Top 9 free payroll software for your business [comparison]

By Nguyen Oanh
Published: 11/23/21
software backgroundTop 9 free payroll software for your business [comparison]

Are you finding the best possible free payroll software for your business and its specific needs?

The choice of software for your payroll charge is indeed not trivial: beyond the remuneration aspect, which is important for your employees, payroll raises a number of legal obligations which you cannot derogate from. It is therefore essential that your software integrates them in order to avoid any irregularities.

Appvizer offers you a comparison of the most used free payroll software and helps you find the best solution for your business and its size. But first, it’s important to understand what free payroll software is, its benefits and which criteria you should consider in choosing the best free payroll software for your business.

What is free payroll software?

Payroll software, or more precisely payroll software, is online software that makes all the processes related to payroll organization easier for you, including:

  • editing your employees' payslips,
  • the production of administrative documents,
  • the payment of salaries and social charges,
  • the posting of payroll entries in your accounts.

What are the benefits of free payroll software?

There are many benefits to having free payroll software. However, before embarking on the implementation of the software, the company should analyze its existing processes and consider which ones can be automated without prejudice to the teams.

It will be a question of choosing a software adapted to the structure (size of the company, organization of HR processes ...) as well as to its sector of activity. This due diligence maximizes the benefits of automated payroll processing and significantly improves productivity within the company.

  • Save time: the automation of time-consuming and low-value-added tasks allows the optimization of the working time of HR teams;
  • Reduced risk of human error: Social and contractual rules are updated by the software publisher, which carries out legal monitoring; the centralization of data in a single database avoids errors generated by the double-entry of social data which is thus made reliable and secure;
  • Guarantee to be up-to-date in real-time with the legal and conventional standards of your structure;
  • Control of your social data: in the era of big data, data processing is essential to master your HR function and control your social data. With payroll software, the company can have reporting tools to produce the main control reports;
  • Reduction of costs: the gain in productivity linked to the reduction of administrative tasks generates real savings.

Top 9 free payroll software

Excel payroll

Presentation

Excel is a powerful and indispensable solution that everyone uses. It’s understandable: it’s a real Swiss army knife. It brings flexibility, speed, autonomy, many functions.

Excel payroll is a free payroll software that automatically generates your pay stubs to simplify your administrative payroll charge. It runs on Excel and it’s built for small companies with less than 50 active employees. This software is very simple, easy, and intuitive to use, all you need to do is one click and pay.

Excel payroll goes beyond the simple creation of pay stubs since it can meet all HR needs in social organizations. Regardless of the sector of activity or the number of employees, this multi-company software is particularly suitable for companies that wish to maintain control and mastery of payroll charges.

A practical and efficient site that does not, however, have the more advanced features of some other payroll solutions.

Features

Here are some features that Excel payroll software offers:

  • Free Excel Base VBA Payroll Program
  • W2, W3, 940, 941, DE9 forms & taxes liabilities
  • Accrual Vacation, workers' compensation reports
  • 401K, 125P, HSA, Garnishment
  • Withholding and timecard
  • Accounting entries
excel payroll©Excel payroll
Excel Payroll

Free payroll software for your business
Learn more about Excel Payroll

eSmart Paycheck

Presentation

Founded in 1996 by C&S Technologie, Inc., eSmart Paycheck offers a good payroll platform that is free for small companies that don’t have lots of employees. The price depends on the number of employees and the need of the company. Any employee can access the platform to use all of the functions.

The software is very easy to use: a few clicks and a few minutes are enough to edit the pay stubs of your employees. All you need to do is complete the form by filling in the fields relating to your company, the employee, the specifics of your pay stub, and voila! Your payslip is immediately available for download.

Features

eSmartPaycheck is an online free payroll software that enables users to:

  • Create and calculate automatically paychecks & pay stubs anytime for any employee
  • Federal & state payroll taxes
  • Direct deposit
  • Reporting and analytics: Generate payroll forms like forms 941, 940, W2, ….
  • Optionally e-File payroll returns to the IRS, SSA, and State
  • Notice payroll taxes to the IRS through ACH
  • Generate reports on payroll records.

Salary slips and certificates, hiring declarations ... eSmartPaycheck allows you to easily edit many documents relating to payroll and accounting analysis.

esmart paycheck©eSmart Paycheck
eSmart Paycheck

Free payroll software for your business
Learn more about eSmart Paycheck

HR.my

Presentation

Released in 2009, HR.my is a multilingual online payroll software that offers a free, forever with Unlimited Employee Management and without any string, specially designed for small businesses. That sounds like magic, right? This software offers you all the needed features that you need to improve your productivity and hiring processes. This is also a multi-user platform, an unlimited number of employees can use and sign up for free.

What it can be? Cause “there's no such thing as a free lunch”. In reality, this is a healthy business model that uses advertisement and Crowdfunding campaigns to finance the cost of application functionning.

This software will offer you to manage both your HR and payroll, expense claim, employee tracking system, calendars & attendance, document workflow, and data privacy. HR.my respects the security and transparency of your data. You can manage the access to the platform and the information for your coworkers

Features

Here are some features that HR.my offers:

  • Payroll, salary adjust tool
  • Time clock and attendance
  • Direct deposit
  • Leave management
  • Expense reporting
  • Security
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Employee self-service
  • Team collaboration, share document
  • Notice board
  • Employee track
  • Free update
hr.my©HR.my
Hr.my

Free HR management system
Learn more about Hr.my

Paycheck Manager

Presentation

Paycheck Manager is a free paycheck calculator and good payroll service manager that offers to every business free software to improve their accounting and human resources process. Paycheck Manager makes every step of payroll processing easier by automating all the processes. Paycheck Manager offers a complete self-service payroll software to prepare paychecks, payment reports, and payroll reports.

The best thing is that they give you a free calculator. All you need to do is input your employee payroll data, including salary information, state, pay cycle, marital status, allowances, and deductions of your employees and wait for the analysis and reports on your payroll and income. All employee payroll data will be saved with security.

Features

It offers:

  • employee management (creation of individual files, management of schedules),
  • social organization (monitoring absences, paid holidays, transport tickets, reporting of payroll data, social reports, etc.),
  • the production of pay stubs, their secure and unlimited archiving, transfers,
  • DSN declarations,
  • direct deposit,
  • configuration, and generation of accounting entries.

Known to be intuitive to use, it also adapts to the needs of SMEs. A team of advisers is at your disposal to facilitate your use. That said, its intuitive interface already makes it much easier for you to get started.

paycheck manager©Paycheck Manager
PayCheck

Free payroll software for your company
Learn more about PayCheck

Paychex

Presentation

With more than 45 years in the industry, Paychex, Inc. is a leader in integrated human capital management software for payroll, benefits, human resources, and insurance services. It is specially designed for small businesses that require an all-in-one solution for their payroll and human resources processes.

In particular, we retain the following offers:

  • All-in-one HR, payroll platform makes business simple,
  • 24/24h client support where and when you need it,
  • Reports and analytics for more insight and facilitate the decision-making process,
  • A legal and conventional database updated in real-time,
  • A collaborative client-firm solution,
  • Direct deposit,
  • Support and training in getting started with the software.

Flexible, it is infinitely configurable according to the practices and processes of the accounting firm. In addition to managing the remuneration and the resulting formalities, Paychex integrates various tools to take care of the recruitment, professional training, and evaluation of your employees, but also to monitor the absences and leaves of your employees.

Features

Paychex allows your company to:

  • Manage employee records
  • Streamline talent
  • Deposit directly into your employee bank account
  • Process payroll and payroll taxes
  • Manage employee working time, attendance, and absence
  • Select and manage the right plan for your business
  • Manage employee retirement, assurance, and salary

With all these features, Paychex automates the editing of your pay stubs and social declarations. Its interface is very intuitive and its customer support is responsive.

paychex©Paychex
Paychex

Free payroll software for your business
Learn more about Paychex

Payroll4free

Presentation

Founded in 2012 in Ohio, Payroll4free is a 100% online free payroll software. And yes, you don’t read wrong! All the basic payroll services are free for small businesses that have less than 25 employees.

This software is a good solution that can help you complete all the payroll needs every month while ensuring the security of your employee payroll information. Their goal is to offer their clients the best service and client support anytime also ready to answer any questions of clients 24h/24.

Features

Here are some features that make Payroll4free different from other software:

  • Pay employees and contractors
  • Federal, state, and local taxes calculation & forms
  • Paper checks and direct deposits combination
  • Employee calendar tracking (vacations, absence, PTO time, working hours, …)
  • Access of employees to their pay information
  • Regular payroll information update with different reporting options
  • Friendly customer support team ready to answer all your questions and give advice
  • Quick and easy set-up guide
  • Integration with outside software allows your team to save time

Attention: From the 25th employee, you need to switch to a paid version. The paid plan starts from $12.50 per feature per month. In addition, some options are chargeable.

payroll4free©Payroll4free
Payroll4Free

Free payroll software for your business
Learn more about Payroll4Free

Rise

Presentation

Rise is a free payroll software that guarantees autonomy and speed for your payroll. It perfectly meets the needs of SMEs, but also very small businesses. You save precious time thanks to this software. All HR data and social information related to the employees are included in the software: you benefit from time tracking, leaves, and absences, for easier reporting in payroll.

The payslips are calculated automatically by the solution. Human resources now only need to verify the veracity of the information, in particular the contributions, using the dedicated software. Your data and information are encrypted and backed up, permanently guaranteeing their integrity, traceability, authenticity, and confidentiality.

Regardless of the sector of activity or the number of employees, this free payroll software is particularly suitable for companies that need to maintain control and mastery of payroll.

Features

Here are some of the features of Rise that meet the needs of your business

  • Direct deposit to the bank account
  • Document free access
  • Splits payment
  • Employee salary information update
  • Reporting, analysis, and pay reviews
  • On-demand pay stubs and T4s
  • Time off, vacations accruals
  • Automated payroll
  • Batch uploads
  • Custom codes
  • Pay schedule
  • Contractors
  • Garnishment calculator
rise©Rise

TimeTrex

Presentation

TimeTrex is a free payroll software in SaaS mode that specifically meets the expectations of payroll managers and accountants. Innovative and efficient, it accelerates the productivity of payroll tasks thanks to its many automation features (entries, calculations, the transmission of remote declarations, etc.).

TimeTrex offers, among its many solutions, simple and practical payroll modules. They cover the complete management of salaries, but also employee savings or expertise in labor law (collective agreements, etc.)

Especially, TimeTrex offers Tablet TimeClocks with advanced Facial Recognition. In case of forgetting or entering errors, TimeTrex alerts you to avoid any inconvenience. Finally, regular and automatic updates ensure that you are always in compliance with payroll law.

His strengths :

  • adapts to all sectors of activity,
  • infinitely configurable and adaptable to your structure,
  • viewing the payroll over several years,
  • training to help you get started.

Features

Here are the highlighted features that TimeTrex offers:

  • Time and attendance
  • Scheduling and leave organizations
  • Payroll and HR operation
  • Job costing and expense tracking
  • Customizable reporting
  • Rule-based policies
TimeTrex©TimeTrex
TimeTrex

Time Clock Free Payroll Software
Learn more about TimeTrex

Wave

Presentation

Founded in 2010, Wave is a free online payroll software that guarantees accuracy and saves you precious time. It offers an effortless way to pay employees, contractors, and yourself, and it’s specifically designed for the needs of small and mid-size business owners.

Electronic payments can be scheduled in advance as well as the newsletter sent by email to employees. They also have access to a dedicated space where they can modify their information and enter their expense reports and leave requests.

Why choose Wave?

  • Wave allows companies to pay independent contractors and creates W2 and 1099 forms
  • Deposit directly, quickly, and with safety to the bank account of employees
  • Modify your state and federal payroll taxes for business
  • Automate all your payroll processes and help you save time and money
  • Customer self-service and form
  • Employee database privacy and transparency

Easy to use, it nevertheless has a good ability to offer more complex payrolls (overtime, multiple contracts, changes in a situation during the month, etc.)

Features

Wave offers to users:

  • Contractors payments
  • Direct deposit
  • Employee portal
  • Tax filling/ payment
  • Wave accounting and invoicing integration
  • Live chat support
  • Business tax filling
  • Year-End Tax Forms for Employees W-2
wave©Waveapps
Wave Accounting

Accounting Software That Works as Hard as You Do
Learn more about Wave Accounting

Comparison of the payroll software

Software Type of business Main asset
Excel payroll VSB, SME
  • Ease-of-use
  • Free Excel Base VBA Payroll Program
  • W2, W3, 940, 941, DE9 forms & taxes liabilities
  • Accrual Vacation, workers' compensation reports
eSmart Paycheck VSB, SME
  • Reporting and analytics: Generate payroll forms like forms 941, 940, W2, ….
  • Optionally e-File payroll returns to the IRS, SSA, and State
HR.my VSB, SME
  • 100% free
  • Customer self-service
  • Team collaboration, share document
  • Notice board
Paychex VSB, SME
  • Paychex integrates various tools to take care of the recruitment, professional training, and evaluation of your employees,
  • Monitor the absences and leaves of your employees.
Paycheck Manager VSB, SME
  • Free calculator
  • The production of payslips, their secure and unlimited archiving, transfers,
  • DSN declarations,
  • The configuration, and generation of accounting entries.
Payroll4free VSB, SME, and large companies
  • Employee calendar tracking (vacations, absence, PTO time, working hours, …)
  • Access of employees to their pay information
Rise VSB, SME
  • Reporting, analysis, and pay reviews
  • On-demand pay stubs and T4s
  • Time off, vacations accruals
TimeTrex VSB, SME
  • Tablet TimeClocks with advanced Facial Recognition
  • Adapts to all sectors of activity,
  • Infinitely configurable and adaptable to your structure,
  • Viewing the payroll over several years,
  • Training to help you get started.
Wave VSB, SME
  • Wave allows companies to ay independent contractors and creates W2 and 1099 forms
  • Deposit directly, quickly, and with safety to the bank account of employees
  • Modify your state and federal payroll taxes for business

Some limitations of free payroll software

While free software is economically attractive, it can hide other more problematic drawbacks, including reduced functional coverage. It is indeed not possible to find all the features of paid payroll software in a free version.

However, depending on your needs, your industry and the size of your organization, the basic features offered could be more than sufficient. In all cases, you should make a list of your functional requirements.

In addition, this type of software does not always benefit from a legal update on time. This type of service requires the intervention of experts who will collect and integrate the data into the software. For a free publisher, this represents a cost that it cannot pass on anywhere.

Lastly, this type of software does not always benefit from quality support. We need to therefore expect less follow-up or even non-existent follow-up. As well as less or no training. And of course, the customer support is not very responsive.

How to choose the right free payroll software?

Good free payroll software guarantees your business savings by certifying that the correct amounts of remuneration will be paid to your employees and by preventing the formation of disputes. But then what criteria should you consider to choose between the most used free payroll software in order to avoid making mistakes?

# 1 - A scalable solution that follows the growth of your business

The software needs to be able to quickly adapt to the needs of a business and grow with it. It needs to be able to handle the influx of new employees as your business grows, no matter the magnitude of the phenomenon.

# 2 - Reliability and regular updating of legal and regulatory information

The main quality of payroll software is measured by its ability to stay in phase or even to anticipate legal and regulatory changes in the law. In doing so, your pay stubs and social declarations remain free of defects even the day a reform, even the most minor, comes into force.

# 3 - Automatically edited pay stubs

In addition to an intuitive interface, the simplicity of the software needs to also derive from its construction. From the moment you have filled in your collective agreement, it must act as a guide in how you are going to fill in the payroll variables (gross wages, overtime, holidays, etc.). This gives you a safeguard that prevents you from making mistakes.

# 4 - An all-in-one payroll solution with the management of leaves and absences, working time, expense reports

You need to have a good solution that offers HRIS functionalities that will integrate and complete the payroll module. For example, an expense report module will allow your employees to enter their expense reports directly in the solution and to be reimbursed automatically after validation on the next pay stub, with an “expense report” line added to the payslip.

# 5 - A good software to guarantee the payment of your employees

The solution in question needs to remain at the forefront of technology and innovation to limit the appearance of bugs. The software publisher needs to ensure the updating and constant technical improvement thereof.

Still not sure which software to choose for your free payroll software? Several elements should be taken into account in your research, such as:

  • the size of your business,
  • your sector of activity,
  • and of course, your budget.

Some free solutions are very qualitative, especially if you are running a small business. Don't forget to take into account the hidden costs of these solutions: training, paid options, reduced number of employees supported, etc. Conversely, professional solutions offer a wider functional spectrum as well as guaranteed legal compliance.

It’s your turn to decide!

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