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7 Best Payroll Software Solutions for Mac

Written by:

Mark Stewart is the in-house Certified Public Accountant, an accomplished author and financial media specialist.

Reviewed by:

Daniel Eisner is a payroll specialist with over a decade of practical experience in senior accounting positions.

7 Best Payroll Software Solutions for Mac

7 Best Payroll Software Solutions for Mac

If you’re starting a small business and hiring employees, mastering payroll is likely to be one of your first major hurdles. Dealing with payroll is often quite complex and time-consuming, which is why many entrepreneurs turn to a professional payroll service or software. 

Payroll providers can handle the entire payroll process for you, making it nearly seamless and automated while offering additional services so that you can focus on building a successful business. 

But with so many payroll services in the market, how can you tell which is best for small businesses, particularly those that rely on Apple Macs? This review takes a closer look — putting ourselves in the shoes of an entrepreneur — to help you determine which option is right for you and will work well with your Mac to avoid compatibility issues. 

1. QuickBooks

When most people think of QuickBooks, they probably think of accounting software and related applications, like Intuit QuickBooks and QuickBooks desktop. 

Inuit is the parent of QuickBooks, which also provides software solutions. But this review is only about QuickBooks’ payroll service, which can be purchased in packages that include accounting tools. QuickBooks’ payroll also offers health insurance benefits and administration, along with a variety of HR tools. 

Pricing and features

The Core plan, at $45 per month plus $5 per employee per month, includes full-service payroll, including W-2s and 1099s and tax filings. Payroll and tax filings are done automatically. The plan also administers 401K and health insurance plans. 

The Core plan provides a lot of bang for your buck and is a great value for small companies that just need their payroll handled and want to offer benefits to their employees.

The Premium plan, at $75 per month plus $8 per employee per month, adds same-day direct deposit and time tracking on the go, enabling employers to track and approve employee hours from a mobile app. You’ll have access to an HR support center and workers’ compensation administration. 

The Elite plan, at $125 per month plus $10 per employee per month, has the unique benefit of tax penalty protection: if your business is penalized for late tax filings, QuickBooks will cover the fee up to $25,000, subject to terms and conditions. You’ll also have a personal HR advisor.  

Pros and Cons


  • Good value for the price
  • All plans include health insurance and 401K administration
  • Website is easy to use
  • Great mobile app


  • Customer service options are lacking
  • Many unhappy customers
  • Unlike competitors, poor HR support 

Our Verdict

Overall, the QuickBooks site is easy to use and detailed plan information is easy to find. Its plans are well priced and offer good value for small businesses, and Quickbooks offers an excellent mobile app for business owners. 

We also liked that all the plans include health insurance and 401K administration. However, QuickBooks does not offer as many HR tools as some competitors. Also, its poor reviews and rankings are concerning, as are parent company Intuit’s legal issues. 

QuickBooks has the advantage of its name – most people are familiar with it – and a lot of customers, so we can cautiously assume that many have had a good experience with its services and software. 

Because of the outstanding value the QuickBooks plans offer, we recommend them to businesses willing to pay a bit more for quality payroll service. 

2. CheckMark

CheckMark payroll software allows you to do payroll in-house, supporting an unlimited number of employees while simplifying your deduction and payroll tax calculations.

Pricing and features

CheckMark’s downloadable Payroll Pro Plus software costs $539 and allows you to pay employees by check or direct deposit. You can also use the software to print and e-file your W-2s and prepare federal and state tax filings using CheckMate. 

This software also supports tax-exempt deductions and handles payroll accruals for vacation and sick time. 

CheckMate also offers a full payroll service that’s priced by quote. You can also add time-tracking and HR tools, which are priced by quote as well.

Pros and Cons


  • Option to do payroll in-house or hire payroll service
  • Full suite of payroll features
  • Good reporting functions


  • Product information is not well laid out on the site
  • Difficult to judge customer satisfaction
  • Limited customer service options

Our Verdict

Overall, our experience with CheckMate was good, though we had a difficult time finding service information on the site. We found no reviews of CheckMate, so it’s hard to know how customers feel about its services. 

Based on our experience and research, we would cautiously recommend CheckMate software to businesses looking to handle their payroll in-house. 

3. Gusto

Gusto offers full-service payroll including tax filings. They also offer HR tools, health insurance, and financial benefits administration, including 401Ks and health care savings accounts.

Pricing and features

The $40/month plus $6 per month per person Simple plan offers full-service single-state payroll, including W-2s and 1099s, basic hiring and onboarding tools, Gusto-brokered health insurance administration, and an employee financial benefits service.

It also offers payroll and time-off reports and custom admin permissions that allow you to set access to various functions for different people. Integrations for accounting functions are also included, along with basic customer support.

The Plus plan, at $80 per month plus $12 per employee per month, adds multi-state payroll services, next-day direct deposit, and advanced hiring and onboarding tools. It also offers PTO management, time and project tracking, and workforce costs and custom reports. You also get team management tools and access to full customer support.

The plan offers many advantages and tools, but you’re paying double the price, so the Simple plan seems a better value. But if you have employees in multiple states, Plus is the better option. 

The exclusively-priced Premium plan offers a robust suite of services, along with everything mentioned above. It’s hard to judge the value, since it’s uniquely priced for each customer, but it’s a strong full-service plan that includes:

  • HR Resource Center
  • Compliance alerts
  • Access to certified HR experts
  • Full-service payroll migration and account setup
  • Health insurance broker integration
  • R&D tax credit discount
  • Waived fees and exclusive pricing
  • Performance reviews
  • Employee surveys and insights
  • Dedicated support

Pros and Cons


  • Website is very user-friendly
  • Simple and Plus plans are good value 
  • Premium plan offers robust suite of HR services


  • Many customer issues left unresolved
  • Email customer service is slow
  • No mobile app to manage payroll

Our Verdict

Our experience using the Gusto website was good, as it’s very user-friendly. Their pricing is very competitive and even their Simple plan offers an extensive package of services. In that respect, they are superior to most competitors.

But the customer reviews, particularly at the BBB, are deeply concerning. Many negative reviews involved inaccurate tax filings, which can lead to major issues for business owners.

If you’re looking for an affordable payroll option, Gusto is a great value, assuming the negative reviews refer to unusual circumstances. Based on our experience, we cautiously recommend Gusto. 

4. Paychex

Paychex is one of the country’s top providers of payroll solutions – issuing pay to one out of 12 U.S. private sector employees, according to its website. 

Paychex Flex is a suite of three payroll processing plans that aim to satisfy a wide variety of business types and needs. Key benefits include running payroll via an online platform or free mobile app, 24/7 customer support, full calculation and payment of payroll taxes, and more than 200 compliance experts ensuring your payroll processing is always up to date. 

Pricing and features

The Paychex Flex Essentials plan is the lowest-tier plan out of three service offerings. It’s tailored to smaller businesses with one to nine employees. Unlike providers who charge for each payroll run, Paychex subscribers can make an unlimited number of payroll runs. 

This plan includes payroll tax calculations and filings with relevant federal, state, and local bodies. With the standard analytics and reporting benefit, you can review payroll reports and make changes as needed prior to submitting payroll.

Paychex Flex Essentials contains a robust suite of offerings that center around the employee experience. With an included HR library and business forms repository, your HR team will have access to key onboarding forms and documents. 

The Paychex Flex Select plan is the second-tier payroll package from Paychex and includes everything in the Essentials plan plus a number of features, such as more pay options for your employees. In addition to direct deposit and paper checks, Flex Select offers check signing and a check logo service to subscribers.

Another key feature is access to the Paychex Learning Management System, which offers courses to help your employees stay engaged and focused, boosting employee retention.

The top-tier Paychex Flex Pro plan includes all the benefits in the Essentials and Select plans plus additional benefits, such as access to a dedicated payroll specialist. Clients are assigned a point of contact for both payroll and tax issues.

The Paychex Flex Pro plan includes guided setup so you can start off on the right foot, thanks to expert step-by-step guidance. You’ll also be able to integrate Paychex with your existing accounting software, including QuickBooks Online, Sage Intacct, and Xero.

Additional benefits of the Pro plan include state unemployment insurance services to help file and pay your SUTA taxes. You’ll also gain access to a robust platform of HR services, such as onboarding support, employee screening, and an employee handbook builder.

Pros and Cons


  • User-friendly web experience
  • Informative, detailed website
  • Established industry reputation 
  • Flex Essentials offers great value
  • Solid mobile capabilities 


  • Poor customer service
  • Heavy upselling in sales process
  • Lack of pricing transparency  
  • Difficult cancellation process
  • W-2 and 1099 filing costs extra 

Our Verdict

Overall, we have mixed feelings about Paychex Flex. On a positive note, their website is easy to use, with loads of information on plans and benefits, and signing up for the Essentials plan is quick and easy. 

Yet Paychex’ customer service left much to be desired. For one thing, the initial customer service reps we dealt with were unable to answer our questions. Also, the high number of complaints about specialist turnover and cancellation issues is troubling. 

Overall, Paychex has been around for years, gaining the trust of companies across the country. Its pricing and offerings are on par with competitors and each plan includes a robust suite of services, so if you choose to go with Paychex, you’ll probably make out just fine. 

But if customer service is high on your list or priorities, you may be disappointed with Paychex as your payroll service provider. 

5. ADP

Automatic Data Processing, more commonly known as ADP, is one of the biggest names in payroll processing and counts many Fortune 500 firms among its clients. While its main platform serves those larger businesses, ADP’s RUN service is tailored for startups and businesses with 50 or fewer employees. 

ADP’s RUN suite of payroll solutions includes automatic tax filing and optional benefits administration via an advanced online platform with access to payroll experts. 

Pricing and features

All ADP plans are custom-priced based on a business’s size and needs. 

The ADP RUN Essential plan is perfect for startups or established businesses looking for a basic payroll processing solution. The Essential plan includes a robust suite of payroll services, including access to an online portal and mobile app, 24/7 customer support, and payroll tax filing. 

You’ll also be able to run electronic reports and access a new hire reporting feature.

The Essential plan also includes payroll delivery and integrations with leading accounting software programs. You’ll have the ability to set recurring payrolls that process automatically. 

The Enhanced payroll plan from ADP includes everything from the Essential plan plus background checks, access to services from ZipRecruiter, and state unemployment insurance filings. You’ll also get poster compliance services to ensure the latest state and federal guidelines are always prominently displayed at your workplace. 

The Enhanced plan also includes wage garnishment services and check signing and stuffing. 

The ADP RUN Complete plan contains all the above plus a variety of HR support services and features. Customers receive access to an HR HelpDesk with live support and an employee handbook wizard. 

Another key feature of the Complete plan is access to salary benchmarks so you can stay up to date on the latest compensation data. This plan also includes access to a regularly updated compliance database and an HR forms and documents repository.

The HR Pro plan is ADP RUN’s most exclusive, including everything above plus an enhanced version of HR HelpDesk Support and enhanced employee handbook support. It also includes access to ADP’s proactive HR support team, an employee assistance program, employee and employer HR training, business marketing tools, and legal services.

Pros and Cons


  • Four plans to choose from
  • Established reputation of ADP
  • Easy to request a quote
  • User-friendly website
  • Robust HR support


  • Pricing available by quote only
  • Many unhappy customers
  • Complaints about the pay card product

Our Verdict

Overall, we were pleased with our ADP experience. The site is easy to use, information is readily available, and it’s easy to request a quote. Their four service plans offer a wide variety of features, catering to an array of smaller businesses.

Customer service is a little lacking, as ADP RUN has no live chat support and doesn’t provide email support unless you’re an existing customer. However, reaching customer service by phone was a snap and the representative we spoke to was prompt and polite.

ADP is one of the most popular payroll service providers, handling processing for many major corporations with its main platform and building an outstanding reputation. ADP RUN has been developed specifically for startups and small businesses. 

Although many clients have faced service issues with ADP Run, we still highly recommend the RUN suite of offerings for your payroll and HR support needs

6. SurePayroll

SurePayroll, a subsidiary of leading provider Paychex, is widely seen as Paychex’ more affordable option. 

One thing that differentiates SurePayroll is their no tax penalty guarantee. The company will calculate, file, and pay your withholding and payroll taxes, and if there is any error, Sure will correct it and pay the penalties for you. For a business owner, that provides some peace of mind. 

Pricing and features

The No Tax Filing package includes full-service payroll, with unlimited payroll runs and two-day direct deposit. SurePayroll will also handle your new hire reporting with your state and you’ll have access to live support as well. 

The No Tax Filing plan is a great value if you just want to outsource basic payroll.

The Full Service plan will save you the hassle of calculating, withholding and filing federal, state, and local taxes, as well as your year-end payroll tax filing. The plan provides access to Sure’s HR advisor service, which includes labor law posters, how-to guides, and business forms. 

The Full Service plan is priced well and takes many payroll and tax tasks off your plate. Both the Full Service and No Tax Filing plans come with a two-month free trial. 

The Full Service plan also comes with a nanny payroll option, if you’re looking to outsource payroll for household employees. It costs $49.99 per month for one employee and includes everything in the Full-Service plan. Additional employees are $10 each per month.

Pros and Cons


  • Reasonably priced compared to competition
  • Offers a no tax penalty guarantee
  • Very user-friendly website


  • Fewer HR tools than competitors
  • A lot of unhappy customers
  • No email support

Our Verdict

Overall, our SurePayroll experience was relatively pleasant. The site is easy to use, information is readily available, and sign up is fast. Customer service is a bit weak, with no email support, though chat and phone support are solid.

SurePayroll offers an outstanding value compared to the competition, which makes it hard to beat. The mostly negative customer reviews are concerning, but even so, we confidently recommend SurePayroll to business owners. 

7. OnPay

OnPay offers one payroll plan that is extremely comprehensive. It includes all tax filings, extensive HR tools, and full benefits administration. It’s a great value for the price. 

Pricing and features

The OnPay plan, at $40 per month plus $6 per employee per month, includes full-service multi-state payroll, including W-2s and 1099s, self-service employee onboarding, custom reporting, and tax filings and payments.

The plan also offers health and dental administration, as well as add-on life, disability, and vision insurance administration. It even offers 401K and worker’s compensation administration. 

The plan provides a lot of bang for your buck, with so many services at a reasonable rate. 

Pros and Cons


  • Great price compared to competitors
  • Many services offered for the price; excellent value
  • User-friendly sites
  • Many positive reviews


  • No real chat support
  • Only one plan option
  • No mobile app for business owners

What to Look for When Choosing a Payroll Service for Your Small Business

With so many payroll services to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which is best for you – even if you’re just examining only the services that are Mac-compatible. Three essential elements can help you make your decision.


Each service comes with a variety of features, and their plans are all designed differently. You and your business may need some features but not others, so it’s important to choose the service that offers just what you want. 

If it’s important to you to have HR services, you’ll want a service that offers that feature. But if your business doesn’t need health insurance administration, on the other hand, you don’t want to end up paying extra for it. 

Choose a service that has everything you need to make running your business as easy as possible. 

Customer Service and Reviews

A good way to learn about the quality of anything you’re buying is to check out what users say about it. When we review services we look at Better Business Bureau ratings and reviews, as well as TrustPilot reviews. It’s wise to look at both positive and negative reviews to find out what people love about the service, and about issues customers have encountered. 

Remember that fake reviews are common, so you might take some of the reviews with a grain of salt.


Of course, you’ll want to get the best value, so it’s a good idea to compare the cost of each service. Plans with more features tend to be more costly, so you’ll probably want to stick with the tier that meets your needs. You’ll also want great customer service, so if you’re considering the cheapest service, check the reviews to see how its customers feel about it. 

Our Verdict

Overall, we were pleased with our OnPay experience. The site is easy to use, information is readily available, and sign up is fast. 

Customer service is a little lacking, with no live chat support and a slow email response. The customer service phone representative, however, was prompt and polite.

OnPay services are an outstanding value and customers have given many positive reviews. Based on our research, we confidently recommend OnPay to business owners.