Best Online Affordable Payroll Services

You may not be aware but one in three of owners of SME’s get penalized by the IRS for errors in their payroll and tax returns.

Fines and fees may only be small in relation to turnover, but added up they can amount to a large amount, especially if errors are repeated. Payroll and tax calculations are complex, so spending on a reliable accounting and payroll service is good business sense. It is the reason behind the decisions made by increasing numbers of owners of SME’s to invest in online payroll services.

In doing so they have eliminated the potential for clerical errors, legal mistakes, and of course wasted time, which can never be recovered.

As the owner of an SME you ARE considering subscribing to an online payroll service, there are many hundreds if not thousands from which to choose. Locating the online service that best fits your needs and budget can be a tough call. If it helps, we have researched more than forty companies which could fit the bill – maybe one is right for you.

Listed below is the best four of forty researched, in no particular order, based on features, value for money and ease of deployment and operation.


Gusto is an intuitive cloud payroll service which is suitable for just about any SME. Gusto will automatically file federal, state and local taxes and can be used with most accounting software. So it is best to check if your current accounts software is compatible.

Employees are able to access info, W-2s and paystubs, even after they have moved on to pastures new. Less hassle for them, less work for you so an easier time all round. The cost of $39 per month plus an additional $6 per month per employee makes it a mid tier cost application.


The Hourly app includes features such as time cards, audit logs and real time alerts, which are NOT always standard on a lot of time clock apps. It also has a nice feature called ‘geo-fencing. The payroll time tracking geo-fencing feature is an excellent addition and one which will appeal to owners of firms where a lot of work is carried out on remote sites or multiple sites by contractors, employees and other stakeholders.

Lunch break, meal breaks, start and stop times as well as overtime are all tracked to ensure compliance with local law. The cost of $40 per month plus an additional 8$ per month per employee makes it a low tier cost application.


OnPay is a cheaper cloud based payroll software and applications for small businesses. With a straightforward simple pricing model and offers the facility for unlimited payroll runs.

But, the downside is that although the fixed price of $47.95 per month does allow for up to ten employees, there is no option for less than ten employees. So this may not be to everyone’s liking.

Additionally, if you have to do payroll runs for ‘out of state’ then this feature will also cost extra. But as a no frills mobile friendly system that doesn’t require a steep learning curve, this maybe a good bet for you.


Sage is the one of the best know payroll software and application, and as you may expect it has all the features you could possibly need. However, it does come at a price of $49.95/month for Sage Payroll Essentials and there are probably many features included in this basic price which you may never use, or indeed want.

If your business is growing rapidly and you want to future proof your accounts and payroll, then Sage is easily able to absorb and process increasing and increased size payroll operations. Depending on the package and set up, a dedicated payroll agent is another feature you’ll have available.

There are hundreds if not thousands of apps which can aid the owners of small and medium sized enterprises run payroll and eliminate the potential for errors and reduce time spent. The four mentioned here are all proven winners but may not be for you.

When you do finally decide on the service that meets your needs make sure to keep a watch over how it works for your business model.  Make sure it works for you.

All of the aforementioned payroll records will keep you legal, will save you time and money without heavy financial commitment.

Anzhela Sychyk

Anzhela is a seasoned business journalist with a keen eye for spotting industry trends and a knack for explaining complex financial concepts in a clear and accessible way. With over 15 years of experience covering the world of finance and economics, Anzhela has established herself as a respected authority on all things business.