The Best Payroll Software for Farms in 2023
Streamline payroll processing for your farming business with one of these top-rated payroll software options. Our guide covers the features, pricing, and pros and cons of the best software options for farmers.
The farming industry continues to grow and evolve due to the application of technology. A McKinsey report shows that the agricultural sector could hit an additional $500 billion in global GDP by 2030, and many farm owners who understand the boom ahead can maximize productivity and efficiency by streamlining and automating some critical components of their farm business. One of the key areas that can benefit from automation is payroll management.
SEE: If you’re hunting for a new payroll service, this guide for business leaders can help.
By deploying the right payroll software, farm owners can focus on improving their productivity and not worry about calculating employee salaries, taxes, benefits and other regulatory deductions. But to get your farm business running at this level of efficiency requires choosing the best payroll software. Here is a deep dive into the best payroll software for farms in 2023.
Top farm payroll software: Comparison table
Picking the best payroll software for your farm business will require knowledge of some of the key features of farm payroll solutions. This comparison table breaks that down.
|Farm payrolls||Time tracking||Automatic tax filing||Integration||Mobile app||Unlimited payruns|
|SurePayroll||Yes||Only available in the top plan||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Intuit QuickBooks||Yes (available on premium and elite plans)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Patriot||Comes as add-on||Available only in the full-service||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Paychex||Comes as add-on||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Top payroll software for your farm
If you are on the verge of investing in a payroll solution for your farm business, here is our top list of the leading solutions you should consider and what they are best known for.
OnPay: Best overall payroll software for farms
OnPay is a payroll solution that can handle most payroll needs of farm businesses across all 50 U.S. states. The software has a simple user interface that allows potential users to set up their accounts, add employees and process payroll with a few clicks.
The software has features that can automatically file Form 943. With OnPay, you only get charged for active employees to prevent additional charges for off-farm seasons. Your farm business can also leverage OnPay to process minimum wage rates for workers and approve debits from debit cards. OnPay also connects you to key accounting solutions such as QuickBooks and Xero.
- The software can pay W-2 employees, 1099 contractors and H-2A laborers by direct deposit, debit card or check.
- OnPay processes all taxes, including Form 943, automatically.
- The solution offers the flexibility of running unlimited payruns.
- The integration covers popular business software solutions like Xero and QuickBooks.
- OnPay offers unlimited payruns.
- The software files Form 943 automatically.
- The solution only charges you for active employees.
- There is no free trial.
- No 24/7 customer support.
- OnPay charges $40 per month plus $6 per month per active employee.
Check out our full review of OnPay’s payroll software.
SurePayroll: Best for small farm businesses
SurePayroll offers payroll and tax-filing services specifically tailored to small businesses. As a result, it is suitable for those with small or growing farm payroll needs. This solution can streamline your payroll management and automate repetitive tasks. SurePayroll doesn’t charge any setup fees or additional fees for unlimited payroll runs, allowing you to manage your payroll effortlessly.
With SurePayroll, farm owners do not need to struggle with the federal tax return for agricultural employees. The software also provides flexible payment options and payroll reporting both on desktop and mobile devices.
- Option to split paychecks into multiple accounts.
- You can choose between direct deposit or self-printed checks.
- Different pay rates and schedules are available.
- It covers both W-2 employees and 1099 contractors.
- Help filing Form 943 on your behalf.
- Availability of mobile app to carry out payroll on the go.
- Integration with leading accounting software, such as Xero, Zoho Books, AccountEdge and Intuit QuickBooks.
- The pricing estimate is complicated.
- There is no 24/7 support for users.
SurePayroll offers two pricing options.
- No tax filing: This plan only covers unlimited payroll without tax filing.
- Full service: This offers full-service payroll, including tax filing.
For accurate pricing, contact SurePayroll.
Intuit QuickBooks: Best for farm businesses of all sizes
Intuit’s QuickBooks Payroll is a cloud payroll service designed to serve every type of business. The payroll solution has enough features to help farm owners automate their payroll needs. For instance, QuickBooks Payroll includes standard features like automated tax calculations and filing, benefits administration, reporting and unlimited payroll runs.
You can use QuickBooks as a standalone payroll software or integrate it with QuickBooks Online, which enables you to cover any accounting need. QuickBooks offers different plans designed to accommodate different scales of businesses regardless of where they are located in the U.S.
- QuickBooks offers benefits administration.
- Includes access to your payroll reports from the software.
- Offers unlimited payruns that provide flexibility to run payroll whenever necessary.
- Offers contractor payments at no extra cost.
- Allows you to track income, expenses, sales and sales tax.
- QuickBooks can automate the calculation, filing and payment of federal and state taxes.
- Offers unlimited payroll runs
- Provides great reporting features.
- It is available in all 50 U.S. states.
- The 24/7 customer support is only for the Elite plan.
- It is expensive for smaller businesses.
- Time tracking comes with higher priced plans.
QuickBooks payroll offers three pricing structures.
- Core: Starts from $22.50 per month plus $5 per employee per month.
- Premium: $37.50 per month and $8 per employee per month.
- Elite: $62.50 per month and $10 per employee per month.
Check out our full review of QuickBooks’ payroll software.
Gusto: Best in transparent pricing
Gusto payroll solution offers excellent features that can simplify challenging payroll processing for farm business owners. The software can automatically file your payroll taxes across all 50 U.S. states, process benefits administrations and time-track your employees for accurate calculation of wages. It also provides unlimited payroll runs and next-day direct deposit.
Gusto tax filing covers all federal, state and local payroll tax forms on behalf of your company. This is done with e-file, e-sign and e-fax technologies, which ensures that everything is paperless and trackable.
- Gusto provides paperless tax form filing across all 50 U.S. states.
- Employees can have easier access to their pay using the Gusto debit card.
- The platform offers time-tracking.
- It offers unlimited payroll payruns.
- It supports both salaried and hourly workers.
- Robust reporting features.
- Unlimited payroll payruns.
- Transparent pricing.
- Accessible from mobile and desktop devices.
- Direct deposit can take up to four days.
- The lowest plan only allows you limited live support hours.
Gusto offers multiple pricing plans:
- Simple: $40 per month plus $6 per month per person.
- Plus: $60 per month plus $9 per month per person.
- Premium: pricing is available upon request.
- Contractor-only: $6 per month per contractor.
Check out our full review of Gusto’s payroll software.
Patriot: Best for easy setup
Patriot Payroll is designed with simplicity and ease of use in mind since the software only caters to small businesses. Farm owners can leverage Patriot’s great features and lower pricing to manage payroll needs.
As a farm business owner, different types of work on your farm might call for different hourly rates based on the level of difficulty. Patriot takes care of this in your payroll by allowing you to add up to five different pay rates for each hourly employee. In addition to running unlimited payruns, Patriot collects and files your year-end payroll tax filings at no additional charge. Patriot is also known for its flexibility as you can end your contract with the platform anytime and choose whether to use the 1099 e-filing feature.
- Patriot has a customizable hourly payroll to pay for different hourly rates.
- The solution can be accessed both on the desktop and mobile.
- You can integrate with popular accounting software like QuickBooks Desktop.
- You can post electronic or printable W-2 forms for employees.
- There is a free two-day direct deposit.
- Patriot offers free and easy onboarding and setup.
- There is no long-term contract, meaning you can quit at any time.
- The basic plan does not cover tax filing across federal, state and local authorities.
- The solution is n ideal for a business that plans to scale.
Patriot offers two pricing plans.
- Basic: $17 per month and $4 per employee/contractor.
- Full-service: $37 per month and $4 per employee/contractor.
Check out our full review of Patriot’s payroll software.
Paychex: Best for payroll compliance
Paychex is a popular payroll option that is not limited to any type of business. Farm owners can take advantage of Paychex’s automated payroll to calculate, file and pay payroll taxes accurately and effortlessly.
Farm business owners have the option of using Paychex on their mobile device or desktop. They can also enjoy flexibility with Paychex’s multiple payment options, such as direct deposit, same-day ACH and real-time payments.
- Paychex provides multiple payment options for customers.
- There is an option to customize reports to fit your needs at no additional cost.
- Customers can perform payments on autopilot or manually.
- You can initiate payroll runs with voice commands.
- You have the flexibility of selecting from the multiple payment options
- Paychex payroll covers all 50 U.S. states.
- You can access Paychex on your mobile device.
- There is an extra fee for payroll tax filing.
- W-2 and 1099 features are only available as additional features.
- Some of the plans do not offer transparent pricing.
Paychex payroll offers three pricing categories:
- Paychex Flex Essentials: starts at $39 per month plus $5 per employee per month.
- Paychex Flex Select: pricing information is available upon request.
- Paychex Flex Pro: pricing information is available upon request.
Check out our full review of Paychex’s payroll software.
In order to pick the best payroll software for farms, we took cognizance of many critical factors that we considered crucial to running payroll in the farming industry. Some of the features we picked were the capacity to allow both mobile and desktop use, automated filing of tax forms peculiar to the agricultural sector, the ability to customize payments to suit on and off seasons, contractor-based payment and the platform’s reputation.
These considerations helped us narrow down our list to the six payroll solutions above and provided enough insight for us to conduct a thorough review of each, highlighting some of their key features, advantages and disadvantages.
How do I choose the best farm payroll software for my business?
In addition to the points we highlighted under each software reviewed above, here are some tips to help you choose the best payroll software for your farm.
Evaluate your business needs
Before choosing a payroll software solution, evaluating your specific business needs is important. Consider factors like the farm size, the number of employees you have and your current payroll management process. Considering all these will help you decide on the best payroll for your farm.
Check the software’s features
After evaluating your business needs, the next thing is to closely examine each software’s features and capabilities vis-à-vis your business needs. If possible, make a payroll processing checklist and compare each feature with how it addresses the checklist. Ensure the software you choose includes key payroll management features like time tracking, tax filing and benefits management. You may also want to consider additional features like mobile apps and integrations with other software.
Consider ease of use
A payroll software might have the best features, but the delivery for end-users might ruin those features in ways such as complex setup, a clustered dashboard and latency issues during use. To get the hang of the platform, you might consider doing a demo or free trial before throwing in your money.
Look at pricing
While it is not ideal to prioritize pricing over quality features or services, you should consider your budget for a payroll service before making a choice. You may consider going for payroll software with flexible pricing plans or check with the vendor to know if you can customize the product to your specific needs. Taking this step will tailor the product’s price to your specific needs and ensure that you only pay for what you need.
Check customer support
Customer support is essential, especially for farm owners who may find themselves always busy working on the farm during weekdays and weekends. With this in mind, choosing a software solution offering reliable customer support beyond weekdays is vital. Therefore, look for a vendor that provides phone, email or chat support, weekend support, and resources like user guides and FAQs.