Payroll is an especially stressful time for most small businesses. Whilst employees eagerly await their hard-earned pay, small business owners, directors and internal HR teams are often working around the clock to ensure payroll is submitted on time, in full, and accurately too. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way! SMEs can break the monthly payroll stress cycle in a number of ways, from outsourcing their worries to a managed payroll service to hiring experienced payroll staff to take care of the process. 

But what if you want to keep things in house, to save time and cut costs, and make your end-of-month processes more manageable? In short, would your small business benefit from payroll software?

When you DON’T need payroll software

There are a few instances where a small business won’t require payroll software.

If your business only hires independent contractors, such as freelancers, then you won’t have a monthly payroll to run. So long as you pay your invoices and keep up with your own tax requirements, payroll software wouldn’t be of use. 

However, even if you’re a micro-business, if you pay yourself a salary, then you’ll have to run payroll to transfer that money from business accounts to your personal one with the correct taxes accounted for. For example, company directors who pay themselves a mix of minimum monthly wage combined with dividends. 

And for businesses who have decided to outsource their payroll to a managed provider, then you most likely won’t need your own payroll software either – your provider will arrange and manage this for you. 

If you’re unsure whether your small business does indeed require payroll software or not, feel free to reach out to our specialists with any questions. 

When you DO need payroll software

Put simply, if you have employees, then you most likely need payroll software. Even if you’ve just sent out your first ever offer letter to a candidate, you need to start planning right now as to how you’re going to pay them!

With the advent of software as a service (SaaS) solutions, it’s never been easier or more affordable for small businesses to manage their own payroll processes, with different software solutions capable of tracking all your employee details, calculating holiday entitlements and working out tax deductions too. 

How to choose the right payroll software for your small business

Whilst having a payroll software market packed with great solutions can only be a good thing, it does present a bit of a headache for small business owners entering the market for the first time. 

How do you research and select the right payroll software for your SME, without spending hours doing so?

There are some important questions to ask yourself before you start researching the marketplace, including:

  1. Are you planning to scale up quickly? Some payroll software options are great for teams of up to 10 people, but may lack the features needed if your team rapidly grows.
  2. What existing systems do you need your payroll software to integrate with? Think about the tools you’re using now, as well as those you may want to use in the near future. 
  3. Does your business employ workers on set hours, or is pay determined by hours worked?
  4. Do you have workers in different countries?
  5. Are support teams responsive and in your time zone if needed?
  6. Do you want to be able to access your payroll software wherever you’re working from?
  7. What level of reporting and AI-driven analysis would you find useful to have? 

Want to take a look at some of the payroll software solutions available on the market, filtered by the tools and integrations you need? Then check out our free system selection tool right here.

Find the right payroll software for your business

Even once you’ve asked the right questions, browsed the market and have an idea of the sort of payroll software that may best suit your small business, choosing the right solution, and then onboarding that platform, can take time and internal resource to complete. 

At Phase 3, we offer a dedicated payroll system selection service where our expert team ensures the perfect fit for you and your business. 

We work to understand your requirements, review the entire market based on your needs and work with suppliers to get you set-up and running smoothly.