Customer Insights: Top 5 Easy-to-Use Payroll Systems for Dummies

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You’re not a dummy—doing payroll can be complex and confusing! Luckily, these payroll systems make things easy.

header image showing a monitor with a calculator, envelope, customer feedback form, and charts and graphs coming out of it

What is a Sentiment Score?

The sentiment score is a rating based on how positive or negative users are when they review a product. On a scale from 1 to 10, rave reviews get a high score, unfavorable reviews get a low score, and lukewarm reviews get a score in between. Review scores are then averaged to determine the sentiment score for the product.

Payroll is a necessary evil for any business and one that comes with its fair share of complications. To make matters worse, there’s little room for error: Both your employees and the IRS like to be paid, after all. It’s no wonder those “Payroll for Dummies” books continue to be relevant.

That’s why, when it comes to payroll software, you need something intuitive. Something that can make the process of running payroll, paying taxes, and generating reports easy to do and easy to understand.

We analyzed thousands of user reviews for products in our payroll software directory to calculate an ease-of-use sentiment score for each system. The goal? Find the easiest-to-use payroll systems on the market.

Here, we’ll take a closer look at the five payroll products with the highest sentiment scores for ease-of-use.

5 most easy-to-use payroll systems for dummies

Product (click to jump to that section) Ease-of-use sentiment score (out of 10)
Netchex 6.39
Zenefits 6.27
Rippling 6.27
Patriot Payroll 6.26
PrimePay 6.24

To learn more about our methodology, click here.

Netchex

netchex logo
Ease-of-use sentiment score: 6.39 (out of 10)
Mentions of ease of use in reviews: 60
Percent of mentions that are positive: 92%

Netchex is a cloud-based HR solution designed to help companies of all sizes manage the entire employee lifecycle for needs like recruiting, onboarding, time tracking, and more.

Within Netchex’s payroll solution (which is available as a standalone product), you’ll find flexible payment options, including the ability to pay with checks and pay cards, and automated tax filing and reporting functionality. An integrated dashboard updates continuously with historic payroll data and insights into ongoing payroll trends in your organization.

In terms of ease of use, here’s what Netchex users have to say:

  • Easy to learn and train personnel on
  • Intuitive interface
  • Easy to navigate
  • Entering employee information is very streamlined

A screenshot of a reports dashboard in Netchex.

The reports dashboard in Netchex (Source)

How do users feel about Netchex’s ease of use?

Sentiment toward Netchex’s usability is overwhelmingly positive. Of reviews that mention ease of use, 92% mention it positively, while only one percent mention it negatively. By comparison, positive sentiment for ease of use in the payroll category as a whole averages only 80%.

Pie chart showing 92% of users feel positively about Netchex

How does Netchex compare to the category average for ease of use?

While the entire payroll category averages an ease-of-use sentiment score of 6.06, Netchex averages a 6.39.

Bar chart showing Netchex


Read user reviews of Netchex


Zenefits

zenefits logo
Ease-of-use sentiment score: 6.27 (out of 10)
Mentions of ease of use in reviews: 191
Percent of mentions that are positive: 86%

Built with small and midsize businesses in mind, Zenefits is a core HR suite that helps users streamline onboarding, benefits, payroll, PTO, and more.

Launched in 2015, Zenefits Payroll comes with unlimited pay runs, completely customizable pay schedules and pay rates, and support for contractor payments. Automated tax calculation and filing is included, as are automated reminders so nothing falls through the cracks. Workers also receive dynamic pay stubs that include pay breakdowns and custom messages.

When it comes to ease of use, Zenefits users say the following:

  • Very organized
  • Clean interface
  • Intuitive from both an administrator and employee perspective
  • Payroll reports are easy to read and manipulate

A payroll overview screen in Zenefits.

The payroll overview screen in Zenefits (Source)

How do users feel about Zenefits’ ease of use?

A majority of Zenefits users say the system is easy to use; 86% of reviews that mention ease of use are positive, while only two percent are negative. By comparison, positive sentiment for ease of use in the payroll category as a whole averages only 80%.

Pie chart showing 86% of users feel positively about Zenefits

How does Zenefits compare to the category average for ease of use?

While the entire payroll category averages an ease-of-use sentiment score of 6.06, Zenefits averages a 6.27.

Bar chart showing Zenefits


Read user reviews of Zenefits


Rippling

rippling logo
Ease-of-use sentiment score: 6.27 (out of 10)
Mentions of ease of use in reviews: 54
Percent of mentions that are positive: 84%

A relative newcomer to the scene, Rippling is a cloud-based platform designed to help users manage their company’s payroll, benefits, and onboarding.

Rippling Payroll allows payments to employees or contractors located anywhere in the world. Access levels can be customized to delegate some payroll work to other departments, and the system comes with automated tax filing at the local, state, and federal levels. A mobile app allows workers to view paystubs or request time off, and the software integrates with leading time tracking and accounting systems.

Here’s what Rippling users have to say about its ease of use:

  • Intuitive user experience (UX)
  • Easy to understand and interact with
  • Quick learning curve
  • Easy to add new hires

Running payroll in Rippling.

Running payroll in Rippling (Source)

How do users feel about Rippling’s ease of use?

When it comes to ease of use, Rippling users agree the system is great. Of reviews that mention Rippling’s ease of use, 84% do so positively and only two percent do so negatively. By comparison, positive sentiment for ease of use in the payroll category as a whole averages only 80%.

Pie chart showing 84% of users feel positively about Rippling

How does Rippling compare to the category average for ease of use?

While the entire payroll category averages an ease-of-use sentiment score of 6.06, Rippling averages a 6.27.

Bar chart showing Rippling


Read user reviews of Rippling


Patriot Payroll

patriot payroll logo
Ease-of-use sentiment score: 6.26 (out of 10)
Mentions of ease of use in reviews: 185
Percent of mentions that are positive: 89%

Serving small businesses with 100 employees or less, Patriot Payroll is a full-service accounting and payroll solution, with add-ons available to manage HR and time and attendance needs.

Patriot Payroll offers unlimited direct deposits with zero fees attached. Calculating and filing taxes is included as well, as is functionality to integrate workers’ compensation payments into payroll runs. Pay frequency is fully customizable, and employees get access to their own portal to view pay stubs or change their bank account information.

Patriot Payroll is easy to use for many reasons, according to users:

  • Setup is simple
  • Very straightforward
  • Running payroll only takes a few minutes
  • Easy to learn and navigate

The reports screen in Patriot Payroll.

Generating a payroll report in Patriot Payroll (Source)

How do users feel about Patriot Payroll’s ease of use?

Ease of use is a strength for Patriot Payroll; 89% of reviews that mention ease of use mention it positively, while only two percent mention it negatively. By comparison, positive sentiment for ease of use in the payroll category as a whole averages only 80%.

Pie chart showing 89% of users feel positively about Patriot Payroll

How does Patriot Payroll compare to the category average for ease of use?

While the entire payroll category averages an ease-of-use sentiment score of 6.06, Patriot Payroll averages a 6.26.

Bar chart showing Patriot Payroll


Read user reviews of Patriot Payroll


PrimePay

primepay logo
Ease-of-use sentiment score: 6.24 (out of 10)
Mentions of ease of use in reviews: 40
Percent of mentions that are positive: 92%

PrimePay is a long-standing HR and payroll solution for small businesses. Applications for employee time tracking and benefits administration are available as purchase options, as are solutions for business compliance and merchant services.

PrimePay’s online payroll system offers flexible pay delivery options, two-factor authentication for security, and custom reporting. Local, state, and federal tax filing is taken care of for you, as is paycheck signing, stuffing, and sealing. Employees also receive automated emails anytime a new pay stub is available to view.

In terms of ease of use, PrimePay users say the following:

  • Reports are easy to find, access, and print
  • Easily navigable interface
  • Running payroll is easy and fast
  • Very user-friendly

A tablet view of a payroll dashboard in PrimePay.

Tablet view of the payroll dashboard in PrimePay (Source)

How do users feel about PrimePay’s ease of use?

PrimePay users applaud its ease of use; 92% of reviews that mention ease of use do so positively, and only four percent do so negatively. By comparison, positive sentiment for ease of use in the payroll category as a whole averages only 80%.

Pie chart showing 92% of users feel positively about PrimePay

How does PrimePay compare to the category average for ease of use?

While the entire payroll category averages an ease-of-use sentiment score of 6.06, PrimePay averages a 6.24.

Bar chart showing PrimePay


Read user reviews of PrimePay


There’s more where that came from

Of course, ease of use is just one factor in any new software purchase. You also have to consider things like functionality, customer support, and that ever-important caveat for any business: cost.

If you’re looking to expand your search, head to our payroll software directory to check out different options, read reviews, and filter products based on your needs. Our Top 20 Payroll Software Report highlights some of the most well-known and beloved systems out there.


Methodology

To be considered for this report, products had to meet our payroll market definition, meet our review count minimum, and have a high percentage of positive mentions for ease of use compared to other evaluated products.

  • Payroll market definition: In order to be considered a payroll system, products must have payroll management, tax compliance, and payroll reporting features. Payroll products as part of more comprehensive human resources (HR) software suites must also be able to be purchased standalone.
  • Review count minimum: Products had to have 20 or more unique reviews mentioning “ease of use” or related terms.
  • Percent of mentions that are positive: Products listed in this report had the highest percentage of positive mentions of ease of use among eligible products.

To calculate sentiment score, we looked at specific mentions of ease of use in each review (i.e., “snippets”) and analyzed the language used to describe the product’s usability. We then scored the language on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most positive, five being neutral, and one being the most negative. The score for each snippet was the sum of all descriptive terms in the snippet. Snippet scores were then averaged to determine the sentiment score for the product.

When comparing a product’s sentiment score to the average score for the entire category, the product’s score was removed from the category for accuracy.

Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.

Looking for Payroll software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Payroll software solutions.

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About the Author

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Brian Westfall

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Principal Analyst @ Capterra, covering the latest in HR and recruiting software. BS in Marketing and Economics, Trinity University. Published in Forbes, SHRM, and TechRepublic. Based in Austin. I love corgis, baking, and rooting for my hometown San Antonio Spurs (Go Spurs Go!).

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