6 Best Payroll Software for Small Businesses

6 Best Payroll Software for Small Businesses

In this post, we look at how small businesses can use payroll software to:

  • Cut out the time-consuming and inefficient process of running payroll with spreadsheets or using multiple platforms (e.g., one software for tracking time and then sending a spreadsheet to their payroll provider).
  • Get accurate payroll reports that include time worked and paid time off for all employees (whether full-time, part-time, freelance, seasonal, etc.).
  • Track and add miscellaneous earnings such as reimbursements, bonuses, severances, etc.
  • Pay their employees accurately and on time — either via direct deposit or physical checks.
  • Follow all local, state, and federal rules and regulations regarding tax withholdings and calculating overtime.

The first software we’ll cover is Buddy Punch, our payroll software for small businesses. Then, we’ll cover 5 additional options.

Payroll Software for Small Businesses

  1. Buddy Punch
  2. OnPay
  3. Gusto
  4. PayChex Flex
  5. Roll by ADP
  6. QuickBooks Payroll

Buddy Punch tracks time worked, including paid time off (PTO), and other earnings you need to run through payroll — such as bonuses and reimbursements. Buddy Punch has an online clock-in and clock-out system that you can use from any desktop or mobile device, so it’s perfect for shift workers, remote workers, traveling employees, or when you’re managing multiple locations. Plus, you can use Buddy Punch for salary employees, too.

We’re proud of the product we’ve made and how it helps small businesses run their payroll more efficiently. At the time of this writing, we have 4.8 out of 5 stars on Capterra (a third-party, unbiased review site) — based on over 750 customer reviews.

Many of our Capterra reviews highlight how Buddy Punch makes payroll effortless and more efficient — with very responsive customer support.

To learn more about how Buddy Punch can simplify your payroll process:

Keep reading to learn more about how our payroll software works.

1. Buddy Punch: Time Saving Payroll Software for Small Businesses

Buddy Punch is an all-in-one time tracking and payroll software. You don’t need to juggle different platforms for time tracking, PTO, and payroll — it’s all done from one dashboard.

This is much more inefficient than, say, using one tool for PTO tracking and another platform to run payroll. Plus, having one system for all your time tracking and payroll needs helps cut down on costly manual errors that can occur when you’re toggling through different screens or exporting and importing CSV files.

Here’s a high-level overview of how Buddy Punch works.

1. Buddy Punch tracks hours worked and other expenses issued via payroll.

If you have shift workers, then your employees can clock in for their shifts using a desktop computer, tablet, or smartphone. All these punches are tracked by Buddy Punch and are easy for your management/admin team to edit if necessary. (For example, say someone clocked out for lunch but forgot to clock back in — you can quickly edit their time card to reflect actual hours worked, resulting in accurate payroll at the end of the pay period.)

This automates much of the payroll process, as now you already have accurate and recorded payroll data.

Plus, Buddy Punch has advanced time clock features, such as GPS restrictions, IP locking, and punch rounding, to increase employee accountability and ensure accurate time tracking. (We’ll go over these features in more detail below.)

How to use Buddy Punch’s payroll software to punch in

Note: If your team doesn’t clock in and out, you can use Buddy Punch Payroll to track reimbursements, non-hourly regular employees (i.e., salary employees)), bonuses, commissions, severance, PTO, and more.

2. Buddy Punch automatically calculates payroll based on time worked, PTO taken, and other expenses. When it’s time to run payroll, Buddy Punch uses its accurate time-tracking system to ensure your team is being paid correctly. Buddy Punch also handles multi-state tax registration and all local, state, and federal taxes. 

How to use Buddy Punch’s payroll software for small businesses

3. Your team gets paid on time (and in the right way). At Buddy Punch, you can choose 2-day or 4-day processing — and you can set up a helpful reminder to make sure you submit payroll on time.

Plus, your employees get a self-service login which they can use to set up direct deposit and pick their tax withholdings. You can also pay employees via check.

Payroll successfully submitted

That’s a very high-level overview of how Buddy Punch’s payroll software works. If you want to see a more customized breakdown of how Buddy Punch can help your small business, schedule a one-on-one demo, or keep reading.

How Buddy Punch Provides Accurate Payroll Info

First, Buddy Punch tracks your team’s punches — clocking in and out for their shift, clocking in and out for breaks/lunches, etc.

Buddy Punch has advanced clock-in and clock-out features that help guarantee accurate time tracking, including:

  • Photos on Punch: Employees take a photo of themselves — either with their computer, tablet, or smartphone — and it gets uploaded when they clock in. Your management/HR team can review the submitted photos. This helps guarantee that the right person is clocking in for their shift (and helps deter time theft, such as buddy punching).
  • Geofencing: You can limit punches to a specific area, such as making it so no one can clock in for their shift unless they’re within 100 feet of their workstation.
  • IP Address Locking: Employees can only clock in and out if they’re using the WiFi that you’ve designated.
  • Punch rounding: Punch rounding helps you accurately track when your employees start or end their shifts/breaks.

For example, let’s say you have 15 employees all clocking in for their shift at 7 am. To deal with the line, some employees may clock in earlier, and some may clock in later. But you can set Buddy Punch to round punches up or down. So if someone punches in at 7:05 am, you can have it round down to 7:00 am, or if someone punches in at 6:52 am, you can round it up to 7:00 am.

Plus, you can easily edit anyone’s punches via your Buddy Punch dashboard.

People are always going to make time punch mistakes — such as forgetting to clock in from lunch. Not fixing these issues as they arise can lead to costly discrepancies in payroll — such as paying your employee too much or too little.

If you were using two separate tools for time tracking and payroll, then you’d need to jump back and forth between two platforms to reconcile these mistakes.

But with Buddy Punch, you can edit punches and re-submit payroll from the same dashboard.

Here’s how simple it is to fix a mispunch:

From your Buddy Punch dashboard, hover over Timecards, then click “View All”.

How to view all timecards within Buddy Punch

Then, click on the specific employee whose timesheet you want to edit.

How to choose a specific employee’s timecard to edit

Once their timecard is pulled up, you can edit their punches, such as adding a punch they forgot to enter.

How to add a break or lunch to someone’s timecard

And that’s it. Now you can run payroll with accurate time records.

Buddy Punch also tracks your team’s paid time off (PTO).

Your employees can request paid or unpaid time off via the Buddy Punch mobile app (iOS and Android). It’s important to especially track paid time off, as that info goes into your payroll.

If you want, you can set it up so PTO requests need to be approved by a manager.

Submit new PTO requests with Buddy Punch’s payroll software

Or you can have PTO requests get automatically approved, as long as your employee has enough PTO to use and they’re not requesting any dates on the calendar that you’ve restricted.

Note: If you want to learn more about this part of Buddy Punch, see our post on PTO tracking software.

How to Add Additional Earnings (Bonuses, Cash Tips, Severances, etc.) to Your Payroll

Finally, you can add additional earnings to your payroll, such as bonuses, reimbursements, and severances.

This helps keep everything issued through one platform and makes it easier for you to record your expenses and for your employees to record their earnings.

When you’re running payroll, you can click on “+ Additional Earnings” next to an employee’s name.

Add additional earnings to an employee’s timecard

Then, you just input how much you want to add and categorize it (bonus, reimbursement, etc.). And that’s it.

Add additional earnings such as bonuses and commissions to an employee’s timecard

Above we looked at the key features of using Buddy Punch as your small business’s payroll provider.

But there are other benefits, such as:

  • Overtime alerts: See which employee is at risk of working overtime, so you can adjust the schedule as necessary.

To learn more about how you can use Buddy Punch for your payroll, schedule a one-on-one demo.

Plus, Additional Buddy Punch Features

Above, we focused on how Buddy Punch can help your small business run payroll efficiently.

Buddy Punch is also a full-fledged clock-in and clock-out tool, a time-tracking system, and PTO-tracking software. Our features include, but are not limited to:

What Customers Like About Buddy Punch

As of this writing date, Buddy Punch has 4.8 out of 5 stars and over 750 reviews on Capterra (a widely-used software review site).

Buddy Punch: 774 reviews and 4.8/5 stars

Below are just a few reviews that highlight how Buddy Punch can streamline your payroll processes:

“After using paper time cards for over a year, spending many frustrating hours a week reviewing, verifying, inputting, and analyzing employee punches, and then finding a place to keep the paper cards for our records, we were fed up. We looked for an affordable and easy-to-implement payroll solution. We used the Buddy Punch trial, and within a week, we knew this was the solution we were looking for … Now the process is as simple as logging on, setting the date range, exporting a CSV, and migrating the data into an analysis template. What used to take over an hour, takes roughly 20 minutes.”

Click here to read the full review.

“In running payroll, since employees will punch in, being able to track their time as well as PTO in one place saves me time on my end. I simply run a report at the pay period end to access a summary for each employee. I still have to enter totals, but will no longer have to search spreadsheets each time for notes regarding time off. The reports are very helpful and can be downloaded in multiple formats.”

Click here to read the full review.

“The integration with QuickBooks has streamlined our payroll, which has been a huge plus. Most importantly to me as the administrator who’s been responsible for the complete setup and training of all staff – the Buddy Punch customer service team has been absolutely outstanding!”

Click here to read the full review.

“My staff loves that the software works seamlessly and I love the easy payroll reporting process. BEST of all, when I have a question, Buddy Punch really LISTENS and always walks me through the answer or offers to help themselves.”

Click here to read the full review.

“This was so user-friendly and easy to navigate. It’s very affordable and breaks the individual’s hours down to a report that I could merge with our payroll provider.”

Click here to read the full review.

“I like how easy it is to use and the time it has saved us each week on payroll. The employees like seeing their time live each day as well.”

Click here to read the full review.

“No more adding times, calculating, and then punching them in redundantly. Buddy Punch has taken the work out of payroll and timekeeping.”

Click here to read the full review.

“Love the PTO portion and that you have the opportunity to export information for payroll as well.”

Click here to read the full review.

Click here to see the full list of our Buddy Punch reviews on Capterra.

To learn more about how you can use Buddy Punch for your payroll, schedule a one-on-one demo.

2. OnPay

OnPay's payroll software for small businesses

OnPay is a full service online payroll software, offering plenty of must-have payroll features, including:

  • Unlimited monthly pay runs
  • All tax filings and payments
  • W-2 and 1099 workers
  • Pay by direct deposit, debit card, or check
  • Multiple pay rates and schedules
  • Garnishments
  • Unemployment insurance withholding
  • Click here for a full breakdown

Here’s a lengthy, detailed video breakdown of all of OnPay’s features (not just payroll):

At the time of writing, OnPay has 4.8 out of 5 stars on Capterra with over 400 reviews.

3. Gusto

Gusto's payroll for small businesses: Quickly pay your team, no matter where they are

Gusto is full-service payroll software that also comes with HR features, such as hiring and onboarding.

For payroll, you can use Gusto to:

Here’s a short demo of how Gusto works as a payroll provider for small businesses:

At the time of writing, Gusto has 4.6 out of 5 stars on Capterra with over 3,000 reviews.

4. PayChex Flex

Paychex Flex's homepage: Small Business Payroll Services

PayChex Flex is small business payroll software that you can use to:

  • Enter and run payroll online for businesses (for businesses with 1-19 employees)
  • Automatically calculate, pay, and file payroll taxes
  • And more

Here’s a short demo of how PayChex Flex works:

At the time of writing, PayChex Flex has 4.1 out of 5 stars on Capterra with over 1300 reviews.

5. Roll by ADP

Roll by ADP homepage: Small business payroll as easy as sending a text

Roll by ADP is targeted specifically to small business owners.

Roll comes with features such as:

Here’s a brief video detailing how Roll works:

At the time of writing, we couldn’t find any reviews specific to Roll by ADP on Capterra.

6. QuickBooks Payroll

QuickBooks Payroll small business: Payroll services that go beyond a paycheck

QuickBooks Payroll is a cloud-based payroll solution that businesses can use to pay their employees and file payroll taxes.

Here are some of its features:

Here’s a video detailing how QuickBooks can help you run payroll:

At the time of this writing, QuickBooks Payroll has a 4.5 out of 5 stars on Capterra with over 750 reviews.

Learn More About Buddy Punch

You’ve reached the end of our article on different payroll software for small businesses. If you’d like to explore Buddy Punch in greater depth, we invite you to:

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