By Rieva Lesonsky

We’d all agree that payroll is not the most exciting aspect of running a business. Sure you and your employees like to get paid, but making sure you are compliant and that all the information is entered correctly can be problematic and time consuming for small business owners. (In fact about 33 percent of small businesses get fined for incorrectly doing payroll.)

Today ZenPayroll, a cloud-based payroll service, is making that whole process a bit (or a lot) easier. The company announced this morning it is releasing the “first API for modern payroll,” allowing other SaaS (software as a service) providers to integrate ZenPayroll into their offerings. If you use the cloud for scheduling employee hours, keeping track of expenses, or performing basic HR functions, those apps will be able to seamlessly (and automatically) integrate payroll data with their functions (and vice versa). For example, customers can use a time clocking tool, and once they’ve done a one-time “connect to ZenPayroll,” then the hours they work for every pay period are automatically populated into ZenPayroll.

The idea, according to Joshua Reeves (pictured), ZenPayroll CEO, is to help free small business owners from the “archaic, manual back office processes” that they’ve had to endure for too long. This API integration “between modern HR and finance tools and ZenPayroll will immediately free business owners from having to synchronize systems by hand, eliminating redundant data entry and costly errors.”

And that’s just the start. Reeves says they founded the company with the idea to build their architecture as an API. “Opening the flow of information between back office tools will transform the way work is managed,” he says.

Reeves’ goal is to “make our customers’ lives better,” and thinks collaborating with other back-office service providers like Expensify, BambooHR and is one important way to do that. ZenPayroll is also targeting accountants, CPAs and bookkeeping services, since they’re often bogged down helping their small business clients the “old-fashioned” way.

ZenPayroll’s other USP (unique selling proposition) is it provides for employees as well as employers. Employees essentially get accounts for life, with access to their pay histories. The company’s targets small businesses with one-100 employees, but its sweet spot is businesses with less than 25 employees.

The company, which publicly launched last December serving only the state of California, now covers 40 percent of the United States and is processing $150 million in payroll. Yes, there are household name companies that provide payroll that most of us are familiar with. But Reeves says, the big guys only serve about one-third of businesses with employees, leaving 67 percent of small businesses in need of his services.

Reeves set out to “disrupt the payroll space.” He seems well on his way to do just that.

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at, follow her on Google+   and and visit her website,, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.