Payroll software systems have been gaining popularity among business owners and employers within the UK. With the rise in technology use since the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more businesses and organisations have been implementing these software products into their payroll processes, for a good reason.
These products can help users maintain proper protocol for carrying out payroll-related tasks. In addition, they can assist with additional capabilities like reporting, tax payments, accounting and more.
According to an Allied Market Research report on the HR payroll software market, the global HR payroll software industry is expected to reach $55.69 billion (£45.79 billion) by 2031, with a 9.2% CAGR from 2022 to 2031.
Read on to learn about some of the popular payroll software service providers for businesses and organisations in the UK.
Best Payroll Software Providers in the UK
Best for Integrations
BrightPay is a payroll software service provider with features to support various payroll processes, including tax, NICs and student loans, annual leave, employee expenses and benefits, HMRC payments, file handling and more.
The software makes it easy for employers to process their staff’s payments, and the employee calendar feature even helps them organise their employee compensation based on their work schedules. BrightPay users can also benefit from the reporting and analysis features to generate reports on pay periods, tax weeks, tax months or the entire tax year.
Another excellent feature of BrightPay is that its technology includes direct API integration with various other popular accounting software systems. API integration options include connections with Quickbooks Online, Zoho Books, AccountsIQ, Quickfile, ClearBooks, Sage Business Cloud and more.
BrightPay pricing is determined by Standard plans for individual employers or Bureau plans for payroll service providers. Plans start at £109 for single employers with up to ten employees on their team and increases based on the number of employees they have.
BrightPay’s customer reviews online have given the software solution a high rating, and many reviewers have expressed enjoyment in the product’s ease of use and simple functionality.
Best for Dashboards
FreeAgent provides a fully-integrated payroll software solution for users in the UK. The HMRC-recognised software has features to help users maintain compliance with PAYE, as users can file their PAYE and National Insurance contributions that FreeAgent automatically calculates for users directly to HMRC.
The system also makes it easy to generate paperwork like payslips and P60s to print or share online. In addition, FreeAgent allows users to provide support to employees through student loans, maternity and paternity pay. Users can gain all the information they need in one place with the at-a-glance small business dashboard, which shows helpful visualisations like invoice and tax timelines, cashflows, and live profit and loss.
Additionally, each plan includes features to support payroll management, banking, time tracking, invoicing, expenses, VAT filings and estimates with professionally-designed templates. Administrators can benefit from its Radar features for gaining intelligent insights and identifying trends in business performance data.
Moreover, FreeAgent has integrations with popular third-party solutions for payment processing, e-commerce businesses, credit control, project management, finance and funding, forecasting and analysis, CRM, compliance and more.
Pricing is based on business type and pricing model, and plans for limited companies begin at £14.50 per month + VAT for the first six months and £29 per month + VAT after the first six months.
Online reviewers of FreeAgent reflect the product as being satisfactory, with a well-designed user interface.
Best for Free Software Options
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) offers a free payroll software solution for businesses with fewer than ten employees. Its Basic PAYE Tools product can work either alone or alongside other payroll software tools to perform payroll tasks and manage tax and National Insurance processes for HMRC.
While Basic PAYE Tools is only designed for users with no more than three clients, it does provide many helpful capabilities for those who are qualified to use the product. These include features to help with earlier year update (EYU) submission, employer payment summary (EPS) and checking employees’ National Insurance numbers. The software also assists users with general payroll software tasks, including employee pay processing, payslips, deductions, payday adjustments and more.
HMRC’s Basic PAYE Tools can be used alongside other payroll solutions. However, the software’s data can usually only be connected to other systems through Excel and CSV uploads. While this free product may be limited to users of three or fewer clients, it can be a helpful free option for those that can use it for their payroll processing needs.
Of the online reviews, the software was described as providing an excellent range of capabilities for a free tool. Although, reviewers did point out that the solution does have its drawbacks, including its lack of support for automatic enrolment duties.
Best for Small Businesses
IRIS Payroll Business is a payroll software service for businesses in the UK with up to 100 employees, making it a nice choice for small businesses and organisations. Its key features include compliance with Automatic Enrolment and RTI legislation, online filing of forms with HMRC (including P45s) and more. The software also has in-depth reporting functionality, including multiple payments and deduction processing, automatic month-end P32 summary updates, and the ability to roll back past days, including payslips.
In addition, the tool can help employers process their forms and payments online while complying with Automatic Enrolment legislation. Users can also use the software to produce pension reports and calculate PAYE, National Insurance and all statutory payments.
Pricing for the IRIS Payroll Business software starts at £99 + VAT. Employees can also benefit from self-service functions through the software’s employee portal, which can be purchased as an add-on feature.
Online customer reviewers enjoyed the payroll software for its ease of use and reporting capabilities.
Best for Compliance
MHR provides payroll solutions through either in-house or outsourced payroll or a combination of both. Its iTrent software’s automated features help buyers maintain accuracy and compliance throughout their payroll cycles. Compliance is supported by a CIPP qualified team, with HMRC recognition and BACS approval, and is up to date with current regulations.
In addition, the software comes with a data archiving service, so users can store historical information on their platform in line with data and HMRC regulations. Another nice aspect of this payroll option is its features to help employees manage their finances through tools like earned wage access. The software is also integrated with MHR’s finance and HR solutions for unifying these functions within the platform.
Users of MHR’s software can streamline their people management tasks through the iTrent integrated platform to support various aspects of recruitment, HR and talent management. Those interested in utilising MHR’s solutions can visit the website to receive a pricing quote.
Online customer reviewers expressed enjoyment for the product for its user-friendliness and compliance features. However, some reviews indicated that the product was an expensive choice considering its offered functionality.
Best for Employee Benefits
Moneysoft is a payroll manager product for employers, agents and CIS contractors. Its payroll software is HMRC recognised to assist users in their payroll processes appropriately. It provides extensive features to support employee payments and benefits, including automatic calculation of statutory sick pay; shared parental pay, maternity, paternity, and adoption pay; student loans; attachments of earnings; childcare vouchers; employers NIC allowance; and more.
Employers are also sure to enjoy its other payroll management features to simplify RTI filing, employee payslip processing, comprehensive reporting capabilities with email capability, Auto Enrolment Pension reporting facilities and data backup facilities.
Pricing for Moneysoft’s payroll manager software starts at £75 per year for the Payroll Manager 20 plan, which is for one employer and can support up to 20 employees or subcontractors.
Customers enjoyed the solution for its time-saving features. However, some reviewers found they desired better reporting and support features.
Best for Data Security
Payescape is a human capital management provider that specialises in outsourced HR, payroll, and time management solutions for businesses and organisations within the UK. Its outsourced payroll processing software solution, when combined with Webscape, can eliminate manual tasks and improve payroll accuracy.
In addition, users can feel confident about their compliance, as the software is HMRC and BACS approved, and their data is protected with software and data storage within data centres. It is also cloud-based, meaning users can access and manage their data at any time, location or device. Some key payroll features include guaranteed on-time processing, employee self-service, pension management and custom report building.
In addition, Payescape has integrations with various third-party providers to unify employee data within the platform. Some of their popular integration partners include KashFlow Accounting Software, Xero, Natural HR, Hallmark Solutions, Bamboo HR and more.
To determine how much Payescape would cost for an organisation, those curious can utilise its online pricing calculator that takes factors like the number of people and payment frequency into consideration. Also, Payescape buyers have a flexible contract, meaning that no long-term commitments are necessary.
Of the limited customer reviews available online, most enjoyed the product’s integration options and automated capabilities.
Best for Inexpensive Options
QuickBooks has several payroll software plans with features that enable employers in the UK to pay their employees and carry out their accounting processes. The Payroll Core + QuickBooks Simple Start is its most basic software plan.
It includes features like automated taxes and forms, next-day direct deposits, tax document e-filing and payments, automated payroll processing, employee health benefits, workers comp, retirement plans and more. Users can manage contractors and track their sales and sales tax data with their accounts, simplifying these processes.
The more advanced Payroll Core + Quickbooks plans also come with additional features like bill management, time tracking, inventory tracking and project profitability tracking. More advanced plans also support multiple users, with the Essentials plan supporting three and the Plus plan supporting five.
Additionally, QuickBooks supports a range of third-party software connections, as it integrates with over 650 business applications.
Pricing for QuickBooks accounts begins at £12 per month (excl. VAT) for the Simple Start plan, £22 per month (excl. VAT) for the Essentials plan, and £32 per month (excl. VAT) for the Plus plan. Of course, to access the payroll features, users also need to purchase the Payroll add-on.
Customers reviewers online appreciate the solution’s customer support and seem to approve of its pricing. However, some reviewers have expressed frustration with some aspects of its functionality.
Best for Corrections Features
Sage provides a cloud-based payroll solution that supports payroll processing, payslip creation, pension filing and more features. The software is especially helpful for users who wish to collaborate with their accountants, as it enables access sharing, which allows them to make corrections instantly.
Actually, Sage’s solution makes it easy to process any payroll corrections. Users can make corrections for multiple employees in multiple periods, and modifications will be updated on future pay runs. In addition, Payslips can be created and provided to employees fast. The system can take payroll and cost data to generate reports and provide insights to support intelligent data-driven decisions.
Also, integration options include Sage Accounting, which supports various automated features like automatic salary journal posting into users’ accounts and automates tasks to reduce manual duplication effort.
The software is free for a trial period of two months, after which pricing begins at £7 + VAT per month, depending on the tier.
Customers enjoy the business cloud payroll product, giving it a high cumulative rating for its reliable software features and helpful customer service team.
Best for Automated Features and Employee Self Service
Xero provides HMRC-recognised online accounting and payroll software available to businesses and organisations within the UK. The cloud-based software product aims to simplify the compliance, reporting, and employee payment process with automated features and HMRC recognition.
Xero’s payroll features work by connecting with the Gusto payroll service to automate pay, tax and pension calculations, and carry out automatic account updates. In addition, staff members can take their pay processes into their own hands, as the system enables them to submit timesheets and leave requests as well as view their payslips and leave balances through the software’s Xero Me employee self-service features.
Employers can also use the system to run payroll reports and gain valuable information on factors like payroll transactions, activity, remuneration and employee pension contributions. Additional features include contact management, quote creation, invoicing and more.
In addition to the Gusto integration, Xero users can integrate the software with over 1,000 other third-party apps for tasks like inventory management, invoicing, time tracking, reporting, CRM and other use cases. Additionally, users can connect their banks with the system to automatically import their transactions from their bank feeds.
Xero offers three plans, with the Starter plan priced at £12 per month, the Standard plan at £26 per month and the Premium plan at £33 per month. Xero’s payroll software features can be added to any plan for an additional £5 per month for up to five payroll employees and then £1 for each additional employee per month.
Reviewers enjoy the Xero payroll system for its intuitive user interface and direct deposit and bank reconciliation features.
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