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How to Choose a Payroll Service for Your Business 

These are the top payroll services on the market today. Read on for in-depth details on features, plans, and pricing.


  • Run payroll on your mobile device

  • Year-end tax forms automatically sent and filed

  • First 2 months free

  • Extensive employee management tools

ADP is payroll made easy. It’s one of the only payroll services that lets you sign up with no contracts, so you aren’t tied down. This is great, especially considering ADP has so many service plans to choose from. You can move from one type of plan to another as your company grows or evolves. Don't forget, ADP offers the first 2 months of payroll services completely free, so you can test drive this company risk-free.

ADP also comes with plenty of convenient features that help you with other aspects of your business. You'll appreciate the all-inclusive time and attendance sheets that are synced to the payroll software for seamless calculations. Employees can clock in by using a variety of time devices (time clocks, mobile apps, phones, etc.) for their convenience, and the software tracks time off, overtime, and vacation requests for your convenience.

But, ADP goes even further. Managers will appreciate the number of tools that enhance productivity like performance evaluations, scheduling tools, and analytics, so you can see who is doing what, when, and how. ADP allows you to easily export information to QuickBooks, Creative Solutions, Xero, and other popular add-ons. The system also lets you set up email reminders and notifications. So, you can set up a reminder to get payroll out by a certain date or create an alert that notifies you when there's been a significant change to your bank account. 

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  • Excellent reporting functionality

  • Can create separate payroll for different types of workers

  • Full HR system with tools and analytics

  • Benefits management resources

Gusto makes getting payroll out faster, easier, and more enjoyable than ever (and not just for those getting paid!) The UI is smooth, clean, and all-encompassing. It basically makes making payroll a cinch, and it does that and so much more all within one simple-to-use system.

Running payroll takes no time at all, and the system allows you to calculate both salary or hourly rates along with additional factors such as overtime, bonuses, reimbursements, and more. Choose between direct deposit or paper checks, whichever works better for your company, and see an overview of everything before you sign off on the payroll. Best of all, once you make all of your additions, you can just set up your payroll to go out with just a few clicks.

Gusto has a robust set of human resources tools and benefits administration as well. It takes care of key BA components like 401k, medical and dental insurance, and disability coverage for all of your employees. The system uses an automated algorithm that recommends personalized benefits for each worker/employer according to their specific situation.

Gusto also takes care of all tax forms, filing, and compliance issues for you automatically so that you have no need to worry about missing any important deadlines, confusing tax requirements, or not getting the information you need from an employee. Ready to get payroll up and running on its own? 

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  • Extensive and customizable reports

  • Free month when you sign up

  • Fully tax compliant

  • Highest security and fraud measures available

Deluxe is a trusted name throughout the business world and offers many other business management solutions in addition to payroll management. It provides companies with several plans, so you can choose the one that fits your needs. In a standard package, you'll get important payroll features like:

  • Payroll register

  • Department and payroll summary

  • Tax filing and advice

  • Worksheets

Additionally, Deluxe offers extensive reporting for everything from exceptions to new hires and more. Payroll is made simple by the easy automated system that syncs all data with payroll services, so you don't have to worry that you're missing information or about cross-referencing time sheets. You can choose to pay your employees via direct deposit, payroll debit card, bank reconciliation, or standard paychecks. The system itself is easy to use, with customization options, remote access, and knowledge exchange center information at your fingertips.

Tax filing is something other companies worry about, thanks to Deluxe. It files all federal, state, and local taxes, processes end of the year Ws forms, and even has a service that updates your labor law poster compliances whenever a change is made to the requirements. Deluxe really goes the extra mile to ensure that you are covered in every way.

Friendly customer support just completes this great package. Knowledgeable staff is available via phone or email, and you can even reach out to the live chat rep for a one-on-one question and answer session. 

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The Benefits of Using a Payroll Service

In the U.S., there are 2 common ways in which employees are paid: either by the hour, or on a salary basis. However, the set rate established by the employer to the employee may fluctuate due to one’s responsibility to pay taxes, including both federal and state tax. Because tax rates change often, employers often choose to use a comprehensive payroll service instead of using a payroll software.

What is a Payroll Service?

A payroll service is an external company that understands and handles every aspect of the payroll process. For a fee, employers can provide the service company with a list of all employees, each individual’s salary or hourly pay, along with any adjustments. Once this is complete, the employer will transfer funds to the payroll service provider and the provider will pay each employee accordingly.

The Difference Between a Payroll Software and a Payroll Service

A payroll software is used when an employer wants to complete the payroll process internally. A payroll service is when the payroll process is outsourced to a third party company.

A software is often used when businesses feel they do not have the time or knowledge needed to deal with payroll taxes. Some factors to take into consideration when purchasing a payroll software include:

  • Affordability: The price of a payroll software is generally more cost-effective than paying a third party.

  • Control: Payroll is in the hands of the employer; a company does not have to rely on anyone else.

  • Accessibility: Many payroll software programs are available online, so employers can access the system from any location.

  • Security: Managing payroll internally eliminates the risk that comes with sending an employee’s personal information to an outside company.

  • Liability: Companies who choose to keep the payroll process in-house run the risk of forgetting tax payments or filling out tax documents correctly. Not only could these mistakes cost the company money, but it could also cost them their reputation if the errors are not caught in a timely manner.

  • Unexpected/Undisclosed Fees: While many software solutions offer customer support, it often comes at a price. Cancelling or upgrading the software system may cause a price increase as well.

If an employer chooses to outsource payroll to an external company, it is important to consider the following factors:

  • More Time: Outsourcing payroll frees up time for the employer since they do not have to deal with taxes; this includes researching tax updates and changes, and filling out lengthy tax documents.

  • Avoid IRS Penalties: Filing taxes incorrectly or late can cost the employer a substantial amount of money; not having to worry about fines from the IRS is a huge selling point for employers.

  • Avoid Headaches: The uncertainty of whether the software is the most up-to-date version, along with the potential IT issues that come with a software are alleviated by using a payroll service.

  • Prevent Losing Payroll Knowledge: If an employer has one person in charge of completing payroll, they run the risk of losing that employee at any given time; if the employee leaves the company, finding someone else to take his or her place would be difficult to do in a timely fashion.

Whether an employer chooses to use a payroll service or payroll software, there are risks involved. However, the amount of disadvantages associated with outsourcing payroll are far less than the disadvantages of using a payroll software. While fees may be higher when a company chooses to outsource payroll, the liability is much less. This is why we've put this comprehensive list together of the best payroll services the market has to offer. If you would like to learn more about each payroll service provider, you can take advantage of our in-depth reviews.