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Best 10 Payroll Software Apps for Your SME

Best Payroll Software UK


Are you looking for the best payroll software in the UK?

Did you know that using payroll software can minimise human error, help you keep compliant and make sure that your employees are paid on time?

In this guide, you’ll find out everything you need to know about the best payroll software in the UK, including where you can find it and frequently asked questions.

Let’s go!

What’s in this guide?

Top 10 Payroll Software UK

1. MHR


Type: Payroll software

Pricing: Bespoke

Available software: Payroll

Google Score: 5/5

MHR can offer their customers highly rated software called iTrent, which is not only an excellent fit for SME businesses because of the vast features and simplicity of the software, but also because it can easily scale up as you do.

Customers can benefit from utilising their virtual assistant who can help you with your payroll, as well as things like providing your employees with incentives.

Their customers state that MHR is an excellent option for outsourcing both IT and payroll.

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2. Payescape


Type: Payroll Software

Pricing: £52.50 to £172.50

Available software: Payroll, HR

Bark Score: 5/5

PayEscape is a London-based company which was founded in 2006 and supplies their customers with payroll services and software, which can provide you with stress-free payroll and detailed reporting.

They could be an excellent choice for SME’s with less experience in the payroll industry because of their managed payroll services, and they could even submit forms to HMRC on your behalf, taking a task off your hands.

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3. BrightPay


Type: Payroll Software

Pricing: £99 to £299

Available software: Payroll

Software Advice Score: 5/5

Brightpay is a versatile payroll software company, who can offer their applications to both SME companies as well as larger businesses that have over 25 employees.

For small and medium-sized companies, Brightpay offers many flexible features such as a user-friendly interface, payroll, auto-enrolment and necessary PAYE tools which are HMRC compliant.

Because of the capacity to upgrade to an unlimited number of employees, this could be an excellent fit for your company if you want to grow, and for your payroll software to improve with you.

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4. SageOne

Sage One

Type: Payroll Software

Pricing: £3 – £13

Available software: Payroll and accounting

Trustpilot Score: 4/5

Sage is a well-known name when it comes to both payroll and accounting, with many small and medium-sized businesses as customers, with case studies to prove how effective their software is for SMEs.

For an affordable price, customers can benefit from the advantages of using SageOne, which include getting your information in real time, workplace pensions and producing payslips.

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5. Xero


Type: Payroll Software

Pricing: £10 to £27.50

Available software: Payroll

Software Advice Score: 4/5

Xero is an affordable option for many customers, with their cheapest package priced at £10 a month, which could give your SME payroll for up to 5 employees, with a cost of £1 extra per extra employee per month.

With features like organising your payroll, pensions and finances in one place, with the option to use Xero for your accounting too, you could potentially manage many of your business needs in one place.

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6. KashFlow


Type: Payroll Software

Pricing: £10 to £27.50

Available software: Payroll

Software Advice Score: 4/5

KashFlow offers its customers low-cost payroll and accounting software, which has been highly rated by their customers and comes with a range of benefits such as being easy to use and automatic payroll.

This can be an excellent fit for SMEs who want to begin to automate their payroll and certain accounting, with real-time updates and integration with accounting software.

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7. Quickbooks


Type: Payroll Software

Pricing: £10 to £27.50

Available software: Payroll, accounting

Trustpilot Score: 4/5

Quickbooks is a highly rated company for both payroll and accounting, which could be an excellent choice for SMEs because of the low costs involved and features like calculating tax, payslips, generating forms and submitting them to HMRC.

Their essentials package only costs £10 per month and includes everything you need like multiple currency support, track employee time and unlimited invoices.

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8. Ceridian


Type: Global Payroll Software

Pricing: Contact sales

Available software: Payroll software

TrustRadius Score: 4/5

Ceridian is a global payroll service and software provider, with a high rating on trusted review sites such as TrustRadius, and a wide range of solutions on offer to suit your company’s needs.

Their payroll management solution with Dayforce means that you can benefit from having constant access to your payroll information, allow you to continuously calculate your data and give you accurate pay and records.

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9. Advanced

One Advanced

Type: Payroll software

Pricing: Bespoke

Available software and services: Payroll, finance, HR, accounting, legal +

Advanced offers its customers a comprehensive range of services including payroll, finance, HR and legal services, as well as legal and specialised options for public and private companies.

Their software could be a good fit for SMEs who want to be able to get their software and services from the same company, with all of their business needs ready to be met in one place.

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10. HMRC Basic PAYE Tools

Type: Payroll Software

Pricing: Free

Available software: Payroll

Trustpilot Score: 1/5

The HMRC free basic PAYE tools are only suitable for companies that have ten employees or less, making them the right fit for small and medium-sized companies who need to stay organised on a budget.

With this software you can check any of your employee’s national insurance numbers, working out tax and sending this information to HMRC.

However, you should keep in mind that these basic tools won’t allow you to send payslips or some other advanced tasks.

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What is payroll software?

Payroll software works by keeping a record of all of your employees, how much they should be paid as well as things like tax and national insurance, with some payroll software also including the ability to send payslips and keep records.

This software can vary in price depending on the company, how advanced the software is and the support you can receive and training.

Sometimes you can find free tools such as the HMRC basic PAYE tools, or you can purchase high-end software like Brightpay which is more flexible and has many scaleable features.

What is a payroll provider?

A payroll service provider means that you outsource your payroll needs to another company.

This leaves you with more time to focus on running your business, without needing to worry about learning everything there is to know about payroll.

Which includes changing rules and regulations.

Which payroll software is the easiest to use?

SageOne is specifically designed for entrepreneurs and startup companies, which means that it’s easy to use and doesn’t require any previous knowledge.

This allows you to pick up any responsibilities regarding your company’s payroll without needing to take any great courses or hiring outside help.

Is there payroll software for small businesses?

Many programs are geared towards small businesses, such as Quickbooks and Brightpay.

With Brightpay for instance, the interface is reminiscent of Excel, so if you’re used to using that, then you might feel comfortable using Brightpay.

The price will stay the same regardless of how many employees you have, which would make it an excellent fit for small companies that are planning to expand.

Which payroll software is free?

HMRC offers free software that can deal with most payroll needs, such as calculating pay, deductions and sending RTI to HMRC as per the regulations.

The only thing that you can’t do with this software is produced payslips, so you may need to invest in other software to do that.

Which payroll software is best for me?

Working out whether the software is right for you depends on several factors that might include:

  • Pricing
  • The flexibility of the software
  • Whether you can produce and send payslips
  • Customer reviews and company reputation
  • Option to expand as your company does

Once you have considered these factors, you might want to run a comparison on the payroll services that are available to you right now.

Check out the form at the top of the page, to find out your options in mere minutes.


In conclusion, SageOne might be an excellent fit for small businesses and entrepreneurs, while the HMRC tools are for those who need a free option, and Quickbooks might be the easiest to use.

If you are a larger company, you could consider Brightpay, as the price remains the same regardless of the number of employees you have.

Have you found out everything you need to know about the best payroll software in the UK?

If you have any more questions about your payroll needs, check out the ExpertSure guides here, or fill out the form at the top of the page.


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