Managing payroll is a crucial essentia for every business. Yet, not all payroll software titles include the right features for you and your company.

There are several must-haves when you’re shopping for the best payroll software. Notably, you’ll want free direct deposit. If you’re often on the move, you’ll also want software with a mobile app for you and your staff. And automated payroll runs are key so you never miss a deadline.

There are other essential functions to pursue. Here are the 10 ten features to look for in payroll software.

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Our favorite payroll software, Gusto, can help you stay on top of payroll. With it, you can smoothly manage payroll taxes, pay employees on time and easily stay compliant with local and federal laws.

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1. Accounting software integration

Most payroll software titles include third-party integrations to other digital tools, including accounting solutions. For example, Gusto integrates with QuickBooks Online to better manage both payroll and accounting data.

This connection is worth pursuing because it saves boatloads of time. Third-party integrations ensure pay transactions, such as employee wages and tax deductions, are automatically recorded. As a result, everything flows effortlessly on autopilot, reducing the chance of errors.

Plus, you always have real-time insight into your cash flow. This insight allows you to make better decisions, such as reducing staff hours to save money.

2. Time tracking

If you employ lots of hourly staffers, you’ll need a time-tracking function. This feature allows employees to clock in and out directly in the payroll software. No more manually calculating hours and sorting through time punch records.

There’s also value in this feature for salaried employees. Time-tracking can help people track how long they spend on work tasks. With this information in hand, folks can improve their performance down to the minute.

And for businesses that manage remote and field-based teams, GPS-based time tracking can make things easy. Logging staff locations ensures accountability, and beyond payroll, understanding where your employees spend their time can provide insights into operational efficiency and help in resource planning.

3. Employee benefits administration

As your business grows, so will your benefits offerings. When this evolution occurs, you’ll want to nail down payroll software that includes employee benefit features.

Robust software options should have a built-in method to track and manage benefits such as health coverage, retirement plans and other perks. This one-stop shop ensures that paycheck deductions are correctly applied and legal compliance requirements are met. Plus, this all-in-one approach makes things quick and simple for time-strapped small-business owners.

SEE: Best Payroll Software for Your Small Business in 2023

4. Wage garnishment

The legal complexities of wage garnishment are daunting. When a portion of an employee’s earnings needs to be withheld due to court orders, having automated processes in place is vital. Otherwise, you run the risk of incorrectly deducting these withholdings.

Payroll software equipped with a wage garnishment feature will handle these mandates automatically. This hands-free operation reduces administrative strain and ensures timely, accurate processing. Some titles will even transmit garnishments to government agencies on your behalf. So make sure to double-check whether you need to hand over cash manually or not to fulfill your obligations.

5. Mobile apps

Business owners must juggle an array of responsibilities at any given moment. Having a mobile app with your payroll software ensures you can manage your business even when you’re out of the office. As a result, a dedicated mobile app is a must-have.

Luckily, most titles include both Android and iOS options. But not all offerings are good. So you’ll want to carefully check a payroll mobile app’s rating in the pertinent app store to ensure topnotch quality.

6. Automatic payroll runs

Consistency in operations, especially regarding employee compensation, can significantly boost workplace morale. Automatic payroll runs ensure that businesses with consistent pay cycles don’t miss deadlines.

By scheduling payroll, you won’t have to worry about cutting checks manually, saving your more mental bandwidth for other things. This automation slashes errors and ensures timely compensation.

7. Employee self-service

Payroll software with self-service functionality allows staffers to check their pay stubs, request time off or even clock in and out from their smartphones.

This independent access offers two key benefits. First, it improves workplace morale. You want to project an image of professionalism and thoughtfulness. Self-service payroll perks are one way to do so.

Second, self-service perks reduce the number of queries you receive. People can update their contact information on their own, for example. This approach saves you time due to fewer requests for human resource assistance.

8. Onboarding

Bringing a new employee into the fold is a significant step. The best payroll software streamlines onboarding, ensuring a smooth and error-free process. From digital signatures on contracts to filling out necessary tax documentation, automated onboarding accelerates the joining process. This seamless flow not only sets a positive tone for the new employee’s journey, but it also ensures businesses remain compliant from day one.

SEE: The Best Payroll Software for Enterprises in 2023

9. Customizable payroll reports

Data-driven decision-making is vital to business growth. With customizable payroll reports, businesses can extract insights that are tailored to their unique needs. Instead of a one-size-fits-all solution, this feature allows entities to focus on the data that matters most to them. Whether it’s about understanding wage patterns, overtime allocations or tax implications, customizable reports offer deep dives into crucial intel.

10. Direct deposit

The traditional practice of issuing paper checks is largely obsolete. Direct deposit is faster, more secure and more convenient for both employers and employees. And when employees receive their wages directly in their bank accounts, it minimizes the risk of lost or stolen checks.

Most payroll software titles resort to direct deposit by default. But some free or low-cost options still rely on you to cut paper checks. What’s more, some tools charge excessive fees for direct deposit.

With this in mind, make sure to look for payroll suites that include free direct deposit.

Final thoughts

Choosing the right payroll software for your business can make a huge difference. Beyond mere wage calculation, the right software can enhance employee experience, provide valuable business insights and ensure legal compliance.

As you assess your options, consider the above features as a checklist to find a solution that aligns with your needs. Remember, investing in a robust payroll system today can save you countless hours and potential headaches in the future.

Featured payroll solutions

1 Deel

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Run payroll in 100+ countries and 200+ currencies from a single place. Deel’s comprehensive global platform eliminates the ongoing admin of local compliance, taxes, and benefits. With in-house experts across 100+ countries, dedicated CSM’s, visa and PTO support, and more, Deel provides unmatched payroll expertise and service. Plus, with a single point of contact, we eliminate handovers, providing you with faster support and compliance, so your entire global team gets paid quickly and securely.

Learn more about Deel

2 Multiplier Technologies

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With Multiplier, pay any number of global employees easily in multiple currencies. Eliminate the hassle of maintaining individual providers per country. Generate a single invoice and pay international teams in minutes. Have a consolidated dashboard to manage global payroll from a single window.

Learn more about Multiplier Technologies

3 QuickBooks

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QuickBooks from Intuit is a small business accounting software that allows companies to manage business anywhere, anytime. It presents organizations with a clear view of their profits without manual work and provides smart and user-friendly tools for the business.

Learn more about QuickBooks

4 Rippling

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Rippling is the first way for businesses to manage all of their HR, IT, and Finance — payroll, benefits, computers, apps, corporate cards, expenses, and more — in one unified workforce platform. By connecting every business system to one source of truth for employee data, businesses can automate all of the manual work they normally need to do to make employee changes.

Learn more about Rippling

5 Paychex

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Paychex is a cloud-based payroll management system offering payroll, HR, and benefits management systems for small to large businesses. Paychex covers payroll and taxes, employee 401(k) retirement services, benefits, insurance, HR, accounting, finance and Professional Employer Organization (PEO).

Learn more about Paychex

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Stay up to date on the latest in technology with Daily Tech Insider. We bring you news on industry-leading companies, products, and people, as well as highlighted articles, downloads, and top resources. You’ll receive primers on hot tech topics that will help you stay ahead of the game. Delivered Weekdays