The Top 5 Payroll Software for 2021

We review and grade each payroll vendor We know it can be a struggle when looking for software, therefore we’ve simplified the process by compiling the relevant information that’s needed. We’ll help you make the best decision for your business

Last update: 2021-03-12

The Top 5 Payroll Software for 2021

We review and grade each payroll vendor We know it can be a struggle when looking for software, therefore we’ve simplified the process by compiling the relevant information that’s needed. We’ll help you make the best decision for your business

Last update: 2021-01-12

#1
Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 1

User friendliness

93%

Support

94%

Integrations

96%

9.7
5/5

QuickBooks products are geared mainly toward small and medium-sized businesses managing payslips Your payroll data is connected to your other accounts, so you get the complete picture of your business – anytime, anywhere. There is one interface to understand and pay just one bill. Long history with payroll software For secure and easy payroll

Pros & Cons

No more double entry when you run payroll through your existing QBO file! Quickbooks online has made it incredibly easy for me to run and maintain my business from an administrative standpoint. I am able to manage my business from an iPad, which gives me the freedom that I need to move around. It is easy to use with an incredibly intuitive user interface. I can track payments, invoices, project management, etc. I will continue using this software.

This might not be the right solution for larger companies who have greater HR needs then just cutting a paycheck each pay period, though it is not difficult to set up employee deductions for things like health care, retirement plans, etc.

QuickBooks

Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 2

1

4.8
5/5

QuickBooks products are geared mainly toward small and medium-sized businesses managing payslips Your payroll data is connected to your other accounts, so you get the complete picture of your business – anytime, anywhere. There is one interface to understand and pay just one bill. Long history with payroll software For secure and easy payroll

Xero, our second contender and probably the best-known supplier in our list, has been around since 2006 Its SaaS accounting software has over 2 million subscribers. Like QuickBooks, you can subscribe for a Xero payroll only plan if you are using different accounting software. 

The problem with most large SaaS companies is that support is harder to come by and you’ll have to settle for a different support agent for every interaction.

Xero

Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 3

2

4.7
4.7/5

Xero has three different plans to choose from: starter, standard or premium with prices currently ranging from £10 – £30 per month All necessary government documents

Xero, our second contender and probably the best-known supplier in our list, has been around since 2006 Its SaaS accounting software has over 2 million subscribers. Like QuickBooks, you can subscribe for a Xero payroll only plan if you are using different accounting software. Xero allows you to enter a pay run, make bulk payments and email or print pay slips for employees in line with government legislation. Web access (or via the Xero Me mobile app) gives employees self-service options, making their life and yours, so much easier.

The problem with most large SaaS companies is that support is harder to come by and you’ll have to settle for a different support agent for every interaction.

FreeAgent Payroll

Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 4

3

4.6
4.6/5

FreeAgent payroll is our third option. Its easy-to-use HMRC-recognised payroll software allows you to run your monthly payroll and file the PAYE and National Insurance contributions that have also been calculated directly to HMRC. FreeAgent automatically generates payslips for all your employees each month which you can view and edit online and print them off as PDFs. At the end of the tax year, you can generate P60s for all your staff members too.

Makes bookkeeping easy for a novice, and still keeps an accountant happy

Exporting information is a bit tricky in some areas – you can get a pdf out quite easily but an xls or csv would be more useful (you can export the entire company dataset as a csv, but not filtered individual elements such as unpaid expenses or balances within individual accounts). Very clunky for adding customers for invoicing. If you have lots of “retail” customers as I do, and send invoices to large numbers of customers, setting them up is a pain, the system seems to assume that you have a small number of commercial customers with multiple contacts at those companies.

Sage Business Cloud Payroll

Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 5

4

4.3
4.3/5

Simple payroll for small business UK A comprehensive web-based solution from one of the best accounting software firms. It integrates easily with Sage’s other systems for faster financial management. Alternatively, you can run payroll on it’s own in the cloud. Has some direct integration to popular AE pension providers. You can also print or email your payslips, P60s and reports to save yourself from all that paper clutter. It’s easy to amend previous pay runs and adjustments are handled automatically.

Try it free for 30 days, then standard pricing starts at £7 per month + VAT if you have between 1 and 5 employees. It’s important to note that all features are included even in the basic plan. Pricing changes according the number of employees.

The marketing for this product is not as flashy as competitors, and so sometimes it can be a hard sell to clients who want the one with the big ad campaign. As with most cloud products it is constantly evolving and I am not always aware of the new features which come out.

BrightPay

Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 6

5

4.1
4.1/5

BrightPay positions itself as ‘a breath of fresh air’ for those tired of other payroll products. It has won Payroll Software of the Year 2018 and Payroll Software of the Year 2019. Although a desktop solution, BrightPay still manages to bring cloud functionality to those that need it through their optional Connect add-on.

This will get small business owners get automated cloud backup, online employer dashboards, annual leave management, client payroll entry and approval and an employee self-service portal.

In addition, you can event connect to the most popular cloud account software such as Xero, Sage or Quickbooks through their API.

#1
Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 2

Ease of use

93%

Support

94%

Integrations

96%

QuickBooks

9.7
5/5

QuickBooks products are geared mainly toward small and medium-sized businesses managing payslips Your payroll data is connected to your other accounts, so you get the complete picture of your business – anytime, anywhere. There is one interface to understand and pay just one bill. Long history with payroll software For secure and easy payroll

Pros & Cons

No more double entry when you run payroll through your existing QBO file! Quickbooks online has made it incredibly easy for me to run and maintain my business from an administrative standpoint. I am able to manage my business from an iPad, which gives me the freedom that I need to move around. It is easy to use with an incredibly intuitive user interface. I can track payments, invoices, project management, etc. I will continue using this software.

This might not be the right solution for larger companies who have greater HR needs then just cutting a paycheck each pay period, though it is not difficult to set up employee deductions for things like health care, retirement plans, etc.

#2
Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 3

Ease of use

92%

Support

89%

Integrations

98%

Xero

9.5
4.6/5

Xero has three different plans to choose from: starter, standard or premium with prices currently ranging from £10 – £30 per month All necessary government documents

Pros & Cons

Xero, our second contender and probably the best-known supplier in our list, has been around since 2006 Its SaaS accounting software has over 2 million subscribers. Like QuickBooks, you can subscribe for a Xero payroll only plan if you are using different accounting software. Xero allows you to enter a pay run, make bulk payments and email or print pay slips for employees in line with government legislation. Web access (or via the Xero Me mobile app) gives employees self-service options, making their life and yours, so much easier.

Setting our own fiscal calendar is not available, so for every return or P&L, I have to manually adjust dates.
#3
Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 4

Ease of use

95%

Support

84%

Integrations

97%

FreeAgent Payroll

9.4
4.5/5

FreeAgent payroll is our third option. Its easy-to-use HMRC-recognised payroll software allows you to run your monthly payroll and file the PAYE and National Insurance contributions that have also been calculated directly to HMRC. FreeAgent automatically generates payslips for all your employees each month which you can view and edit online and print them off as PDFs. At the end of the tax year, you can generate P60s for all your staff members too.

Pros & Cons

Staying compliant with PAYE can be a headache but FreeAgent takes care of it for you. Run your monthly payroll through FreeAgent and file the PAYE and National Insurance contributions that FreeAgent automatically calculates for you directly to HMRC.

Exporting information is a bit tricky in some areas – you can get a pdf out quite easily but an xls or csv would be more useful (you can export the entire company dataset as a csv, but not filtered individual elements such as unpaid expenses or balances within individual accounts). 

#4
Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 5

Ease of use

87%

Support

65%

Integrations

84%

Sage

8.6
4.25/5

Simple payroll for small business UK A comprehensive web-based solution from one of the best accounting software firms. It integrates easily with Sage’s other systems for faster financial management. Alternatively, you can run payroll on it’s own in the cloud. Has some direct integration to popular AE pension providers. You can also print or email your payslips, P60s and reports to save yourself from all that paper clutter. It’s easy to amend previous pay runs and adjustments are handled automatically.

Pros & Cons

Try it free for 30 days, then standard pricing starts at £7 per month + VAT if you have between 1 and 5 employees. It’s important to note that all features are included even in the basic plan. Pricing changes according the number of employees.

The marketing for this product is not as flashy as competitors, and so sometimes it can be a hard sell to clients who want the one with the big ad campaign. As with most cloud products it is constantly evolving and I am not always aware of the new features which come out.

#5
Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 6

Ease of use

81%

Support

65%

Integrations

75%

BrightPay

8.2
4.15/5

BrightPay positions itself as ‘a breath of fresh air’ for those tired of other payroll products. It has won Payroll Software of the Year 2018 and Payroll Software of the Year 2019. Although a desktop solution, BrightPay still manages to bring cloud functionality to those that need it through their optional Connect add-on.

Pros & Cons

This will get small business owners get automated cloud backup, online employer dashboards, annual leave management, client payroll entry and approval and an employee self-service portal.

Setting up employer mid-year can be a little challenging until you understand how to input all the relevant information.

PDF

Ladda ned detaljerad jämförelse

Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 12

Vanliga frågor

De vanligaste frågorna vi får

Det beror helt på vad man är ute efter. För personalintensiva verksamheter eller där man behöver schemalägga och planera arbetsuppgifter, rum eller projekt är marknaden svårnavigerad. Söker man efter ett program som hanterar vanlig hederlig lönehantering för personal som jobbar 8-17 är det lättare att hitta rätt.

Ja, vanligtvis skiljer sig priserna och prisupplägget mycket.

Den stora skillnaden är oftast upplägget. Vissa leverantörer har en hög uppstartskostnad och en lägre månadsavgift för att täcka support.

Andra har en låg eller obefintlig uppstartskostnad men desto högre månadsavgift. Vi rekommenderar att man väljer en leverantör som har en hyfsat låg, men inte obefintlig uppstartsavgift, och en medelhög månadsavgift.
Detta för att lösningen inte ska bli alltför dyr att komma igång med, men inte heller dyr på längre tid.

Scheduling

När vi jämför funktionerna inom schemaläggningen för programmen tittar vi på flertalet aspekter. Nedan ser du en sammanställning på vilka funktioner vi anser vara viktiga och vilka leverantörer som klarar testerna för funktionerna.

Funktionertimeplan
timeplan
Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 13
timeplan
timeplan
timeplan
timeplan
Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 16Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15
Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 16Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15
Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 16Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15
Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 16Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 16Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 16Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 16Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 16Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 16
Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 16Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 16Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 16Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 16Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15
Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 16Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 16Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 16Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 16Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 16
Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 16Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15
Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 16Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 16Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 16Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 16
5/85/87/84/84/83/85/8

Sammanställning:

LeverantörTop 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 79 Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 81 Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 83 Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 85
timeplan
Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 16Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 157
timeplan
Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 16Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 158
Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 13
Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 159
timeplan
Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 16Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 16Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 156
timeplan
Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 167
timeplan
Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 16Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 155
timeplan
Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 16Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 15Top 5 Payroll Software [2021] - UK 156

Hur vi testar

Här förklarar vi hur vi testar de olika systemen och vilka faktorer vi tittar på och vilka källor vi använder.

Hur vi testar

Att köpa in det rätta lönesystemet är viktigt. Gör man fel val har man ofta slösat bort månader och ibland år på att lära sig ett system som inte passar ens verksamhet tillräckligt bra.

Systemguiden finns till för dig som ska köpa in ett lönesystem eller andra personalhanteringssystem till din organisation. Vi testar, jämför och betygsätter dagligen systemen som finns på marknaden och vill vara så transparenta det bara går med våra tester och hur vi kommer fram till de resultaten vi gör. Därför läser du just nu sektionen på sidan “Hur vi testar”. Du kommer här få en inblick i det dagliga arbete vi gör och hur vi värdesätter funktioner och egenskaper för de olika leverantörerna.

Har du några frågor om tillvägagångssättet eller vill lämna feedback är du välkommen att höra av dig på admin@systemguiden.org.

Vi tittar på sju olika kategorier när vi gör en bedömning och ger ett betyg på en viss leverantör. Varje kategori har underkategorier och totalt sett är det ca 150 st datapunkter vi analyserar när vi gör en samlad bedömning.
Dessa olika kategorier och deras respektive underkategorier är likställda, nedan ser du hur stor del av bedömningen som baseras på respektive kategori. Längre ned kommer du även se en djupare beskrivning av vad vi tittar på inom varje kategori.

Löneprogrammets funktioner

20%

Integrationspartners

20%

Pris

18%

Användarvänlighet

15%

Prestanda/molnbasering

12%

HR-funktioner

10%

Företagets ekonomiska säkerhet

5%

Gör du inte samma prioritering? Gör vårt test som baseras helt på din prioritering och få svar på vilken leverantör som passar dig bäst.