What is the best payroll software for a small business

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What is payroll software?

Payroll software is a handy solution to help maintain, manage and help to automate payments to your employees. Payroll software will help you track your payment records for all your employees. Payroll software will also help with keeping track of employee attendance and payment made to HMRC.

Why would payroll software be the best to use?

Using payroll software would be beneficial to any business that has employees from small businesses to large ones. It will help with:

  • Working out calculations and deductions
  • Will integrate
  • It will calculate bonuses, holiday pay and any expenses
  • The software will generate a payslip for your employees which will hold all the correct information
  • The software will allow you to develop p60’s and p45’s
  • It will also allow you to link to your HMRC account to send the data directly to HMRC. 

Best payroll software for a small business

There is numerous software on the market available for doing all of the above. There is a list on GOV.UK website https://www.gov.uk/payroll-software. The GOV website also has free software for use. As making digital cam into force in 2019, the list has grown as software have developed. Please see details below for 4 of the most used software for payroll:


QuickBooks payroll is easy to set up for small businesses. It will allow for RTI (Real-time information) to be linked to your HMRC account; this means at the click of a button, once payroll has been processed, it will automatically send all the information straight to HMR. QuickBooks also allows for payslips o be printed or sent to the employee by email; they will have a set password for ease of access to this. QuickBooks has two packages for payroll a standard or advance.


Xero payroll is an extremely popular software system for many businesses. Xero payroll software is easy to use and has a function for employees to download an app and have limited access to allow for them to request leave, view their payslips, and add timesheets for review. Xero also offers RTI (Real-time information) and automatic tax pensions and leave calculations. Xero has automated pensions to which they will send data directly; Nest and The Peoples Pension; will automatically be calculated in Xero for you. Xero will also allow for you to track employees leave.


Sage is a cloud-based payroll software. It is easy to set up and is suitable for small to large size businesses. Sage payroll will automatically calculate PAYE, National insurance and pensions. Sage payroll will send your employee a payslip by email, which can be accessed online with secured access. Sage will also make autoenrollment for pensions easy and will calculate this for. It will also send the data to popular auto-enrolment for pensions. Sage also has RTI( real-time information), where your figures are automatically sent to HRMC.


Brightpay is solely a payroll software and has all the features needed, and is easy to use. There are many features on Brightpay. Brightpay offers you the choice to run your payroll weekly, fortnightly, 4 weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly. They have an unlimited number of deductions that can be added to a payslip. You can use Brightpay to process employees individually or in batches. It will calculate any deductions needed, i.e. national insurance and tax. Payslips can be printed or securely emailed to your employee. It is a recognised software approved by HMRC for RTI( Real-time information). It will help calculate employees leave even if this part-year or part-time. You can also have ease of access to employee leave and many more features.