How to Choose the Best Payroll App for Your UK-Based Company?

How to Choose the Best Payroll App


Data suggests that last year, almost 90% of UK businesses unfortunately struggled with errors in their payroll, which led to issues with business performance. Failure to manage payroll correctly can negatively impact the satisfaction of your employees and your company’s reputation, and it can even expose you to lawsuits from team members and fines from regulators.

With the right software, you essentially enhance your ability to efficiently issue payslips, wire funds to employees and pension funds, automate reports to the relevant authorities, measure employee hours, track outgoing expenses, and comply with government regulations.

However, choosing the best UK payroll software for your company can be a complex process. There are a huge number of accounting and payroll solutions out there, and their various functionalities are constantly changing, so how do you know which is right for you?

How to Choose the Best Payroll App for Your UK-Based Company?

Step 1: Focus on the Bigger Picture, with a Scalable Service

It’s easy to get caught up in choosing payroll software that addresses your specific needs in the moment. However, no matter what industry you’re in, or how small your business may be to begin with, there’s always a chance you’ll need to rapidly scale your services.

Focus on the Bigger Picture, with a Scalable Service

The right cloud-based payroll software should be able to adapt to your changing needs over time. It should offer real-time insights into pay changes as they happen, and allow you to add or sync employees to your system on-demand, with minimal effort.

Opting for a solution which also allows you to set specific user roles and permissions for each member of your team can also be helpful. This will allow you to invite other staff members from your HR department to work together on ensuring payroll consistency.

Step 2: Know Your Company’s Specific Requirements

Different businesses have different factors to account for when it comes to payroll. If you’re in the restaurant sector, you might need to account for tips in your compensation system. If you’re in the financial landscape, or if you employ a significant sales team, you may need to consider commission-based bonuses and rewards.

The right payroll app should make it easy to adapt your payroll strategy to the compensation models of your organisation. It should also allow you to make changes to payroll based on employee submissions, overtime information and other data, all the way up until payday.

Choose an app that has customizable salary components for different industries, job profiles, and requirements. A diverse solution will make it easier to instantly manage employee spending, team budgets, and other concerns in one environment.

Step 3: Prioritise Ease of Use

Above all else, the right payroll app for your UK company should be easy to use. It should ensure you can rapidly set up approval processes and workflows in no time, without having to worry about complex calculations and coding. It should also make it simple to track important information, such as leave and attendance data.

Prioritise Ease of Use

The best payroll solutions in the market today implement intelligent automation functionalities into their ecosystems, to minimise the manual work required of business leaders. For instance, some solutions can automatically sync with your bookkeeping and HR tracking systems, calculate salary deductions and taxes, and automate payouts to ensure you don’t miss important deadlines.

Some solutions come with self-service portals for employees. This can allow team members to submit proof of business purchases, or share information about their work schedules online. You may even be able to send automatic reminders to employees to help them submit information on time.

Step 4: Look for the Right Customer Support

Even with an easy-to-use application, managing payroll in an ever-changing landscape can be complicated. Tax rules in the UK are constantly changing. If you’re not equipped with the latest knowledge, and you don’t have an accountant available to help you, it’s easy to make mistakes.

An excellent payroll app should come with access to CIPP accredited payroll specialists and experts, who are always on-hand to help answer any questions you might have. Before investing in a solution, examine how the app deals with onboarding to help you make the most of its various tools.

Check out the help centre and knowledge base articles offered by the website, and find out whether you can leverage customer support consistently, whenever you need it.

Step 5: Look for Visibility and Reporting Features

Comprehensive visibility is essential to a smooth payroll process. Every UK payroll app should provide access to comprehensive payroll reports for governance, budget analysis and tax filing. These tools should also offer insights into full and final settlements, and audit trail reports.

A comprehensive audit trail solution will ensure you can constantly trace or investigate any changes made to employee records.

Look for Visibility and Reporting Features

The best payroll apps will allow you to export crucial data from your ecosystem whenever necessary. Plus, it should give you the opportunity to dive into any variances or issues that might be happening within your payroll strategy.

In-depth reports can help you to better understand cost fluctuations, and reduce errors when it comes to paying team members.

Step 6: Ensure your Tool Integrates with your Existing Software

Payroll apps should always be ready to integrate with the tools and resources your company already uses. If you already have an accounting solution in place, such as Xero or QuickBooks, make sure your payroll system can integrate with this technology.

The right tools will seamlessly integrate with accounting tools, banking apps, and other resources, to make streamlining the payroll process simple. These solutions should allow you to import salary and employee information into your app from other environments, for clear insights.

The app you choose should also make it easy for you to automatically update records with information about tax codes and student loans, without having to manually import data.

Step 7: Ensure Safety and Compliance

It almost goes without saying, but compliance and security are crucial to choosing the right payroll software.

The solution you go with should be able to automatically capture the data required to keep you compliant with industry regulations, and avoid fines.

Ensure Safety and Compliance

Look for a solution that’s HMRC recognized for PAYE, and check that the service is ISO 270001 certified, and GDPR compliant, so you don’t have to worry about any data security issues.

It’s also worth taking a closer look at exactly how your app secures your sensitive information. Payroll involves storing some crucial information about your employees, so it’s worth checking for a service that offers two-factor authentication, encryption, and other security features that will help you to minimise risk for your team members.

Step 8: Check Your Software Fits your Budget

Finally, it’s important to ensure the monthly subscription price for your payroll app adheres to your budget. Most payroll software vendors will offer a variety of different pricing options to choose from. The amount you pay will often depend on the size of your company, and the features you need.

When selecting the right plan, make sure you’re getting the best possible value for money. Don’t overlook the importance of features like customisable pay policies and expert payroll advice just to save a little extra cash.

It may even be worth reaching out to some payroll app vendors to ask them for a custom quote based on your specific needs.

Investing in the Right Payroll App for your Team

Payroll apps are an essential financial and operational business investment for any organisation. Choosing the right solution will help you to streamline your operations, and improve the satisfaction levels of your employees, while staying compliant with legal regulations.

Make sure you follow the  steps above to improve your chances of investing in a payroll solution that benefits both your business and your team.

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