What are the best payroll software solutions in Canada?

Comparing payroll software solutions

 

With a wide range of choices for payroll software providers in Canada, it can be challenging to wade through the wealth of information available. The “best” payroll software isn’t necessarily the right payroll software for your business. The right payroll software for your business should align with your organizational needs and goals. The right payroll solution should keep you payroll compliant according to the Canadian government. It should combine the features you need at the price you want and, most importantly, grow with you as your business grows.

 

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Making your choice easier

 

Choosing a payroll software solution in Canada is already tougher than it should be—and we think it should be easier.

We created this guide as a starting point for businesses looking for the right software solution. It will help you sort through all the noise and better understand the pros and cons of each major solution on the market available to Canadian businesses. We’ve summarized user submitted testimonials and online reviews to present the information you need to know to make a decision.


Best payroll software solutions in Canada

(In alphabetical order)

ADP Workforce Now

 

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At a glance

ADP is an enterprise payroll software provider in the industry that offers HCM services for businesses of all sizes. A long history of success has made ADP a recognized brand and leader in enterprise payroll software. Their primary product is Workforce Now.

 

What do people like?

A major positive amongst reviewers is ADP’s all-in-one payroll, group benefits and HR system for their workforce data. Receiving real-time updates across all three systems, no matter your location, is a major benefit that users appreciate. Employees have access to self-service portals for things like time clocks, scheduling, managing benefits, requesting PTO, and more. Managers and employees enjoy using the Workforce Now mobile app to access their accounts on the go.

Customization with add-on modules is also a major benefit for large companies. Being able to customize elements of the platform for specific business needs is something ADP succeeds at.

Quality of administration is also a notable positive amongst customer reviews. Because of their tenured experience on the market, payroll and compliance errors with ADP are rare. A long history of success is a confidence booster for many customers.

 

What do people dislike?

Some customers have expressed their dissatisfaction with the Workforce Now user interface, stating how tricky it is to find things without strict training. However, seasoned administrators don’t seem to share the same problems. Some users describe the interface as slow or outdated while others enjoy the platform’s simplicity and straightforwardness. Because ADP is one of the original HCM providers on the market, the evolution of their platform is considerably slower in comparison to the younger upstarts on the market who have the flexibility to push updates more frequently.

As with many enterprise level software solutions the consensus on customer service, implementation, and pricing are mixed. Some reviewers cite a poor experience with customer service while others don’t have any issues.

Implementation is another grey area amongst reviewers. Like other high-level enterprise solutions, the implementation process is of the utmost importance. This process is critical as it will more than likely determine your success or failure with the product, which may be a difficult area to navigate when knowledgeable administrators leave the company.

 

Is this payroll software for me?

Like Ceridian Dayforce HCM, ADP Workforce Now is built for large enterprises. While ADP does offer different levels of services for small business, the pricing and add-on structure is designed for enterprise business operations. Pricing varies by number of employees, the selected service plan, and how often the user runs payroll. The integrations, customization, and accessibility make ADP Workforce Now a definite frontrunner in the enterprise HCM market.

Cost and implementation time will be a major factor for businesses looking for a payroll solution. ADP’s high implementation fees and add-on pricing structure can be a challenge for small businesses looking for straightforward, affordable pricing. The fee structure is dependant on the makeup of the business; factors like employee count, pay schedule, integration requirements and much more add to the total cost of using Workforce Now.

To sum it up, if your business requires a certain level of customer support responsiveness it may be best to consider more options when looking for a payroll solution. A software provider more adept at dealing with small businesses will have the flexibility and support staff to offer a more personalized experience that many small businesses need.

A large business with locations spanning several countries and employees numbering in the hundreds or thousands, both part and full time, will excel with the customization Workforce Now provides. In contrast, a small business with less operational complexity would receive greater value from responsive customer support and a friendly user interface, both for staff and employees, which may be a key deciding factor when considering ADP Workforce Now.

Review sources

Bamboo HR

 

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At a glance

BambooHR is a leading HCM solution on the market. At the time of this publication BambooHR does not offer payroll services in Canada. While BambooHR does provide payroll services in the US they are more well known for their HR suite of tools. BambooHR offers a complete HR solution, including recruiting, onboarding, performance, and time-off tracking for businesses of all sizes.

 

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What do people like?

Several reviews note the modern design and friendly user experience of the BambooHR platform. Updates and improvements to the platform are frequent and regularly incorporate user feedback. Customers enjoy using the BambooHR mobile app and the convenience it offers.

Customers generally praise BambooHR’s extensive library of HR tools. Compared to other competitors on the market, BambooHR offers a complete HR suite for employee management. The amount of data collected across the platform also adds to the capable reporting available to users. Managers can build custom reports and predictive analysis from data collected throughout the company to make informed business decisions.

Users enjoy having access to BambooHR API integrations with participating partners. The integrations allow users to link data across accounting, employee bonus, and background checking apps.

 

What do people dislike?

For the many things BambooHR does right in terms of HR, some users find the lack of complete integration with payroll a problem. Some also mention the lack of a time and attendance feature as being restrictive.

As stated previously, BambooHR does not currently offer payroll services within Canada.

 

Is this payroll software for me?

If you are looking to address key HR functions within your business, BambooHR is one of the most polished solutions on the market. Their experience and history of success make them a clear leader in the HR category. With extensive reporting capabilities and a whole host of HR tools, BambooHR is designed to help businesses get a handle on employee data. The predictive analytics make it simple for business owners and managers to drill down into the actions and behaviours affecting day to day operations. These features and more are sure to empower your managers and allow them more time to focus on their people.

Where BambooHR excels in HR, some may find their payroll offerings lacking. Some users appear to be dissatisfied with a lack of complete payroll integration and all the accompanying payroll features. With all the focus BambooHR has placed on HR, some see them as struggling a bit on the payroll side. And without available payroll management in Canada, Canadian businesses may want to look elsewhere for a complete solution.

 

Review sources

Ceridian Dayforce HCM

 

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At a glance

Ceridian is one of the largest human capital management plaform providers on the market. Ceridian offers a wide variety of features to suit the payroll needs of enterprise businesses. Their primary product is Dayforce HCM.

Product scope

The Ceridian Dayforce platform is well-organized and relatively easy to learn after some time. The user interface aesthetic is clean, friendly for those familiar with payroll administration. Unlike most payroll software solutions on the market, Ceridian offers a complete API integration through their Dayforce Software Partner Program. A complete API integration allows information to pass directly from Ceridian to another approved third party platform to receive real time updates.

What do people like?

Users love being able to handle administration tasks from anywhere through the Dayforce HCM mobile app. Inside the app users can clock in and out, check timesheets, make time-off requests, approve vacation and much more. Dayforce HCM reviewers praise the friendly user interface and how easy it is to move around the platform — no matter your level of technology experience.

Customization is another huge selling point of the Dayforce HCM system. Enterprise users with thousands of employees often have specific requirements, many of which Dayforce was built to handle. The all-in-one integrated system between payroll and HR makes updating and monitoring employee data a breeze.

What do people dislike?

Many users have expressed dissatisfaction with Dayforce HCM customer support. Whether it be slow responses to support tickets or poor communication after implementation, the consensus is mixed. That being said, it is not uncommon for an enterprise payroll software provider of this size to have a few hiccups in customer support so take complaints lightly.

Another issue often cited amongst customers is the fact that some Dayforce applications still run on Microsoft Silverlight, an outdated flash-like framework. Many users cite problems with the technology and the fact that it runs best on Internet Explorer.

Is this payroll software for me?

First and foremost, Dayforce HCM is an enterprise level solution. For companies with employees numbering in the hundreds or thousands, the customization and capability make Ceridian a  clear leader in their category. Decision makers who handle large volumes of employee data will have few regrets choosing a solution like Dayforce HCM.

Many user reviews highlight the importance of testing and learning during the implementation process if you are to be successful with Dayforce HCM. The older technologies may be a problem for modern startups but Ceridian is constantly updating and growing alongside the industry.

Review sources

Collage

 

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At glance

Collage is a Canadian startup based in Ontario. They offer an all-in-one HR, payroll, and group benefits platform for small to medium sized Canadian businesses.

 

What do people like?

Users enjoy the efficiency and convenience of Collage’s integrated suite of HR, payroll, and group benefits tools. The friendly user interface and intuitive navigation are also features many users mention. Users like the fact that as a young startup Collage has the capability to update and adapt quickly to user feedback.

Applicant tracking, custom reporting and employee onboarding are features users enjoy as part of the HR toolbox. Employees can self manage aspects of their payroll, time-off, benefits administration, and more to free up more time for managers. Customers like how Collage syncs with Google calendar, iCal, and Microsoft Outlook to show vacation time and who’s away. Users enjoy being able to access the platform on both desktop and mobile devices.

 

What do people dislike?

As it stands, the capabilities of the Collage platform are basic in their functionality as described by reviews. Payroll and employee data is kept separate even though it is held in one system. A more extensive integration between systems is something customers hope for in future updates.

Originally offering free payroll, Collage has since transitioned to a completely paid model; some customers report the pricing structure as affordable.

 

Is this payroll software for me?

Collage provides an integrated payroll, HR, and group benefits platform for Canadian small businesses. As their business model and pricing structure has changed in the past, it is likely that more major changes may come in the future. This may be prohibitive for larger businesses that require stability. But for a small dynamic business Collage may be a software solution that can grow with your business. A more extensive integration between their systems is something customers hope for in future iterations.

 

Review sources

Rise People

 

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At a glance

Rise People is an all-in-one HR, group benefits, and payroll software solution built for small to medium sized businesses in Canada, but also serves a number of large clients. Rise also offers free payroll software for businesses in Canada with 20 employees or less.

 

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What do people like?

Users value Rise’s ability to keep all their employee data in sync in one integrated platform. Employees can access their information through a self serve portal and managers can approve requests from any online web browser.

Reviews mention the fast and easy implementation process and responsive customer support each step of the way. Since the implementation of an all encompassing system can be time consuming and confusing for less experienced administrators, Rise has developed a process that takes much of the work off the administrator and educates users as efficiently as possible.

Another feature users appreciate is the breadth of choice Rise offers when it comes to group insurance providers. When customers sign up to access the Rise platform they also get access to the Rise group benefits team of advisors. The Rise benefits team is there to broker the best deals for your business, handle all the surrounding administration, and provide top notch benefits advisory services.

 

What do people dislike?

Rise has recently expanded its support team in response to client feedback and continues to expand as the company grows. The team has also added live chat to add to its existing phone and email based support to provide clients with more options. Aside from a few specific functionalities that some users feel are absent, users highlight the regular improvements made to the user interface. Rise routinely sources user feedback to improve the platform and implement additional features.

 

Is this payroll software for me?

Rise is a standout in the market by offering an all encompassing, integrated HR, group benefits, and payroll software solution at one affordable price with no hidden costs or fees. Many of the software solutions Rise offers in one platform are only available in enterprise level solutions like ADP or Ceridian. Rise stands out by making these solutions approachable and affordable for small to medium size businesses and includes unlimited pay runs (both scheduled and ad-hoc), unlimited customizable reporting, and automated T4s, remittances, and ROEs.

Users appreciate Rise’s simple implementation process, friendly user interface, and group benefits administration. They also benefit from having an all-in-one integrated platform that minimizes manual data entry, centralizes record keeping, and ensures greater accuracy when paying employees and administering benefits. Rise also stands out from others in the market by offering benefits administration to customers, plus access to Rise’s team of certified benefits advisors. The Rise group benefits team works on your behalf with the major insurance carriers to provide the most comprehensive coverage at the most affordable price.

Additionally, if you have less than 20 employees in Canada you’re eligible for Rise Lite, Rise’s free payroll software. With Rise Lite, small businesses can take payroll administration off their plate and pay employees faster and more efficiently.

If you want a single integrated platform to manage all of your employee data, effective group benefits management, and payroll automation then Rise is for you.

 

Review sources

Ultimate Software

 

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At a glance

UltiPro is Ultimate Software’s all-in-one cloud HCM solution. Similar to other platforms on the market, users are able to manage all employee data in one central location and through the UltiPro mobile app. UltiPro does offer group benefits administration but lacks group benefits advisory services.

 

What do people like?

Many users praise the UltiPro reporting and dashboard functionality, allowing for greater insight into employee behaviour. Another often cited feature is UltiPro’s predictive analytics feature which allows users to turn employee data into helpful insights. The UltiPro suite of predictive analytic tools allows managers to access insights, such as when an employee is expected to leave the company.

Customers enjoy the online virtual training and the easy-to-read documentation for troubleshooting scenarios. Users also enjoy the responsive customer support which includes 24/7 phone support. This goes hand-in-hand with the fact that UltiPro partners with international payroll solutions to support employees across the globe.

 

What do people dislike?

User interface design issues are a point some reviewers touched on. A complex menu system and hard to find sections of the app are a couple of areas users feel can use improvement. Some mention the dated design and poor platform architecture while others feel it is a non-issue when one receives the proper training.

Though the UltiPro system is meant to integrate data across payroll, group benefits, and HR, some users expressed some limitations with the functionality. A few issues aside, UltiPro stands out by allowing users to switch between HR, performance management, payroll, benefits administration, and time and attendance “modules” with ease.

 

Is this payroll software for me?

UltiPro has been successfully providing payroll solutions to large businesses for some time now. Their extensive suite of HR tools and integrations with payroll and benefits makes them a stand out solution on the market.

Generally, UltiPro is best suited for businesses with 150 or more employees. Businesses with an international presence would have few regrets choosing UltiPro for their extensive suite of tools, predictive analytic reporting, integrations, and customer support.

High costs and aspects of the implementation process would make UltiPro restrictive for small businesses. Small businesses that need to stay light on their feet would have trouble implementing UltiPro as it is a much more complex solution than they require.

 

Review sources

Wagepoint

 

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At a glance

Wagepoint is an online cloud-based payroll software for small businesses that was founded in 2012. Features include direct deposit, tax filings, year-end reporting, online pay stubs and more.

 

What do people like?

Simplicity and ease-of-use is a feature reviewers mention when it comes to using the Wagepoint platform. Basic tasks like entering employee hours or processing payroll can be accomplished in only a few clicks. Users seem to enjoy using the platform and navigating to the areas they need with relative ease.

 

What do people dislike?

Currently, Wagepoint only offers support via email which may be a problem for users with payroll issues that require immediate turnaround. Though phone support is lacking, users say that email support is still very responsive but would appreciate immediate phone support access.

A lack of report customization is another issue brought up in reviews. It seems Wagepoint only allows the use of pre-made report templates which may be prohibitive for some teams.

 

Is this payroll software for me?

Wagepoint is built to handle payroll for small businesses. If you’re searching for a no-fuss payroll system to handle all of your payroll needs, Wagepoint should be near the top of your list. The friendly and easy to use platform is great for both new and seasoned administrators.

Large businesses with complex administration needs may find Wagepoint’s limitations prohibitive. For what Wagepoint does right, it lacks integrated HR tools and customized reporting functions which most mid and large sized businesses like to have.

 

Review sources

Wave Payroll

 

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At a glance

Wave is a small business accounting and payroll platform that has been around since 2010. Wave offers free accounting, invoicing, and receipt scanning software in addition to paid payroll and payment processing.

 

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What do people like?

Users generally enjoy the simple user interface and friendly navigation. The interface is best described by users as simple yet modern. The integration between accounting, invoicing, and payroll make it relatively easy to manage employee data and have it kept in sync. Administrators can quickly handle tax remittances, manage time off, send invoices, build reports, and more. Employees can also handle portions of their information in the Wave self serve employee portal on their desktop or mobile device.

Many user reviews mention how much value the Wave platform provides for such an affordable price. For small businesses with only a handful of employees, Wave can handle accounting, invoicing, and payroll for a nominal fee. The ability to easily try out the accounting portion before one pays for payroll is a part of the sign up process many businesses appreciate.

 

What do people dislike?

Though most users praise the simplicity of the Wave platform, some describe certain payroll capabilities and features as lacking. Whether it be a lack of time tracking or gaps in the integration, some users feel the platform lacks in certain areas. This is why some reviewers mention Wave as better suited to specific business types like restaurants, as compared to others such as contract-based marketing agencies. Customers hope to see more extensive payroll capabilities plus the addition of some HR tools in the future.

Customer support is also an issue that reviewers have touched on. Because Wave offers a host of free tools, support is obviously not consistent across the user base as paying customers receive more responsive support, as they should.

 

Is this payroll software for me?

Wave provides a host of benefits for small businesses looking for an affordable payroll and accounting solution. By offering most of their features for free, small businesses can save a lot on administrative tools and keep employee data organized. Without a doubt, Wave is meant to serve small businesses with a small number of employees.

Businesses with more complex administrative processes require more functionality than Wave can provide and would benefit from an extensive integrated suite of HCM tools which are lacking. But if all you require is a few employee pay runs, convenient invoicing, and simple accounting, Wave should definitely be a consideration.

 

Review sources

Other alternatives

The following sections are brief descriptions of other payroll software solutions options on the market. A lack of online user reviews means we’re unable to comment in detail on the strengths and weaknesses of these solutions. What follows is based on details taken from their websites.

Payworks

Payworks is another local payroll software solution that has been serving Canadian small businesses since 1967. They offer payroll management, HRIS, time and attendance, group benefits, health spending accounts, and more. Administrators can manage employee data on one platform and access 50 different payroll reports.

Payroll Guardian

Payroll Guardian provides payroll, HR, employee scheduling, and time and attendance software for US and Canadian businesses. According to their website, Payroll Guardian considers themselves “primarily a service organization” and “keeps close, long-term relationships with [their] users”. What this means is customers can expect more of a payroll service solution rather than a complete software solution, including working with an account manager as opposed to handling your payroll processes in-house. It seems that Payroll Guardian is much more of a payroll service that provides accompanying software.

Payment Evolution

PaymentEvolution, founded in 2007, provides easy to use, secure online payroll, payments and benefit management services to small and mid-sized businesses across Canada. Based on the small number of reviews, Payment Evolution seems best suited for small businesses with around 10 employees.