7 best HR and payroll software in 2022

Find the perfect HR and payroll solution for your small business with this in-depth review of the best HR and payroll software providers on the market.

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According to our expert research, the best HR and payroll software is MHR iTrent. This is because its award winning iTrent integrated software has a near endless list of proficient features that include salary modelling, HR chatbots, and reporting dashboards.

But the important question is, regardless of MHR’s title as our best HR and payroll software provider, is it the right choice for your business? It isn't the only game in town – Moorepay and IRIS also have fantastic integrated payroll and HR solutions.

For a handy price comparison, we recommend taking a moment to get personalised payroll and HR software pricing quotes for your business. This service is free, takes just minutes, and involves zero obligations on your part.

0 out of 0
Best for
HMRC Compliant

MHR iTrent

IRIS Software




TopSource Worldwide


Its abundance of features that help you streamline your HR and payroll processes

An all round solution to small business admin responsibilities

SMEs needing extra customer support and a thorough onboarding process

Businesses that want software with proficient training and development functionality for employees

Customer support and a personalised HR and payroll experience

Small businesses wanting to expand operations globally

Optimising your administration processes – saving yourself time and money

What's the best HR and payroll software?

Below is our list of the best HR and payroll software providers in 2022, according to our in-depth analysis:

  1. MHR
  2. IRIS Software
  3. Moorepay
  4. ADP UK
  5. Moonworkers
  6. Topsource Worldwide
  7. Alight

If you want to carry out further research, read on for our review of the best HR and payroll providers. We’ll also give you some top tips on choosing the solution most suited to your business’ needs.

Save Money By Comparing HR and Payroll Software Providers Do you currently use HR and payroll software? Compare quotes in just minutes

1.MHR iTrent: best for its abundance of features that help you streamline your HR and payroll processes


mhr itrent software

Pricing from: doesn't publish set price plans – instead provides personalised quotes after assessing business needs

MHR has been operating for over 35 years in the HR and payroll industry, and is a specialist in the field of talent management, with 1,000+ companies relying on its services.

It offers a full suite of payroll services for small businesses in the UK, as well as its award-winning payroll and HR software iTrent – which sits comfortably as our number one solution for your integrated payroll and HR needs.

iTrent’s modular system comes with more features than you can shake a stick at, including its unique salary modelling feature to help you with financial planning and the estimation of people costs (including salary and pension payments).

Other innovative features include automated quarterly software updates to ensure payroll legislation compliance, and an HR chatbot that connects your employees with instant answers to their queries, saving your HR and payroll team time addressing employee concerns.

MHR’s iTrent software has everything you need and more in an integrated HR and payroll product for small businesses, which is why it features at the top of our list and has previously been celebrated at the prestigious CIPP Annual Excellence Awards.

  • Extra secure software that uses iTrent Shield security to guarantee data protection with multi-factor authentication
  • Dedicated account manager to help you with any queries and issues
  • Simple, risk-free migration service makes it easy to switch providers
  • iTrent salary modelling is ideal for startups and small businesses that need to plan financially in order to make budget-based decisions
  • An excellent variety of reporting dashboards and insight capabilities – iTrent can even produce bespoke reports
  • Pricing is not transparent
  • No native apps to integrate other solutions such as account management/bookkeeping
  • Lacks 360 degree feedback for employee evaluation

2. IRIS Software: best for an all round solution to small business admin responsibilities

Pricing from: doesn't publish set price plans – instead provides personalised quotes after assessing business needs

IRIS is one of the UK’s longest-running private software companies. It’s been supplying administration solutions to the country's businesses, charities, and public sector for over 40 years.

Typically catering to companies of all sizes, IRIS provides a small, business-specific integrated payroll and HR software in the form of IRIS Software.

The integrated platform offers all the bells and whistles of IRIS’ standalone payroll product, including auto enrolment, RTI and HMRC compliance, in-depth reporting functionality, and P32 month-end automation.

Yet it also allows you to effectively manage your HR processes, simplifying tasks like onboarding and holiday booking, and streamlining lengthy admin procedures by giving employees access to their own self-service portal.

As well as providing market leading solutions for your payroll and HR responsibilities, it also caters to all your bookkeeping needs with its innovative bookkeeping feature.

In terms of software, IRIS narrowly misses out on our top spot to MHR. However with regard to managed payroll services, IRIS is unmatched.

Check out our review of the best payroll service providers to find out more about IRIS’ offerings.

  • Automation of repetitive day-to-day tasks across both payroll and HR cut down massively on the burden caused by admin
  • Improve engagement and communication across your business with IRIS Engage – a powerful tool for company-wide communications
  • Cloud-based software enables you to work on the go
  • An incredibly secure solution that encrypts all data, emails and attachments
  • Access to reliable 24-hour IT support, seven days a week
  • Pricing isn’t transparent like other providers
  • Reporting facilities and analytical information are very basic and could use more graph styles

3. Moorepay: best for SMEs needing extra customer support and a thorough onboarding process

moorepay analytics payroll

Pricing from: doesn't publish set price plans – instead provides personalised quotes after assessing business needs

Moorepay is a goliath in the payroll services industry, used to pay one in six of the UK’s working population – but that doesn’t make it any less of a bespoke provider for SMEs.

Despite its HR and payroll solution operating on the same platform, there is no requirement for you to purchase both. Moorepay instead gives you the flexibility to choose whether you use the software collaboratively or on its own.

However, using it collaboratively is guaranteed to save you time and increase proficiency, as Moorepay’s intuitive software uses automation to help you streamline day-to-day processes such as auto enrolment.

Moorepay’s software has arguably the slickest design out of its competitors, and its easy-to-use interface makes things super easy and manageable for your payroll and HR team.

As for features, they are in abundance. Access real-time dashboards for people analytics, record new absences quickly and easily with a complete approval workflow, and ensure your employees are paid correctly and on time with a payroll system that has an industry leading accuracy rate of 99%.

  • Flexibility to use the software collaboratively or use either the payroll or HR solution
  • Real-time reporting and data-driven dashboards to help you confidently manage and oversee all administrative processes
  • Professional onboarding and training process to help you get set up
  • A dedicated team of UK-based technical specialists
  • Not appropriate for micro-businesses with five to 30 employees, as the cost of the service outweighs the benefits
  • Pricing isn’t transparent
Save Money By Comparing HR and Payroll Software Providers Do you currently use HR and payroll software? Compare quotes in just minutes

4. ADP UK: best for businesses that want software with proficient training and development functionality for employees

ADP is one of the UK’s largest and most highly regarded payroll and HR specialists, with over 70 years of industry-specific experience and a client base that includes Coca-Cola, Innocent, and Amazon.

It is the ideal software solution for small businesses looking to scale, as it caters to companies of all sizes, ranging from micro to global.

Its global offering is a unique benefit that sets it apart from other competitors, many of whom are only set up to operate in the UK. With ADP you have the ability to manage HR and payroll globally, with thousands of implementation team professionals in over 140 countries on hand to advise and support you.

Customers have access to ADP’s iHCM cloud-based platform on any device. This all-in-one, HMRC compliant solution is simple to implement, has an easy-to-use interface, and lets you process payroll accurately while managing HR aspects such as time and attendance and employee performance.

  • Excellent HR management system optimised for training and development so you can provide continuous, targeted feedback and personalised development plans to your employees
  • Make strategic decisions about rotas, scheduling and staffing by capturing time and attendance information
  • Ideal for businesses planning to scale globally
  • EU data protection approved so you know your data is in safe hands
  • Pricing is not transparent
  • The level of customer service needs improvement and isn’t as highly regarded as other competitors
By now, you may have noticed our top payroll and HR provider software choices only offer bespoke pricing.

This is typical of the industry, so if you’d like us to make choosing a provider easier for you, why not use our cost comparison tool to compare quotes for free.

Simply spend one minute of your time answering a few questions, and we will do the rest!

5. Moonworkers: best for customer support and a personalised HR and payroll experience

Unlike its competitors, Moonworkers is a family-run business that provides integrated HR, benefits and payroll software. It operates on a much smaller scale than business giants like IRIS and ADP, which results in its customers benefiting from a more personal and tailored customer experience.

Software features include standard payroll solutions like auto enrolment and year-end tax reporting, and the unique benefit of having free access to the Shop Street app for all your employees once you’ve enrolled. The app offers unlimited discounts on over one thousand brands, and could save your employees up to 6% on everyday essentials.

Automated workflows can be easily created and customised for HR processes, such as onboarding checklists and performance reviews. eSignature functionality gives you an extra layer of security and is great for remote businesses.

There is an abundance of other clever features that will ensure your HR and payroll solution is as streamlined and efficient as possible. And with outstanding customer service and transparent pricing to boot, Moonworkers is a solid choice for small businesses.

Be aware however that it provides a software-only service, so if you are considering managed payroll and HR services, you should look elsewhere.

  • Prides itself on developing lasting customer relationships, offering dedicated support, and treating its clients as much more than ‘users’
  • Transparent pricing – and the first worker is free (you are charged per employee)
  • Three-month money-back guarantee, and setup comes at no extra cost
  • Leave management, employee expenses and time trackers are just a few of the great features available on the app
  • Simple and quick switching service that includes data transfer and online training
  • Doesn’t offer managed payroll and HR services so you will need the resource to manage everything on the app
  • Built and developed with specific industries in mind – could be limiting for other businesses

If standalone HR software sounds like the best option for your business, why not check out our review of the five best HR software for 2022.

6. TopSource Worldwide: best for small businesses wanting to expand operations globally

One of the standout features of TopSource Worldwide is definitely its international HR and payroll capabilities.

It is the ideal provider for small businesses either operating globally or planning on expanding globally, as its team of experts will ensure you remain compliant in over 150 countries.

As for its features, all of the payroll essentials are covered, including HMRC compliance, pension calculations, and end-of-year processing.

TopSource provides its customers with a range of useful reporting dashboards that come as standard, and its dedicated HR solution can assist you in completing employment contracts and managing employee benefits.

  • All staff and payroll experts are IPPM certified
  • The quick and simple onboarding process makes it easy when changing providers
  • An international team of HR and payroll specialists makes it ideal for any business operating on a global scale
  • Smaller size and less experience than other providers mean it might not be the best option for businesses looking to scale
  • Not the strongest customer reviews and satisfaction scores
  • Doesn’t offer software so aspects of your payroll and HR solution will have to be at least partially managed

7. Alight: best for optimising your administration processes – saving yourself time and money

Boasting an average payroll accuracy rate of 99.93%, Alight (formerly NGA) is one of the most reliable payroll and HR software solutions in the UK.

The integrated system deploys a selection of great features to make managing your admin tasks as efficient as possible. This includes a cloud HR system that pinpoints where your processes could be improved, rather than just actioning them.

The communication capability of Alight’s solution is one of its standout benefits, with online chat services, centres and self-service request portals available with various language options so you can feel confident that any and all employee concerns are properly taken care of.

As for its payroll functionality, Alight offers a variety of solutions, including integration with your HR cloud software, or fully outsourcing and letting Alight’s dedicated payroll specialists
look after everything for you.

  • Digital journey planning lets you focus on what processes are working for your employees and which ones aren’t
  • Compensation, benefit and talent annual cycles are managed by Alight’s team of dedicated payroll professionals
  • User-friendly, easy-to-navigate software
  • Free training webinars and in-person events are available
  • Services multiple countries
  • Pricing is not transparent
  • Setup language during onboarding is difficult to understand
Save Money By Comparing HR and Payroll Software Providers Do you currently use HR and payroll software? Compare quotes in just minutes

What are the benefits of using HR and payroll software?

  • Streamline and automate processes, so you can save time and reduce the cost of employing a large team of payroll and HR professionals and administrators
  • The majority of payroll and HR software comes with in-depth reporting functionality – which is great for business forecasting
  • Contracts are shorter (typically month to month) than they are for outsourcing
  • Great third-party integrations with accounting/bookkeeping and other software depending on the provider

If standalone payroll software sounds like the right option for your business, why not read our review of the best payroll software for small businesses.

What are the benefits of using HR and payroll services?

  • Everything is managed by a team of certified payroll and HR specialists, meaning you can be confident that the service provided is reliable, accurate and HMRC compliant
  • There’s flexibility to choose how much you want your managed payroll and HR service provider to be involved in processes depending on your requirements
  • The provider can deal with the more complex tasks surrounding payroll and HR

How to choose your payroll and HR solution

Making a decision about the best provider for your business can be complicated, particularly when the sector is so competitive and there are so many great solutions out there.

Consider the points below to help you make the right decision:

Managed services or software

Think about what your company needs and which approach would be best. Weigh up the pros and cons of each.

Cost of the service

Let's be honest, a huge factor for small businesses and startups is the price of the service you are purchasing. Be sure to do your research and get plenty of quotes. Using our free cost comparison tool will save you tons of time as opposed to reaching out for individual quotes.

Features offered

A lot of the providers you research will offer a similar selection of standard features, such as auto enrolment and end-of-year reporting.

It’s important to make note of any unique, standout features, such as iTrent’s salary modelling, that will be extra beneficial to your business specifically.

Support required

If you are new to the business game and don’t have much of a clue about HR or payroll, you will want to be working with a provider and software that offers you plenty of assistance and dedicated support.

Next steps: choosing the best HR and payroll software for your business

So to recap, we believe MHR is the best provider for an integrated service. In terms of software, the iTrent platform is unmatched, with a variety of excellent and unique features and dedicated customer support. MHR also offers a solid managed payroll service that will cater to any small business.

In terms of the other providers available, IRIS and Moorepay both offer great solutions but fall short in terms of any features that stand out, such as an HR chatbot (kudos to iTrent).

Regardless of our opinion, you should always compare integrated payroll and HR providers before signing on the dotted line. The last thing you want is to be stuck in a contract with a service or software that doesn’t fulfil the needs of your business, even if it is, generally speaking, a great product.

This is where our custom-built comparison tool comes in. We've partnered with some of the best payroll and HR software providers to help you get the best service for your business, including the likes of IRIS, Moorepay and MHR.

Simply provide us with a few basic details, and providers will be in touch with bespoke personalised quotes for you to compare, along with further details about why the service they offer would best suit the needs of your business.

  • What is HR and payroll software?
    HR and payroll software is an amalgamation of two business processes that are fundamental to the success of any business. It streamlines payroll processing whilst also managing human resource administrative tasks, including absences, holiday requests and (sometimes) employee training and development.
  • How do I do payroll?
    Processing payroll involves a number of key tasks, such as: paying your employees accurately and on time, ensuring all deductions and additional payments are included, reporting all employee wages/salaries to HMRC, sending out payslips to all employees, and completing Full Payment Submissions and end-of-year P60s.
  • What is the easiest payroll and HR software to use?
    MHR’s iTrent software is our top choice because it is an all-in-one solution that makes things super easy for its users. Moorepay is also a contender, because of its well designed easy-to-use interface.
  • What is better: HR and payroll software or services?
    This all depends entirely on how your business already operates. If you have a team of payroll and HR professionals or administrators, then using software will certainly be more cost effective. However if this isn’t the case and you don’t have the capacity to hire a dedicated employee to manage the software, outsourcing to a managed service is your best bet.

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Ross has been writing for Startups since 2021, specialising in telephone systems, digital marketing, payroll, and sustainable business. He also runs the successful entrepreneur section of the website.

Having graduated with a Masters in Journalism, Ross went on to write for Conde Nast Traveller and the NME, before moving in to the world of business journalism.

Ross has been involved in startups from a young age, and has a keen eye for exciting, innovative new businesses. Follow him on his Twitter - @startupsross for helpful business tips.

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