Assessment: What payroll software features do I need?

Notebook on table

There are plenty of considerations when it comes to choosing new payroll software.

We’ve covered this in great detail in our guide to payroll software, but to make things even easier, we’ve simplified the highlights into key points of consideration when looking for a new solution.

Complete the following sections to better understand the payroll software features you need to make the right choice for your business. Your answers will also form pointers for questions to ask during demos.


Answer these questions about your business

  • Are you an in-house specialist or running payroll on behalf of clients?

If you’re running payroll on behalf of other companies, you’ll need a specialist product to manage all clients.

  • How many workers / employees do you pay?

The number of people you pay impacts the type of product required. The bigger the business, the more robust the software needs to be. If you have under 10 employees, you can use free software.

  • What industry is your business in?

Some industries have certain payroll legislation (e.g. CIS in construction) and so your software must be compliant – and ideally specialist.

  • Do you have plans to grow your business?

If you plan to scale up in upcoming years, it’s sensible to choose a scalable product with a pricing model that will allow you to grow without significant additional investment. 

  • What is your budget?

Think about the short and long-term costs. Sometimes a package with higher upfront fees can work out cheaper over time due to lower ongoing pricing – and vice versa. Cloud technology uses a subscription-based model with a low upfront fee and recurring monthly charges. On-premise software, on the other hand, generally has a higher upfront cost and fees for upgrades.


Rate your current software ( ? ?)

Use your ratings to outline the improvements you require from a new solution. Add any other points you see fit.

  • Accuracy
  • Time-saving features e.g. bulk processing
  • Automation e.g. unlimited payments
  • Cost
  • Compliance
  • Functionality
  • Ease of use
  • Flexibility e.g. works across devices
  • Technology e.g. cloud or on-premise
  • Payee satisfaction i.e. no delays or disruption to payment
  • Internal payroll team satisfaction


Rate your internal capabilities ( ? ?)

Use your ratings to consider weaknesses in your current capabilities and potential improvements to facilitate software. If the first three points are poorly rated, cloud-based software may be a more suitable option – providing your broadband connection is good or can be improved. Your IT support provider or internet service provider will be able to take you through the options available.

  • In-house expertise e.g. IT team, payroll administers
  • Company devices e.g. RAM, speed
  • Cybersecurity hygiene
  • Internet connection


Outline your feature requirements

Tick all the requirements that apply. Please note these are generic and there may be niche features relevant to your industry or business type. Add any other features you consider essential. 

  • Scalability e.g. unlimited payments
  • Speedy processing
  • Ease of use
  • Cloud-based technology
  • Unlimited licenses
  • Automation features
  • Employee / client web portal
  • Reporting suite
  • Custom reports
  • Customisable payslips
  • Bespoke feature requests
  • Different payment types e.g. BACS
  • Different payment periods e.g. weekly
  • Different worker types e.g. commission-based
  • Bulk processing
  • Error validation and correction
  • Pension integrations
  • Other integrations e.g. CRM
  • Invoicing / credit note generation
  • Document storage
  • UK-based support team
  • Training
  • Self-serve knowledge base
  • Contract flexibility
  • Unlimited payments
  • New starters onboarding
  • Built-in mailbox
  • A transparent changelog


Must-have requirements

These points are essential for good payroll software. Ensure the payroll provider meets these requirements.

  • Meets security best practise
  • GDPR compliance
  • Payroll legislation compliance
  • Ease of use
  • Regular feature updates and patches
  • Ongoing support

Looking for payroll software for your recruitment agency, umbrella company, or payroll bureau? We’ve got you. Our fast and flexible payroll software comes with excellent UK-based customer service as part of the package. Find out more.


Further resources

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