Free Canadian Payroll Software for Small Business

Payroll software is a necessity for every small business in Canada. Having an automated system means saving time and money, but finding the best payroll software isn’t something you should do over night. With so many options available, determining which one is best for your company can be tricky. There are several things to consider before making a purchase.

Here are the best free software in canada.

Intuit Online Payroll

Intuit Online Payroll

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Intuit QuickBooks is one of the most well-known accounting platforms, and fans of this product may want to sync it with Intuit Online Payroll to streamline their business operations further. The most basic coverage, core payroll, can tackle paycheck and tax calculation, as well as deliver reports and next day direct deposits. Upgrading to either premium or elite will bring automated payroll, greater HR support, and time tracking features.

To access the Intuit Online Payroll service, you are required to have an existing QuickBooks Online account. If you don’t already use QuickBooks for accounting, this could make the switch more costly. Meanwhile, the abundance of features lends itself to larger entities and mid-size businesses with aspirations to expand. Read our complete Intuit Online Payroll review for more information.

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After years of success managing payroll and human resource management for large businesses, Paylocity has dived into the small business market. The software stands out for its capacity to integrate solutions and services, such as time tracking, performance reviews, and employee benefits alongside payroll. Paylocity’s lowest tier, Effortless Payroll, still packs a wealth of features on top of the standard payroll calculation components, such as tax services, labor law poster updates, and a self-service mobile app for employees

Paylocity isn’t known for offering competitive pricing to small businesses. But if customizability and a full-scale HR integration is what you’re after, then look no further. Read our full Paylocity review to learn more.

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ExcelPayroll: Best For Spreadsheet-Based Bookkeeping

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Best for businesses that have access to a version of Microsoft Office Suite and want a payroll solution that behaves with a spreadsheet format.

Spreadsheets are a helpful and time-tested tool for creating budgets and making calculations. If you’re already using spreadsheets or Microsoft Excel to handle payroll, ExcelPayroll can simplify the process for no extra cost.

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After entering employee information, along with their earnings and deductions, ExcelPayroll can run the payroll calculations from there. Users can also print checks and tax forms, see workers’ compensation reports, and record payroll deductions, such as 401k contributions.


  • Whereas Microsoft Excel charges a subscription fee, ExcelPayroll is free.
  • Easily translatable for anyone savvy in Microsoft Excel.
  • Customized withholding and timecard options are available.


  • More manual entry involved than other payroll software.
  • Does not handle tax or benefits administration.
  • Not ideal for employers with 50 or more employees because Affordable Care Act compliance isn’t programmed in.

ExcelPayroll Features & Pricing

According to its program mission, ExcelPayroll strives to create a Microsoft Excel-based payroll application that includes no monthly fees and zero costs attached to using it. Installation is also free of charge, so you don’t need to pay anything extra to get your software set up and running smoothly. Best of all, ExcelPayroll offers a full set of reliable payroll tools for free including:

  • Prints tax forms including W2s, W3s, 940, 941, DE9 & taxes liabilities
  • Vacation accrual
  • 401(K), garnishment, and other payroll deductions
  • Print checks
  • Time-tracking
  • Bookkeeping entries

ExcelPayroll itself is free to download, and you don’t need to pay any fees to use its features. Technically speaking, though, ExcelPayroll isn’t completely free, since it requires that you purchase a licensed version of Microsoft Office Suite to run Excel.

Microsoft’s 365 Business Standard plan is the cheapest of its cloud-enabled plans that offer the Microsoft Excel application, which charges a monthly fee of $12.50 per user. Keep in mind that you also need to pay an annual commitment fee to retain access to your Office 365 applications, including Excel.

ExcelPayroll Summary

ExcelPayroll makes sense for small businesses that are already comfortable with using Excel spreadsheets and want to use core payroll features such as W2 form and check printing in a spreadsheet format. ExcelPayroll directly syncs up with the Excel app, so you don’t need to worry about creating a spreadsheet from scratch — ExcelPayroll can do that for you. So long as your business either currently has access to a licensed version of Office 365 or doesn’t mind subscribing to a new plan, ExcelPayroll is a robust spreadsheet-based solution that still behaves like payroll software.

Wave Apps


You didn’t think I make a list with the words “best” and “free” and not include Wave, did you?

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Why? Because Wave Apps is one of the top free business platforms available today. Wave isn’t only a payroll solution, but more of an integrated business platform that offers Accounting, Invoicing, Payroll, and Receipt Scanning – all provided in a compact, easy to use, and completely free package.

Wave is very popular with entrepreneurs and small businesses thanks to its price, features, and ease of use. Indeed, the system is easy to set up and use with a simple and easy-to-navigate dashboard with everything you need easily accessible.

Wave helps businesses create professional invoices, estimates, and receipts. It also has the tools for receipt scanning, expense tracking, and bank connections. It can do tax and payroll calculations easily, efficiently, and accurately. Wave’s automatic billing and invoicing are great time-saving features, such as their recurring bills and invoices and reminders (of paid and unpaid items).

The solution allows users to pay their employees via online pay stubs or direct deposits, and they can do so from any place in the world.

Wave is more of a business platform than a payroll solution, but the features it offers make it worth investing time into it, and it truly is a free solution. There are no hidden fees or undeclared charges.


  • Accounting
  • Professional invoicing
  • Payroll
  • Direct Credit Card payments
  • Direct Deposit
  • Payroll with online paystubs
  • Receipt scanning tools
  • Tax calculations and deductions
  • Integrations with third-party apps and services
  • Completely free


The first point that you have to keep in mind is Xero is only free upto five employees. It is ideal for the small businesses and freelancers. If you are habituated for Xero, then you will understand how perfect it is for your business. It offers wide online accounting and bookkeeping solutions which are essential for any business. On top of that the real time cash flow can also be tracked with the help of Xero. No matter whatever is your requirement including compilation of the records, maintenance and processing of employee payroll, Xero will take care of all of that.

Features of Xero

  • Synchronization of the financial records from various platforms.
  • Instant invoicing
  • Easy management of employee records

Employment Hero

Employment Hero is a HR software with incorporated payroll system. The best thing about this employment hero is they offer amazing features for free. If you have a small business and are not in a stage to spend some bucks on the payroll software then this software will really act like a hero for you. There are so many payroll processing tools that Employment Hero offers for free- file management of employee, contract tracking independently and paperless onboarding. The another commendable thing about Employment hero is its user friendly interface and storage option for employee contracts and other documents. It also offers mobile app so that its features can be accessed on the move.

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Features of Employment Hero

  • Centralized system for various entities
  • Streamlining of work rules
  • Customizable pay schedules

Rise Lite

Rise Lite is a free payroll  software that has been created for small businesses exclusively. It provides so many amazing features which makes it easy for paying your employees. From managing their leaves to bonuses it provides you with in depth data and even processes the payment depending upon the requirement. The tax computation is also made a lot easier with Rise Lite.

Features of Rise Lite

  • Powerful reports regarding the payroll
  • Accurate entry and storage of data
  • Flexible scheduling of payments is a crowd funded HR software. The software was designed with utmost perfection in order to ease the human resource and payroll management. It offers some of the limited payroll tools which are necessary for the small businesses and individual entrepreneurs. This software helps in generating the pay slips, calculating the leaves of employees and deducting the amount, the attendance and leave management features of this software are highly commendable. The entire payroll is managed effectively with the best in class features of Although the software has been designed to  manage the duties of an HR, it can be used for the payroll management too.

Features of

  • Easy to use interface so that it can be easy for both employers and employees to understand the software
  • Automatic generation of payslips.
  • Employee web account feature which provides access for the employees to know about the details regarding their salary and performance.


Being a small business owner is not an easy task. You have to do everything from marketing your product or service, to managing your employees as well as running the accounting aspect of the business. It’s as if you’re doing two full time jobs! And don’t think about hiring an employee for accounting since you’ve got a lot on your plate right now.

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