Recommendations: Sorts listings by the number of recommendations our advisors have made over the past 30 days. Our advisors assess buyers’ needs for free and only recommend products that meet buyers’ needs. Vendors pay Software Advice for these referrals. Reviews: Sorts listings by the number of user reviews we have published, greatest to least. Sponsored: Sorts listings by software vendors running active bidding campaigns, from the highest to lowest bid. Vendors who have paid for placement have a ‘Visit Website’ button, whereas unpaid vendors have a ‘Learn More’ button. Avg Rating: Sorts listings by overall star rating based on user reviews, highest to lowest. A to Z: Sorts listings by product name from A to Z.
Infor CloudSuite HCM is a suite of human resources applications with several deployment options. Applications in the core suite include benefits management, absence and time entry, budgeting, employee safety, talent acquisition, o...Read more
Ascentis offers a cloud-based human capital management (HCM) suite designed for midsize companies of all industries. It includes HR and benefits, recruiting and onboarding, talent management, time and attendance and payroll.
Omniprise is an on-premise as well as cloud-based customer relationship management solution designed to provide companies a view of all customer interactions on a real-time basis. The solution is suitable for businesses of all siz...Read more
Faster, smarter, easier payroll and HR
As a small business owner, you’re managing more than ever. And with less time to get it all done — you can’t afford mistakes. You need a trusted payroll and HR platform that can help you st...Read more
ADP Workforce Solution is suited for businesses with more than 50 employees looking to streamline HR processes. ADP Workforce Now includes capabilities such as payroll processing and tax filing, performance management, compensatio...Read more
ADP Vantage HCM is an on-premises human capital management (HCM) solution suitable for large organizations with more than one thousand employees. ADP Vantage offers integrated tools to manage recruiting, talent management, time ma...Read more
UKG Ready is a flexible and seamless HR solution that provides a connected people experience to easily manage the entire employee journey, from a single solution. Designed for flexibility and ease of use, UKG Ready combines the po...Read more
Triton HR offers small to midsize companies a cloud-based human resources (HR) solution that integrates payroll services, employee benefits and core HR applications into a single system. The system can be configured to support a w...Read more
isolved is an employee experience leader, providing intuitive, people-first HCM technology. Their solutions are delivered directly or through their partner network to more than five million employees and 145,000 employers — who us...Read more
iManage by Corporate Business Solutions is a cloud-based HR solution that caters to midsize and large businesses and helps them to manage their HR practices payroll processing routines. It helps managers handle the labor-intensive...Read more
Zenefits is an all-encompassing HR SaaS platform designed specifically for small to midsize businesses. The Zenefits People Platform includes a robust offering spanning HR, Benefits, Payroll, Well-being and Performance apps that c...Read more
APS has a mission: to make payroll and HR easier. They have been providing payroll and tax compliance services to companies since 1996. In 2004, APS released its cloud-based solution for workforce management.
APS delivers a sing...Read more
Patriot Payroll does not have an app, but the website is optimized for mobile use.
Patriot Payroll from Patriot Software is an integrated human resource (HR) and payroll management solution that helps to streamline the different...Read more
Paycor creates Human Capital Management (HCM) software for leaders who want to make a difference. Our HCM platform modernizes every aspect of people management, from the way you recruit, onboard and develop people, to the way you ...Read more
Wagepoint is a small-but-mighty company on a mission to simplify payroll – and even dare to make it delightful! Our online payroll software was built just for small businesses, automating the most “ugh” parts of payroll so that ou...Read more
Paychex Flex is a human capital management solution that's designed using web-based modular technology and a dedicated service center to help meet the HR needs of employers of any size and industry. With a single login, users can ...Read more
Paylocity is a cloud-based human capital management (HCM) platform that provides human resources and payroll management tools to help businesses manage core HR functions. Key features include payroll processing, benefits administr...Read more
Wave Payroll is a cloud-based payroll solution for small businesses. Primary features include invoicing, accounting, online payments, lending and receipts. The accounting module allows users to create custom invoices, scan receipt...Read more
Dayforce, provided by Ceridian, is a solution for payroll, benefits, workforce management, human resources, talent management, document management, and analytics. As a single application, Dayforce provides organizations with acces...Read more
OASIS by Intellitek is a full-featured ERP solution that is a great solution for overall Supply Chain Management. It features several important applications, such as Supplier Management, Procurement, and Transportation Management....Read more
Online payroll software is a web-based payroll application that provides features such as compensation management, tax filing, and time and attendance tracking. Users can access these features via web-enabled devices (e.g., computer, tablet, smartphone). The software is hosted and managed by the vendor.
Online, or “cloud-based,” payroll software refers to systems hosted in the cloud, on the software vendor’s servers. Unlike with on-premise deployments, which require users to install software on their own computers and servers, online software lets users log in from anywhere.
There are many online payroll solutions out there. Some are sold as stand-alone payroll applications, while others are included as part of broader human resources (HR) software suites. Big vendors, such as ADP, offer multiple cloud payroll systems with different levels of functionality. No matter which vendor you choose, there are some capabilities common to most online payroll systems, which we’ll explore next.
(If you're not sold on the cloud-based deployment model and would prefer to evaluate all payroll systems, both cloud-based and on-premise, check out our general payroll software guide.)
As high-speed Internet and mobile access become more common, online payroll software’s popularity is on the rise.
If you're in the market for a new system, this guide will help you choose the right one for your business. We’ll cover:
These systems often come with some or all of the following core capabilities:
Found in all payroll software; automates payroll processing. Users assign pay rates to employees, then enter employee hours manually or import them from a Web-based time and attendance application. The system automatically calculates wages and generates paychecks. May include direct deposit options, bonuses, commissions, overtime and tips.
Time and attendance
Allows employees to clock in and out within the system, and administrators to track employee attendance.
Available in more robust systems. Automatically prepares, files and pays state and federal taxes. Alternatively, provides tax calculations and/or documents for users to prepare and file manually.
Some systems package payroll processing and general accounting together. Alternatively, some systems simply offer integration with users’ existing online accounting software.
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Online payroll software buyers can choose from options with a range of functionality: from basic compensation management systems all the way up to complete HR suites. The system that’s right for you will depend on your payroll, accounting and HR requirements:
Basic payroll needs. Some vendors offer entry-level online payroll packages that include capabilities only for compensation management and time and attendance. Businesses looking to fulfill basic payroll needs might choose one of these, such as Wagepoint or Payroll by Wave.
Complete HR suites. As mentioned, many online payroll systems come as part of an HR suite. These suites include functionality for personnel tracking, applicant tracking, benefits administration, talent management, scheduling and more in addition to payroll. Businesses looking for a complete solution can check out software such as Paychex Flex and Kronos Workforce Central’s Web-based option.
Benefits and Potential Issues
There are many benefits of choosing online payroll software over software deployed on-premise. Some of these perks include:
Security. With cloud-based deployments, businesses don’t have to worry about on-premise crashes, thefts or other crises. Online software vendors have their own secure servers and security policies to help prevent hacking and data loss (which are often more robust than those of individual businesses).
Automatic updates. Cloud payroll software vendors often update their products to reflect things like changing tax laws. Because online payroll software can update automatically, users no longer have to buy new software each year.
Lower upfront costs. Since cloud payroll solutions are typically priced on a subscription basis, users don’t have to pay a large installation fee up front, like they do with perpetual licenses (which are common for on-premise systems). Instead, they pay a more manageable fee either per month or per year.
Though online payroll software solutions have lower initial costs, the recurring costs eventually add up. However, since on-premise software often requires users to purchase updates, over time, costs for the two types of system tend to even out.
Market Trends to Understand
Here are a few trends to be aware of as you search for new software in this market:
Mobile accessibility. More and more businesses want their payroll software to be accessible from any device. Cloud-based software has made it possible for vendors to offer mobile apps, so users can log in from their smartphones and tablets.
Many vendors also offer mobile employee portals. With these portals, employees can access their timesheets, salary information and more while on the go.
Cloud-based solutions for larger enterprises. In the past, cloud solutions were marketed only to small and midsize businesses. Now, more and more vendors are offering robust online payroll systems for larger enterprises.
Systems targeting larger businesses often include a wider range of capabilities, such as HR applications or accounting integration.