The Best 5 Online Payroll Services for your Small Business

There is a world of options when it comes to managing and running payroll...  

Online Payroll

and payroll services are beginning to offer more features and more integrations as the world moves to a cloud-based environment. Whether it’s paying your employees by direct deposit, auto-creation and filing of T4 and ROE slips or automatic source deduction payments, the services below have it all. Below, we have listed a few of the various online payroll services in the market and outlined the unique services each one brings.


Wagepoint is a fairly new payroll service that comes equipped with a beautiful user interface and can integrate with both Xero and QBO. Wagepoint offers the ability to pay by cheque or direct deposit and will take care of the back-end work for you, such as remitting your source deductions to the CRA.

Wagepoint also has a great time-saving feature that allows you to set up payroll to run by itself every period (look Mom! No hands!). Furthermore, Wagepoint enables companies to issue their staff members unique logins so that they can retrieve their pay stubs or other payroll documentation online - anytime, anywhere.

One other great feature that Wagepoint has is Track, which is their in-house hour-tracking software, which also has a tablet-friendly app. Track allows companies to set up a time clock (punch-in, punch-out system) or a timesheet for hourly employees that will push data directly into Wagepoint, saving lots of data entry and administrative costs. Track has many admin controls, such as IP restricted time entry, missed punch reports, and the ability to allow staff to track time between different roles, which makes payroll and reporting a dream. Track comes at an additional cost, but for those who really want to be immersed in the automation-friendly, cloud software world, this one is hard to resist.

Lastly, Wagepoint’s customer support is second-to-none.

Quickbooks Online (QBO)

QBO is a very simple and effective system for running payroll. QBO will automatically record your payroll payments making for an easier reconciliation process. QBO also has some neat extras, such as employee time-sheets that can be filled out by staff members or administrative staff, which will auto-populate into the payroll module so that you can avoid the pain of duplicate data entry.

QBO will keep track of your source deductions owing to CRA through a PD7A report (familiar for those who are traditional Quickbooks users), although it will not remit CRA deductions directly from the software, which is available from other providers, such as the ones below.

QBO also just recently enabled direct deposit for their payroll, and there is no cost for direct deposit at the time of writing (March 2016). The direct deposit feature has worked great for every client of ours that has used it, and in the off chance that anything does go awry, the QBO Support team is available to assist you.

Simple Pay Canada

Simple Pay is another great payroll service that integrates with Xero and FreshBooks. Simple Pay’s UI is much more bland than Wagepoint, but it is packed with features, especially if you are looking for reporting options.

Simple Pay has the ability to remit your source deductions monthly, as well as WSIB and EHT. It has 24 different reports that you can run that will give you an in-depth look at your payroll costs, which is unique to Simple Pay. Simple Pay will also automatically send out pay stubs to your employees on pay day, which could be a convenient time-saver for those who like to save or print a copy of each pay stub.

For those of you who want a simple payroll system that does the job and offers lots of native reporting options, this may be the route to go.

Wave Accounting

The Wave platform’s payroll service packs quite a few features itself. Wave payroll includes free online support and can handle CRA remittances, as well as add-ons such as bonuses, employee expenses, and overtime (the above payroll providers can do this too!).

Wave gives users the option to use the included direct deposit or write cheques manually to pay employees, and can handle different pay types, from salary to hourly, even seasonal employees. Wave has a payroll reminder feature that ensures that you never forget to pay your employees on time, every time.

Wave also has a mobile application for iOS that allows administrators to run payroll and view prior pay runs directly from their mobile device, and allows employees to log in to view their pay stub on pay day. This is the flexibility that is unique to cloud platforms, and Wave has definitely done a good job making their software as user-friendly as possible.

Payment Evolution

Payment Evolution has become a one-stop shop for payroll, online payment processing, and even employee benefits packages. Payment Evolution’s payroll solution is simple to set up, easy to use, and cost-effective

Payment Evolution has a nice user interface, and because it’s online-based, it can be accessed from any browser. It allows for custom benefits and deductions (Coffee allowance anyone?) and has a suite of security features, including 256-bit SSL encryption, unique PINs, as well as various custom user permissions.

Payment Evolution’s payroll suite is combined with their PayChequer software, which will create beautiful online paystubs, allow you to set up direct deposit payments, and can provide tax documents at any time. PayChequer also enables employees to view their full pay history, tax information, and vacation balances, all from a mobile device or a tablet. It also gives employees the ability to update their information on their own, so that they can be sure everything is being recorded correctly.

Honourable mention: Rise People 

A fast-growing online payroll provider from Vancouver is making a name for itself with a platform that can serve all sizes of Canadian businesses.  There's even a free payroll option for Canadian businesses with 20 employees or less.  Rise can run payroll but it can do so much more: HR and benefits too.  Definitely one to look out for!


Final Thoughts…

As you can see, there are a ton of different features that are available from many different providers. The benefits of running payroll headache-free is clear and should be the goal of every company. Transitioning to a cloud-based environment will make your workflow a little easier to manage, and these payroll solutions are a great place to start.