A veteran controller explains why Rippling won PCMag’s Editors’ Choice award for Best Payroll Software for growing businesses


Aug 25, 2021

I’m Sowmya—Rippling’s Controller. I have helped businesses from startups to public companies, like Square, build scalable accounting and payroll processes.

In my role at previous companies, I have been the primary decision maker on payroll software selection. With so many options, I’ve personally relied on PCMag’s Reviews to identify the right fit for the company’s needs. So naturally, I’m thrilled to share that Rippling won this year’s PCMag Editors’ Choice Award for Best Payroll Software for companies with hundreds of employees. 

While awards are great and all, I wanted to share my experience as a controller and accountant with other finance and HR teams, because I really think Rippling can change their lives.

Over the years, I’ve seen a demo of every payroll system under the sun. My conclusion was that HR and finance teams only have two kinds of payroll systems to choose between.

  • A payroll system that is simple and easy to use—like SurePayroll and Gusto (who, by the way, have also built a great product and recently won PC Mag Editor’s Choice for Best Payroll for companies with less than 10 employees) that are affordable and make running payroll a breeze for small companies, but can’t support the needs of companies as they grow due to feature limitations.
  • Powerful and configurable payroll systems like ADP and Workday, which can handle the more complicated needs of larger companies, but are really manual, hard to use, and expensive.

This dichotomy has frustrated me for years, because there is no law of physics that prevents an easy-to-use payroll system from also being configurable and customizable. What’s worse, even the larger, enterprise-grade systems require heavy customer support interaction to customize reports and workflows. 

At my last company, we used ADP and I was in the middle of a two-hour customer support call trying to add a column to a custom report. For some reason, they had to “do it on the back-end,” and I was caught in a game of endless phone tag with their support team.

I remember this moment well because it was during that phone call that an email from a recruiter at Rippling landed in my inbox. For the first time in my life, I was looking at a payroll company that offered the best of both worlds. The company culture and the leadership team drew me to Rippling, but the opportunity to help build a really incredible product for Finance and HR teams everywhere is what really sold me. 

Rippling had around 100 employees worldwide when I joined, and we have now grown to 700+ employees in less than two years. We still use Rippling for payroll internally, and what’s crazy to me is that we’ve grown to 700 people without ever having to hire a dedicated payroll accountant. This is unheard of. 

We have our fair share of complexity when it comes to managing our own payroll. We have non-exempt employees who use Rippling’s Time & Attendance product to report hours, and Rippling Payroll automatically manages overtime calculations, approvals and reporting. 

In the last year, we’ve grown from having employees in 5 states to 35 states in the US, plus a large team in India and a handful of other countries. Using Rippling as the source of truth for all things employee payroll, including custom fields to track country-specific items, has been a life saver.

And the biggest win for me is the fact that Rippling Payroll runs itself. New hires, salary changes, terminations, adding hours for non-exempt employees to payroll, making changes to benefit deductions—I don’t even think about these things in my job here because Rippling automatically takes care of them.  

Fast-growing companies have different needs because what can be done manually today has to be automated by next month. Nice-to-have features like CSV imports and accounting integrations become table stakes in a matter of months. 

Growing companies want an easy to use system, but they need:

  • A powerful and flexible payroll system
  • Custom reports and dashboards
  • Workflow automation
  • Advanced permissions and security
  • Deep accounting integrations to Quickbooks, Netsuite, Sage Intacct, etc.
  • A native time and attendance system
  • Lightning-fast page load times

Keats famously wrote that a thing of beauty is a joy forever. And what’s more beautiful to my fellow payroll admins than payroll software so powerful it can run itself. 

You’ll believe me when you see it for yourself—click here to schedule a quick demo

last edited: March 26, 2024

The Author