The best payroll apps of 2023


Payroll is an essential aspect of business management. In addition to providing employees with wages, it can also help enterprises manage benefits, track time and communicate with team members. Unfortunately, implementing successful payroll systems can be complex and time-consuming. That’s why organizations can benefit from payroll applications.

Payroll apps like Gusto and Justworks aid businesses that are searching for better payroll solutions, but not everyone’s payroll app is viable for your organization. The following 2023 guide has been compiled to help you determine which payroll applications could be useful for your business.

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Feature comparison table: Payroll applications

Feature Gusto Rippling Paychex Justworks Papaya
Payment and platform customization Yes Yes Somewhat Yes Somewhat
Automation Somewhat Yes Somewhat Yes Somewhat
Remote connectivity Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Advanced analytics Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Full-service support Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Top payroll apps of 2023

There are many payroll applications to choose from in 2023, and finding the perfect fit for your business can be complicated. Fortunately, many top payroll apps deliver specific tools that can help organizations achieve payroll perfection. The following payroll apps are all viable options for businesses looking to overhaul their payroll operations in 2023.

Gusto: Best for small businesses

The Gusto logo.
Image: Gusto

Gusto is a thorough and approachable service that many businesses are currently using to transform their payroll operations. This application is perfect for small businesses and remote organizations, and includes a suite of helpful scalability tools. At its core, Gusto is a simple and effective payroll app for businesses looking to evolve.

Features

Organizations have access to great tools through Gusto. The service offers start-up features, tax calculators, full-service payroll, payment insights and so much more. The app makes it easy to manage health and retirement benefits, and it helps organizations onboard new employees.

Gusto also helps HR teams track work hours and project development, and many of these tools are highly sophisticated. For example, geolocation features allow HR professionals to track employee hours whenever they are in designated workspaces. Businesses can also customize PTO parameters, sync calendars uniformly and develop employee benefit plans.

Pros

  • A powerful app with a simple UI.
  • Easy and effective customization.
  • High-quality remote connectivity.
  • Data syncing and time management tools.
  • Affordable price perfect for enterprises looking to streamline payroll processes.
  • Especially valuable for small businesses, which can take advantage of many features unique to non-corporate entities.

Cons

  • Higher subscription tiers can become expensive.
  • Not as effective for large brands.

Pricing

At its most basic, Gusto is priced at $40 per month plus an additional $6 monthly for every team member. Unfortunately, as mentioned above, most enterprises will want access to Gusto’s more sophisticated tools. Their Plus plan typically costs $80 per month plus $12 per employee, but it’s currently on sale for $60 monthly plus $9 per employee.

Gusto Plus grants employers access to advanced management tools, full support from the Gusto team, detailed insights and quicker payments. It is also important to note that Gusto offers a third tier of service, Premium, which is priced on an individual basis. This level comes with even better insights, as well as resources for HR teams. Most small businesses, however, should find Plus to be sufficient.

Rippling: Best all-in-one solution

The Rippling logo.
Image: Rippling

Of all the payroll apps on this list, Rippling is arguably the best platform for all-in-one payroll management. The platform’s HR system alone is rated almost perfectly among professionals. Rippling also offers a suite of IT and finance tools, and allows you to manage all aspects of your workforce from one place. It truly is a great option for businesses looking to develop a holistic payroll plan.

Features

Rippling includes automation tools, talent acquisition features, employee permissions for certain payroll aspects and global payroll tools. Basically, Rippling supports a variety of business structures, but be prepared to pay handsomely for the platform’s services.

Pros

  • Rippling provides a thorough all-in-one solution.
  • The service is excellent for companies looking to scale.
  • Rippling instigates self-service and alleviates pressure on HR teams.
  • Automation tools are helpful.

Cons

  • Modular approach requires a more expensive subscription in order to access premier tools.
  • Features a complex interface.
  • No free trial.

Pricing

Rippling boasts what seems to be an affordable price at only $35 a month and $8 per employee. However, the application also offers different cloud platforms for companies. These include Rippling Unity as well as HR Cloud, IT Cloud and Finance Cloud. Rippling allows you to choose which features you’d like to use for your business, and this modular approach can become more expensive than the standard plan.

Paychex: Best for HR

The Paychex logo.
Image: Paychex

Paychex is an effective payroll app for any business looking to streamline their company payments. Complete with an especially detailed set of HR tools, Paychex prioritizes management and allows organizations to flourish.

Features

Paychex includes full-time HR support, management of employee onboarding and retirement, payroll integration, tax/filing calculations and automated tracking reports. The service is, at its simplest, a platform that incorporates all the essentials of workplace management. However, it can also be a haven for HR professionals who want more control over the data and projects of their teams.

If you’re looking for a sophisticated suite of HR tools for your business, Paychex might be the service for you.

Pros

  • Paychex is effective for large organizations or companies looking to scale.
  • The payroll app also supports high-quality mobile connectivity.
  • Paychex includes specialized features for small, mid-sized and large organizations respectively.
  • Includes detailed insights and analytics.

Cons

  • The platform is not transparent with its pricing.
  • There aren’t as many automated tools as you might find with other payroll apps.

Pricing

Paychex starts at $39 per month with an additional $5 per employee, but this can increase dramatically. In order to access some of the most important tools, you should be prepared to spend a lot more.

At its most expensive, Paychex is more than $150 per month. For those thinking about using a large and nationally-respected payroll app, Paychex might be for you, but it won’t be cheap.

Justworks: Best for simplicity

The Justworks logo.
Image: Justworks

Justworks… well, it just works. It’s that simple. The service includes a few basic features that organizations can instantly take advantage of. These include automation, benefits and compliance tools, but the app also has a few more specific functions.

Features

Justworks offers a multitude of features that could prove invaluable to your organization. From automated capabilities to a suite of HR add-ons for management teams, Justworks gives enterprises access to tools that help make operations easier. One of the best things about Justworks, however, is the interface. As mentioned above, Justworks is incredibly simple. Learning how to use new systems is easier on Justworks than on other comparable payroll applications.

Justworks also includes health insurance benefits, integration with other payroll apps and a support network that allows you to connect with Justworks whenever the need arises. The platform can easily promote business growth with its comprehensive tools.

Pros

  • Justworks is easy to use.
  • Employees can use the application to choose their own benefits, which makes onboarding and customization much quicker.
  • The service allows for increased scalability.
  • Using automated tools, Justworks allows teams to manage direct deposits and time tracking.

Cons

  • Justworks does not allow advanced payroll tools for teams that work abroad, nor does it include W-2 data.
  • The price is higher than many of its competitors.

Pricing

In the spirit of simplicity, Justworks has only two payment plans. The basic plan is $59 per month per employee. The Plus plan is $99 per month per employee.

This may seem expensive, and it is, but Justworks’ basic package includes elements that are only offered at higher levels with other apps. For example, Justworks offers full-service support, corporate training, automated tax filings and a mobile app.

With that in mind, Justworks is still a viable option for your business, especially if the organization is large and in need of thorough migration and scalability tools.

Papaya: Best for remote services

The Papaya Global logo.
Image: Papaya Global

For organizations that work remotely or looking to hire global teams, Papaya is an app to be reckoned with. Operating in more than 160 countries around the world, Papaya makes it possible for businesses to connect their employees and make payments with ease. The service is used by some of the biggest companies in the world, including Microsoft and Shopify.

Features

Papaya includes powerful HR tools that allow professionals to oversee employee data in one simple dashboard. This Intelligence Suite makes data readily available and lets workers find their own payment reports.

As noted above, Papaya is a global payroll network. There are many high-quality tools on the platform that allow teams to work remotely without complications. Together, Papaya’s features allow you to manage payroll for your organization, even if your employees are working around the world.

Pros

  • Papaya is a viable service for teams that operate in multiple countries.
  • It can be useful for enterprises that employ independent contractors.
  • The platform makes payments in 72 hours and is dedicated to facilitating quick operations.
  • Papaya organizes insights and delivers helpful information to employers, making it possible for enterprises to find and address issues faster than they would with other applications.
  • Migrating to the service is expedited with Papaya’s proprietary system.
  • Papaya incorporates security features to help protect individual and corporate data.

Cons

  • The price of the payroll app is high, especially when compared to competitors.
  • Because of its reach, payment can be complex. In many cases, Papaya requires different payment procedures for different countries.

Pricing

There are three different price packages offered by Papaya: Global Payroll and Payments, Employer of Record and Contractor Management. These packages start at $20 per person per month, $770 per person per month and $25 per person per month. These prices, given the extra tools within Papaya, can quickly increase.

For businesses doing global business in areas where there is no local payroll entity, the expensive Employer of Record package may be an unfortunate necessity. Despite the hefty prices of Papaya, it remains a thorough and functional service.

How to choose the right payroll app

Though choosing a payroll app is difficult, by thinking about your personal business needs and analyzing the purposes of the applications listed above, you can find the right platform for your organization.

For example, a large, multinational corporation would be best suited to the global support and security tools offered by Papaya. Alternatively, a local business with less than ten employees would be perfect for Gusto, where it is easier to grow and connect with team members. In order to choose the correct payroll application, you must first think about the business that you are hoping to support.

Many of the platforms above also offer free trials for their services. That could be a good way to determine which app is right for your brand. No matter which payment app you choose, you are sure to have a successful system of payroll for your organization.

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