Reviews of the Best Payroll and HR Systems for Small Businesses - Pros and Cons

Written by: PeopleKeep Team
Originally published on January 21, 2015. Last updated July 9, 2015.

As a small business owner myself, I understand what payroll is like: You’re probably not a big fan of it, andReviews of the Best Payroll Systems for Small Businesses - Pros and Cons you’re not alone, either. However, you’ll be happy to know that there are innovative payroll systems out there that can make payroll an - dare I say - enjoyable part of your small business. So, I’ve reviewed five of the best payroll systems for small businesses and have given you the pros and cons.

Important note: This article specifically addresses payroll and HR systems for small and micro-sized businesses. Many payroll and HR systems are not included on this list simply due to lack of compatibility with small company size. 

Payroll Software Versus Do-It-Yourself

Whether you have found out for yourself or not, administering payroll without help can result in costly mistakes. What do I mean? When tax time comes around, if you haven’t fulfilled all federal and state tax requirements, you may end up paying out-of-pocket for those mistakes.

Knowing this, payroll software/systems are designed to help you succeed and avoid those costly mistakes. Payroll software is generally user-friendly, and most have a great support team you can call for assistance if you’re having a hard time integrating it.

Ascentis Payroll

Pros: This web-based HR management tool is designed specifically for small businesses. You are able to be flexible without giving up accuracy or control as you administer payroll through this software. Additionally, Ascentis can reduce your payroll processing time by as much as 30%. Ascentis includes firewall protection to prevent your small business from attacks.

Cons: If you want to use Ascentis’ high quality software to its fullest extent, you must buy more than one of their services.


Pros: This payroll system is designed to streamline your small business’s HR functions. It includes time-tracking and benefits-management - the latter of which is not always included in payroll systems. This system is also easily imported and exported to your existing business tools for an easy transition. You can adjust pay rates at different levels such as individual, department, or company.

Cons: The cloud based solutions are not as strong as other payroll systems and the mobile functionality isn’t as good, either.

Centerpoint Payroll

Pros: For a straight-forward, automated payroll solution, CenterPoint is a great option. It houses direct deposit, paycheck printing, online access to payroll, and 401k and Health Benefits features. This payroll system is a great option for new startups or small business owners that do not want to do payroll manually because of the way it is designed to be efficient and easy-to-use.

Cons: Because this is a more basic system, some small businesses will need other features that this software does not offer.


Pros: This easy-to-set-up payroll solution has many useful features for small business owners that other systems do not offer such as reminder emails to administer payroll. Many customers love this software because of the time they save. The software also makes onboarding of new employees extremely easy for small business owners.

Cons: Software is not available in all states currently.


Pros: BambooHR is cost-effective and is an SaaS-Based HR System that is great for small to medium-sized businesses. This system is specifically tailored to a small business’s needs simply because it can help you with compliance issues and deeper payroll integration. It’s user-friendly and has a simple, easy-to-read layout.

Cons: The dashboard cannot be customized completely. Additionally, some of the menus cannot be customized.


Many of these payroll systems are comprehensive, user friendly, and will allow you to save time for other important aspects of your business. When possible, ask for a free trial and give a few systems a try to see what you feel is the best payroll system for your small business. Furthermore, make sure the system you purchase is compatible with your current employee medical reimbursement plans such as Healthcare Reimbursement Plans or Flexible Spending Accounts you are administering through payroll.

What other payroll systems would you suggest for small business owners? We’d love to hear your opinion.

Topics: Small Business, HR
Originally published on January 21, 2015. Last updated July 9, 2015.


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