Best Payroll Software in the UK

Is your UK-based business growing rapidly? Find out which payroll software is available to help you handle payroll for your expanding company.

Payroll is one of the most important aspects of any business. Employees expect to receive their pay according to the agreed upon payment schedule. That schedule might consist of weekly, every other week, or monthly payments. Performing payroll duties manually works fine for businesses with only one or two employees. However, businesses with multiple employees are difficult to run with manual payroll processing. As a result, workers may receive payments late, reducing morale within the company.

Payroll management duties can take a lot of time and attention to detail. If you own a small business and are also in charge of payroll, that might mean you cannot focus on other important tasks. For example, you may not have time available to recruit more employees or find new clients. Even if your business is large enough to have a dedicated accountant or financial department, manual payroll processing is tedious. Utilizing payroll software to process payments for all employees is a much better option. Here are some important things to know about payroll software, including some of the top UK payroll software options.

What is Payroll Software?

Payroll software is a particular type of computer program. It comes in in-house and cloud-based varieties. Its purpose is to allow businesses to pay employees efficiently. It also helps businesses track important data related to that payment process. For example, business owners and managers can track employee pay statistics using most types of payroll software. 

Prior to the implementation of today's technologies, businesses handled payroll manually. Some businesses still do. However, manual payroll is much more likely to include errors. Automating the process with payroll software keeps payroll processing running smoothly. It also provides managers or owners with certain extra abilities. For example, managers can quickly schedule custom payments for certain employees, as needed.

What Are Some Common Features of Payroll Software?

The best payroll software programs help keep businesses running smoothly in a variety of ways. They perform the basic function of showing what each employee earns and allowing quick payment processing. However, they also include other key features most businesses cannot do without. Here are some of the common features of payroll software to look for:

  • Payroll software often allows multiple payment processing methods. For example, the program can facilitate the issuance of paper checks. It might also allow direct deposit to the bank accounts of employees. Direct deposit is often a preferred payment method for all parties involved because it saves time and resources.

  • Methods for administration of extra compensation are also often incorporated into payroll systems. Managers may need to implement bonus pay, minimum wage increases, or financial compensation for on-the-job injuries. Software allows managers to make such changes quickly when doing so manually might take hours, or even days.

  • Payroll software also often integrates the ability to add sick pay or paid leave time.

  • Some payroll software also assists with tax withholding or related calculations.

What Are the Advantages of Using Payroll Software?

The two biggest advantages of using payroll software are saving time and money. Over time, it is cheaper than using a paper-based payroll system. It saves on both materials used for paper-based processing and time spent to complete payroll. Payroll software is also beneficial because it offers a safe, secure way to store employee compensation rates and related information.

Accuracy and quick calculations are also big advantages of automating the payroll process. It is more difficult to make mistakes using a software program designed for payroll. In fact, the automated processes make many aspects of payroll far easier, such as making tax calculations. Payroll software also offers a certain level of support users can access when you need assistance. Processing payroll without such software leaves business owners with no backup if things go wrong.

What Are Some of the Best Payroll Software Brands in the UK?

If you are seeking payroll software in the UK, you must decide where your priorities lie. Some software is better for large or growing businesses. Other software is meant for small business owners. You also must decide if you want in-house or cloud-based software. Here are some facts about some of the best payroll software brands in the UK to help you make your choice:

  • Iris KashFlow is one of the top cloud-based payroll software programs available. The software provides real-time payroll updates and can integrate with KashFlow Bookkeeping. It also includes employee self-service access to data, reducing administration needs.

  • Sage is also cloud-based and is a top pick for small business owners. It allows payroll management for groups of up to 100 employees. Sage also includes capability for easy collaboration with accountants and data analysis options to assist with future payroll decisions.

  • FreeAgent is a multi-faceted software program with several features designed for small business use. Those features include accounting, tax calculation, and payroll. It provides payroll and accounting integration for easy updates to both systems at once.

  • Xero is an accounting software program with a popular payroll feature. It calculates pension, tax, and other necessary payroll adjustments. Its easy-to-use dashboard allows users to view weekly, monthly, and annual payroll statistics in seconds. 

  • ADP is known as a top software tool for HR and Payroll management of large businesses in the UK. It offers payment options for local and international employees. The mobile app ensures real-time employee and manager access from anywhere on the planet. Multiple features are incorporated into the software, including time tracking.

How Much Does Payroll Software Typically Cost?

Each payroll software brand charges different amounts based on services rendered. Memberships are also often structured in varying ways. For example, KashFlow costs £7.32 for core membership level with up to five employees. The KashFlow package with accounting costs £25. However, Xero cost ranges from £12 to £33 per month, depending on membership level chosen. Some companies, including Sage and ADP, require potential clients to request custom quotes. If you own a large business, a custom quote requirement is more likely. You may also need to request a custom quote if you want to integrate several products a company offers with payroll services.