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5 Payroll Tools for Small Businesses

by Vinay Jain 5 Payroll Tools for Small Businesses

Hiring and handling payroll from employees can be a time-consuming process that can really distract an entrepreneur from their core mission of growing the business. Fortunately, there are are a variety of tools and services out there that can help. 

The reason that handling employee payroll can be complicated is because of tax withholding and reporting requirements. Employers are required to withhold various state and federal taxes, provide their employees regular paychecks and pay stubs accounting for these withholdings, and supply the employee at the end of the year with a W-2 form summarizing gross and net income and withholding amounts. While it’s possible to handle all of this paperwork in-house, it’s time-consuming and can be inefficient.

Here are 5 payroll providers that have specific offerings for small businesses that can help:

1. ZenPayroll

Specifically designed with small businesses in mind, ZenPayroll offers simple, streamlined software to manage payroll. Perhaps best of all for small businesses, it’s affordable, with a very clear pricing structure.

Pricing: Flat $25 monthly fee, plus $4 for each employee up to 10, and $2 for each additional employee.

2. Xero

We’ve previously highlighted Xero’s functionality as an online invoicing solution. But Xero also offers integrated payroll management that operates seamlessly alongside the accounting component of its software. Currently Xero’s payroll option is limited to only a handful of states, but the company has plans to roll it out to others.

Pricing: Xero’s plan with integrated payroll starts at $70 per month for up to 10 employees, and includes the accounting features.

3. Intuit

Intuit’s Quickbooks is the most popular accounting software for small businesses. The company offers an add-on payroll service that integrates with its accounting software. It could be a solid option, particularly if you already use Quickbooks for your accounting, or plan to. 

Pricing: Basic plan starts at $20 per month plus $2 per employee per month.

4. TriNet 

TriNet is actually more than a payroll provider, it’s a full-service outsourced HR provider that also acts as a benefits administrator. As a professional employer organization, or PEO, TriNet can secure group discounts on insurance for small businesses, offering small company employees benefits on par with those offered at larger companies.

Pricing: Varies, contact to inquire

5. Paychex

Paychex’s small business payroll service easily scales up with your company as it grows, with additional tiers of service coming online after you exceed 50 employees. They also offer HR services and benefits administration.

Pricing: Varies, contact to inquire


Choosing the right payroll service provider is a matter of balancing your needs with your budget. Not having to deal with the hassle of payroll can free you up to focus on what really counts — growing your business.


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Vinay Jain

As Chief Legal Officer, Vinay serves as Shake's general counsel, is responsible for the company's legal contracts and content, and leads efforts to educate consumers and small businesses about the law.

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