7 Best Payroll Apps To Consider In 2024

Getting your payroll in order can help you start off the new year on the right foot. To end the headache that is payroll management, you’ll need a great payroll app that is scalable and packed with features. 

Key takeaways

Here are the key things you need to know about the leading payroll apps:

  • Some apps are designed for specific industries
  • Leading apps will replace multiple tools and programs
  • Scalable solutions can grow with you
  • Long-term value is more important than the price tag
  • Each app will have a unique impact on your team

Now, let’s dive into the seven best payroll apps you should consider in 2024.

Table of contents

What is a payroll app?

A payroll app is a digital tool designed to handle all of your employee payment tasks. It automates the process of calculating wages, withholding taxes, and ensuring that your team is paid on time. These apps are designed to alleviate the stress and complexity of payroll processing, making it a smoother, more efficient task.

The best payroll apps make life easier on your team, too. With the right app at your disposal, you can get rid of your old-school time clock tools, verify that your team is where they are supposed to be, and promote two-way transparency across your business. 

Benefits and features to look for in payroll apps

While it can be easy to get caught up in the price of an app, that’s not what matters most. When evaluating payroll apps for your business, your decision should come down to two key variables: features and benefits. You need to know what an app brings to the table.

Payroll apps range from simple mobile tools to all-in-one platforms. Before you start your search, make a list of the features you need. Be specific. Your list might include things like:

  • In-app messaging
  • Scheduling tools
  • GPS tracking
  • Integrations
  • Push notifications
  • Reporting tools

Once you’ve got your list, you can find the best payroll app for your business. When you choose the right app, you’ll enjoy the following benefits:

Ease of use

Finding an app that is easy to use should be at the top of your priority list. If you and your team don’t love the app, you probably won’t use it like you should. 

Multiple tools

Don’t just focus on price. Pay more attention to the value an app provides. The best apps give great value by including multiple tools in one platform.

Each app’s tool set is a bit different. However, some tools you should prioritize include team messaging capabilities and GPS tracking. The more tools packed into a solution, the better value it will provide. 

Integration capabilities

Finally, make sure your payroll app can integrate with other software you are using. It’s especially important that your app communicates with your scheduling software. When these apps can chat, you’ll be able to prevent payroll errors and keep your books clean.  

Payroll app comparison table 

Here are some key considerations when it comes to payroll apps:

Payroll appFree trial (Y/N)FeaturesBenefitsCustomer support 
When I Work• Messaging
• Schedule management
• Mobile time tracking
• Payroll processing
• User friendly
• Affordable
• Scalable
• Multiple pricing tiers
• Chat
• Email
Square PayrollN• Self service
• App
• API integrations
• Lots of features
• Multiple tiers
• Chat
• Support Tickets
GustoN• API integrations
• W-2 printing
Direct depositMobile appChat
SurePayrollY• Pre-tax deductions
• Tax filing 
Lots of toolsChat
OnPayY• Tax calculation
• Time-off accrual
Very reliable• Chat
• Support Tickets
XeroY• Workflow management
• Audit trails
Offers lots of customization• Chat
• Phone
TriNetY• Benefits administration tools
• Scalable
User-friendly reporting tools • Chat
• Phone

Top 7 payroll apps to consider in 2024

When you’re looking for a payroll app, compare the features of these top seven available apps.

1. When I Work

Rating: 4.3 out of 5 (G2)

Key features:

  • Tracking time to project/task
  • Mobile support
  • Push notifications 
  • Shift scheduling
  • Self-service tools
  • Team communication
  • Full-service payroll processing

When I Work is one of the best payroll apps on the market. It is loaded with tools and features designed to make your life easier. But make no mistake—When I Work isn’t just a payroll app. 

With When I Work, you’ll get an all-in-one workforce management tool. Need to schedule shifts? Want to forecast labor needs? You can do it all on the When I Work platform. It’s an all-in-one platform that uses the employee schedule and time tracking to inform payroll, so you never have to upload or sync timesheets again. Plus, you’ll be able to see your actual real-time labor costs at any time, where other payroll apps can only give you an estimate based on historical data.

When I Work offers tremendous value for your money. The platform includes several pricing options, so you can choose a subscription model that works for you. You can even sign up for a free trial and try the app for yourself. 

2. Square Payroll

Rating: 4.2 out of 5 (G2)

Key features:

  • Web portal
  • Mobile app
  • Reporting and dashboards
  • Access management
  • Check printing
  • W-2 delivery
  • Payroll entry
  • Direct deposit

Square Payroll has a lot of features, including tax filing tools and API integrations. It also offers a web and mobile app. However, getting its tools to work for your business might be a headache.

Some users have complained about the confusing interfaces. One verified user also stated that they had to enter hours on salaried employees. While Square Payroll is considered one of the better payroll apps, it does have its flaws.

When searching for an app, don’t get sidetracked by a long list of features. Focus on quality and user-friendliness above all else. Your employees will thank you. 

3. Gusto

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (G2)

Key features:

  • Payroll entry
  • Time-off accrual
  • Check/W-2 printing
  • Tax filing

Gusto has a web portal and mobile app. It also has a built-in benefits management tool. The platform can track time-off accrual. You can customize the accrual rate for each employee or job title.

The platform also has your basic tax tools, including filing and calculation functions. If necessary, you’ll be able to print W-2s. You can also deliver them electronically. 

Gusto has a good rating on G2. However, it is known for having a lengthy and frustrating setup process. Keep in mind that it could take weeks to get your Gusto platform set up. It doesn’t offer a free trial, either. 

4. SurePayroll

Rating: 4.4 out of 5 (G2)

Key features: 

  • Mobile app
  • Self-service tools
  • Time-off accrual
  • Direct deposit

SurePayroll is quite similar to Gusto. It has basic W-2 printing features and payroll entry tools. It also supports pre-tax deductions. With SurePayroll, you’ll be able to track time-off accrual and deliver vacation request approval within the app. 

The dashboards offer some customization. However, you can’t truly make them your own. As a result, you may have to dig around for some payroll data. This can be especially frustrating come tax time. 

Speaking of taxes, you can handle some tax filing tasks in SurePayroll. But you’ll have to outsource other tasks or purchase secondary software to complete all tax filing tasks.

5. OnPay

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 (G2)

Key features:

  • Dashboards
  • Access management tools
  • Self-service web portal
  • Pre-tax deductions

OnPay offers the standard set of payroll app tools. You can track time-off accrual and send electronic approvals to time-off requests. You’ll also be able to set up direct deposits and print W-2s. 

OnPay is a basic payroll app. It doesn’t have much in the way of high-end features, but it’s fairly easy to use. 

However, if you are hoping to replace a bunch of payrolling tools, OnPay won’t be the answer for your business. It can consolidate a few payment and tax filing tools, but that’s it. The app doesn’t have any scheduling capabilities or communication tools for your team.

6. Xero

Rating: 4.3 out of 5 (G2)

Key features:

  • Workflow tools
  • Document generation
  • Audit trails
  • Journal entries

Xero has a few more tools than your standard payroll app. It creates audit trails and can help you track down payroll discrepancies. It also has customizable rules and reconciliation capabilities. 

The app has several reporting tools and customizable dashboards, too. You can import and export data as needed.

Now, for the bad news. Xero can be pretty complicated. Setting up custom rules is tedious at best. While the provider does offer some support, getting the help you need can be frustrating.

Once you get Xero tailored to your needs, it’s great. The journey there can be really bumpy, though. 

7. TriNet

Rating: 4.0 out of 5 (G2)

Key features:

  • Reporting dashboards
  • Time-off accrual
  • W-2 e-delivery
  • Web portal

TriNet is a benefits management platform that may be a good match for mid-sized businesses. It has basic direct deposit and payroll entry tools, too. TriNet has a web portal but lacks a mobile app for employees. 

When most people think of a mobile app, they imagine something user-friendly and a bit simple. TriNet isn’t that. It has lots of tools, but they aren’t easy to set up. 

It’s not necessarily unfriendly, but it is complex. That means you’ll have a steep learning curve. If you’ve got a tech-savvy staff, the complexity of TriNet might not be a major barrier. But for some companies, it can be a deal breaker. 

Streamline your payroll process with the When I Work payroll app

When I Work offers the perfect balance of user-friendliness, features, and value. It’s easy to set up but offers everything you need to manage payroll better. Sign up for a free trial of When I Work and try the best payroll app of 2024.

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