The Top 4 Online Payroll Services for your Small Business

Making sure that your payroll is processed smoothly, accurately and on time is one of the biggest priorities in any business. One of the worst things you can as a business owner is being late on payroll or getting it wrong. As a result, choosing the right online payroll services is an important consideration to make.

I have been exposed to a lot of different payroll services over the years, but the ones listed below happen to be my most favorite. The payroll space in Canada has typically been run by a few popular, yet, in my opinion, outdated options. The payroll services below are newer players in the market (relatively speaking) but happen to “get” how payroll should be run in the digital age; online based, easy to use, good customer service and affordable. Below is a list of our top 4 online payroll services for your small business.


Based out of Waterloo, Wagepoint is an online payroll service that handles pretty much all aspects of your payroll process. Once the initial setup is complete, all you need to do is login to Wagepoint before every pay date and either enter the amount of hours your employees have worked or their gross pay if they’re on salary. From there, Wagepoint will calculate all the necessary tax deductions, submit the taxes directly to the government along with the necessary filings as well as directly deposit the money into your employees bank accounts.

It might not be the most feature rich platform out there, but they make up for it in spades when it comes to their customer service and with product’s ease of use.

The team at Wagepoint understands how critical it is to not miss a pay day and that unexpected issues may arise when it comes to running payroll and as such, you can get a hold of someone on their support team immediately and often a resolution is offered in a matter of minutes. I can’t tell you how important this is when it comes to something such as payroll, as there is nothing worse than paying your employees late. You can be assured that you will get a hold of someone competent when you are speaking to someone on their team.

Wagepoint also integrates with popular cloud accounting systems like Xero and QuickBooks online, so you can have your payroll data flow directly into your accounting system once payroll is run for the period.

And did I forget to mention that you can opt to pay your employees (either partially or in full) in bitcoins as well? If you end up going down that route, be sure to check out some of the tax implications of paying your team members in bitcoins.

Pricing varies on how often you pay your employees and how many employees you have. While they aren’t the cheapest on the block, they do provide an experience that is worth the price.

For their customer service and ease of use alone, Wagepoint is our favorite online payroll service on the market for Canadians.


SimplePay is another Canadian based cloud payroll service that is quite popular. They have been around a bit longer than Wagepoint and have a much more feature filled product. I find that some of those extra features are probably a little more suited for accountants and as such, users may not experience much of a difference. What’s important to note is that┬áSimplePay will handle just about any scenario that you can throw at it from a payroll perspective.

SimplePay also has a very good Xero integration, so you can get the data from your pay runs into your accounting system quite easily.

The reporting side of SimplePay is very strong and you can obtain just about any type of payroll report you could ever want.

The platform is certainly not difficult to use, but it’s not the easiest either. The setup process also requires someone familiar with the platform to get things properly configured in my opinion.

In terms of price, SimplePay is one of the least expensive options around, so if price is a major consideration for you, SimplePay could be a good option.

Overall, SimplePay is a solid option when it comes to processing payroll for your small business.

QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online (ie. QBO) is a full fledged accounting system. One of the modules within their platform is a payroll module which allows you to run payroll every pay period directly within their software without the need of any third party application add-on. The benefit here is that things are a bit more tightly integrated since you don’t have to concern yourself with connecting 2 different applications together in order to flow your payroll data into your accounting system.

QBO’s payroll module is quite user-friendly and intuitive. Once you have everything properly configured, processing payroll is quite simple.

The downside is that payroll in QBO is not as automated as it is with Wagepoint and SimplePay for instance. Once payroll is run, you would need to write checks or do direct deposit to your employees accounts for their pay individually as well as submit the necessary monthly payroll tax declarations to the government yourself.

That being said, QBO’s payroll is still a solid option for calculating payroll in a fashion that’s tightly integrated directly within your cloud accounting system.

Wave Accounting

Wave Accounting is another cloud accounting system that is quite popular in North America. Like QBO, they have an integrated payroll module in their platform, which means that you’re only dealing with 1 app as opposed to 2 and that you don’t have to worry about integrating 2 different applications together.

On top of that, Wave offers some nice automation abilities in that you can set it so that it provides your employees with direct deposit of their pay. You can also configure Wave so that it can remit the taxes and forms to the government every month for your deductions at source.

Wave works across Canada, except for in Quebec, so if you’re a business that has Quebec employees, Wave is not the solution for you.

Pricing is on par with Wagepoint. Wave’s payroll service is right for you if you’re a Canadian business using Wave’s platform for your accounting.

Tons of options, which to choose?

Just Google “online payroll services” and you’ll quickly come up with a whole variety of different options. The options listed above are some of my most favorite options for Canadian small businesses today.

What about the big guys, like ADP & Ceridian? I tend to find their architecture to be a bit outdated and their customer service lacking. I believe the options above are all preferable to some of the bigger players. You certainly can’t go wrong with any of the choices listed above.

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