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Online Payroll

Online payroll is the most efficient and accurate way of processing your payroll information short of hiring your own accountancy department. With a vast array of options available, online payroll services may also be one of the most cost-efficient methods of dealing with what can often be a complex process.

Benefits of Processing Payroll Online

While it is not universal, most businesses can benefit from processing their payroll online. Although the structure of every business is unique and some advantages will be more relevant to specific ventures than others, an overview of what online payroll has to offer is important in order to understand the practice as a whole. These include

  • Security
  • Accuracy
  • Cost-Efficiency
  • Time Management
online payroll


Payroll information is some of the most sensitive data a business has. Wages, outgoings, employees’ personal information, taxes and financial planning are all inherent in payroll data. While it is important to make sure the service you are employing is reputable, the ability to process all such information in a streamlined and secure manner is at the heart of a successful online payroll service.


It is essential for the running of a business to be able to process this wealth of information accurately. Paying wages on time, for example, makes for a happy and efficient work force. What’s more, a misreading of your taxes and the subsequent possible fines that follow can be enough to cripple a business entirely. Online payroll services reduce these risks to a minimum, allowing for financial peace of mind and the confidence to invest in a way that allows your company to reach its full potential.


Although online payroll can be costly, particularly for larger businesses with a sizeable staff, it is arguably the most cost-efficient way of dealing with the procedure. As previously mentioned, processing the information “in-house” can lead to extremely costly errors and is not advisable for businesses with anything but the smallest enterprises or experienced financial department. Small online packages can cost as little as £10 a month and most can provide a bespoke service that can be stripped down to make it more affordable.

Find the best payroll packages for small businesses.

Time Management

Because payroll can be a complicated process, the practice is extremely time consuming, even if you have expertise within your company. This can lead to problems where staff are distracted from the job they are trained and hired for and mistakes that become further time consuming as they are corrected.

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Who Is It For?

All but the smallest and largest of businesses are advised to research the possibilities of online payroll. Most businesses will only require a simple payroll package that processes the generic needs of a business’s information. Some industries, or some businesses within those industries, may benefit from bespoke packages as they will have specific needs that are unique to those businesses. These may include the construction industry and public/private sector hybrids.

Top Online Providers

There are many payroll providers to choose from and it is vital that the service you use is reputable and has a high level of security. It is therefore important to take you time before choosing the provider most suitable for your venture. Some of the most highly regarded online payroll providers include:

  • Iris
  • Sage
  • CPS


One of the most established service providers in the UK, Iris also continue to be one of the most popular. Designed for small businesses, they provide a simple service that is affordable, accurate and HMRC recognised. What’s more, there is a free two-month trial option that you can cancel at any time if you are not happy with the service.


Designed for SME (Small to Medium Sized Enterprises) Sage are one the most well-known payroll companies in the UK. With software and accountancy services to suit a vast array of small businesses, they provide affordable options and a high level of support to all their clients.


CPS provide a more complex service that is suitable for larger businesses, although they do cater for smaller ventures as well. Their advanced payroll service is efficient, with reduced waiting times compared to many of their peers, and flexible. They also have one of the most supportive customer service staff in the UK payroll industry.

Alternative Payroll Options

Despite the advantages of outsourcing your payroll needs to a professional, there are some businesses that might be better suited to keeping the process “in-house”. Typically these are companies at either end of the spectrum.

Small businesses, particularly those with little or no staff, may find it easier to use payroll software and process the information themselves. This does make sense for some, particularly is you have a reasonable understanding of the subject. There is a variety of software you can use, including free packages for the most simple payroll requirements.

Find out more about Outsourcing Payroll

For larger businesses it can make sense to keep all accountancy practices, including payroll, within the confines of the business. For this they will require a financial department, which is the most costly method of process payroll data and is only therefore relevant to the largest of ventures.