Guide to UK small business payroll services suppliers

Paying your employees accurately, in a timely manner and in compliance with all relevant legislation is a key process within your business’s finance and HR functions. Using the right small business payroll service – payroll software or outsourced managed payroll service – is crucial for running your business’s payroll processing effectively. This guide highlights the leading small business payroll service suppliers in the UK market and aims to help you select the right supplier for your business.

This is the main photograph for the article Guide to UK small business payroll services suppliers. It shows an employee using two laptops to access their payroll platform.

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash.

Effectively managing your business’s payroll processes is critical to maintaining a loyal and incentivised workforce, ensuring that you comply with all legislation and regulations, and avoiding any issues with HMRC.

Selecting the right small business payroll service – on-premise or cloud software, or an outsourced managed payroll service – can be complicated and time consuming.

For an in-depth explanation of payroll services read our article What is a payroll service?, for a detailed analysis of payroll software read our article Guide to UK payroll software and for an assessment of outsourced managed payroll services read our article Guide to UK outsourced managed payroll services.

This guide highlights the leading UK small business payroll service suppliers to help you quickly narrow down your search and select the right payroll service for your business.

In this article

The leading UK small business payroll service suppliers

Once you have decided on a small business payroll service – on-premise or cloud software, or an outsourced managed payroll service – the summary table below will help to direct you to the appropriate payroll service suppliers.

This infographic shows a table setting out the leading UK small business payroll services suppliers and which of those suppliers provide on-premise and/or cloud payroll software, and/or outsourced managed payroll services.

Leading UK small business payroll services suppliers

ADP is a global payroll and HR solutions company, founded in 1949 and headquartered in New Jersey, USA. ADP supports over 810,000 customers in 140 countries.

Deployment:

  • Cloud payroll software. ADP has two products suitable for SMEs:
    • ADP iHCM 2 Payroll.
    • ADP Celergo (suitable for businesses operating in at least 3 countries).
  • Managed payroll service.

Free options: N/a.

HMRC recognised: Yes.

Pricing: On request.

Customer support: Phone support.

Comment: ADP is a global leader in providing payroll and integrated HR solutions with over 500,000 small business clients worldwide.

Advanced Business Solutions is the UK’s third largest business software and services company, operating for over 25 years, headquartered in Slough, UK. Advanced has 2,400 employees and over 19,000 customers.

Deployment:

  • On-premise payroll software: Openpeople.
  • Cloud payroll software: Openpeople.
  • Managed payroll service.
  • Payroll hosting.

Free options: N/a.

HMRC recognised: Yes.

Pricing: On request.

Customer support: 24/7 customer portal, phone support.

Comment: Advanced is a leading UK business software and services supplier, offering a comprehensive range of payroll software and managed payroll service options, in addition to integrated finance, business and HR solutions.

BrightPay is a payroll and HR software company headquartered in London, UK with over 25 years’ experience of operating in the payroll industry. It has over 250,000 clients across the UK and Ireland.

Deployment:

  • On-premise payroll software.
  • Cloud software add-on available.

Free options: 60-day free trial.

HMRC recognised: Yes.

Pricing:

  • Standard:
    • One employer – up to 3 employees: £49.
    • One employer – up to 10 employees: £99.
    • One employer – up to 25 employees: £149.
    • One employer – unlimited employees: £199.
  • Connect (add-on cloud functionality):
    • 1 employee: £0.50 per month.
    • Rising to 1000 employees: £157.70 per month.

Licence period: 1 year.

Customer support: Online form, email and phone in business hours.

Comment: BrightPay is one of the UK’s leading payroll software suppliers providing a cost-effective and robust payroll solution. It won the Payroll Software of the Year award in 2018 and 2019.

FMP Global is a leading UK payroll and HR services company, founded in 1979, headquartered in Horley, UK. FMP supports businesses in 135 countries. It is part of the IRIS Software group.

Deployment:

  • Cloud payroll software – Payrite.
  • Managed payroll service.

Free options: No.

HMRC recognised: Yes.

Pricing: On request.

Customer support: Customer portal, online ticketing.

Comment: FMP is a leading UK payroll solutions company that provides outsourced managed payroll services and payroll software options in addition to integrated HR software.

IRIS is one of the UK’s leading financial software companies, founded in 1978 and headquartered in Langley, UK. Over 600,000 UK businesses use IRIS’s payroll products with over 40,000 businesses using its free Payroll Basics software. IRIS acquired payroll and accounting software company, KashFlow, in 2013 and HR & payroll solutions business, FMP Global, in 2019.

Deployment:

  • On-premise payroll software:
    • Payroll Business (up to 100 employees).
    • Payroll Professional (100+ employees).
    • EARNIE IQ (250+ employees).
  • Cloud payroll software.
  • Managed payroll service.
  • Payroll hosting.

Free options: IRIS offers a free Payroll Basics option for small businesses with up to 10 users and a free trial for its Payroll Business product.

HMRC recognised: Yes.

Pricing:

  • Payroll Business: £96 – £336.
  • Payroll Professional and EARNIE IQ: Pricing on request.
  • Managed payroll service: Pricing on request.
  • IRIS offers a range of add-on products.

Customer support: Email and phone during business hours.

Comment: IRIS is one of the UK’s leading business software suppliers with an extensive range of payroll options together with integrated accountancy and HR solutions.

KashFlow is a leading UK accounting software company launched in 2005 and based in Wigan, UK. KashFlow was acquired by IRIS in 2013.

Deployment:

  • Cloud payroll software.
  • Managed payroll service.

Free options: KashFlow offers a 14-day free trial period.

HMRC recognised: Yes.

Pricing:

  • Cloud payroll:
    • £6.75 per month for up to 5 employees.
    • £1.13 per month per additional employee.
    • Auto-enrolment add-on: £1 per employee; £13.50 for 5 employees.
    • Bundled option with KashFlow’s accounting software: £22.50 per month for up to 5 employees; £1.13 per additional employee.
  • Managed payroll service: Pricing on request.

Customer support: Online form and email.

Comment: KashFlow is a robust payroll solution which can be used independently or integrated with KashFlow’s accounting software.

MHR is an HR and payroll systems company, founded in 1984 and headquartered in Nottingham, UK with offices in Singapore and Chicago, USA. MHR has over 1,000 customers, including 350 managed service customers, in the UK and Ireland, and covers 6.5% of the UK workforce.

Deployment:

  • Cloud payroll software (iTrent).
  • Managed payroll service.
  • Payroll hosting.

Free options: N/a.

HMRC recognised: Yes.

Pricing: On request.

Customer support: Email, phone support during business hours.

Comment: MHR is a leading UK HR and payroll solutions company with an established range of payroll options and integrated HR solutions.

Moneysoft is a financial software company, launched in 2000 and headquartered in Southampton, UK.

Deployment: On-premise payroll software.

Free options: Moneysoft offers a 1-month free trial period.

HMRC recognised: Yes.

Pricing:

  • Payroll Manager 20 (1 employer/up to 20 employees): £72.
  • Payroll Manager 100 (Multi-employer/up to 100 employees): £144.
  • Payroll Manager 250 (Multi-employer/up to 250 employees): £216.

Licence period: 1 year.

Customer support: Email with limited phone support.

Comment: Moneysoft is an established on-premise payroll software solution with the option to integrate with its associated accounting software.

Moorepay is an HR and payroll systems company, established in 1966 and headquartered in Manchester, UK. Moorepay has over 10,000 customers and became part of the Zellis group, a global HR solutions organisation, in 2018.

Deployment:

  • Cloud payroll software.
  • Managed payroll service.

Free options: No.

HMRC recognised: Yes.

Pricing: On request.

Customer support: Phone and dedicated account manager.

Comment: Moorepay is one of the UK’s leading HR and payroll solutions suppliers, with both cloud software and outsourced managed payroll services options, as well as integrated HR solutions.

MyPAYE is a payroll services company launched in 2009 and headquartered in Bradwell, UK.

Deployment: Cloud payroll software.

Free options: 30-day free trial period.

HMRC recognised: Yes.

Pricing:

  • Basic functionality: £1 per month per employee per month.
  • Auto-enrolment (MyDECK Centre Lite): £0.75 per employee per month.
  • Timesheet and expenses: £1 per employee per month.

Customer support: Online support centre, email, phone.

Comment: MyPAYE is a cost-effective cloud payroll software solution for small businesses.

Payescape is a payroll services company headquartered in Ballymoney, UK.

Deployment: Managed payroll service.

Free options: N/a.

HMRC recognised: Yes.

Pricing:

  • 1-49 employees: £50 + £2.50 per employee, per month.
  • 1-49 employees: £12 + 1.20 per employee, per week.
  • 50+ employees: Pricing on request.

Customer support: Email, phone in business hours.

Comment: Payescape is a fast growing, reliable and cost-effective outsourced managed payroll service.

Payroo is a payroll services company, operating for over 15 years in the industry, headquartered in London, UK.

Deployment: Cloud payroll software.

Free options: N/a.

HMRC recognised: Yes.

Pricing: RTI (sliding scale – examples shown below):

  • 1-2 employees: £5 per month.
  • 10-15 employees: £25 per month.
  • 51-80 employees: £60 per month.
  • 100-120 employees: £80 per month.
  • 151-200 employees: £120 per month.
  • 300-500 employees: £200 per month.
  • 500+ employees: £0.5 per employee per month.

Customer support: Email.

Comment: Payroo is an established cloud payroll software solution with straightforward pricing.

Quickbooks is a financial software product from Intuit, a global organisation founded in 1983, headquartered in California, USA. Intuit has over 9,000 employees, operates in 9 countries, with its Quickbooks product having over 4.5 million customers worldwide.

Deployment: Cloud payroll software as an add-on to its cloud accounting software.

Free options: Quickbooks offers a 1-month free trial period.

HMRC recognised: Yes.

Pricing:

  • Payroll:
    • Standard: £4 + £1 per employee, per month.
    • Advanced: £8 + £1 per employee, per month.
  • Accounting:
    • Simple Start: £5 per month.
    • Essentials: £8 per month.
    • Plus: £12 per month.

Customer support: 24/7 online chat, video call, phone support.

Comment: Quickbooks is one of the leading global cloud accounting software products. However, its payroll software is only provided as an add-on to its accounting software.

Sage is a global business software company, launched in 1981 and headquartered in Newcastle, UK. Sage has over 13,000 employees and 3 million customers in 23 countries.

Deployment: Cloud payroll software – Sage Business Cloud and Sage 50cloud.

Free options: Sage offers a 30-day free trial period.

HMRC recognised: Yes.

Pricing:

  • Sage Business Cloud (1-5 employees): £7 per month.
  • Sage Business Cloud (6-10 employees): £12per month.
  • Sage Business Cloud (11-15 employees): £17 per month.
  • Sage Business Cloud (16-25 employees): £27 per month.
  • Sage 50cloud (up to 15 employees): £21.75 per month.
  • Sage 50cloud (16-25 employees): £29.81 per month.
  • Sage 50cloud (26-50 employees): £57.75 per month.
  • Sage 50cloud (51-100 employees): £61.50 per month.
  • Sage 50cloud (unlimited employees): £85.50 per month.

Customer support: Online chat, email and phone support depending on payroll package.

Comment: Sage is a leading global business software supplier with cloud payroll software solutions suitable to businesses of all sizes and options to integrate with its HR and accounting software solutions.

SAP is the world’s largest cloud business software company, founded in 1972, headquartered in Walldorf, Germany. SAP has over 100,000 employees, operates in 180 countries and has over 440,000 customers worldwide.

Deployment: Cloud payroll software.

Free options: N/a

HMRC recognised: Yes.

Pricing: On request.

Customer support: Email, phone support.

Comment: SAP is the world’s largest business software company with c.80% of its customers being small and midsized companies, an established cloud payroll software product and an extensive range of other finance and HR solutions

 

Xero is a global business software company, founded in 2006 and headquartered in Wellington, New Zealand. Xero has 3,000 employees, over 2 million customers worldwide and is the leading cloud accounting software supplier in the UK.

Deployment: Cloud payroll software as an add-on to its accounting software.

Free options: Xero offers a 30-day free trial period.

HMRC recognised: Yes.

Pricing:

  • Payroll:
    • Up to 5 employees: £5 per month.
    • £1 per additional employee per month.
  • Accounting packages:
    • Starter: £10 per month.
    • Standard: £24 per month.
    • Premium: £30 per month.

Customer support: 24/7 customer community and email.

Comment: Xero is a leading global cloud accounting software supplier. However, its payroll software is only provided as an add-on to its accounting software.

Prices included above are shown ex-local taxes and are accurate as of June 2020.

Other guides