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Best payroll service providers UK

Has your payroll got your small business in a pickle? Need a helping hand with HMRC complexities? Find out about payroll service providers and compare quotes here


Operating and owning your own business is both rewarding and exhausting and payroll duties can be among the most labour intensive tasks of all.

Many business owners struggle to find the time to remain on top of their administrative processes, regular changes in tax law and and all the printing and paperwork associated with hard copies of payslips and other documentation, such as annual P60s.

A payroll service provider will be able to assist you with all these tasks, and is much more efficient and accurate than an in-house excel spreadsheet could ever hope to be.

This article will guide you through the best payroll service providers on the market. We’ll provide insights into the differences between them to help you find the best match for your business payroll needs.

Best payroll service providers UK at a glance

The best UK payroll service providers we'll look into below are:

Payroll Service Provider Best For
Sage One Ease of use
SAP (System Applications and Products) Multiple currencies
MoneysoftCustomer Service
Moorepay Accuracy

What do payroll providers offer?

In short, payroll providers offer you two very precious things: time and peace of mind.

If you use a payroll service provider and the appropriate software, professionals will handle the details of your staff-related expenses, leaving you to focus on other aspects of your business operations.

A fully managed payroll service means that you’ll have as little to do with the process as possible, paying a fee to an outsourced contractor who will handle the end-to-end payroll process for you.

A part-managed payroll service is a popular – and less costly – option. A part-managed service provides the payroll service software but requires you to manage it in-house. This means that you’ll have to have a payroll executive or accountant on the team who is happy to manage the payroll using the software.

A part-managed payroll service doesn’t leave you completely on your own though as your business will have dedicated external support from the software provider for complex queries.

Your company will also enjoy the full support of qualified professionals when it comes to filing your year-end payroll accounts, and assistance with the issuing of BACS payment runs and design templates for hard copy payslips.

To find out more about payroll options, visit our payroll service prices or small business payroll solutions pages.


Why you should invest in a payroll provider

It’s not just about getting people paid on time – that, in theory, is the simplest part of the process.

Many business owners struggle to find the time to remain on top of:

  • Administrative processes
  • The regular changes in tax law and regulations bestowed by HMRC
  • The many and varied deductions and calculations that need to take place in an employee’s gross salary each week or month
  • All the printing and paperwork associated with hard copies of payslips and other documentation such as annual P60s

A payroll service provider will be able to assist you with all these tasks, doing so much more efficiently and accurately than an in-house excel spreadsheet could ever hope to be.

This article will guide you through the many and varied services offered by such providers – along with insights into the differences between them – to ensure that you find the best match for your business needs.


Best payroll service providers comparison (UK)

There is a number of payroll providers with varying services. In the sections below we have provided information about some of the most reputable suppliers in the market. Find out more about them today and choose the option most suitable for your needs.

Sage Payroll Solutions

Sage payroll provider

With up to half the businesses in the nation using this software to keep on track of their salary payments and liaise with HMRC, Sage is one of the most reputable payroll packages in the UK.

Sage One is an online-only package, available for a very low monthly subscription cost It offers auto-enrolment and manages all payroll requirements for up to fifty employees with no binding contract.

Should you decide that this product is not for you, or you need to upgrade to a more elaborate package, you are also free to do so with no penalty fees.

The next step up is the hugely popular Sage 50 which also provides HR services such as holiday and sickness tracking of your employees.
Sage 50 generates payslips online so staff have 24/7 access to essential information. And, with built-in help and advice resources (as well as a full-time customer support line), even a novice payroll executive will be able to install and work the product with minimal fuss.

Pros✅ Simple and easy to use, with minimal fuss
Great for small, start-up businesses

✅ Low-cost

✅ Scalable (if your business reaches 50 employees or more, then Sage 50 is Sage’s next-step payroll package)

✅ No early exit fees

✅ 24 hour, high-quality customer service
Cons❌ The payroll package does not work on Apple hardware – requires Windows
Best ForEase of use
Cost25 employees = £15.60 + VAT per month
Sage 50 (50 + employees) = £23 per month
Sage 50 (50 + employees) = £276 per year

SAP Payroll Solutions

SAP payroll provider

Arguably the most popular and prominent payroll software used, especially by large and multinational businesses, SAP (Systems, Applications and Products) is a one-stop shop for all payroll and HR needs.

Capable of running a regular payroll in multiple currencies, and enabling a user to make one-time adjustments to a regulated weekly or monthly BACS schedule A licence to bring SAP into your business can be tailored to a price point and level of service that you find appropriate.

HMRC-approved and regularly maintained, SAP can be hugely useful to a small business thanks to its ability to marry up payroll and HR requirements into one package. It’s also a cloud-managed service, meaning that automatic updates will be regular.

However, SAP tends to be more complex than some rival providers thanks to the sheer number of services it can offer, but with regular training, any business can enjoy the benefits associated with the program.

Pros✅ An all-in-one HR and payroll service solution

✅ Can facilitate payrolls in multiple currencies

✅ Highly user-friendly interface

✅ A cloud-based and regularly updated system
Cons❌ Heightened complexity due to wide variety of services offered

❌ Requires regular training to stay abreast of all the updates
Best forCross-currency payroll structures
CostAvailable on request

Moneysoft Payroll Solutions

Moneysoft payroll provider

Moneysoft is steadily building a reputation in the realm of payroll services thanks to an excellent, user-friendly interface and a reliable and knowledgeable customer service team.

Businesses pay a small annual fee for the software as opposed to monthly subscription costs, with the price point of the package coming in three different tiers that depend on how many staff you employ – 20, 100 or 250.

Payroll Manager is HMRC-recognised and the software automatically updates roughly every other month, so changes in employee tax bands will always be taken into consideration among the automatic deductions attributed to a gross salary.

Moneysoft’s Payroll Manager is particularly effective for small businesses that prefer to keep their payroll services in-house as it’s extremely easy to use, making it the perfect starting point for a start-up payroll system.

Note: this software is only compatible with Windows computers; if you operate from Apple hardware, you will have to look elsewhere for your payroll needs.

Pros✅ Very user-oriented design
Great customer service

✅ Serves in-house payroll demands well

✅ Annual fee rather than monthly investment meaning a heavy initial outlay but no further costs

✅ Very responsive customer service team
Cons❌ Has a slightly less-advanced array of services than competitors (although this does keep it easy to use)

❌ Not compatible with Mac computers (only works on Windows)
Best forCustomer service
CostUp to 20 employees = £68 per year
Up to 100 employees / subcontractors = £136 per year
Up to 250 employees = £204 per year

Moorepay Payroll Solutions

Moorepay payroll provider

Also boasting a great deal of HR-centric programs, Moorepay has been operating its payroll-centric software Payview for several decades.

Claiming an accuracy of 99.8%, Payview is a cloud-based software offering all the bells and whistles you’d expect from such a service. This includes the automatic integration with HMRC policies and any changes to an individual’s circumstances.

Considering the fact that Moorepay employs over 500 employees and processes one-in-six monthly paychecks in the UK, it’s safe to say that Moorepay are big hitters in this environment and are a well established, trusted company.

Pros✅ Well-established service
Offers a wide variety of services

✅ Cloud-based system that updates regularly and featuring automatic integration with HMRC

✅ Market popularity suggests this is a trusted service provider within the market – 1 in 6 of the UK’s working population are paid via Moorepay
Cons❌ Customer satisfaction rate is low compared to competitors

❌ The customer service helplines aren’t very well maintained
Best forPayroll accuracy
CostAvailable on request

Compare the best payroll service providers UK

The information on this page should help you to understand what payroll option might be best for your small business. However, it is also important to get information that is tailored directly to your business or situation.

To compare tailored quotes from the top UK payroll providers, you simply need to complete the form at the top of this page. Comparing quotes this way is free, quick and easy, and it could save your business both time and money.

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Bryn Glover
Bryn Glover

Editor

As Editor of Startups, Bryn runs content strategy and our annual campaigns. A lover of small business, you can find him writing about exciting entrepreneurs and UK industry trends.

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