities you get.

If you are looking for payroll services, the Blended plan will not suffice. And, if you’re reading this, it’s safe to assume it won’t meet your requirements. The All-Access plan, on the other hand, adds a slew of HR features to the Deluxe Payroll software.

You receive a lot of help with compliance. For example, when it comes to ACA compliance, Deluxe will assist you with not only 1099, W-2, and W-4 forms, but also 1095 and 1094 forms related to given healthcare plans.

You also have important features like employee performance tracking, corporate charts, shareable and customizable HR documents, and help with employee withdrawal.

In addition, All-Access grants you access to use automation for repeat HR activities, user permission, and single sign-on using, Slack, Google, and other services.

If you’re looking for a reliable and affordable payroll service with HR resources, contact Deluxe today.

How to Pick the Best Online Payroll Service

When it comes to selecting an online payroll service, there are a number of factors to consider. Here is the approach I took to put this guide together.

Pay Period

What’s the frequency at which you’d like to do payroll?

Many online payroll services do not limit you to paying employees once a week or biweekly. OnPay and Gusto, for example, are two options that offer any number of payrolls per month.

This is ideal for those who don’t want to be bound by a strict pay period. You may also let the workers choose how and when they would like to get paid.

Perhaps you want salaried workers to be automatically paid each week. However, you may just want to pay individual contractors once a month for certain amounts. You can handle both cases using online payroll services.

This is particularly useful for businesses that hire both 1099 and W9 staff (like many companies do these days). Your company’s overall financial management will benefit from this flexibility.

Filing Taxes In Multiple States

This is very specific but can be an extremely important aspect for many companies, especially as remote work and distributed teams become more common.

The global pandemic has changed our jobs and business models—possibly indefinitely. Both Fortune 500 corporations and small businesses are increasingly working remotely. As a result, many businesses are experiencing an uptick in employees who don’t live in the same state or area.

You’ll need to use a payroll service that will help you handle your workers’ pay from anywhere.

If your staff or vendors live in states other than the one where your business is headquartered, you’ll need to sign up with their state tax office and follow their tax laws.

Certain online payroll systems perform better than others in this regard. In fact, there are some that will charge an additional fee if you file in more than one state.

OnPay includes payroll services for multiple states in all their packages at no additional cost. I highly recommend OnPay if you have employees working in a variety of different locations.

Gusto, on the other hand, charges an additional fee per month for payroll in multiple states. You can’t just rely on their lowest plan.

Self-Service For Employees And Management

Let’s face it: managing the finances of employees through an intermediary is quite inconvenient.

Self-service payroll is a good example of this.

If you use an employee-friendly online payroll service, it can make your workers’ lives as well as yours a lot easier. Workers can modify their personal records, manage their taxes and benefits, and access previous pay stubs with the best online payroll services.

Employees may also use certain services, such as Gusto, to request PTO and check the number of hours they have accumulated for taking a vacation.

It also enables management to quickly review, change, and assess workers’ financial information and work hours. This allows you to remain on top of your employees’ payroll as well as your company’s overall finances.

That’s really useful for companies that rely on hourly workers, such as retail and restaurants.

Some services, such as Square and Gusto, provide stakeholders with a convenient mobile app from which they can view their payroll details. At the very least, you’ll want to find an easy-to-access web service that they can use on any browser.

You can also get payroll services that allow workers to onboard by themselves. Simply ask them to register with their personal and financial information. Instead of printing and mailing tax documents yourself, the 1099 and W-2 employees can make use of the self-service function to view them each year.

All-Inclusive Features

You won’t find all-inclusive options for setting up and managing employee benefits in every payroll service. I’m talking about features like:

  • 401(k) accounts
  • Employee compensation management
  • Dental and vision care
  • Medical coverage
  • Health Savings Accounts

If you want to provide these kinds of incentives to your workers, you’ll need to select a payroll service that can handle it.

When payroll and benefits are unified on a single portal and system, it’s a lot easier to handle. You may not want to send your workers to a variety of websites to get their benefits and payment details. It’s inconvenient, and it can cause confusion in the future.

In this aspect, ADP Payroll and Gusto stand out. They have a simple system for your payroll and HR requirements. ADP also works with a variety of benefit providers, allowing you to provide discounts to fitness centers, wellness programs, and even group savings plans to your employees.

This will have a significant impact on retaining and recruiting the best employees.

Square Payroll, instead, only provides solutions for a small set of employee benefits (health care, workers’ compensation, and a 401(k)).

Specialized Payroll Services

Payroll could be complicated or straightforward, depending on the sector in which it is used.

Foodservice, non-profits, farms, and contractor-dependent operations would necessitate a more complicated payroll system. A three-person bootstrapped startup, on the other hand, would be relatively simple.

For the majority of small businesses, OnPay is a viable option. However, complex options are available for restaurant owners, dentists, or tax-exempt entities such as churches and non-profits.

For instance, they can assist religious groups and churches in excluding taxes related to federal unemployment, Medicare, Social Security, and parsonage allowances from their tax filings. Additionally, they make sure that non-profits file correct federal unemployment-related taxes.

Square Payroll works well for retail and restaurant businesses because one of its most prominent features is a POS system that is commonly used for these types of operations. Their payroll service for restaurants has resources for managing the front and back-of-house staff. That’s very useful, considering the fact that the restaurant worker taxes vary greatly in different states.

Final Thoughts

Any company requires an online payroll service. However, not all payroll solutions are created equal. There are certain options available that are clearly superior to others.

What are the best payroll services for small businesses and large enterprises? Each type of business would have a different preference. Here’s a short rundown of the best online payroll services based on the factors mentioned earlier:

  1. ADP Payroll — Complete payroll solution for expanding workforce
  2. Paychex — Payroll management for complex payroll periods
  3. OnPay — Best payroll service for small businesses working remotely
  4. Gusto — Complete payroll solution with unlimited payroll cycles
  5. Square Payroll — Payroll management software for restaurants
  6. QuickBooks Payroll — Best online payroll service for tax filings
  7. Deluxe Payroll — Best payroll service for small businesses with HR

If you run a small company, a large organization, or have special payroll requirements, this guide has a service that would work for you.

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