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The best payroll software providers offer specialized tools designed to help streamline the payroll processing tasks of any business. This software can automate various payroll-related functions like calculating employee wages and deducting the applicable payroll taxes while also managing employee benefits and pensions.
In this article, we present the 10 best payroll software solutions in the UK, going over each solution’s features, pricing, and advantages and disadvantages so you can make an informed decision for your business.
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Step one is to capture your employee’s information. This typically includes personal details, tax-related information, salary or hourly rates, and any other information like deductions or additional compensation. If an employee is paid an hourly rate, then time and attendance metrics can also be included.
Once all this has been collected, you can start what is known as payroll processing. This is where the software calculates gross pay based on the information stated above. Tax deductions are also factored into the calculations, as well as retirement contributions and any other payroll-related deductions.
Your payroll software should then provide you with different payment options – either a direct deposit, where the employee receives net pay directly into their bank account, or cheque printing, which generates a printable cheque with all the necessary payment details.
As a bonus, payroll software simplifies tax filing and reporting, and the software is always kept up to date with the latest tax laws.
There are a number of different payroll solutions out there today, all with their own unique features. However, all payroll software systems worth their salt should have the following features on offer:
Whether you’re a small business owner seeking payroll software or an HR professional looking for the right payroll management solution, this guide aims to provide valuable insights into the top payroll software companies in the market.
Rippling is a comprehensive all-in-one HR and payroll platform that simplifies workforce management for businesses of all sizes.
With a focus on streamlining employee onboarding, payroll processing, benefits administration, and compliance, it offers a unified solution that saves time, reduces errors, and ensures HR and payroll tasks are handled efficiently, all within a user-friendly interface.
When it comes to benefit management, it includes private medical care, workplace pensions, and dental coverage. If that’s not enough, employees can pick different medical benefits and create a custom benefits plan that suits their needs – putting it ahead of the competition on our list.
The self-service platform allows managers and employees to view benefit details – and Rippling remains up to date with all benefit-related regulations through frequent updates.
You can integrate Rippling with various other platforms, as well, including accounting systems and time tracking and productivity tools. What’s more, its onboarding and offboarding features make dealing with employees easier than ever before.
When it comes to pricing, the quote-based model may not be the best for smaller businesses on a budget, which won’t necessarily need all of the features on offer. Given this, small firms might check out Sage, Gusto, and QuickBooks as alternative solutions.
Customer service is top-notch, though some users have reported difficulty getting hold of the company during peak times of the month.
Rippling starts at £7/user/month. If you’d like to see what package is best for your business, give them a call to request a quote.
Deel is a global payroll and compliance platform designed to simplify and streamline international workforce management. It offers services that enable businesses to pay international employees and contractors while ensuring compliance with local tax laws and labour regulations across 150+ countries.
That’s slightly less than Remote, but we’ve been more impressed with Deel’s features and the platform’s usability.
Deel is particularly good for companies that employ contractors, freelancers, and remote workers, as it has global coverage and deals with currency conversions automatically. Moreover, it helps companies remain compliant with labour and tax regulations, reducing the risk of legal penalties.
Another feature that makes Deel attractive to international workers and businesses is its easy onboarding process. This makes it a great asset, especially for companies managing an expanding global workforce and needing international tax compliance.
You can even call on local experts to help with complex international payroll and compliance requirements.
The starting cost for Deel is pretty affordable, but beware that the more features you add, the more expensive it gets. That said, the customer-first mentality means you’ll have access to great customer service if you get stuck, whether on compliance or the platform’s substantial feature set.
Deel has a total of five plans. The first one, Deel HR, is completely free, and it allows you to automate HR admin and reporting for any worker with a global HR system.
Other plans vary and are as follows converted into sterling:
Try Deel’s payroll software free of charge today.
Sage’s payroll software is a robust and widely used solution designed to streamline payroll for businesses in the UK. It’s known for its comprehensive payroll features, including tax calculations, UK compliance, and integration with other Sage products.
Sage payroll services simplify often complex payroll processes, making it one of the best payroll software solutions internationally, as well as in the UK.
Sage Essentials is geared towards smaller companies as the labour distribution is limited to five predefined departments, while deductions are limited to 11 predefined types.
Sage’s full-service payroll is tailored for larger companies, offering unlimited deduction customization and robust reporting capabilities. It facilitates seamless integration with other Sage products like Sage 50 and Sage 100.
It also helps ensure that company ledgers are always up-to-date and expanding. This comprehensive solution is designed to efficiently manage complex payroll processes and maintain accurate financial records.
Costs are pretty affordable at first, but it does scale quite dramatically. Smaller companies on a budget may find it costly, and it’s so feature-rich you may not use everything on offer – the UI is also a little clunky and doesn’t compare well with Rippling.
The varying levels of customer service are also something we and Sage users feel could be improved upon.
Gusto Payroll is a cloud-based payroll software solution that simplifies human resources management for small and medium-sized businesses. Formerly known as ZenPayroll, Gusto provides a user-friendly platform for payroll, tax calculation, benefits administration, and compliance.
Gusto is known for its intuitive user interface and automation features that make it a popular choice for businesses looking to streamline payroll and HR tasks while ensuring accuracy and compliance.
Gusto streamlines benefit enrollment and management, including health insurance and retirement plans, and it calculates deductions automatically.
With the employee self-service tools, you can take some pressure off your HR personnel. Once an employee is onboarded, they can access the portal to see things like pay stubs and important tax documents, request leave, and update their personal information.
Gusto also allows for varied pay schedules, creating different pay schedules for different employees. This could be on a weekly, bi-weekly, or semi-monthly basis.
Options for monthly, quarterly, and annual payments are also available. We found this to be a pretty unique offering as not many solutions give you this amount of control. You will need to subscribe to fully test Gusto’s features, though, and more advanced features require a custom quote.
Gusto has a total of three plans on offer and a contractor-only plan. Converted to sterling, the plans cost:
QuickBooks offers a robust payroll solution designed to simplify payroll processing and increase efficiency, and it’s an integral part of the broader QuickBooks accounting ecosystem. If you’re already using QuickBooks online, then this is an excellent choice for your business.
It can accommodate businesses or contractors with 150 employees, so it’s clearly best suited to smaller businesses – and Rippling and Deel would better cater to enterprise firms.
With its intuitive interface, you can access things like payroll dates and the list of banks used by employees from a single dashboard. And adding new employees is just as easy as adding a row to a spreadsheet.
Although there aren’t as many payment choices as with Gusto, there are preset options to control what types of payments employees receive. These can be things like paid overtime or the maximum overtime allowed.
What we really liked was the fact that it automatically calculates employee deductions and contractor costs, and if you’re in the construction industry, it will file your Construction Industry Schema taxes directly to HMRC.
This makes it a great solution if you’re looking for the best construction accounting software.
QuickBooks can also assist with pensions by submitting details to NEST, Smart Pensions, The People’s Pensions, Aviva, and NOW. All these benefits help to streamline the entire accounting process while keeping in line with the law.
As a bonus, there’s a guided onboarding session for those who sign up. If there’s one drawback to Gusto, it’s that time-tracking isn’t in the core package.
Quickbooks offers a free trial with all of its plans.
Remote is a cloud-based all-in-one HR and tax compliance platform. It offers payroll solutions in more than 170 countries – even more than Deel and Papaya Global – and is an excellent choice for those looking to expand globally while ensuring compliance with local labour laws and tax regulations.
The platform provides a host of benefits, making it easy to hire international employees. There’s an employee self-service portal where workers can access pay stubs, tax documents, and other information. It also extends its services to contractors and freelancers, ensuring proper classification and tax compliance.
In addition, Remote acts as an EOR, assisting businesses in expanding their global workforce to countries where they may not have a legal or physical presence and handling all the legal requirements. It’s actually one of the best EORs around and is a cheaper service than Deel.
Other features include tailored contracts specific to various labour laws, and payments can be made in more than 100 currencies. Remote’s highly trained consultants are also always ready to assist you should you get stuck.
More than that, they will also assist you with talent acquisition strategy sessions and security and privacy evaluations to ensure your data is safe at all times. That said, there’s no phone customer support, which is a minor stumbling block.
Remote offers four plans in total. The first, HRIS, is completely free. Pricing converted to sterling is:
Xero Payroll Services offers an efficient and user-friendly solution for businesses seeking to streamline their payroll processes. Xero simplifies payroll management with automated calculations, tax compliance support, and integrated time tracking.
Employee self-service features allow workers to access payroll information and submit leave requests on their own. While Xero’s payroll services are generally appreciated for their ease of use and features, organizations with complex HR needs may find that some HR features are limited.
Nevertheless, Xero Payroll is a reliable solution for small and medium-sized businesses to handle payroll and stay compliant.
Xero is a cloud payroll software, which means you can access your financial data anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection. And the excellent financial reporting capabilities ensure you gain valuable insights into your company’s financials.
You can view things like profit and loss statements, balance sheets, as well as cash flow statements.
When it comes to payroll features, you’ll find that Xero has a lot to offer. As with QuickBooks, it can integrate with a broader accounting platform which makes it a perfect payroll software product for accountants.
With it, you can automate various aspects of the payroll process, like calculating employee salaries, taxes, and deductions, which reduces time and is more accurate than before. There are also time-tracking capabilities that can be used to monitor the hours an employee works. This data can be integrated into the payroll process.
Xero has four plans, each of which is relatively affordable when compared to the competition.
Papaya is one of the leading global payroll and workforce management solutions with a presence in over 140 countries. Their payroll services have been designed to simplify the entire process for companies with an international workforce.
What we liked about Papaya was the dedicated team of experts who specialize in navigating the intricate landscape of international labour laws, tax regulations, and tax compliance requirements, which helps businesses steer clear of potential legal pitfalls and financial penalties.
And that’s not all. Thanks to the intuitive user interface, onboarding new employees is really simple. Some onboarding features include the creation of digital onboarding documents like employment contracts, tax forms, and company policies.
This takes you away from physical paperwork, putting you one step closer to being a paperless company.
Like Xero, Papaya offers an employee portal in which employees can access things like pay stubs, submit timesheets, and manage personal information independently which saves time for HR teams and allows them to focus on other things like task management.
Speaking of task management, Papaya allows HR administrators to assign tasks to new hires and track their progress through the onboarding process.
These can be things like compliance checks to ensure a task has been completed in accordance with local laws and regulations – another important factor to keep in mind when maintaining legal compliance in other countries.
There’s no free plan on offer, but pricing is on a per-employee rate. If you have a larger company, you may want to look elsewhere for cheap payroll software. Pricing converted to sterling is:
There’s also a contractor-only plan on offer for £1.64/contractor/month.
Pento provides an exceptional payroll experience by combining control, flexibility, and expertise in its payroll bureau software. They are particularly good for small to medium-sized companies with an emphasis on user-friendliness.
In other words, users with varying levels of payroll experience will find it easy to automate different aspects of the payroll process.
With Pento, you can automate calculations for things like tax and salaries, as well as maternity/paternity pay, pro rata rates, and holiday entitlement.
What’s nice is that Pento integrates directly with HMRC, which means any applicable reports and payments will be automatically filed, giving you peace of mind.
We’re happy to report that Pento can easily integrate with other platforms like accounting solutions, pension software, and of course, HR software. This reduces the risk of errors and saves you time because information only needs to be entered once.
Something else we liked was Pento’s flexibility when it comes to payments. If you’ve made an error or are just falling behind, Pento gives you the ability to continue making pay changes right up until the night before payday with no cut-offs or artificial deadlines.
One drawback, though, is the lack of specific provision for contractor payments.
If you’re looking for an exceptional payroll experience with an emphasis on ease of use as well as compliance, look no further than Pento.
And last but certainly not least, we have OysterHR. A scalable HR and payroll solution that performs payouts in more than 120 currencies in over 180 countries around the world. This is a perfect choice for companies who wish to expand across borders while being able to offer some of the best health benefits around.
Unlike Pento, you can manage your contractors with Oyster, and adding them to your payroll just takes a few clicks.
After the onboarding process, which can be completed in a matter of minutes, simply select the payment type, which can be monthly or pay-as-you-go (PAYG). Then input the payment amount, hit “Submit Request,” and you’re done.
We also liked how intuitive the dashboard is. With it, you can view and manage invoices, expenses, and unforeseen costs. All in one centralized dashboard.
Oyster also shines when it comes to crafting competitive packages when hiring recruits and is particularly good when it comes to local health benefits. The extensive health coverage includes emergency and inpatient care, preventative and outpatient care, dental coverage, vision checks, and we could go on.
What’s more, Oyster works very closely with local health insurance carriers, which brings you much more competitive rates. Clearly, there are a lot of benefits to Oyster.
OysterHR has three plans. The contractor plan is free for the first month. It then costs £23.81/month/contractor (converted to sterling).
The Employee Plan starts at £409.66/employee/month and is billed annually. Finally, there’s the Scale plan, which requires a custom quote.
Now that we’ve explored the best payroll solutions out there, here’s an easy-to-read comparison table, which brings together what each product is best for and the features on offer.
There are a few factors to consider when buying any payroll solution to ensure you choose the right payroll solution for your business needs. They are:
If you would like to see our other payroll and accounting software guides, check out our list below to see how you could streamline your payroll and accounts processes.
There are a lot of great payroll software providers, but based on our testing, we believe the best payroll solution for your business is Rippling, thanks to its all-in-one platform that streamlines every aspect of the payroll process.
It’s the perfect choice for businesses of all sizes looking for HR payroll software in the UK, with the ability to scale with you as you grow. Try it today with its free demo offer.
Deel is the best free payroll software in the UK. With it, you can automate access to apps like Google Suite, collect custom documents, and manage expenses, time off, and bonuses. You can also securely store data, track churn and retention rates, and create org charts. Given that all of this is free, it’s a no-brainer.
Yes, companies invest a lot of money into security – and they have an obligation to protect user data. That being said, nothing is perfect, and there’s always a risk when using payroll online software. That’s why you should pick an HR solution that receives frequent security updates and ensure that your HR personnel are following security best practice.
Sage is a great choice for smaller companies as it’s easy to set up and use. It’s also affordable at only £8 per employee per month. You’ll get access to Sage’s accounting platform, which is perfect for freelancers, sole traders, and, of course, small businesses, and you can confidently manage payroll for up to 100 employees.
The average cost of payroll software generally starts at around £35 per month for base plans plus an extra £3 to £6 per employee.
Many of the best payroll providers have a list of resources available on their websites. Some solutions, like Deel and Rippling, offer scheduled demos for those who’d like a guided walkthrough of all the applicable features.
There are many benefits to using HR and payroll software. Some of the biggest benefits are saving time, increasing efficiency, and ensuring accuracy, all while delivering better results for your employees. With a good system, payroll can be handled in a matter of hours or even minutes. Other benefits include automation and tax compliance.
As an experienced freelance writer for Techopedia.com, Justin strives to provide accurate, informative comparisons and reviews on both B2B and B2C tech solutions — ranging from product reviews to CRMs, security software, and beyond.
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