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Business Payroll Services for UK Small Businesses

What is a Payroll/HR Service Bureau?

A payroll service bureau is an outsourced business service usually aimed at small businesses that employ a handful of workers but are not large enough to have a specialist payroll function. These services are generally offered by banks, accountancy firms and dedicated companies. Those companies that specialise in payroll often have an HR slant and many offer HR services as part of their overall service. Alternatively, many dedicated HR service bureaus offer payroll as part of the package.

An HR service bureau will offer a comprehensive selection of the most important aspects of human resource management. Services are likely to include, but not be limited to:

  • Contract formation and legality
  • Legal advice / advice on employee law
  • Telephone and online employee support
  • Creation and management of HR policies and procedures
  • Pre-employment checks
  • Training
  • Payroll
small business payroll

Why Use an HR Service Bureau?

Whether your payroll service is combined or sourced independently of each other, the HR service bureau should offer a distinct range of services covering all aspects of human resources.

A wide range of benefits can be derived from using a specialist HR service bureau and most of these revolve around saving money - an attractive proposition for the vast majority of small businesses.

Benefits include:

  • Avoiding costly tribunals
  • Flexibility
  • Savings on legal fees
  • Dedicated, in-house HR specialist not required
  • Freeing up management time to concentrate on the core business
  • Confidence that the function is taken care of by dedicated professionals and that your business is fully compliant
  • Excellent return on investment due to a combination of all of the above benefits

What Bureaus are Available?

The small business outsourcing industry is growing rapidly and that means the choice of HR service bureaus is also growing.

Available providers include:

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AudienceAlso an outsourced payroll service bureau, Ceridian offer a one-stop shop for small business professional services. Alongside payroll as a standalone service, they provide the full array of HR services and offer payroll as part of the package, which can include: data exchange, payroll outputs, payroll outsourcing technology, payroll reports and tax year end filing. Ceridian offers self-service tools, allowing employees to manage their own personal data and information, including online viewing of payslips.


AudienceDeminos are a dedicated HR service bureau offering a 24 hour helpline and up to £1 million cover for tribunal costs.They cover Employment Law, Health & Safety and Training Services. They offer a select range of HR services and create an HR manual specifically for your business, allowing you to track employee data, holidays and sickness, log timesheets and record projects.



Peopletime make all of the peripheral, yet important, functions of large business available to small businesses by offering Payroll,HR consultancy and Health & Safety services, as well as software designed to manage your employees online.They can also take care of all of your HR administration, providing you with a dedicated HR administrator, a member of their team who acts as a qualified member of your staff without the additional cost.

Peopletime offer fully managed payroll, executive payroll, on-line payroll and time and attendance systems, to cater for any business’ needs. .

What Kind of Service Should I Choose?

Most of the services offered by HR bureaus are comparable, so when deciding upon the right one for your business, it really comes down to due diligence. Decide upon all the services you could need as a small business and narrow down your selection to those that most closely fit your requirements.

Once you have a shortlist of suitable providers, it is then a case of looking at testimonials and reputation, comparing prices and perhaps meeting the team in order to choose the best service.