Selecting the Right Payroll Software: 5 Tips for Growing UK-Based Businesses

Selecting the Right Payroll Software: 5 Tips for Growing UK-Based Businesses

Payroll management is one of the most critical aspects of running a business. Whether you run a startup with a few dozen employees or an enterprise with a large workforce, you need a system in place. Timely and accurate payroll processes foster employee engagement, productivity, and morale. They also keep your business ahead on the compliance front.

While the benefits of a robust payroll system are evident, implementing it for a growing business is easier said than done. It gets even more challenging in a country like the UK, which has one of the most complex payroll frameworks in Europe. Brexit has added to the complications in recent years. Globally, the UK sits at the 42nd spot on the list of countries with the most complex HR and payroll processes.

Fortunately, business owners can use software solutions to do the heavy lifting and address their unique payroll needs. With the right tool, your payroll can take minutes rather than hours, regardless of your team’s size. Here are a few tips to guide growing UK-based businesses regarding the decision.

1. Think Custom

Every business has unique requirements, depending on its size, long-term goals, and industry. When choosing payroll software for your company, you must check the following factors:

Company Type

Your payroll requirements depend on the type of business you run. For example, the standard systems for hospitality, accounting, and construction companies aren’t the same. Likewise, intermediaries require a system to invoice employees on behalf of multiple employers.

Number of Employees

According to the latest statistics, UK businesses had 30.2 million payrolled employees on board as of July 2023. But team sizes vary from company to company. Consider the current number of employees and the growth in team size you anticipate for the year ahead. Bigger teams require robust solutions with more features to handle payroll complexities.

Business Goals

For businesses following growth goals, the choice of payroll software boils down to scalability. A scalable solution enables you to adapt to the evolving needs of your organisation. With this, you will not have to stress about switching providers unexpectedly.

Check Payment Frequency

Monthly payroll is the most common in the UK, though some organisations also follow the weekly system. While checking your options for payroll software in the UK, ensure it offers functionalities to handle different payment frequencies.

2. Decide on Your Budget

Growing businesses often struggle with money constraints, making cost a key consideration when choosing payroll software. Here are the things to bear in mind when it comes to deciding on your budget:

Go for Transparent Pricing

Software products may burn a hole in your bank account if you do not check the transparency factor. Seek clarity regarding the cost of scaling, because you will need to add more members as your business grows over time.

Steer Clear of Hidden Costs

Hidden costs such as extra integrations, customer support, and after-sales services can skyrocket the price of payroll software. Check these unexpected costs before making the final selection.

3. Prioritise User Friendliness

It’s hard to over-emphasise the value of user-friendliness when choosing any software product for a business, and payroll solutions are no exception. Not all HR professionals are tech-savvy, but they should have no problems using the chosen product.

Prioritise the following features:

  • Look for set-and-forget functionality
  • Ensure an intuitive user interface for non-technical users
  • Double-check bulk payment abilities
  • Opt for employee self-service to save time and effort
  • Check for free trials to ensure comfort before signing up

4. Check Technical Requirements

Besides ensuring user-friendliness, you must also check the technical requirements for implementing a payroll solution for your business. As a growing business, you should avoid burdening your own tech infrastructure with a complex system. A plug-and-play option is a far better option.

Check the following technology essentials before signing up:

Cloud-Based or On-Premise

Cloud-based software makes an apt choice for growing businesses. It enables users to access and update the payroll system anytime, from anywhere, and on any device. It is also more flexible and economical than an on-premises solution.

Easy Integration

Look for a payroll solution that integrates seamlessly with your entire HR and finance stack, from scheduling workers to tracking time, running reports, and reconciling your accounting. Ensure a smooth workflow by integrating the solution with other tools and apps you use every day.

Technology Limitations

With on-premises software, you must consider technology limitations such as your existing hardware in terms of operating system and storage. Also, consider any changes you intend to make in the future. Likewise, cloud-based software should be compatible with your browser of choice and mobile access needs.

5. Go Through Add-ons

Statistics show that the UK was home to 5.5 million small and medium-sized enterprises in 2022. This number shows massive growth potential in the country. Growing businesses need additional payroll support through add-ons and features. For example, you may want to add freelancers or contract workers to your team at some point.

Look for a payroll solution with add-on features to match your evolving requirements. These include:

  • Handling contractor payments and different salary structures
  • Tax compliance, regardless of the changes in laws and guidelines
  • Simple employee onboarding and termination
  • Customer support to address concerns and questions


Although payroll software can simplify a business owner’s life, there are no shortcuts to choosing the right one. But the effort going into the process is justified because you can set and forget about it once you have done your research and found the right option. The simple checklist covered in this article can help you compare options and pick wisely.