Solution Finder: Payroll Systems

Katie Fleming

Katie Fleming

Co-founder and COO of Owner Actions

Calculators aren't necessary with the top-tier payroll systems.

As an employer, you’ll need to comply with federal and state laws regarding payroll. These laws include keeping up with your state’s minimum wage requirements, complying with overtime guidelines, and adhering to required deductions from employee paychecks for items like taxes and child support. Laws in each of these areas are subject to change, as are the rates and amounts you may be required to withhold. Staying on top of federal and state income tax rates, FICA taxes, federal and state unemployment taxes, and state workers’ compensation funding requirements and withholding requirements can be challenging. What can help? Implementing systems that will help you automate your payroll taxes.

Payroll systems rapidly update to reflect changes to payroll regulations. Some payroll systems also offer other features to help you reduce the complexities of paying your employees. Here, you’ll learn about three options that may be a great fit for your business.

Be sure to click on the logo to watch a brief explainer video of each option.


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$39 + $6/ month / employee
  • Free trial available
  • Best for very small businesses
  • No minimum number of employees
  • W-2 and 1099 reporting
  • Desktop employee portal
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Zoho Payroll

$19 + $3/month / employee
  • 30-day free trial
  • No minimum number of employees
  • W-2 and 1099 reporting
  • Desktop and mobile employee portals
  • Integrates with other Zoho applications
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$16/month / employee
  • Free trial available
  • 5 employee minimum
  • Good for growing businesses
  • W-2 and 1099 reporting
  • Desktop and mobile employee portals


Let’s dive into each of these payroll systems.



Gusto is the go-to choice for many small business owners. This intuitive system automates payroll, payroll tax calculations, and payroll tax filings to make the entire process a snap.

Gusto offers a suite of solutions that can benefit your business, including time tools, benefits administration, and onboarding assistance. Each tool integrates well with Gusto’s payroll system, but just as importantly, this solution works well with third-party systems such as QuickBooks, Xero, and Clover, which you may already be using in your business.

Like the other solutions we mention, Gusto offers a wealth of features. These include customization options, robust reporting tools, and an app that can help you manage payroll on the go.

Pricing starts at around $39/month plus $6/employee per month. It is the most costly solution we mention, but it also has some of the most advanced features.

Ready to check it out? Sign up for a free demo at


Zoho Payroll

We often refer owners to Zoho products because they integrate so well with one another. Zoho Payroll is no exception. This solution integrates well with Zoho Books, the entity’s online accounting software, to automate payroll expenses recording directly to the right journals.

On its own, Zoho Payroll is an end-to-end payroll solution that simplifies payroll administration, payroll processing, taxes, and compliance. It’s easy to configure, allowing you to tailor policies, pay periods, benefits, and other options to the needs of your business.

It also offers robust reports so you can access payroll metrics, trends, and key data in a single click. And, like the other options we mention, it offers an on-the-go app that makes payroll management a breeze for you and your team.

Zoho Payroll starts at around $19/month with an additional $3/user per month.

You can learn more about Zoho Payroll and request a product demo by visiting Zoho’s website.



Zenefits is another great payroll tool, especially for businesses with at least five employees.

As far as features go, Zenefits is very well equipped. It supports unlimited payruns, multiple pay schedules, garnishments, direct deposits, tips reporting, and contractor payments to start. It also offers dynamic mobile paystubs that break down deductions and provide clear information.

Zenefits also stays on top of payroll compliance matters and integrates the rules you’ll need to follow right into their system so that payroll taxes can be calculated correctly—and automatically—every time. The service will even file your payroll taxes for you.

As with the other solutions we mention, Zenefits seamlessly integrates with essential accounting and 401(k) platforms. These include QuickBooks, Xero, Guideline, and Copilot, among others.

Interested in learning more? Check it out now.


Here’s one more payroll systems option to consider

We wanted to give you three clear options to compare, but we couldn’t resist throwing in Rippling.

Rippling is a simple, easy-to-use system that automates all the complexities of payroll management, compliance, reporting, and tax filing. It syncs business HR data with payroll to eliminate manual data entry work, and it stays up to the minute on payroll and tax regulations at the federal, state, and local levels to help owners stay focused on what matters at work.

One feature owners love is the ability to customize Rippling to suit their PTO policies, but other great features include easy-to-generate job costing reports by location, client, or task; robust time tracking options; pre-built and customized reports; and an intuitive app to handle payroll on the go.

Rippling starts at around $8/user per month, but you’ll need to work with a Rippling specialist to find the package that’s best for your business.

Check out this offerIf this option sounds like the right one for you, be sure to this deal we’ve secured for our owners. For a limited time, new Rippling customers can try the service free for six months (yes, months!).


Current Rippling customers can save with us, too: Follow our offer link get up to three months of the service for free.


Some restrictions apply. Connect with Rippling to learn more.


You can access these deals here.

Interested in a free demo? Get started by visiting Rippling’s website.


Interested in other small business solutions? Let us help you find the right systems. Then, log into your owner’s portal for more articles and advice tailored to your business’s needs.

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