Which payroll software is best for small business payroll services?

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The ideal payroll service for your small business depends on whether you want a cloud-based or desktop-based payroll solution for your company. We recommend a cloud-based payroll solution as a lot of businesses have struggled to run their payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Benefits of Cloud-Based Payroll Service

Along with the flexible location, there are other benefits of using a cloud-based payroll solutions:

  • Simple and affordable: most cloud-based payroll software systems are simple, and the software subscriptions are affordable.
  • Automated payroll calculations and submissions: with a cloud-based payroll software, you can simplify and automate your payroll department as most of the payroll calculations are completed with a single click.
  • Secure self-serve payslips and P60s for employees: you can save your payroll information on the cloud and send digital payslips securely to your employees.
  • Access reports to analyse your payroll and make informed decision: you can access your payroll data at anytime from anywhere and on any device.
  • Live collaboration with your accountant: by sharing your accounting and payroll access with your accountants you can collaborate as a team and get more efficient results.
  • Save time: automatically post your payroll data in your accounting software.
  • Easily switch to Sage with a simple setup and data import.

The ideal payroll service for your small business also depends on the number of employees you have. If you have less than 50 employees then it is recommended to use Sage 50, QuickBooks or Xero payroll software. However, it’s important to note that this decision also depends on what accounting software you are already using. For example, if you are using Sage 50 accounts then we recommend using Sage 50 payroll software or vice versa for Xero and QuickBooks software. We recommend speaking to one of the advisors at TaxCare Accountants before making your decision.

Sage 50 payroll or Sage One Business Cloud Payroll

Sage 50 accounts is arguably the best desktop-based payroll service available in the UK; the majority of small business owners were using Sage 50 payroll prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, during the pandemic, a lot of businesses have made the move of switching to cloud-based payroll to make working from home more efficient and accessible.

Sage also offers the Sage One Business Cloud Payroll service which offers a great, simple payroll service for businesses. Sage Business offers 4 steps for running the payroll service which is suitable if you are looking for a simple payroll. The maximum number of employees you can use for Sage One is 50.

Pricing: payroll subscription for Sage One starts from £7 per month. There is no minimum commitment as you can cancel anytime.

QuickBooks Payroll

QuickBooks is the leading cloud-based payroll software in the UK. If you are already using the QuickBooks accounting software, we would recommend subscribing to payroll as an add-on. If you own a small company with less than 20 employees then QuickBooks payroll is suitable for your business.



QuickBooks payroll has an advanced package if you want more features on your payroll. Both the simple and advanced packages include pensions and statutory pay, then make real-time submissions to HMRC. Your payroll data is connected to your other accounts, so you get the complete picture of your business – anytime, from anywhere in the world. There is one interface to understand and just one bill to pay.



Pricing: QuickBooks pricing varies depending on three payroll packages: Simple, Essentials & Plus, with prices currently ranging from £12-£30 per month plus £4 for basic payroll or £8 for advanced payroll.


At Tax Care, we offer 50% off on your QuickBooks software subscription. We also offer implementation and customisation for your business at a fixed fee to help you save time and focus on doing what you love.

Xero Payroll

Xero is another leading cloud-based software that offers a payroll product to its subscribers. Xero allows you to enter a pay run, make bulk payments and email or print pay slips for employees in line with government legislation. You employees will get access to their payslips via the Xero Me mobile app which gives employees self-service options to make their life, and yours, so much easier. Your employees can also request time off and book holiday using Xero me.

Xero Payroll Only offers a Single Touch Payroll (STP) solution for businesses with one to four employees. You can subscribe to the plan directly from Xero or TaxCare Xero Accounting partners can also provide the plan to you.

Pricing: Xero has three different plans to choose from: Starter, Standard or Premium depending on your preference, with prices currently ranging from £10 – £30 per month.

TaxCare is a Xero Certified Payroll Advisor and a leading payroll expert. Contact us to get free payroll software advise.

So which software is best?

The answer to this depends on the software you are already using. For example, if you are already using Xero accounting software then we would recommend subscribing to Xero’s payroll. Nevertheless, at TaxCare we recommend using Xero or QuickBooks payroll due to their simplicity.


Contact TaxCare today to get free payroll advice.

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