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5 Tools to Eliminate SMB Payroll Headaches & Challenges

If you're currently experiencing frustrations with your payroll process, it may be time to look into smart tech options that can increase efficiency and reliability. Here is a list of a few of our favorites.

Payroll management is one of those things in business that should be handled with efficiency. However, in most circumstances, it is really a task that is time-consuming and complex beyond belief. 

There are many headaches and facepalms associated with organizing a process for your weekly or monthly payroll. Not to mention the backlash from employees if they are not getting paid correctly, or worse, on time. 

If you’re currently experiencing frustrations with your payroll process, it may be time to look into smart tech options that can increase efficiency and reliability. Here is a list of a few of our favorites. 



With FreshBooks, you get the best of both worlds: an online accounting and invoicing service that makes you look like a Fortune 500 company, without the extra paperwork. It helps business owners and entrepreneurs easily stay on top of financial record-keeping while also being detailed enough to satisfy accounting teams.

Our team loves FreshBooks because it allows for recurring invoices or payments. This feature allows users to automatically charge a client’s credit card or PayPal account on an ongoing, regular basis. As a result, payment is taken automatically which is perfect for businesses with a recurring revenue business model.


What users are saying:

  • The Good: “I like this product mostly because of how it transforms my workflow from me doing manual work to automatic. Another feature that I like in Fresh Book is the Automatic Late Fee whereby if I set it up it helps me by automatically applying a fee to invoices that would have become overdue which I have found to be very convenient and makes my workflow progress smoothly.”
  • The Bad: “Working on an invoice that has different rates and editing them at the same time is a process that I have found to be very complex and can also be daunting when using this product.”


Overall rating on G2: 4.5-star rating with 639 reviews (as of Feb. 2022)


Gusto ®

Gusto® is an all-in-one- payroll, HR, and benefits package rolled into one platform. It is designed specifically with small business owners in mind.


The platform offers the tools you need to create an incredible workplace and grow your business with features such as:

  • Full-service payroll
  • Medical, dental, and vision
  • Certified HR experts
  • Time tracking
  • Compliance help
  • Employee finance tools


Gusto® is especially great for automating your day-to-day tasks so you don’t have to worry about making errors or doing repetitive work.


What users are saying:

  • The Good: “It is a very user-friendly and comprehensive platform. It’s also a very affordable solution that integrates well with the other platforms I personally use for my clients.” 
  • The Bad: “I have had a few hiccups with clients here and there, as their payroll partner, make me look unprepared. I am hoping as I learn the processes better, I will be able to navigate this.”


Overall rating on G2: 4.5-star rating with 597 reviews (as of Feb. 2022)


QuickBooks ® Payroll by Intuit ®

Intuit is a wildly popular accounting software. However, many business owners aren’t aware that it can also help cover payroll. The platform offers a tiered pricing model based on your unique needs and budget. 

  1. Core ($45/mo). Easily pay your employees and have your payroll taxes done for you.
  2. Premium ($75/mo). Enjoy HR support and other employee services to perfect payday. 
  3. Elite ($125/mo). Access Intuit’s on-demand experts to make payday even easier.


Each plan comes with a 30-day free trial so you can feel confident in the platform without having to put any money down.


What users are saying:

  • The Good: “I love that your accountant can log into your books remotely and help with payroll and taxes. I especially love the way that you can see your profit and loss with differing filters on the reports. It really puts things into perspective.”
  • The Bad: “Customer service is difficult. Requires long hold times to reach anyone and personal intervention. Would like to see it be more user-led.”


Overall rating on G2: 4.5-star rating with 42 reviews (as of Feb. 2022)


Patriot Payroll ®

Patriot Payroll has been in business for over three decades. During this time they’ve experienced the good and bad of payroll so they can offer their customers only the best services imaginable. 

They understand time and money are some of business owners’ most scarce resources. Patriot Payroll acts as a fast, simple, and affordable solution to assure those resources are not wasted. 

Users can choose between two plans: Basic Payroll ($10/mo) or Full Service ($30/mo). 


Both options include features such as:

  • Payroll setup
  • Direct deposit
  • Employee portal
  • Workers’ compensation integration
  • Unlimited payrolls
  • Customizable hours, money, and deductions
  • HR integration
  • Expert support


The full-service plan offers extra features including filing and depositing federal and state payroll taxes.


What users are saying:

  • The Good: “Tremendous value for the cost – all payroll items are handled correctly, and their customer service is wonderful!” 
  • The Bad: “I don’t know if it’s because I’m new to payroll, but there are so many options/tabs on the backend that can get overwhelming; however, I do like that if I’m not clear on things or have a question, that they are quickly available to answer my questions.”


Overall rating on G2: 5-star rating with 416 reviews (as of Feb. 2022)


Paychex ® Flex

Paychex Flex is a great payroll option for small businesses because it can build as your company grows and changes. Whether you just need it to alleviate your payroll headaches, or you’re interested in its retirement and insurance management capabilities — it has everything you need in an easy-to-use platform. 

The unique element of Paychex Flex compared to other Smart Tech payroll tools is its in-depth HR functions. The solution offers tools that allow organizations to streamline their hiring and onboarding processes. 

For example, small businesses can recruit candidates, deliver HR documentation, manage health insurance, track time and attendance — all on top of paying employees and their taxes.


What users are saying:

  • The Good:  “I like that it is very easy to access the features I need and use most. It is clearly built for the user that is most focused on the regular payroll. The other features are there, such as reporting and some basic analytics, but the dashboard is focused on People and Payroll.”
  • The Bad: “Paychex Flex is no-frills and has limited capacity to customize. However, there are several workarounds that are available and while not perfect, is “good enough.”


Overall rating on G2: 4-star rating with 1,334 reviews (as of Feb. 2022)

Final Thoughts

Small businesses often experience many payroll mistakes and oversights. From not classifying workers properly, to miscalculating overtime wages, to running payroll late — the frustrations and headaches are endless.

To alleviate these challenges and difficulties, many small businesses look into outsourcing their payroll function. In fact, many of the SMBs we work with to help improve cash flow and financial inefficiencies are now using many of the resources we talked about in today’s post. 

For more small business financing best practices, head over to our blog. We share cheat sheets, expert advice, and product drops every month. Get notified of our new resources by signing up for our free-to-subscribe newsletter, here.

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