Not all small businesses have the same needs when it comes to payroll software. Different budgets, different business sizes and types all impact thy type of payroll service a company signs up for. Some may only need minor help with their payroll, while others need a company to handle everything. This means our best pick for small business is one that's versatile – it can meet the needs of just about any small business in just about any scenario.
It also is a service that's flexible in terms of pricing but does not sacrifice value. This is part of the reason why Intuit is our choice as the best payroll software for small businesses. Intuit's online payroll is available in three service plans, allowing businesses with a variety of budget points to use the service. Depending on your plan, Intuit can only process your payroll, or it can take care of all your payroll processing and payroll tax needs. In all, you can choose from service plans as cheap as $30 a month, to one as expensive as $140 a month.
Small businesses also want an online payroll service that is easy to use. In addition to having an easy-to-understand interface that allows you to run payroll in just minutes, you want software that easily integrates with programs – especially your accounting software – you are already using.
When it comes to an accounting software integration, few offer a better option than Intuit. Intuit offers a combination package that includes its payroll, along with its popular QuickBooks accounting software. QuickBooks is Business.com's choice as the best overall accounting software. Intuit payroll and QuickBooks work in lockstep. The integration allows the two programs to work as one so you don't waste time entering information in both programs. The combination packages range from $55 to $140 per month.
Besides integrating with a top accounting application, Intuit is simple to use. The cloud-hosted software doesn't require any past payroll experience to use. With this small business payroll software, you can process your payroll in just a few short steps.
Another factor small businesses should consider when choosing online payroll software is what kind of access is given to employees. Having employee self-service options can be a big timesaver for small businesses. Instead of answering questions from workers about their payroll, such as how much time off they accrued and where they can find their year-end tax forms, self-service capabilities allow employees to find those answers themselves.
Customer service is another important aspect for small businesses. Most small businesses don't employ a payroll expert. And while payroll software is designed to make the task of processing payroll an easy one, there are times when questions arise. It is important to find an online payroll company that can provide you with the level of support you need, whether that's being available during the hours when you need them or having a website that provides you with the tools and resources to answer questions on your own.
Another important consideration for small businesses is whether their payroll software supports both W-2 employees and 1099 contractors and freelancers. A number of small businesses rely on outside help to complete projects. Whether that is a freelancer who works on one project or a consultant who provides their services on a regular basis, small businesses need a payroll service that makes it easy for these types of employees to get paid.
Intuit's software allows you to pay both full and part-time W-2 employees and 1099 contractors in the exact same fashion. Each worker can be added into the system and then designated as either a 1099 worker or W-2 employee. You can then set when each type of worker gets paid. Since Intuit allows you to run as many payrolls as you want each month, setting up different pay schedules won't be an issue.
Intuit Pricing and Service Plans
Part of the appeal of Intuit Payroll is that it is available in multiple service plans with varying price points. This gives most businesses, regardless of their budget, the ability to use this software in some way.
Intuit offers three service categories each with its own plans. There is self-service payroll, desktop payroll and full service payroll. The three desktop payroll plans – Basic, Enhanced and Full Service – differ in the included services and features and prices. For each plan, there is a monthly base fee, plus a per-employee charge. Here is how each plan differs:
- Basic Plan: This plan costs $29 per month, plus $2 for each employee. The Basic plan only includes payroll processing. Intuit doesn't handle any tax responsibilities on this plan. This plan offers direct deposit, the option to instantly print paychecks for both W-2 employee and 1099 workers and live customer support.
- Enhanced Plan: This plan costs $45 per month, plus $2 per employee. The Enhanced plan includes payroll processing and some payroll tax obligations. With this plan, Intuit calculates all federal and state payroll taxes for you, but you are responsible for making all tax payments. The service automatically fills in all the federal and most state payroll tax forms for you, and provides the option of electronically paying these taxes. This plan also allows you to print out year-end tax forms for employees.
- Full Service Assisted Payroll Plan: This plan costs $109 per month, plus $2 per employee. The Full Service plan handles all payroll and payroll tax responsibilities. It calculates, files and pays payroll taxes for you. It also provides a tax guarantee that your payroll taxes will be paid on time and accurately. If any mistakes are made, Intuit corrects them and pays any incurred fines. Intuit sets up the service for you by inputting all employee information into the online platform. It also processes and prints year-end tax forms.
With all three plans, the first six months are offered with a 20 percent discount. This means that you don't have to pay the full price of the service until your seventh month of using it.
An appealing aspect of Intuit is that none of the service plans require long-term contracts. You can pay month to month for each plan, and you cancel at any time without a penalty.
In addition to the Desktop Payroll plans, Intuit offers Full Service and Self Service plans that combine its payroll service and QuickBooks Online accounting software. These two programs integrate with each other, so if you are also looking for accounting software, it may make sense to consider QuickBooks to pair with Intuit's payroll services.
You can also pick between the QuickBooks and QuickBooks plus. QuickBooks plus offers several additional features, including inventory tracking, 1099 contractor management and bill management.
The costs of the self-service plans are:
- Self Service Payroll: $35 per month, plus $4 per employee
- Self Service Payroll with QuickBooks: $55 per month, plus $4 per employee
- Self Service Payroll with QuickBooks Plus: $95 per month, plus $4 per employee
All these plans include a 30-day free trial, as well as a 50 percent discount for the first three months of service.
The costs of the full service plans are:
- Full Service Payroll: $80 per month, plus $4 per employee
- Full Service Payroll with QuickBooks: $100 per month, plus $4 per employee
Full Service Payroll with QuickBooks Plus: $140 per month, plus $4 per employee. Plans include a 30-day free trial, as well as a 50 percent discount for the first three months of service.
Intuit Payroll Features
Intuit's payroll service offers a number of features that will appeal to small businesses. Among some of the more valuable are:
- Unlimited payroll runs: With Intuit, you pay a monthly fee and can run payroll as many times as you want each month. You can pay your employees weekly, biweekly, semimonthly or monthly all for the same cost. Additionally, if your business uses 1099 contractors or freelancers, you can pay them whenever you want and don't need to have them on the same pay cycle as your W-2 employees.
- Employee payment options: Pay employees and 1099 workers via direct deposit or paper check. If you submit payroll by 5 p.m., paychecks can be directly deposited into employee bank accounts the following day. In addition, full service members have same-day, direct deposit options. You can submit payroll as late as 7 a.m. (PST) and get paychecks deposited into employee bank accounts the same day. With paper checks, you can use preprinted check stock that has your company information and logo printed on it, or blank check stock. You can also use plain paper to print pay stubs and then write out a check by hand.
- Payroll taxes: Depending on the service plan you select, Intuit can handle none, some or all of your payroll tax needs. With the full service plan, Intuit takes care of everything. This includes calculating, filing, and paying your local, state and federal payroll taxes. When the taxes have been filed, Intuit will send you an email notifying you it has been completed. In addition, Intuit offers an error-free guarantee. With this, Intuit assumes all responsibility should it make a mistake on your payroll taxes.
- Year-end tax forms: With the full-service plan, Intuit takes care of your year-end tax form responsibilities. The service automatically prepares your W-2 forms and files them with the IRS. It also delivers W-2 forms to your employees.
- Paid time off: This payroll software can track paid time off accruals. You can set up the system for accruals based on certain dates like the beginning of the year or the employee's anniversary date, each pay period, or by each hour worked. The system supports a maximum of two paid leave policies per employees, one vacation policy and one sick-time policy.
- Payroll reports: Intuit offers several payroll reports, such as payroll summaries and details, as well as reports for tax payments and liabilities. Other reports include total costs, workers' compensation, deductions and contributions, and vacation and sick time. These types of reports provide businesses with additional insight into their payroll expenses and how their business is being run.
- QuickBooks integration: QuickBooks Online's integration can be a real timesaver. The two services can seamlessly transfer data to one another, so you never have to manually enter data into both programs.
Inuit offers several other services that can be tacked on to its payroll services. They include:
- TSheets, a time and attendance system. This systems lets employees clock in and out, allows for scheduling, monitors overtime, and shows you exactly who is on the clock at all times. This service costs $20 per month, plus $5 per employee.
- Workers' compensation insurance. Intuit helps you find and set up your workers' compensation insurance. All employers, except those in Texas, are required to have workers' compensation insurance. This type of insurance protects your business should an employee be injured on the job.
- Labor law posters. With this service, Intuit automatically sends you any new posters that are required. If they fail to do so, they will cover any posting fines up to $33,000.
- 1099 contractor forms and service. This service allows you to autofill the required forms directly from your payroll service. You can then create the required 1099 forms and email or print copies for your contractors. You can then e-file the forms on the appropriate days. This service starts at $15 per month and covers up to three contractors. Each additional contractor is $4.
Ease of Use
Intuit's payroll software is extremely easy to use. Intuit is a cloud-hosted system that doesn't require any special software to install or maintain. Since it is hosted in the cloud, it is accessible anywhere with an internet connection.
The system's online platform is simple to navigate. The interface is clearly labeled, which makes finding what you need when you need it easy. When you log in, you can quickly see all of the main sections. There are quick link tabs that run across the top of the homepage. There are tabs for a to-do page, which notes all of the tasks that need completing, such as when it is time to run payroll, as well as any messages you have received.
There is also a payday tab. It is here where you run your payroll from. You can also create, approve and print paychecks for those employees not using direct deposit.
Another tab is for taxes and forms. Here you can review your payroll forms and pay taxes. There is also an employee tab, where you input employee information into the system, including their names, addresses, pay rates and other pertinent details needed to run payroll, and a reports tab where you can access payroll reports.
When it is time to run payroll, you can complete the process in just three steps. First, you select the employees you want to pay, the hours each one worked, plus any vacation or overtime hours. Salaried employees' pay rates are already saved in the system. To ensure everything is accurate, there is an automatic error detection system that alerts you if any of the numbers you entered are significantly different from the previous pay period.
The second step is to review the payroll to ensure everything looks accurate. You can compare your payroll date to previous pay runs to see how things line up. If everything is correct, the final step is to run the payroll. You will receive confirmation that the payroll is processing. Direct deposits are then made two days later.
The system can also be tapped into from the Intuit mobile app, which is available on iOS and Android devices. From the app, payroll administrators can run payroll, review and pay payroll taxes and access the company's payroll history.
Intuit's payroll software includes employee self-service offerings. Employees can log in to the system to review their paystubs, see their accrued paid time off and access year-end tax forms.
We were very pleased with the level of support we received from Intuit. We contacted the company multiple times by phone and email posing as a small business owner interested in payroll software.
Each time we reached out by phone, our call was quickly answered by an Intuit representative. We were pleased that at no time did we have to wait on hold to speak with someone. With some of the other payroll providers we contacted, we were forced to wait on hold for a lengthy amount of time before someone was available.
Each of the representatives we spoke with was friendly and helpful. They all provided thorough answers to our questions. During our calls we spoke about how easy the software was to use, the type of payroll tax services offered, how the various service plans differed, the QuickBooks integration and the different payment options. By the end of each our calls, we understood how Intuit's payroll service worked, what it had to offer and how much it cost.
We were also pleased with the support we received via email. Many of the representatives we spoke with by phone offered to follow up with an email so we had their contact information should we have any further questions. Each time we had a question, we sent an email and received a prompt response.
One area where we felt Intuit's service fell short was with its live chat tool. When we contacted the company, we were told by the chat support agent that in order to get those answers we would need to contact the company by phone. It's disappointing that a tool that is supposed to provide quick and immediate answers wasn't able to provide that information.
Overall, though, we were extremely pleased with the support Intuit offered. None of the representatives tried to pressure us into signing up with the service. Some payroll companies we contacted seemed more concerned with landing our business than they did with answering our questions.
Intuit's support team is available by phone, email and live chat between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. (PST), Monday through Friday. In addition, Intuit's website has a lot of valuable useful resources where you can find answers to questions without calling the support line. There are training videos and guides in addition to a user community where Intuit clients interact and help each other solve problems.
One downside with Intuit is that it doesn't offer all the add-on services that some of its competitors do, such as human resources guidance and employee benefit plans. If you want a payroll company that can provide added services like that, you will need to consider another service.
Another disappointment was the number of complaints about Intuit with the Better Business Bureau. As of February 2019, almost 1,300 complaints had been filed against Intuit with the BBB. However, it is important to note that not all the complaints were about Intuit's payroll services. Despite the complaints, however, Intuit has an A+ rating with the BBB.