If you’re running your own payroll you will need HMRC-recognised software that gives real-time reporting of PAYE information direct to the HMRC. You can choose to run free payroll software if you employ less than ten employees but will need to purchase a relevant software package when you employ more than ten people. Finding the best software for your payroll needs can be a minefield for the unwary so take the time to answer these simple questions before sourcing the package that will best suit your needs:

  1. What is the size of your business and how many employees will you be paying on a regular basis?
  2. How often do you run the payroll?
  3. What payment structure do you operate? Will you be paying a mix of hourly pay, commissions and salaried staff?
  4. Do you pay salaries through the BACS system or by cheque?
  5. Are all employees based at the same location?
  6. Is your business likely to grow considerably over the next few years? How will that affect the wage system and numbers of staff employed by the business?
  7. Do you currently have a reliable and fast Internet service at your business premises?
  8. Are you likely to need a technical support service for the payroll software system you choose?

Once you’ve taken time to answer these questions you should have a general idea of the software requirements to suit your business, so can start hunting around for suitable suppliers.

Payroll software features

To comply with UK legislation you’ll need a payroll software package that offers Real-Time Integration to communicate with HMRC and also has Auto Enrolment Integration, to meet current pension requirements which require payroll deductions to be made. Automatic filing of National Insurance and PAYE data is also an essential payroll function that should be incorporated into the software package you choose.

BACS is the most common payroll payment method now, so sourcing software that offers direct BACS integration is also an essential feature to look for. Other features you may require include automation, which gives you the ability to set automated rulings and scheduled payments and is ideal when running payroll with payments that rarely change, or customisable pay rules, offering a more flexible package that can handle regular bonuses, overtime or commission payments.

Highwoods & Associates can take the pain of running your own payroll away from you and offer customised payroll services to businesses of any size. Contact us to find out more.