Payday: A Comparison Of Three Popular Payroll Systems

Doing your company payroll is a necessary task, but it doesn’t have to be a cumbersome or costly one. As a small business, you can streamline the process in-house, even if you don’t have a background in accounting. The key? Finding the right payroll system for you.

These three payroll systems are all a good bet for any small business with up to 50 people, and not just because they offer mobile functionality. You can try each of them with a 30-day free trial.

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Patriot Software

The company’s Patriot Pay system offers online software that is entirely secure. Since the program is online, you don’t even need to think twice about doing updates, because they’ll do that for you, making payroll even less of a burden.

  • Low monthly fees. Think the $10 to $35 range. There’s no longterm contract to sign.
  • Easily create reports. The HR functionality may be on the smaller side, but you can still run a number of reports including payment histories and year-end summaries.
  • Live help. If you have a payroll question, it’s easy to contact them.
  • Choose how to pay your employees. Patriot offers a number of ways to disburse payment, including printed or handwritten checks, direct deposit, online bill pay, or even cash.

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If you want additional tax services or employee time tracking, you will need to pay additional fees.

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Automatic Data Processing (ADP)

While ADP is the most expensive of the three, it also offers the most features through a cloud-based online software system. Then again, it also has the most steps to set up. Even so, with 24/7 assistance, the benefits can outweigh the negatives.

  • Great compatibility. While it operates on ADP’s RUN solution, it works with Quickbooks and other accounting software.
  • Grow your business. As your company grows, you can upgrade and add functionality (at an additional cost of course) through their other ADP services.
  • Provide employee access. Both HR and employees can access and view their payment stubs online, a feature not offered by the other systems.

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Additionally, while ADP offers assistance, their online help section is separate from the software, a minor inconvenience.

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Intuit Online Payroll

Long a top-rated system, Intuit is by far the best for payroll basics. Even though it doesn’t offer 24/7 assistance, it does have live tech support.

  • Tailor the system to you. With its range of payroll options—from paycheck-only to outsourcing payroll service—you can choose a package that best fits your company.
  • Easy set up. With its wizard, this is one of the easiest systems to set up. The set-up process will guide you through adding payment policies, creating a pay schedule and adding direct deposit information.
  • Access tax forms. When you hire someone new, Intuit provides all the forms you need to set them up in the system.
  • Low fees. Monthly packages start at $25. While additional features, like tax forms, incur an additional fee, this system provides a great bang for your buck.
  • Stay on task. The easy-to-use system also provides a list of required and recommended tasks.

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Last but not least, Intuit also seamlessly integrates with Quickbooks, or you can download it as a standalone product.

Once you choose the right system, you can keep your focus on what your focus should be on: growing your business.

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Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not writing about food, she’s scribbling novels, and TV show reviews and recaps. Her work can be found at


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