What Is the Best Accounting & Payroll Software?

IRIS is our top pick for small businesses looking for accounting and payroll software.

Accounting and payroll software help your business tackle difficult tasks more efficiently. With varying options on the market, it can be difficult to nail down the right choice. That's where we come in – we've narrowed down the best of the bunch and found our top five recommendations.

You can use our free quote tool to be matched up with suppliers for your business. Give us a few details and we'll do the rest. You'll then be contacted by trusted providers with no-obligation quotes.


Top five accounting and payroll software providers

1. IRIS – Best all around

iris logo
IRIS Software
Pricing Bespoke
Quick overview

Iris is a HMRC-recognised payroll software, which makes submitting the necessary forms online that much more seamless. Iris offers in-depth reporting so you can stay on top of your payroll at all times. One of the difficulties of using a payroll solution can be the lack of control you have over it, but with detailed reporting, you can be confident everything is going as planned.

This reporting includes comprehensive reports on employee data, so you can ensure your employees are being managed in the best way possible. Iris ensures your business complies with legislation around Automatic Enrolment, making sure you stay compliant. The platform also deals with all deductions, such as NI and statutory tax.

The software is easy to use, although some users have reported that Iris’s customer service is not great, making it difficult to get issues resolved quickly and efficiently.

Strengths

Integrated with HMRC

Easy to use

Detailed reporting

Weaknesses

Poor customer service

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2. Quickbooks – Best for a full tax service

quickbooks
Quickbooks
Quick overview

QuickBooks Payroll integrates easily with QuickBooks Online, so it's a great option if you’re already using that platform – but the payroll service can still be used as a standalone. If you use these two services together, your bookkeeping records and reporting are updated in real time each pay cycle, making it easy for you to share payroll info with your accountant.

All of QuickBooks Payroll’s pricing plans include full-service payroll, which is rare to find as other payroll providers tend to limit the number of services available depending on how much you’re paying. All of the plans include unlimited payroll runs, automated tax calculations and filing, direct deposit and an employee portal.

Once you’ve set up payroll, you can then set it to run automatically, giving you one less job to do. Your payroll taxes are calculated, filed and paid for you. QuickBooks is designed with small businesses in mind, making it easier for you to concentrate on more important tasks and leaving the mundane ones for your payroll service.

Strengths

Integrates well with QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Time

Offers auto payroll and tax filing and payments

Weaknesses

Limited features on mobile app

Pricing
Package Prices
Simple Start £12/month
Essentials £22/month
Plus £32/month

3. Kashflow – Best for small businesses

Kashflow
Pricing From £7/mo
Quick overview

Kashflow offers simple, easy to use payroll and accounting software. Kashflow is affordable and its intuitive interface makes it a great option for start-ups, small business and the less tech-savvy.

As its cloud-based, you can access it from anywhere, so any last minute checks or issues can be checked and sorted, whenever and wherever. The software is best suited for small businesses and is designed to make it simpler and quicker to manage your accounts.

You can link the account directly to HMRC so you never miss another VAT return deadline. Invoicing is made easier and you can set it up to automate. You can also customise, edit or print invoices.

Pricing
Package
Starter £7/month
Business £13/month

4. Sage – Best for ease of use

Sage
Pricing From £7/mo
Quick overview

Sage offers a clean, simple and intuitive software for payroll, accounting, CRM and more. Its cloud-based payroll software has accounting add-ons, so you have one organised platform for all your business needs.

Payroll is a quick 4-step process, with Sage handling all the calculations, you can ensure your payroll is timely and accurate. Sage is HMRC compliant, so you can send real-time data to HMRC with just a click.

Sage has 24/7 online customer support and free telephone support, so you don't need to worry about running into any issues.

Pricing
No. of employeesPrices
5 employees £7
10 employees £12
15 employees £17

5. Xero – Best for small business accounting

xero logo
Xero
Quick overview

Xero is a simple accounting software that integrated with a third-party payroll service. Xero is cloud-based and has a mobile app, so you can access it from anywhere in the world.

Xero is suitable for small businesses who don't have complicated accounting needs. By connecting to Stripe, GoCardless and others, you can accept payments online and get paid twice as quickly.

You can stay on top of your bills and pay on time, every time. Store your bills in one place and make batch payments and schedule them in advance.

Pricing
Package Pricing
Starter £6
Standard £13
Premium £16.50

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What is payroll accounting software?

Payroll accounting software is software that offers tools to help you run your payroll and accounting. This includes automated calculations, NI deductions, taxes, invoicing and billing.

How much does payroll and accounting software cost?

Payroll and accounting software costs will depend on the number of employees in your business. Prices start from around £7 a month for a basic package.


What are the benefits of outsourcing payroll?

Outsourcing payroll gives you extra time to work on other important parts of your business. Running payroll in-house can take up a chunk of your resources, but by outsourcing you can have peace of mind and more time on your hands.

Outsourcing also reduces your cost to hire and train staff to run payroll. Although you have to pay to outsource, this can often work out cheaper when compared to running payroll in-house.

Outsourcing also reduces the chance of misfiling or not filing on time, along with other HMRC related blunders. If this sounds like the best option for your business, there are many payroll companies to choose from.

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How can you make the right decision for your business?

When choosing the best payroll solution for your business, take into account your budget, pay frequency, HMRC compliancy, invoicing and billing tools. 

Verdict

Our top choice is IRIS, thanks to its long-standing place in the industry, IRIS has all the tools necessary to run your business with ease.

We chose IRIS by looking at the best on the market, comparing their features, looking at reviews and user experience.

If you're still on the hunt for the right software, you can use our free quote tool to compare and save.

FAQs

What is the easiest payroll software to use?
According to our research, Sage is the easiest payroll software to use. Sage offers a straightforward payroll process and the software is intuitive and simple.

What are the benefits of payroll accounting software?
Payroll accounting software provides businesses with more free time, less manual errors and peace of mind. Using payroll accounting software gives you tools and solutions to ensure all your business needs are taken care of such as automated calculations, HMRC forms, bill automations and much more.

Zara is a law grad with a penchant for wordsmithing. As Expert Market’s CRM and payroll expert, she relishes researching and writing expert content.