Administering payroll is just one aspect under the bigger umbrella that is managing HR for your small business. Although payroll might seem like an easy enough task, as your business grows, and your responsibilities increase, it can become more and more difficult to properly attend to this process. With all of your employees, different pay types, tax and compliance considerations, and more, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and make incidental mistakes. Luckily, payroll software was developed to solve these kinds of problems.
Payroll solutions, like those from Heartland Payroll, can automate your payroll process, manage employee information, and on the whole streamline your HR operations. Just like with many other business tools, however, there are numerous options on the market to choose from. Is Heartland Payroll Services right for your business? We’re here to help you find out. In this review, we’ll explore what Heartland Payroll has to offer, the features included, pricing, as well as highlight reviews from their customers. Plus, we’ll discuss alternative payroll services to help you find the best solution for your business.
Heartland Payroll is a web-based platform that digitizes your payroll, allowing you to easily and securely manage the process, as well as facilitate additional HR tasks. Using Heartland Payroll Services, you can pay all of your employees according to your payroll schedule, input and store forms and information, and monitor hours and PTO. Additionally, you can file your payroll taxes as well as handle ACA reporting and compliance. Heartland Payroll includes a self-service portal for employees, so they too can view important information like W-2s, pay stubs, and vacation and sick days.
Heartland Payroll Services tailors to your specific requirements and creates a customized service based on your business. This customization includes access to your single point of contact, a service representative dedicated to your business who serves as your point person and addresses all of your payroll and HR needs.
Heartland Payroll is one of several services available from Heartland Payment Systems, which also offers payment, POS, and customer engagement solutions.
Now that we’ve gone through the basics of Heartland Payroll, let’s dive deeper into all of the features that this software offers.
As you might imagine, Heartland Payroll Solutions includes the full range of payroll capabilities. Using this platform, you can pay your employees with free direct deposit or cut checks and order them directly from your Heartland Payroll dashboard. On this dashboard, you also have access to a drop-down for employee payroll forms and links to external payroll related sites. You can set up your payroll to adhere to your particular schedule, including all different pay types and frequencies.
Additionally, you can create automatic emails to notify your employees that their paychecks (physical or electronic) have been sent. If you need a customizable pay grid on your platform, you can work with a Heartland specialist to set it up. Furthermore, if you currently run your payroll on another system and need to switch over, your Heartland representative will help you complete that process.
With Heartland Payroll, you receive full-service tax management. Heartland Payroll Services takes care of tax calculation, tax filing, and automatic tax payments. In your platform, you can create account access levels that are specific to your business, including third-party CPA and insurance broker access levels—making working with your advisors easier.
In addition to your basic employee payroll information, Heartland Payroll allows you to assign departments, divisions, jobs, and job groups to your employee profiles. You can also track the hours your employees have worked and build schedules for them. Heartland Payroll Services gives you the ability to monitor PTO and sick days, calculating accrued time, time used, and facilitating requests and approvals.
Furthermore, your employees have access to all of their information through the employee self-service portal. You can customize the employee homepage, and through their dashboard (available online or mobile) they can view 1099s or W-2s, pay stubs, time off, as well as any company notifications or reminders.
Photo credit: Heartland Payment Systems
Work with Heartland Payroll Solutions to create payroll and other reports based on your particular needs. Additionally, Heartland will help your business with compliance, preparing, printing and filling out the required forms for ACA reporting, as well as tracking employee eligibilities through their ACA reporting tool.
Heartland Payroll gives you the option to add further HR capabilities to your platform so that you can manage more in one place. You can use this integration to house all of your HR materials including customizable documents such as job descriptions, offer letters, and company handbooks.
Heartland Payroll + HR includes a built-in electronic employee file system to securely store employee data. Here, you can add not only basic employee information, but also emergency contacts, certifications, trainings, and create a process for employee reviews. Additionally, this integration gives you access to the Heartland HR Support Center. In this center you’ll find up-to-date HR news, as well as helpful information and training resources. Using HR Support, you’ll also be able to submit questions or work directly with a certified HR professional to receive guidance when you need it.
In addition to the HR add-on, you can also integrate with Heartland Hire, Heartland’s employee onboarding portal. From this portal, you can give new employees access to complete their hiring documentation—and once documents are approved, the data is automatically entered into the payroll system. Through Heartland Hire, you can also add recruiting and applicant tracking services enabling you to manage the whole process from candidate search and applications to interviews to eventual onboarding.
Not only can you add HR, onboarding, and recruiting to your Heartland Payroll Services, but you can also integrate Heartland Payment Systems’ other offerings—Payment, Point of Sale, and Customer Engagement. Moreover, you have the ability to integrate with third-party applications (as long as they’re compatible with Heartland Payroll), for time and attendance, 401(k), accounting software, and workers’ compensation.
As we mentioned briefly earlier, one of the most unique features of Heartland Payroll is the single point of contact. In order to provide a truly customized solution, Heartland Payroll assigns every customer a dedicated single point of contact, or service representative, who serves as your point person for all your Heartland service needs. Throughout your time with Heartland Payroll Solutions, you’ll work with this individual to get your platform set up, troubleshoot any issues, and generally assist you with anything you need.
Heartland does not list the pricing for their payroll services on their website. Although their site says that they have competitive pricing, specifically, “straightforward payroll pricing for our all-inclusive service without hidden fees or surprises,” you have to contact the Heartland team to get a quote priced based on your needs.
Typically, factors that will affect quote-based pricing for payroll services include the size of your business, the number of employees you have, and the specific capabilities you require. Along these lines, sometimes payroll providers charge additional fees for integrations, internal or third-party. Additionally, it’s worth noting that other payroll providers often charge a monthly base fee plus a monthly fee per employee. To find out how these considerations may or may not apply to Heartland Payroll Services, you’ll have to work with them directly.
Surprisingly, and especially when compared to other payroll services on the market, there is not an abundance of Heartland Payroll reviews on the internet. However, that being said, the ones that are available are wholly positive—focusing greatly on the Heartland customer service.
Customer reviews of Heartland Payroll are generally positive. Users say that Heartland Payroll is easy-to-use, accurate, and efficient. Additionally, users highlight the benefits of Heartland’s service especially for payroll and taxes—consistently saying that Heartland saves them time and prevents worry or frustration. Although the pricing for Heartland Payroll Solutions is quote-based, many customers, in fact, report that the service is affordable.
Furthermore, the most overwhelming aspect mentioned again and again in Heartland Payroll Solutions reviews is their customer service. Users praise Heartland’s customer service for their helpfulness, accessibility, and knowledge. Many customers say that if you have an issue with your service, not only can you easily reach a representative, but they can also help you solve the problem. A great amount of users say for this reason, among the others we discussed above, they’ve been using Heartland Payroll for years—with some reporting the benefit of switching from big payroll competitors like Paychex and ADP.
Although the Heartland Payroll reviews are overwhelmingly positive, some users also report areas of the service that could be improved. The most common of these complaints is concerning the speed of the platform, especially in relation to reports. Customers say that the platform can be slow and that running reports takes too long.
Additionally, some users say that the interface, overall, could be improved. These users feel that it’s not easy to navigate and that it’s outdated. Furthermore, some customers say that Heartland Payroll lacks more extended HR functionality.
However, it’s also worth noting that although users do report these problems, a good majority of customers also report having no issues whatsoever with Heartland Payroll.
If you’re considering Heartland Payroll as your payroll software, you should also look into industry competitors to determine if another option may, in fact, be a better fit for your business. Let’s take a look at two of the top alternatives to Heartland Payroll Services:
Gusto is one of the most popular payroll software out there and for good reason. Gusto is known for their usability, flexibility, and modern interface. Similar to Heartland’s emphasis on customization, Gusto Payroll offers you four different plans (each increasing in functionality) with the option to add further services a la carte so that you can choose what’s best for your business. The most basic plan, Gusto Core, costs $39 per month, plus $6 per employee per month. Gusto Complete costs $39 per month, plus $12 per employee per month. The last plan, Gusto Concierge, is $149 per month, plus $12 per employee per month. The a la carte add-ons, which include offerings like health benefits, workers comp, and 401(k) plans all come at additional costs. Gusto also offers a one-month free trial of their services. Gusto also has a new option for contractor-only employers, who simply pay the $6/employee rate and no base price.
Like Heartland Payroll, the most basic version of Gusto, Gusto Core, includes full-service payroll, employee information storing and self-service portal, as well as PTO tracking and customer support. With the more advanced plans, you receive benefits like the ones associated with Heartland Payroll + HR: employee onboarding, HR resource center, and access to HR professionals. However, with Gusto, you only receive dedicated support (similar to Heartland’s single point of contact) with Gusto Concierge, the highest level plan. If you’re looking for a more modern and tech-savvy payroll platform with available pricing, Gusto is a worthy alternative to Heartland Payroll Services.
Patriot Payroll is another very popular payroll software, as well as one of the best reviewed on the internet. Patriot Payroll is known for its simplicity, ease-of-use, and affordable cost. This payroll software is offered in two plans: Basic and Full-Service. The Basic plan includes your general payroll processing and costs $10 per month, plus $4 per employee per month. The Full-Service plan, on the other hand, is more robust and includes full tax management. This Patriot Payroll plan costs $30 per month, plus $4 per employee per month, making it cheaper than Gusto’s most basic plan. To increase your functionality with Patriot Payroll, you can add their time and attendance feature, as well as Patriot HR. Although these add-ons require extra monthly fees, they’re still quite affordable, and much less than the Gusto add-ons. Patriot also offers a free month trial of their software.
Like Heartland Payroll, the reviews of Patriot Payroll are incredibly positive, with many users praising their customer service and commenting on how much time the software has saved them. Although Heartland may have a few more features included in their platform, not taking integrations into consideration, Patriot has the advantage of actually disclosing their pricing structure. This being said, if you want a highly rated payroll software with some of the most affordable (and available) pricing out there, you might want to consider Patriot Payroll.
At the end of the day, only you can decide which payroll software works best for your business. Keeping that in mind, it seems that Heartland Payroll is best for small businesses that highly value customer service and want the kind of specialized attention for payroll and HR that Heartland offers. Although the Heartland Payroll reviews are incredibly positive, it’s worth considering that other options might offer you a more modern and user-friendly interface, as well as advanced HR capabilities.
Furthermore, it’s difficult to know if Heartland Payroll is competitive with their pricing as it’s only available by talking to their team directly. Competitor payroll offerings, on the other hand, have standard pricing that you can compare to determine if you’re getting the best price. All of this being said, though, if you’re looking for a payroll software you can count on—with the added benefit of a dedicated service representative—Heartland Payroll is certainly a viable option.
Randa Kriss is a senior staff writer at Fundera.
At Fundera, Randa specializes in reviewing small business products, software, and services. Randa has written hundreds of reviews across a wide swath of business topics including ecommerce, merchant services, accounting, credit cards, bank accounts, loan products, and payroll and human resources solutions.