While the vast majority of businesses require payroll software or services, it can be a costly endeavour. Thankfully there are many options available that are either affordable or sometimes even free.
With so many providers and software to choose from, payroll is a competitive market, which can be helpful for those businesses seeking affordable options. There are, however, a variety of types of services to choose from and what may appear cheap for one type, may prove to be more costly in the long run if your payroll needs are not met. The following are the minimum requirements you should expect from software or a provider.
Utilising one of the many payroll software packages is, on the face of it, the most affordable option, especially those integrated with HR, but this will depend on the size of your business and its workforce. Very small businesses can utilise free software packages that process a maximum of between 5 and 15 employees. These are the most basic packages and it is important to ensure they are HMRC recognised. To this end the HMRC itself provides a free software package.
Basic features of any payroll software should include the following abilities:
- Full Documentation of Employees
- Information on Sick, Maternity and Holiday Pay
- In Depth Data on Each Employee’s Salary
- Tax Payments Both Outstanding and Paid
- HMRC Recognition
On top of these basic features, it is recommended that your software can also:
- Calculate Pension Expense and Deductions
- Process Calculations and Payments
- Automatically Send Reports
- Print Payslips
- Have Flexibility of Payments to Employees
Part Managed Services
Part managed services still require the business to enter all relevant data at the front end of the process, while calculations, payments and other time consuming areas of the process are then handled by the service provider. As this option is something of a mix and match method, the basic features will vary but there are some universal elements you should expect as standard from your service. These include:
- Processing Payments of all Kinds, Including Wages and Pensions
- Some Degree of Training or Supervision
- BAC and HMRC Enrolments and Submissions
- Allows Business to Control the Inputting of Data
Fully Managed Services
A fully managed service is sought after by businesses that wish to free up their staff from the time consuming nature of payroll processes. As a result you should have to spend as little a time as possible dealing with everything from inputting data and processing payments and reports. The main features you should expect include:
- Inputting and Processing of Payroll Data
- Managed Pension Schemes
- Managed Holiday and Maternity Pay
- Reporting of all Areas of Payroll, Including Pensions and Costs Analysis
- Real Time Submissions of Data to the HMRC
- Deduction Analysis and Calculations
- Support and Advice
Low Cost Providers
At first glance payroll can seem to be an expensive service, even if it is an essential one. There are, however, some highly affordable options to be taken advantage of that still provide all the features listed above. Searching for the right provider can be daunting with so many providers available; the following is a list of some of the best low cost providers in the UK.
Bond Payroll Services
Bond provide a varied and flexible array of options, from in house software to fully managed payroll services. Each software package is tailored to specific areas of payroll and provides real time calculations and auto payments. This fully managed service offers more than just the basic features you would expect from a provider, including some of the best support and advice in the industry.
Sage are one of the most trusted, affordable providers in the country, with software packages to suit all SME (Small to Medium Sized Enterprises). For the smallest of businesses there is the highly affordable Sage One package that processes up to 15 employees. Other packages are suitable for workforces into the hundreds and there is even a fully managed service that provides all the basic features listed above for just £200 per month. Support is 24/7 and there is a part managed option that can be tailored to suit the specific needs of individual businesses.
While Dreampay offer a highly affordable service by any standards, it is the ability to customise, and adjust the pricing as a result, that makes them a great option for those on a tight budget. All the basic features listed above are available. To this end Dreampay offer advice and support to help you construct the package you require.