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Compare Payroll Costs from The Top 25 Payroll Companies & Software Providers

Payroll Cost

Introduction

When it comes to payroll, there are a lot of essential factors that you need to consider, not least of all the costs that you can expect to pay.

Is it more cost-effective to do your payroll, using cutting-edge software?

Or is it worth it to outsource your payroll, in exchange for experienced professionals handling your accounts?

In this guide, you’ll find out what you need to know about payroll costs, including the different options that are available, and the average pricing for each.

You will also be able to compare different payroll service providers against each other, using the top 5 lists which might inform you about pricing, customer reputation and additional relevant information.

Ready? Let’s go!

What’s in this guide?

What is payroll?

First of all, let’s quickly take a look at what payroll is.

Payroll refers to the process of keeping a list of your employees, tracking how much they need to be paid as well as anything like holidays or sick days.

Each employee will require a payslip whenever they are paid, which is typically either weekly or monthly.

You also need to send real-time information to HMRC whenever you run your payroll, which helps you to stay compliant and working within the law.

What are the different types of payroll services?

Mainly, there are three types of payroll services.

Fully outsourced

When you opt to outsource your payroll fully, this means that a company will take over every aspect of your payroll.

This includes keeping track of salaries, sending out payslips, submitting information to HMRC and often doing your end of year accounts.

Partially managed

When you decide to have your payroll partly managed, it means that you outsource most of your day-to-day obligations while maintaining a level of control.

Usually, this will mean that your payroll company will deal with things like BACs and enrolment, while you deal with your gross to net calculations, for example.

Software

If you want to keep complete control over your payroll, you might want to invest in payroll software.

Payroll software takes some of the administrative burdens away, as sometimes you can set up auto enrolments, have payslips sent out regularly with minimal input and send information to HMRC automatically.

This can be less expensive than outsourcing payroll entirely, but it does mean that you have to take full responsibility to stay up to date with changing regulations.

Types of Payroll Costs

Now that you know what payroll means, as well as the different options available to you, let’s find out more about the kinds of costs that you can expect.

Software

Choosing the right software to use for your payroll often depends on several different factors, which might include:

  • Cost
  • Software flexibility
  • Customer reputation
  • Integration with other software
  • Level of automation
  • Ease of use
  • Reliability

If you are a smaller business, pricing might be the most important point that you need to take into consideration.

SageOne, for instance, can cost as little as £3 per month with the capacity to manage up to 5 employees.

This can be excellent value for money when you only have a few employees to manage.

However, you are then limited to this package when you want to expand, which could mean needing to upgrade and potentially disrupting your process.

On the other side of the scale, for a large business, you might want to opt for BrightPay.

While they are more expensive at £99 per year, you can have an unlimited number of employees, and it offers a comprehensive software package.

You can do anything from calculating salaries to payslips, sending RTI to HMRC and managing your employees with a calendar.

SMEs

For SMEs, costs are an essential part of deciding whether to choose a payroll company or not.

However, with many of these providers, you will have to request a quote that is bespoke to your business needs – in which case, it might be better to compare the features they can offer.

This might include:

  • Their reviews on websites like Trustpilot and Software Advice
  • Whether or not they offer fully managed or part managed services
  • How reliable their customer service is
  • If they provide software, whether it integrates with others
  • Do they include payslips as standard? Or information to HMRC?

Using software is another excellent option for SMEs, which you can check out in just a moment.

Top 5 Payroll Companies for SMEs

1. Payescape


Payescape


Type: Payroll Service Provider

Type of contract: No contract, pay month to month

Available services: Online payroll services and HR software

Bark Score: 5/5

Payescape claims to be a fast growing company that offers online payroll services to their customers.

Their system offers accessibility from any device, where you can organise your payroll, track your employee’s data and manage your documents.

Your employees can also request holidays and view their payslips.

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2. Equiom


Equiom


Type: Payroll Service Provider

Type of contract: Bespoke

Available services: Payroll services

Bark Score: 5/5

The Equiom group is an international company that takes care of everything from payroll to cybersecurity, accounting and real estate amongst other services.

Their payroll service includes dealing with all of the necessary payroll requirements as well as remaining compliant with any rules and regulations.

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3. Ceridian


Ceridian


Type: Global Payroll Software

Type of contract: Bespoke

Available services: Payroll services

TrustRadius Score: 4/5

Ceridian is a global payroll software provider who offers an engine that takes many different rules and applies them in real time to your payroll.

For instance, it takes into consideration your net earnings, HR and any data regarding things like time.

You can use the Dayforce software to manage employees in over 80 countries.

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4. SageOne


Sage One


Type: Payroll Software Provider

Type of contract: Bespoke

Available services: Payroll software

Trustpilot Score: 4/5

Sage provides SageOne, which is payroll software that they claim is so easy to use, that you don’t require any experience to get started.

Not only can you sort out the traditional issues like payslips, P60’s and pensions, but you will also be able to stay compliant with HMRC.

SageOne is best suited for businesses with between 1 and 25 employees.

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5. ADP


ADP


Type: Payroll Service Provider

Type of contract: Bespoke

Available services: Payroll software

Trustpilot Score: 5/5

ADP is one of the most popular payroll companies in the UK, with over 550 different reviews on popular sites such as Trustpilot.

They claim to offer bespoke packages for businesses of most sizes, regardless of whether you only have a couple of employees versus if you have a large enterprise with over 1000 employees.

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Large Companies

If you are running a large company, there are many available options that you can choose from when it comes to your payroll; here are the top picks.

  • Hire your payroll administrators
  • Outsource your payroll to a specialist company
  • Purchase high-end payroll software

Regarding costs, this is what you might expect to pay for each one of these services or products:

Payroll administrator: On average, £20,000 annually.

Outsourced payroll: It could cost as little as £3 per employee, per transaction. This could mean paying approximately £18,000 a year for 500 employees if you pay your employees on a monthly basis.

Payroll software: Brightpay costs around £99 a year, but for that, you can manage an unlimited number of employees. But, you’ll have the responsibility of your payroll and things like staying up to date with regulations.

Top 5 Payroll Companies for Large Companies

1. BrightPay


BrightPay


Type: Payroll Software

Pricing: £99 to £299

Available software: Payroll

Software Advice Score: 5/5

Brightpay is more expensive than some of their competitors. However, it is also one of the most flexible, which is one of it’s best features among simplicity and unlimited support.

There isn’t any tiered pricing, so for £99 you can have an unlimited number of employees, sort out anything from pensions to real-time information for HMRC and add things like the Construction Industry Scheme when necessary.

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2. Ceridian


Ceridian


Type: Global Payroll Software

Pricing: Contact sales

Available software: Payroll software

TrustRadius Score: 4/5

Ceridian is a global payroll software provider who offers an engine that takes many different rules and applies them in real time to your payroll.

For instance, it takes into consideration your net earnings, HR and any data regarding things like time.

You can use the Dayforce software to manage employees in over 80 countries.

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3. MHR


MHR


Type: Payroll software

Pricing: Bespoke

Available software: Payroll

Google Score: 5/5

MHR has a history that stretches back to the early ’80s, but today they have expanded to having over 650 employees with an international company to cater to your company’s needs.

iTrent Payroll is MHR’s software which helps you to deal with your payroll, regardless of the complexity of your businesses needs.

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4. Equiom


Equiom


Type: Payroll Service Provider

Type of contract: Bespoke

Available services: Payroll services

Bark Score: 5/5

The Equiom group is an international company that takes care of everything from payroll to cybersecurity, accounting and real estate amongst other services.

Their payroll service includes dealing with all of the basic payroll requirements as well as remaining compliant with any rules and regulations.

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5. ADP



Type: Payroll Service Provider

Type of contract: Bespoke

Available services: Payroll software

Trustpilot Score: 5/5

ADP is one of the most popular payroll companies in the UK, with over 550 individual reviews on popular sites such as Trustpilot.

They claim to offer bespoke packages for businesses of most sizes, regardless of whether you only have a couple of employees versus if you have a large enterprise with over 1000 employees.

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Accountants

For accountants, there is an increasing amount of clients who want to not only have their taxes and bookkeeping handled by their accountant, but also payroll too.

From the perspective of a customer, this means having one point of contact, with many of their business needs delivered from one place.

As the accountant, this could mean more profits for you, as well as being able to offer a more comprehensive range of services.

But what if payroll isn’t your speciality? What if you are worried about not having enough time?

This is where payroll software, or outsourced payroll, can help you.

It can add to your profits to offer this extra service, even if you decide to pay another company to do the hard work for you; in fact, sometimes it can cost as little as £3 per employee, per payslip.

Software, on the other hand, could cost around £136 but that includes the ability to manage unlimited employers with up to 100 employees each.

Top 5 Payroll Companies for Accountants

1. BrightPay


BrightPay


Type: Payroll Software

Pricing: £299

Available software: Payroll

Software Advice Score: 5/5

Brightpay offers payroll software for accountants and payroll bureaus, which allows you to manage unlimited employers and their employees with one single platform.

For £299 you can sort out anything from pensions to real-time information for HMRC and add things like the Construction Industry Scheme when necessary, among many others in their comprehensive package.

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2. QTAC


QTAC


Type: Outsourced Payroll

Pricing: £3.80 per payslip

Available software: Payroll

QTAC allows accountants to outsource their client’s payroll needs to a company that they can trust.

This can help you provide a fuller range of services to your customers, which can work seamlessly along the other processes that you offer such as taxes and bookkeeping.

From £3.80 per payslip, this can be a cost-effective solution that allows you to create a reasonable margin.

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3. Moneysoft


Moneysoft


Type: Payroll software

Pricing: £136 + VAT per year

Available software: Payroll, a money manager

Moneysoft not only provides software for business owners and those who run payroll for their companies but also accountants and agents.

With their Payroll Manager 100, you can manage an unlimited number of clients with up to 100 employees each.

This is an excellent value for money, as you don’t need to upgrade to onboard more clients for the payroll side of your business.

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4. FMP Global


FMP Global


Type: Outsourced payroll and software

Pricing: Bespoke

Available software: Payroll, accountancy

FMP Global means that you can focus on what you do best, while also being able to offer your customers other services like fully managed payroll and HR software.

This helps you and your customers stay compliant with ever-changing rules and regulations, as well as sending the relevant information to HMRC.

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5. ADP



Type: Payroll Service Provider

Type of contract: Bespoke

Available services: Payroll software

Trustpilot Score: 5/5

ADP is one of the most popular payroll companies in the UK, with over 550 individual reviews on popular sites such as Trustpilot.

They claim to offer bespoke packages for businesses of most sizes, regardless of whether you only have a couple of employees versus if you have a large enterprise with over 1000 employees.

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Contractors

If you are a contractor, making sure that you get paid on time, with the right amount can not only be stressful but sometimes time-consuming too.

Especially when you take into consideration any administrative issues or chasing up a company for payment.

This is when an ‘umbrella’ company could be a perfect solution to your problems.

While they take a percentage of your pay from your contract, in exchange you will receive the benefits of being employed.

Such as insurance, sick or holiday pay, and having information sent to HMRC on your behalf.

This is what you might want to consider:

  • Pricing
  • Customer reputation
  • Whether there are entry or exit fees
  • How reliable the payments are
  • Customer support

Some companies, such as Crystal Umbrella, claim not to charge you any entry or exit fees, while The Parasol Group has an excellent customer reputation.

Usually, the cost of being with an umbrella group varies depending on how much you earn with your contract. However, it can be around £25 to £30 a week on average.

Top 5 Payroll Companies for Contractors

1. The Parasol Group


Parasol Group


Type: Umbrella company

Cost: Bespoke

Available services: Admin, HMRC, Accounting

Trustpilot Score: 4/5

With the Parasol Group, you can benefit from the freedom of being a contractor but with the positive aspects of employment.

Such as being insured and not having to worry about doing your taxes.

They claim that you will always have someone to speak to when you need to ask a question, or you have an issue, and your payments will be quick and on time.

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2. Contractor Umbrella


Contractor Umbrella


Type: Umbrella company

Cost: Approximately £29.50 a week

Available services: Umbrella

Google Score: 5/5

Contractor Umbrella is a highly rated umbrella company, that deals with everything from your insurance, fast payments and employee benefits on your behalf.

For a reasonable price of £29.50 a week, you can expect all of the above as well as emails that will be responded to within four hours during office hours.

Plus, easy access to a personal employee liaison officer who will be able to ensure that your experience with the company is smooth and enjoyable.

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3. Mango Pay


Mango Pay


Type: Umbrella company

Cost: Bespoke

Available services: Umbrella, PAYE, self-employed

Mango Pay claims to be an excellent option for contractors who mainly deal with short to medium-term contracts.

They will give you a quick set up, full insurance, employment benefits, holiday pay and a customer service team to help you with any questions or issues you might have.

Although it isn’t clear how much they would charge you on their website, you can contact them directly here to find out more.

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4. Brookson One


Brookson One


Type: Umbrella company

Cost: Bespoke

Available services: Umbrella, accountancy

Trustpilot Score: 4/5

Brookson One has been around since 1995, and they say they have provided services to over 90,000 freelancers, contractors and those who are self-employed.

They do not charge any entry/set up fees, claim to deliver fast payments and they offer their contractors support six days a week.

You can access all of your information regarding your accounts at any time, from anywhere.

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5. Paystream


Paystream


Type: Umbrella company

Cost: Bespoke

Available services: Umbrella, CIS, limited companies

Google Score: 3.7/5

With Paystream, you won’t have to worry about sudden or unexpected tax bills, as they will take care of everything regarding your taxes for you.

They can also offer you the benefit of being continuously employed, which can help you to take out a loan or a mortgage.

You will also be able to claim expenses, have insurance cover and a workplace pension.

For a bespoke quote, get in contact here.

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Top 5 Payroll Software

1. SageOne


Sage One


Type: Payroll Software

Pricing: £3 – £13

Available software: Payroll and accounting

Trustpilot Score: 4/5

Sage is one of the most well-known companies when it comes to software to keep your business running, especially when it comes to accounting and payroll.

Their SageOne software puts you in control of your payroll, giving you access to tools to help you to work out everything payroll without necessarily needing any experience.

With a rating of 4-stars out of five according to over 800 individual reviews, Sage has an excellent customer reputation.

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2. HMRC Basic PAYE Tools


HMRC


Type: Payroll Software

Pricing: Free

Available software: Payroll

Trustpilot Score: 1/5

Straight from HMRC, the necessary PAYE tools allow you to run most payroll tasks without needing to pay a penny or use several different programs.

You can work out your employee’s national insurance, work out any potential income tax that needs to be deducted and real-time information.

The only negative to this software is that you can’t create payslips, which are required by law for employees, so you may need to utilise other software for this.

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3. BrightPay


BrightPay


Type: Payroll Software

Pricing: £99 to £299

Available software: Payroll

Software Advice Score: 5/5

Brightpay is more expensive than some of their competitors. However, it is also one of the most flexible, which is one of it’s best features among simplicity and unlimited support.

There isn’t any tiered pricing, so for £99 you can have an unlimited number of employees, sort out anything from pensions to real-time information for HMRC and add things like the Construction Industry Scheme when necessary.

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4. Xero


Xero


Type: Payroll Software

Pricing: £10 to £27.50

Available software: Payroll

Software Advice Score: 4/5

Xero allows you to deal with your taxes, employment and pension details with one easy to use the program.

You can track your employee’s payments, holidays and things like their working hours, including specific details like paying different rates of pay and producing electronic payslips.

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5. KashFlow


Kashflow


Type: Payroll Software

Pricing: £10 to £27.50

Available software: Payroll

Software Advice Score: 4/5

Xero allows you to deal with your taxes, employment and pension details with one easy to use the program.

You can track your employee’s payments, holidays and things like their working hours, including specific details like paying different rates of pay and producing electronic payslips.

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FAQ

What is payroll?

Payroll is essentially a list of your employees, details concerning how much your employee should be paid and any deductions from this amount including taxes and insurance.

This might include any holidays or absences, and if you have software that integrates with HR software, you might be able to see your employees performance and development too.

How much does it cost to do payroll?

Depending on how you do your payroll, there is a big difference in the costs you might need to expect.

Payroll administrator:

Hiring a payroll administrator could cost you about £20,000 a year. However, it would give you someone who specialises in payroll and can deal with other HR issues.

Outsourced payroll:

When you outsource your payroll to an external company, you no longer need to worry about the responsibility of staying up to date with regulations.

Or, submitting information to HMRC.

Usually, there will be a bespoke quote from the payroll company, which is dependent on the number of employees you have and the variety of services you require.

However, some companies quote around £3.80 per employee, per payslip, which means it could only cost you around £4,560 a year for 100 employees.

Payroll software:

Payroll software can either be cost-effective and allow you to do the bare basics, such as calculating salaries and deductions, or it can be extraordinarily comprehensive but cost more.

Brightpay, for example, might cost around £99 but for that, you will have access to many different payroll tasks and calculations, as well as remaining compliant.

Plus, you can manage an unlimited number of employees.

How much does payroll software cost?

HMRC PAYE tools and Payroo are examples of free payroll software, whereas software from Xero costs from £10 and SageOne can be priced as low as £3.

What is included in payroll costs?

For a monthly fee, this is what some payroll companies offer:

  • Creation of payslips
  • Submitting HMRC returns
  • P45’s, P46’s, P60’s etc
  • Holiday, statutory sick pay, student loan deductions
  • Emailing payslips and other forms
  • Representation in the case of payroll enquiries
  • Payroll advise and help throughout the year

Why should you outsource your payroll?

So, why should you outsource your payroll?

Not only can it make you significant savings when compared to the costs of hiring a payroll administrator, but you also don’t need to bear the responsibility of staying up to date with laws and regulations.

You can focus on what you do best, running your company.

Why should you choose payroll software?

Payroll software allows you to retain some control over your payroll, but with the added benefit of software that can do many calculations for you.

This lowers the risk of any human error, plus it requires less administration than if you did payroll without specialised software.

What is the best option for you?

Deciding which option is best for you and your company depends on many different factors, including:

  • What is your budget for payroll?
  • Are you a small or large company?
  • Do you want to have full control over your payroll?
  • Do you need the basics or a comprehensive package?
  • Is this a long-term or short-term solution?

Take a look at the top 5 lists above to see what your options are, or you can check out the ExpertSure guides to find out more about payroll.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there are several choices to consider when it comes to your payroll, from purchasing software to manage your employee’s payroll to outsourced payroll companies.

Are you ready to compare your payroll options?

This guide should have told you everything you need to know about payroll costs, but if you still have questions, check out the payroll section here.

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