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Automate Your Payroll: A Comparison of 5 Best Cloud Payroll Applications

by | Aug 26, 2019 | Accounting

Businesses are always looking for more efficient ways to pay their employees. In the past, this payroll administration has been a very time consuming and cumbersome process. Enter cloud payroll applications which offer small business to conduct in-house payroll, automate several aspects of it, and store all the data securely on the cloud. They can be accessed from anywhere, comes with many additional features and can integrate with popular cloud accounting applications of today.

That being said, there are several cloud payroll options to choose from and below, will compare the most popular ones. The applications will be distinguished based on their features, which include their ability to handle direct deposits, ROE’s, T4s, WSIB, CRA payroll remittances, contractor payments, etc. The applications will also be compared on their pricing and ability to integrate with cloud accounting applications like QuickBooks Online and Xero.


Wagepoint is relatively popular in the cloud payroll applications market. The application is focused on simplicity, and there is no trouble navigating through different pages.  With its necessary payroll calculations and automatic direct deposits through your bank, Wagepoint offers many additional features that make paying your employees a breeze. Furthermore, functions that Wagepoint includes: 

  • Calculating your CRA payroll remittances and automatically submitting the deductions based on your schedule which allows you to avoid any late fees
  • Calculating other deductions such as RRSP contributions, health benefits, parking and figuring out their tax implication
  • Processing additional calculations which include contractor payments, statutory holiday calculations, workers compensation, and other incomes 
  • Generating T4/T4A/RL-1 which can be viewed by your employees and submitted to CRA automatically through the app

Along with its payroll functions, Wagepoint comes with additional applications such as Track and Luna. Track, which is also a mobile app, helps staff track their hours. Employees clock in and out, managers approve their time, and Wagepoint pulls out approved hours for payroll. Luna is a time-off application that allows you to track employees time off requests with ease. The pricing for Wagepoint is a $20 base fee with an additional 2$ per employee. Track and Luna are priced separately. It can integrate with popular accounting applications such as Xero and QuickBooks Online, which allows for convenient payroll bookkeeping.


Payworks is another payroll application that has grown in popularity. It offers the basic payroll functions you would expect, such as calculating CRA payroll remittances and submitting those deductions automatically. Other calculations and features include:

  • Vacation, holiday and sick pay calculations
  • Automatic federal, provincial tax filing and WCB premiums
  • Records of Employment (ROEs) submitted to Service Canada on your behalf
  • Tax form information electronically sent to CRA/MRQ on your behalf

However, the additional services they offer, such as human resource solutions, time management applications, workforce analytics, absence management, applicant tracking, and more sets them apart from their competitors. Payworks is more of a total workforce management rather than just a payroll service. The pricing is $26.56 per pay period for a sample business with a semi-monthly pay cycle and five employees. That being said, additional features like the absence management and workforce analytics cost extra, anywhere between $2-$15 added to each pay period. Payworks does not integrate with Quickbooks Online and Xero, which may be a downside for some. 

Payworks is a great platform if your business is looking for a complete workforce management application that provides multiple HR solutions. On the other hand, if you are looking for a simple payroll service, the extra features that Payworks provides may over-complicate the process of paying your employees.  


ADP is probably the oldest and most well know payroll company. However, typically, they are not associated with serving small businesses, until recently. ADP offers four distinct payroll packages. Packages start at “Essential Bundle” and move up from there, both in price and features. The essential bundle may be too basic for some as it only offers payroll through direct deposits and basic reporting. If you want tax or compliance services which include year-end T4s, CRA remittances, ROE’s or any other third-party remittances, you would need to upgrade to the “Enhanced+” bundle which is the second-highest tier you can purchase. This bundle will give you access to most of their HR products as well, which includes recruiting applications.

What stood out for ADP was their app marketplace. The company provides a place for third-party developers to create apps that can be easily integrate with their payroll and HR solutions. This feature makes integrations their biggest strength. ADP can easily connect with Xero and Quickbooks online and many other apps such as “Org Chart” which is an online Org chat solution for your small business. In terms of cost, the company offers personalized pricing packages for their customers, which means you would need to contact their customer support to get a quote specific to your business. ADP also offers two months free when you first sign up.

With their large tier break down of their payroll and HR services, ADP is an excellent application if your business only needs a set number of features. However, if your business needs T4’s, ROE’s, and other features, you might be better off picking a service that provides them all in just one simple package.

QuickBooks Online Payroll

 QuickBooks Online is a great accounting software, but it also offers payroll add on to its main application. QBO offers two different payroll options. The basic option is $20 + $2 per employee each month and their advanced version is $20 + $2 for each employee per pay run. The basic and advanced payroll both have:

  • Cheques and Direct deposits for running payroll
  • Calculating CRA remittances
  • Payroll reports
  • Filing and paying taxes
  • ROE’s and year-end forms

However, the advanced version comes with the ability to pay contractors and calculate workers compensation. Additionally, the advanced version will automatically file taxes, year-end forms like T4’s and ROE’s. Note that QBO’s advanced version is run by Wagepoint, in partnership with QBO. At an additional cost, QBO also offers TSheets, which allows you to track employee hours. An aspect of TSheets is GPS tracking, which will enable you to monitor employees in the field and at the job site. With its simple integration with Quickbooks, QBO payroll is an efficient service.

QBO’s payroll offerings are robust and would meet the needs of most business owners who are already using QBO as their accounting software. However, if someone is looking for additional HR features also built-in, you would have to look into other options available. 


Humi is a relatively new company and offers a multitude of HR and payroll services with a beautiful interface. Everything is well organized, and it is easy to navigate through their application. Like some of the other payroll apps, Humi is a complete HR platform rather than just a payroll service.

They offer multiple features such as an employee data dashboard, tracking employee absences, reporting, and recruiting tools, but they have two more features that stand out. The first is their performance feature, which allows you to coach and develop your team while tracking their performance. The second feature is their benefits add on.

Humi integrates with popular benefit plan provides such as Sunlife Financial and acts as a broker to help you decide what benefit plans are right for your employees. Humi aims to unify HR, payroll, and benefits in one through their application. Although it doesn’t integrate with Quickbooks Online and Xero yet, one could expect this integration in the near future.

In terms of just payroll, Humi offers all the features one would need, such as: 

  • CRA calculations and automatic remittances
  • Direct deposits
  • Automatic T4s and ROE’s
  • EHT calculations
  • Payroll reports

As for pricing, Humi charges $8 per employee each month and an extra $3 for each additional feature. Humi seems to have figured out how to connect all of HR’s tasks seamlessly. With its innovative solution to be the broker between small businesses and benefit plan provides, Humi is a company to look out for.

Final Thoughts

Payroll used to be a dull and repetitive task for small businesses to handle, but many cloud applications have transformed payroll into complete HR solutions. With the use of technology and automation, these cloud payroll applications can help save your business time and money by allowing you to handle your workforce in the most efficient way possible. Nonetheless, each application has something different to offer, and the best payroll company is the one that best meets your needs.

Contact Us

At Think Accounting, we specialize in not only the technical aspects of Canadian payroll, but also implementation of several of the cloud payroll applications for our small business clients. Please reach out to us at info@thinkaccounting.ca to discuss the payroll option that may be best for your needs.

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