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For small to medium-sized organisations, payroll systems automate each stage in the payroll cycle.

By making it simple to set up direct debits, withdraw tax payments, and maintain proper paperwork in order to avoid being penalised, it lets you handle payments for your employees.

When carried out manually, these procedures can take a lot of time, and mistakes are simple to make. The IRS imposed over £4 billion in fines in 2020 for problems including failing to pay and bounced checks affecting the ability to sell a business later.

We looked at different cloud-based payroll software solutions to assist you in selecting the best payroll software for your company. We considered the price, usability, key integrations, practicality, monitoring features, and support.

Table of Contents:

Our Top Pick of Cloud-Based Payroll Software Solutions (UK) 📘

These guides are not exhaustive. We aim to provide Mission-critical data that is made as efficiently as possible. It’s important that you attune to your particular circumstances. There are a few key things about British cloud-based payroll software solutions:

  •  🇬🇧 Process automation and streamlining. Which will help you save time and money. Members of huge teams that contain administrators and payroll and HR specialists.
  •  🇬🇧 Insights and reporting. The majority of well-known HR payroll systems include detailed analytics that provides you with in-depth insights into company reporting and forecasting.
  •  🇬🇧 Setting up shortened agreements. Which is typical of outsourcing.
  •  🇬🇧 Merging with other bookkeeping systems. As well as other accounting software.

Each of these functions is performed by cloud-based software solutions, however, it should have the following functionalities:

  • ✔️ Getting all of your payroll handled by licenced professionals. Which will ensure that your offerings are always precise, dependable, and in compliance with HMRC.
  • ✔️ Versatility in delegating to experts. Which you can modify based on your unique circumstances; essentially on an as-needed basis.
  • ✔️ Managing duties. Such as those found in payroll and human resources.

See the top HR payroll software.

Top Cloud Payroll Software Solutions ☁️ – Reviews 2024

Service ProviderRating
1. Gusto★★★★★Visit here
2. QuickBooks Payroll★★★★★Visit here
3. Paychex Flex★★★★★Visit here
4. Workful★★★★Visit here
5. OnPay★★★★Visit here
6. Payroll4Free★★★★Visit here
7. ADP★★★★★Visit here
8. Rippling★★★★★Visit here

1. Gusto – Top Overall Cloud-Based Payroll Software Solution

Gusto is the greatest option overall since it has three considerate tiers for small to medium businesses that want payroll with a side of human resources (HR) capabilities.

Depending on demands, each package provides a fully automated payroll ideal for practically any organisation.

Gusto is comparable to other payroll software solutions in that it allows you to fund your staff via direct deposit or cheques. Additionally, it automatically monitors and files local, regional, and federal income tax. Gusto stands out from the competition since it provides a better strategy as you move through the tiers.

Gusto Software Solution

Gusto improves the simplicity of bank transfer the more costly your plan, as opposed to eliminating it for the low-cost plan. For instance, the lowest plan's bank deposit might require up to four days to clear, whereas next-day bank deposit is available for higher-tier plans.

One of the more cost-effective options for a comprehensive payroll plan is the Gusto Core plan, which costs £30 per month plus £5 per employee each month. The monthly cost of the Plus plan is £60, but each employee will just pay £10, and you may provide next-day direct deposit. To discover more about the company's Premium services, which include individualised assistance and regulatory alerts, you must get in touch with them.

⭐ Because it is on the secure cloud, you can monitor staff attendance and paid time-off on whatever device on the go.


  • Cheap and excellent value endless payroll runs
  • Monitoring of paid time off (PTO)
  • Every state has full-service payroll accessible


  • The Comprehensive and Concierge plans are the only ones that offer day-after bank transfers
  • Concierge members only receive specific support

2. QuickBooks Payroll – Favourite Payroll Software Solutions for Easy Setup

Since everything is automated and simple to operate for any QuickBooks user, QuickBooks Payroll is our simplest choice to set up if you currently use QuickBooks for small businesses and other bookkeeping.

Due to the tutorials and knowledge base's depth, you probably won't need to seek assistance. If it doesn't work for you, a fast internet check will lead you to a tonne of tutorials.

Those who are acquainted with QuickBooks will find QuickBooks' user interface to be the most simple to set up. Online tools abound to help anyone sign up for their payroll management in addition to providing customer service. Regardless of expertise, QuickBooks does a superb job of making payments straightforwardly.

Despite the fact that QuickBooks has amazing benefits, you must pay for them. The cheapest package starts at £40 per month + £4 for each additional person. The Premium plan adds HR help and a payroll setup review by a professional to its features for an additional £60 per month + £6 per person per month.

⭐ Get 24/7 help as well as protection against tax penalties with the QuickBooks Elite plan, which costs £100/mo plus £8 per worker monthly.


  • Simple setup and clear interface
  • Smooth bookkeeping interface with QuickBooks
  • Options for quick direct deposits


  • Hard to justify the price paid
  • Cheapest package does not have the time track on the go function

3. Paychex Flex – Top Payroll Cloud System for Reporting

You may access more than 160 reports from Paychex Flex to gain a comprehensive picture of salaries, taxes, employee turnover, and more.

Paychex is our greatest reporting solution since it mostly satisfies your requirements for data and reports in payroll software.

Additionally, it maintains compliance, submits your payroll taxes automatically, and integrates with other crucial applications you use, including bookkeeping and benefits apps.

Paychex has a number of positive aspects. The payroll software gives many upgrade choices that you may require as your business expands, making it simple to set up and manage payroll, onboarding, and it streamlines the filing of national, regional, and local payroll taxes.

However, Paychex has the advantage in this area because the fundamental reports you receive from it may be worth the monthly subscription on its own. Additionally, custom fields will allow you to add any additional data field you choose, which is uncommon for a small online business payroll system.

The Paychex Flex Essentials plan costs £35 monthly and £4 per person, but unless you request a unique quotation, it's difficult to estimate the amount the Paychex Flex Select and Paychex Flex Pro plans would cost you. If a great online payroll system connects with existing software, that is one of its key features.


  • Positives Constant assistance
  • HR add-ons that are simple to utilise
  • Strong reporting capability


  • Setup and EOY tax documents have hidden costs
  • Mixed feedback about support

4. Workful – Top Payroll Software Solution for Support

Unlike the entry before this, Workful has a standout reputation for customer service.

We chose Workful as the finest customer service choice since it is one of the more recent online payroll systems and is already well-known for its outstanding customer service. Everything from HMRC compliance to tracking time sheets.


It's simple to set up the geographical time monitoring and measurement is easy to set up and ensures that employees clock in and leave from the places you've identified as appropriate. Workers can also use the app to record expenses that will be covered by the following payroll cycle.

Despite being inexpensive and simple to use, Workful has certain limitations. For instance, it doesn't automatically file your taxes for you. However, it wins our award for outstanding customer service since it offers quick direction with simple instructions for small business owners. It just costs £25 each month + £5 per team member each month.

One of the most user-friendly payroll management providers is Workful. The interface is tidy, and the primary menu on the left is easy to use. With a tutorial that guides you through setting up your services, setup is simple enough. Once the time-clock is set up, you may sit back and relax. The software is only used by employees to clock in and exit.

Workful does not really appear to work well with other integrations well. Only QuickBooks Online may be integrated. It has integrated time management, document management, and HR choices since it wants to be a comprehensive software solution.

⭐ Yes, you might get superior support. But Workful isn't the best payroll software if you're satisfied with your time-tracking system, use an alternative accounting system, or use Zapier integrations.


  • Inexpensive
  • Simple to use
  • Includes tracking of staff expenses
  • Offers GPS time-clock monitoring
  • Document management


  • Little reporting capabilities
  • Installation seems awkward

5. OnPay – Powerful Payroll Software Solution for SMBs

Small businesses will find OnPay's cloud payroll system to be simple to use and reasonably priced.

There are no additional costs, which is crucial for a small firm operating on a tight budget. Your national, regional, and local payroll taxes are calculated and filed automatically by the full-service payroll. Payroll will still need to be processed and approved on a regular basis.

OnPay's setup process streamlines the time-consuming process of setting up payroll for the first time in a new application. You should be alright if you follow the instructions and make sure your information is correct. You may obtain assistance and OnPay guarantees accuracy if you want to import the data into OnPay from another payroll provider.

OnPay is a tad more costly than rival services like Workful and Payroll4Free at £40 monthly and £6 per person each month. Although it is more expensive, you get a lot more for your money, making it our top recommendation for small business owners looking to streamline payroll and hr.

Along with the full-service automatic payroll that OnPay provides, you also receive free W-2 and 1099 employee filing services. Offer letters, e-signing, automatic onboarding, and document storage are just a few of the HR tools that are available to assist you in hiring new workers. These elements are often included as extras or in the top tiers of other services.


  • No extra costs
  • Simple to use
  • Decent value for the money


  • No bank deposit on the same day or the following day
  • No automatic submitting of payroll

6. Payroll4Free – Top Free Cloud-Based Payroll Software Solution

If you don't mind doing some manual labour, Payroll4Free is the greatest really free payroll solution you can find.

Unless you're prepared to make a little payment, you won't be able to submit tax payments or pay your staff by bank transfer. This would be an improvement over conducting payroll on paper if your company has less than 25 employees.

The only free programme that offers all the administrative features required to handle a paycheck is Payroll4Free. Basically, Payroll4Free allows you to enter hours for payroll for your company, keeping you in charge of most administrative HR responsibilities. However, it will do calculations for you. Although setup is manual, a tool aids in entering the appropriate data in the appropriate locations. You might make mistakes with this, but that is true of many payroll software solutions.

A fixed monthly fee of £25 is charged for submitting payroll taxes. An additional £25 per month will be required if you choose to pay your staff by bank transfer. If not, money will be manually put into your account, allowing you to pay your employees by check; nevertheless, you might want to think about investing in check-printing software. You'll still pay less even if you decide to purchase these services.

⭐ Unless you employ more than 25 workers or want Payroll4Free to submit your tax payments for you, there are no costs associated with using Payroll4Free.


  • Free to use
  • Tax preparation and payment via direct transfer are inexpensive
  • Pay W-2 or 1099 employees


  • Limited capabilities
  • Setting up is entirely manual

7. ADP – Great Cloud Payroll Software Solution for Bigger Companies

ADP is among the most recognisable brands in payroll and human resources. It is perfect for huge firms or enterprises that expect to develop quite quickly due to its well-known brand and years of expertise.

Full-service payroll, direct deposit, reports, and an employee portal are all included in the cheapest package. Higher-priced plans include more features and HR functions.

You'll understand why bigger companies often employ it by taking a look at ADP's primary rivals. Although ADP has historically evolved into a professional employer organisation (PEO), it has developed to now provide a payroll solution that is better suited for small businesses.

A payroll solution that can expand with your company is a smart option, if just to prevent the need for data migration to another provider in the future. With its ADP RUN service—which is ideal for companies with fewer than 50 employees—ADP makes it feasible.

However, because ADP does not really publicise the pricing of its plans, it is difficult to compare the cost of ADP's plans to those of competing providers. To receive a personalised quotation for your company depending on your requirements and the number of employees at your company, you will be required to complete forms in contrast to every piece of software on this page. Setup costs may be anything from £25 to £200, although salespeople sometimes offered to eliminate them if we signed up right away.

⭐ For a 10-person firm, we came across a range of prices and setup costs that ranged from £150 to £200 monthly, making it an expensive route.


  • Flexible with a variety of plan choices
  • Dependable reporting/customisation
  • Numerous HR add-ons


  • Price transparency is lacking
  • Numerous features, perhaps too many for small firms
  • Many costs, such as setup

8. Rippling – Best Cloud-Based Payroll Software Solution for Integrations

Rippling is cloud-based HR software that provides payroll as an add-on function, but even if you only use it for payroll, you'll think it more cost-effective and practical than other solutions.

That’s because of its strong software integrations. Accounting and time-and-attendance software integrations improve the usefulness of any payroll software, and Rippling provides this and much more.

Rippling merits a spot on this list since it integrates practically any programme you already use without much difficulty. It is far simpler and quicker to process payroll when all the data is able to automatically sync. Although most payroll software allows you to run payroll as frequently as you need, it's still essential to make the process to make.

⭐ To receive a personalised quotation, you'll need to get in touch with Rippling, although the price could include a basic charge to utilise the system and then £8 monthly for payroll per worker. You must ask for a free estimate in order to view your specific price.


  • Advantageous pricing for small firms
  • Integrate with more than 400 apps
  • Pay employees wherever


  • Pricing information is not easily accessible

Powerful Cloud-Based Payroll Software Solutions ☁️ Buying Guide

Now that we’ve investigated some of the most powerful cloud-based payroll software solutions on the British market, let’s investigate in more detail how these work.

Cloud Payroll Software Explained 📖

Your company's payroll service is a crucial component, and choosing the correct supplier can guarantee compliance and seamless operations. Cloud-based payroll services offer simple system integration, staff portal access, and automated updates to keep you in compliance at all times.

How do you define ‘Cloud-Based’?

The term "cloud-based" simply refers to software that is accessible online and saved on a server other than your office, as opposed to just being directly stored on a device there. This is comparable to watching a movie online through Amazon Prime as opposed to a DVD. The programme is stored differently in this case. Another example is storing your personal documents in a free cloud storage account.

Cloud-Based Services

How much is Cloud payroll software?

They are mostly software-as-a-service (SaaS) businesses since the majority of payroll software has migrated to cloud-based solutions. Similar to a subscription, you'll normally pay a base charge each month in exchange for frequent software updates and support access. Although there are free choices available, including Payroll4Free, they lack the automation provided by commercial services.

As a rough guide, payroll software typically costs between £4 and £8 per employee each month in addition to a basic price of roughly £30 per month. The most costly pricing starts at £150 monthly plus an additional £12 per person monthly.

Why use a Cloud-Based payroll solution?

Payday is a favourite of everyone but payroll administrators. The most challenging aspect of small company bookkeeping is paying staff and contractors.

After confirming that the underlying computations, such as taxes, benefits, and other kinds of deductions, are accurate to the nearest cent, you must create checks and direct deposits that are 100% accurate. Then, in order to avoid fines, you must file payroll taxes as well as other tax documents with the IRS and other taxing authorities on time and in full.

Payroll processing might take hours each payday if you do it manually. Once you've completed the basic setup, cloud-based payroll software like those we’ve reviewed can perform a paycheck in a matter of minutes, using virtually unlimited cloud storage facilities to process your data. They are fully aware of the data required to carry out effective, legal payroll runs;

Guide: How to Use Online Payroll Services

Online payroll services let you manage your company's payroll and pay employees the right amount each pay period using a web portal or mobile application.

If you're still processing payroll manually for your business, you're well aware of how difficult, precise, and time-sensitive the procedure is. On the planned paydays, your employees rely on you to send out their paychecks and approve direct payments. They count on you to be aware of the appropriate amount to deduct from all perks and outstanding taxes.

Online Payroll Services

There is a huge lot of information to keep track of, especially if you attempt to accomplish it all on paper. Everyone concerned has a difficult time accepting mistakes. If payroll forms and taxes aren't received by the due dates, tax agency may impose severe fines, also concerning the private online data of Brits. If you become behind on payments, benefit providers may stop providing services like health insurance.

You can process correct, timely paycheck runs with the aid of payroll websites. They rely on you to give them accurate details about your payroll setup and personnel. On the other hand, if any necessary inputs are lacking, they won't allow you to finish a paycheck. They provide supporting information, such as employee profiles, as you prepare to pay employees. Additionally, they provide particular help and flexibility in areas like state registration and income categories.

Gusto will really take care of all necessary state compliance tasks on your behalf, and OnPay excels at debugging during actual pay cycles. You can save a tonne of time with these services. They lessen the stress and annoyance that come with payday.

Because of their precision, adaptability, and punctuality, they foster goodwill among your personnel. Additionally, they can allow you to avoid paying fines altogether.

Payroll Summary - Preview

How Difficult Is It to Process Payroll? (Time frames and more…)

It's crucial to get the setup perfect the first time since after you're done, you can usually not go back to the specific setup tools.

Having said that, each service we evaluated provides a thorough options area where you may edit and supplement the payroll data you've previously submitted.


The next step is to conduct your first payroll. The simple part is this. These websites operate similarly throughout the real pay run, despite significant variances. They provide a list of workers and contractors along with their pay rates when you initiate a payroll. To begin with, confirm that the pay period and pay date are accurate. Then you just need to input the number of hours you've worked (where relevant) in the boxes for the right pay kind (e.g. overtime, regular, holiday, and so on).

Every system has a method for importing hours from timecards or a time clock, that is far more precise than manually inputting them during the pay run. On the same page, payroll websites also enable you to assign money for various kinds of compensation and reimbursements.

A preview of your payroll appears when you have entered all the required information. You will be able to view each employee's gross and net pay, as well as any deductions for taxes, benefits, and corporate contributions. The various providers handle this in somewhat different ways. Then, the payroll website displays the entire amount of cash.

FAQs 📙 - Best Cloud-based Payroll Software Solutions

Payroll Software: What Is It?

A technology called payroll software determines an employee's pay based on the number of hours they put in and the agreed-upon salary. Additionally, the proper amount is set aside for payroll taxes, which include the necessary federal taxes as well as state and municipal taxes.

Payroll processing manually has a high potential for mistakes, which might result in significant IRS penalties. This is why so many companies choose outsourcing payroll, although doing so may be costly. Payroll software is a middle-ground option that is both cost-effective and useful for businesses in maintaining compliance and preventing fines and legal action.

How Should Payroll Software Be Used? 💽

Any company that employs people, whether on a full-time, part-time, or contract basis, ought to think about adopting payroll software. Payroll software will let you file payroll taxes more easily because doing so is necessary. Payroll automation may help you save time, eliminate human mistakes, and guarantee that everyone is paid accurately and on time. You might wish to hire a dedicated employee to manage your payroll software depending on the size of your company.

There is still administration work to be done even when payroll software automates computations, handles payroll for full-time employees, and submits payroll taxes. Depending on the size of your company, you could require somebody to oversee the hiring of new employees, the offboarding of departing employees, as well as the processing of any off-cycle paychecks.

How Much is Payroll Software?

They are mostly software-as-a-service (SaaS) businesses since the majority of payroll software has migrated to cloud-based solutions. Similar to a subscription, you'll normally pay a base charge each month in exchange for frequent software updates and support access. Although there are free choices available, including Payroll4Free, they lack the automation provided by commercial services.

Payroll software typically costs between £4 and £8 per employee each month in addition to a basic price of roughly £30 per month. The most costly plans start at £150 per month plus an additional £12 per person each month.

Should I Use Human Payroll Services or Cloud-Based Software?

Depending on your business needs, you may choose to use managed services or software. If you already have a staff of HR and payroll administrators and professionals at work, the software may be a practical solution to streamline their efforts. However, if you lack this infrastructure, employing a specialist service can be the best option.

I have a suggestion for you: invest the time in ensuring that you have a firm foundation and experience doing this on your own. This will provide you with a solid foundation when contemplating integrating into your organisation in any capacity.

Final Words 🌞

We really hope you have liked our overview of the best payroll software. A key strategy for making your firm scalable in the future is systematisation. Focusing on essential operations is the essence of systematising if you want your firm to operate as efficiently as possible. Of course, your first priority should be providing your consumer with the most valuable experience possible.

However, there are other factors that are involved in giving this value along the route. The primary goal of HR and payroll software is to reduce the amount of time required to manage all of the tiresome and routine administrative chores in HR, freeing up more time to cultivate the good or service.

A lengthy contract with a service or piece of software that does not genuinely serve your company's needs should be avoided. Building a “full stack brain” is one effective technique to make sure you understand what you're getting into. Of course, this is the more difficult course of action, but since you are knowledgeable about the subject, it will benefit you in the long run.