Best payroll software 2018

Maintaining an efficient payroll system is an important consideration for most companies, regardless of their organizational size or the amount of people they employ. At the end of the day, if you don’t pay your employees on time, they’re not only going to be unhappy but you could also face legal complications. 

Typically, as part of this process, employers will hand out payslips to their employees on a monthly basis. Most payroll systems contain a list of employees; the amount of money companies them monthly; records detailing staff salaries, wages, bonuses; and taxation information. 

The idea here is that employers are given a single place where they can track employment financial information. Payroll systems also allow companies to work out much tax they should be paying on behalf of their employees, and human resource departments are able to respond quickly to members of staff who have experienced payment errors and irregularities.

In the past, such systems have been paper-based. However, most companies are investing in payroll and HR software as part of digital transformation efforts. With such technology, companies can access the aforementioned data points from one platform and store sensitive information in the cloud.

Here are the best payroll applications of 2018. 

Xero Payroll

With more than one million users worldwide, Xero’s payroll and accountancy platform is definitely worth considering if you’re looking for an easy way to manage employee payments. It lets you make individual and bulk payments, and email or print out payslips for staff members.   

The software also provides you with the tools to make tax calculations and automatically submits payment data to HMRC, ensuring your company is fully compliant with the latest tax laws. When it comes to managing employees, you’re able to track working hours and manage annual leave from one platform. 

Depending on your company’s payroll procedures you can choose when employees get their pay: weekly, monthly, fortnightly or twice a month. The application will also work out the amount of money employees and contractors should get based on their job roles or the tasks they’ve completed. 

What’s more, you can reimburse employees for expenses and manage pension data from the platform. For book-keeping, the software can generate detailed reports about payroll history, bank transactions, payments and employee annual leave. There’s a mobile app available too, which lets you submit, view and approve payment requests. Prices start at £10 per month.

Sage Business Cloud Payroll

British software company Sage has also developed a payroll platform that makes it easier for businesses and human resource managers to process employ payments. Sporting a quick, four-step pay run, the platform lets you enter hourly or annual pay. Sage will handle the rest.   

You can easily submit PAYE and National Insurance data to HMRC, and print payslips, P60s and payroll reports. The software is now fully compliant with the EU General Data Protection Regulation, so you don’t have to worry about employee data getting into the wrong hands. There are also tools to process absence, bonuses, expenses, holiday pay, pensions and student loans.

More than anything, the software is easy and quick to use – you don’t need any experience or training to get around the user interface. However, if you do end up getting confused or experiencing an issue, you can access a 24/7 support service. What’s worth noting is that this software is aimed at small and medium-sized businesses. An account for one to five employees costs £3 per month. 


If you’re looking for a mobile-friendly payroll application you should definitely take a look at Quickbooks. Working across smartphones, tablets and computers, the software functions as an affordable and easy system for managing employee payments 

Through the platform you’re able to generate payslips and send them directly to employees, as well as mandatory forms such as P45s and P60s. There’s a feature to calculate maternity and sick leave too, and Quickbooks will also remind you to send payments so you don’t forget. 

Like Sage’s offering, the application can accurately and securely work out your PAYE and National Insurance contributions. It’ll send this information directly to HMRC, while providing detailed guidance on the way. You can also quickly access employees and manage pension contributions from one dashboard. 

Depending on the size of your business, prices vary. If you’re self-employed and need a way to manage your own payments, you can get the platform for just £6 per month. Meanwhile, the small business packages cost £15 and £25 monthly. That said, every plan comes with free 24/7 support.   

Bamboo HR Payroll

When searching for a good payroll solution you’ll generally find that most HR technology companies offer their own payment features or applications. Bamboo HR, for instance, provides a separate payroll platform that syncs with its employee-management software.   

The software allows you to eradicate double entries, add new employees quickly, and track employee hours and bonus payouts. Other features of the platform include time-off tracking, staff database and records, an applicant tracking system, performance management and electronic signatures. You can demo the software before signing up for a premium plan.   


Payescape is another HR technology company that offers its own payroll solution. This web-based, customisable platform is designed for small and medium-sized businesses looking for a simple way to pay their employees.   

As is the case with many other payroll services, Payescape not only lets you hand out payslips directly to employees, but also calculates and files faxes with HMRC. Plus, it comes with a built-in auto-enrollment feature, which checks to see if employees are eligible for certain reliefs and penpasion funds. 

However, this software isn’t just designed for use by employers. Staff members can also log in to edit personal information such as addresses and bank details, view their payslips and request leave. If an employee notices they’ve not been paid, you can quickly reimburse them from the dashboard.  

Should you need to chase previous payments you can access financial reports detailing transactions, paid time off and tax payments. What’s also handy is that you can download and scan documents, and track employee skills, education and training with the app. Before making a final decision, you can demo the software.   

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