Payroll is one of the most important aspects of any business as labor costs account for nearly 70% of total business costs. It makes sense to invest in the top payroll software to streamline payroll functions. If you have a business in Canada, you will require payroll solutions designed to work in that market. We have compiled the top payroll software for Canadian businesses in 2023 to help you choose the best fit for your needs.
Top payroll software for Canadian businesses: Comparison table
The following table highlights how the top payroll software compares in terms of core features.
|Automatic tax filing||Free trial||Employee self-service||Built-in time tracking||Mobile payroll app||Starting price (per month)|
|Payworks||Yes||No||Yes||Yes (extra charges)||No||$20.90 per pay run plus $2.10 per employee|
|Wave||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||$25 base fee plus $6 per employee|
|Knit||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||$39 base fee plus $6 per employee|
|Ceridian Dayforce||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Custom pricing|
ADP: Best for scalability
ADP is a feature-rich payroll solution for Canadian businesses. The feature set of ADP is geared towards large companies; however, even small and medium-sized businesses can benefit from ADP payroll. The core features include built-in time tracking and an easy to use payroll app. You can also bundle payroll with other ADP HR solutions to access new hire reporting, HR forms and HR compliance.
- Customized pricing, so you will need to contact their sales team for a quote.
- Built-in time tracking so users don’t have to rely on third-party applications.
- Fully automated employee data syncing.
- Policy management tools to maintain a policy catalog for pay, benefits and time.
- Continuous payroll calculation to help businesses have real-time visibility on the state of payroll at any time.
- Customized plans offer excellent scalability.
- Comprehensive HR features.
- Excellent mobile app for on-the-go payroll
- Lack of transparent pricing.
- Steep learning curve.
For more information, read the full ADP review.
Payworks: Best for analytics and reporting
Payworks is a Canadian software company specializing in workforce management solutions, including a cloud-based payroll system. With Payworks, you can generate various customizable reports, making it the best payroll software on this list for reporting and analytics. You can add additional services to your payroll package for an extra charge. This includes tools for HR advisory services, applicant tracking and employee absence management.
- $20.90 per pay run plus $2.10 per employee.
- Auto filing, including tax remittance and WCB premiums.
- Interactive year-end checklists to ensure you have completed all the required paperwork and tasks.
- Auto-generated email notifications for employee pay statements.
- On-demand access to employee pay stubs and tax forms.
- Configurable automation for payroll tasks, such as updates to rates or accruals.
- Variety of HR management add-ons.
- Highly customizable.
- On-demand professional support.
- Reporting system is not user-friendly.
- User interface is not intuitive.
Wave: Best for freelancers and small businesses
Wave Payroll is a subsidiary of Wave Financial Inc., which was acquired by H&R Block in 2019. With Wave Payroll, you get a full suite of payroll features, including automatic payroll processing, taxing filing and customized reporting. In addition, you get full CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) compliance. However, the software does not cover clients based in Quebec.
- $25 monthly base fee plus $6 per employee per month.
- Deep integration with Wave’s free accounting software, including automatic journal entries.
- Automatic tax remittance to the CRA.
- Customizable dashboards for payroll summary and time tracking.
- Automatic tax filing, including generation of T4 and T4A slips.
- Connection with several financial institutions and banks to direct deposit functionality.
- Wave accounting integration.
- Customized reporting.
- Easy to use.
- Not available in Quebec.
- Limited benefits administration.
For more information, read the full Wave Payroll review.
Knit: Best for all-in-one payroll and HR solution
Knit People, based out of Toronto, offers an all-in-one payroll and HR management solution that is available in three plans. Ideally suited for small and medium-sized businesses in Canada, Knit Payroll offers a decent set of payroll tools, including multiple pay rates, automatic payroll remittances and preparation of tax documents. It can be integrated with Knit’s HR management module to extend functionality.
- Lite: $39 per month plus $6 per employee per month.
- Complete: $39 per month plus $8 per employee per month.
- Concierge: $299 per month plus $25 per employee per month.
- Automatic WCV, WSIB and EHT remittances.
- Managed payroll and compliance services with the Concierge plan.
- Self-onboarding for new hires to help save time for HR staff.
- Employee time-off module that automatically calculates time off balances and accruals.
- HR and payroll all in one.
- Easy to set up.
- Advanced tools for custom payroll for multiple pay groups and pay types.
- Relatively expensive.
- No ability to file T4As for contractors.
- Payroll is not available in Quebec.
Wagepoint: Best for basic payroll
Canadian businesses looking for a simple payroll solution that is affordable and easy to use can consider Wagepoint. It offers all the basic payroll features required to pay employees and contractors while maintaining compliance with Canadian payroll regulations. You don’t get native time-tracking capabilities, so you will need to rely on third-party applications such as Quickbooks Time Tracker or 7Shifts.
- The pricing for Wagepoint is based on the number of employees and the frequency of payroll runs. A pricing calculator is available on the Wagepoint website.
- Direct deposit, an online portal for employee self-service, off-cycle payrolls and a complete set of year-end tax documents.
- Automated calculations with preset income and deduction codes, with the option of doing custom income and deductions.
- Variety of reporting options, including tax summary, deposit summary and workers’ compensation.
- Two-factor authentication and 2048-bit encryption for an extra layer of data security.
- Built-in tips and guides to help with usability.
- Excellent customer service reputation.
- Easy learning curve.
- Transparent pricing structure.
- No native time tracking.
- No HR features.
Ceridian Dayforce: Best for businesses with 100+ employees
If you are looking for a payroll solution that offers complete human resource management for businesses in Canada, then Ceridian Dayforce is a top choice for you. Along with a full suite of payroll features, you also get benefit administration, workforce management and other HR tools.
- Customized pricing.
- Real-time payroll registration so you can make changes and audit payroll data during the payroll cycle.
- Multi-jurisdictional tax calculation.
- Convenient data access on the go through the mobile app.
- Extensive range of third-party integrations.
- Full suite of talent management solutions, including recruiting and onboarding.
- Single platform for managing payroll and HR tasks.
- Extensive employee self-service tools.
- Effective training.
- Steep learning curve.
- Slow load time.
For more information, read the full Ceridian Dayforce review.
Key features of payroll software for Canadian businesses
When choosing the best payroll solution for your Canadian business, you might have to consider several features based on your specific needs. Here are some core features that should help you determine if the software is the right fit for your business.
Automatic tax filing
The top payroll software offers automatic tax filing features. Instead of manually calculating and filing taxes, this tool helps automate the process. This feature can also include complex functions such as tax filing for commissions, overtime, wage deduction and retroactive pay.
Built-in time tracking
Time tracking is used for logging employee work hours for payroll processing. While most payroll solutions offer the option of integrating with a third-party application, some software has built-in time-tracking capabilities. With native tools, users get a more seamless experience as they can use the same platform for time tracking.
With employee self-service, users can access their pay stubs, benefits information, time records and other information through a web-based portal or mobile app. In some software, employees can also make changes to their personal information.
Payroll software can include HR tools to help extend the functionality of the software. These tools include applicant tracking, employee onboarding, new hire reporting and other tools used by HR to manage the workforce. If you want a centralized platform to handle payroll and HR tasks, consider using software that offers an all-in-one service.
A mobile app for payroll can help businesses become more efficient as users can complete certain payroll tasks on the go. This includes approving timesheets, accessing pay stubs or tax documents, or scheduling time off.
How do I choose the best payroll software for my business?
To select the best payroll software for your business in Canada, you will need to consider several factors based on your needs. This includes determining which set of features is the top priority for your business, such as the user interface, customer support, ease of use, pricing and other parameters. Some businesses need payroll solutions only, while others require a comprehensive payroll and HR management solution.
A payroll solution that works in other parts of the world might not be suitable for Canada, so you need to establish parameters that are relevant to your region. For example, you need to ensure that the payroll solution complies with Canada’s employment and taxation laws. You also need to consider your existing software solutions to determine if the new payroll solution will integrate with the existing tech stack.
To ensure we offer our readers the best payroll software for Canadian businesses, we extensively researched several payroll solutions. Our research included expert reviews and user testimonials from reputable websites so we could gain a comprehensive understanding of the software. We looked at several key factors in choosing the best software, including payroll features for the Canadian market, customer service, pricing and ease of use.