Aug 6, 2023

Streamline Your Business Operations with the Top 5 Online Payroll Services

Are you tired of spending countless hours managing payroll for your business? Look no further - we've got you covered! In today's fast-paced digital world, streamlining your business operations is essential to stay ahead of the competition. And when it comes to payroll, there's no better solution than online payroll services. Say goodbye to the headaches of manual calculations, tax filings, and endless paperwork. With the top 5 online payroll services, you can automate your payroll process, save time and money, and focus on what matters - growing your business. Whether you're a small startup or a large enterprise, these services offer a range of features tailored to meet your specific needs. These online payroll services have everything from employee self-service portals to seamless integration with accounting software. So, let's dive in and discover how these services can revolutionise your payroll system and take your business to new heights!

The Importance of Efficient Payroll Services

Payroll is the lifeblood of any business. It ensures that your employees are paid accurately and on time and is critical to your overall financial management. However, traditional payroll methods can be time-consuming, error-prone, and costly. That's where online payroll services come in. These services leverage the power of technology to simplify and automate the payroll process, making it faster, more accurate, and more efficient. Streamlining your payroll operations can save valuable time and resources, reduce the risk of errors, and improve employee satisfaction. Moreover, online payroll services provide a secure and compliant platform for managing sensitive employee data and ensuring compliance with tax laws and regulations. With the right online payroll service, you can transform your payroll system from a burdensome task into a strategic asset that drives productivity and growth.

What Are Online Payroll Services?

Online payroll services, also known as cloud-based payroll services, are web-based platforms that automate the process of managing payroll and related tasks. These services eliminate the need for manual calculations, paper-based records, and complex spreadsheets. Instead, they provide a combination of dedicated payroll advisors and simple software that allows you to enter employee hours, deductions, and other payroll data and automatically calculate wages, taxes, and other withholdings. Online payroll services also generate payslips, HMRC submissions, and reports, which can be easily accessed and shared with employees and stakeholders. Moreover, these services handle tax filings and payments, ensuring compliance with federal, state, and local tax laws. With online payroll services, you can simplify your payroll process, reduce administrative overhead, and gain real-time visibility into your payroll data.

Benefits of Using Online Payroll Services

Using online payroll services offers numerous benefits for businesses of all sizes. Here are some key advantages:

1. Time and Cost Savings: Online payroll services automate time-consuming tasks such as payroll calculations, RTI submissions, and issuing payslips. This saves you hours of manual work and frees up your time to focus on more strategic activities. By streamlining your payroll operations, you can reduce administrative costs and eliminate the need for expensive payroll software or in-house staff.

2. Accuracy and Compliance: Payroll errors can be costly and lead to fines, penalties, and employee dissatisfaction. Online payroll services minimise the risk of errors by automating calculations and ensuring compliance with tax laws and regulations. These services stay updated with changing tax rates and regulations, so you don't have to worry about keeping track of complex tax codes.

3. Employee Self-Service: Many online payroll services provide employee self-service portals, allowing employees to access their payslips, p45s, P60s, P11Ds, and other relevant information. This empowers employees to manage their payroll data, update personal details, and view their payroll history. Giving employees access to payroll information can improve transparency, reduce HR or payroll staff inquiries, and enhance employee satisfaction.

4. Seamless Integration: Online payroll services can seamlessly integrate with your existing accounting software, time and attendance systems, and other HR tools. This integration eliminates the need for manual data entry and ensures that your payroll data is accurate and up to date. Furthermore, integration with accounting software allows for easy reconciliation of payroll expenses and financial reporting.

5. Scalability: Whether a small business with a handful of employees or a large enterprise with thousands of staff members, online payroll services can scale to meet your needs. These services can handle complex payroll requirements, such as multiple pay rates, overtime calculations, and deductions. As your business grows, you can easily add new employees and locations to your payroll system without hassle.

Now that we've explored the benefits of using online payroll services let's take a closer look at the top 5 online payroll services for small businesses.

Top 5 Online Payroll Services for Small Businesses

When it comes to online payroll services, there are several options available in the market. However, not all services are created equal. To help you make an informed decision, we have curated a list of the top 5 online payroll services designed for small businesses. These services offer various features, competitive pricing, and excellent customer reviews. Let's dive into each service and explore its unique offerings.


Moonworkers provides a unique hybrid payroll solution combining a personal payroll advisor and simple software, allowing customers to gather and manage their payroll information quickly. Simply put, companies use the software to keep track of their employees' details and working hours while advisors step in to organise the actual payroll processing. Moonwokrers also provides:

  • Dedicated payroll advisor
  • Employee self-service portals, allowing employees to view and download their payslips
  • A rota planner, facilitating shift scheduling and automating the 52-week average holiday pay of casual workers
  • Auto-enrolment and workplace pension management through several integrations with pension providers
  • Document signature
  • Holiday and expense management
  • Construction Industry Scheme

With its seamless integration with popular accounting software, Moonworkers simplifies payroll and accounting processes. Pricing for Moonworkers starts at $2.5 per month per employee, making it an affordable option for small businesses. Customer reviews rave about excellent customer support and ease of use.

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Although Moorepay's payroll service is versatile and caters to a diverse range of industries, excluding accounting, the options for industry-specific plans are limited. However, new customers can benefit from the support of Moorepay's implementation team and an account manager who will remain available even after the implementation. Moorepay also takes responsibility for any legislative or policy changes during the switch. However, we advise against using Moorepay for small teams with fewer than ten employees due to the higher cost of features such as real-time dashboards and data-driven graphs.


PayEscape primarily focuses on managing HR and payroll but lacks certain essential features, such as a designated account manager. However, there is little to complain about if you seek a basic system to oversee your payroll pipeline. PayEscape is unique because it can integrate with popular software like Xero accounting, Sage, Kashflow, and Microsoft Navision, making outsourcing payroll effortless and efficient without any manual data entry. Compared to competitors IRIS and MHR, PayEscape offers a pain-free and easy payroll management experience.


Small businesses operating in unstable and unforeseeable sectors, such as hospitality, can opt for MHR as a practical solution. In case of any complications related to payroll administration, MHR offers a flexible emergency feature to assist businesses. MHR's managed payroll service is highly adaptable and can be seamlessly integrated with various prominent accounting and HR systems. However, our analysis revealed that the selection of additional features could have been more extensive.


ADP is an excellent option for established companies seeking to become the "M" in SMEs. In addition to payroll, ADP provides other services such as HR, recruitment, and time and attendance tracking. MHR and TopSource Worldwide have similar capabilities, but their applications automatically offer additional functions with your subscription. In contrast, ADP markets them as add-ons to be included in your plan as required. ADP's service is highly adaptable and can be tailored to meet your specific needs, with their professionals available to answer any pay-related questions from your employees. However, ADP has a minimum user limit that may be limiting for small employers such as independent shop owners.

Choosing the Right Online Payroll Service for Your Business

Now that you know the top 5 online payroll services for small businesses, it's time to choose the right service. Here are a few factors to consider when making your decision:

Features: Evaluate the features offered by each online payroll service and determine which ones are essential for your business. Consider payroll calculations, tax filings, employee self-service portals, integration capabilities, and reporting options.

Pricing: Compare the pricing plans of each service and consider your budget and the number of employees you have. Look for transparent pricing structures and consider any additional fees for add-on features or customer support.

Customer Reviews: Read customer reviews and testimonials to understand the user experience and customer satisfaction. Look for reviews that highlight the key strengths and weaknesses of each service. 

Considering these factors, you can make an informed decision and choose the best online payroll service for your business. With the right online payroll service, you can simplify your payroll process, reduce costs, ensure accuracy and compliance, and gain real-time visibility into your payroll data. So, what are you waiting for? Get started payroll run now and unlock the full potential of your business!

Scalability: Consider the scalability of each service and whether it can accommodate your future growth plans. As your business expands, look for flexibility in adding new employees, locations, and features.

By carefully evaluating these factors, you can choose the online payroll service that best meets your business requirements and helps you streamline your payroll operations.

Setting Up and Integrating Online Payroll Services

Once you've selected an online payroll service, the next step is to set it up and integrate it into your existing systems. Here are some steps to guide you through the process:

1. Gather Employee Information: Collect all the necessary payroll information from your employees, including their names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and banking details for direct deposit.

2. Configure Payroll Settings: Set up your payroll settings, such as pay periods, pay rates, deductions, and tax withholding information. Ensure you comply with federal, state, and local tax laws and regulations.

3. Import Employee Data: Import your employee data into the online payroll service. Most services allow you to import data from spreadsheets or your existing HR or accounting software.

4. Verify Data Accuracy: Double-check the imported data to ensure accuracy. Pay special payroll run attention to employee information, pay rates, deductions, and tax withholding details.

5. Run a Test Payroll: Before processing your first live payroll, run a test payroll to ensure that everything is set up correctly and that calculations are accurate.

6. Integrate with Accounting Software: If you use accounting software, set up the integration between your online payroll service and your accounting software. Journal entries transferred from payroll to accounting software will ensure that payroll expenses are accurately recorded and reconciled.

7. Communicate with Employees: Inform your employees about the new online payroll system and provide instructions on accessing their payslips, tax forms, and other relevant information.

By following these steps, you can smoothly transition to an online payroll system and enjoy the benefits of streamlined payroll operations.

How Online Payroll Services Save Time and Improve Accuracy

One of the most significant advantages of online payroll services is their time and accuracy savings. Here's how these services can save you time and improve the accuracy of your payroll process:

Automated Calculations: Online payroll services automate complex payroll calculations, including wages, taxes, deductions, and benefits. Payroll automation eliminates the need for manual calculations and reduces the risk of human errors.

RTI Filings and Compliance: Online payroll services handle RTI filings and ensure compliance. These services automatically calculate and withhold the correct amount of taxes and generate the necessary tax forms, such as P30, P45, and P60.

BACS payments: Online payroll services offer BACS payment capabilities, allowing you to electronically deposit employees' wages into their bank accounts. This eliminates the need for one-by-one payment instructions and simplifies the payment process.

Employee Self-Service: With employee self-service portals, employees can access their payslips, tax forms, and other relevant information online. Providing a portal to employees reduces inquiries to HR or payroll staff and empowers employees to manage payroll data.

Real-Time Reporting: Online payroll services provide real-time reporting capabilities, allowing you to access up-to-date payroll data and generate custom reports, helping you gain insights into payroll expenses, track labour costs, and make informed business decisions.

By leveraging these time-saving and accuracy-enhancing features, online payroll services can transform your payroll process from a tedious task to a streamlined and efficient operation.

Common Challenges and Solutions When Using Online Payroll Services

While online payroll services offer numerous benefits, they can also present some challenges. Here are some common challenges and their solutions:

1. Learning Curve: Switching to a new online payroll service may require a learning curve for you and your employees. To overcome this challenge, provide training sessions and resources to familiarise your team with the new system. Additionally, choose a service with an intuitive interface and responsive customer support.

2. Data Security: As online payroll services handle sensitive employee data, data security is a top concern. To address this, choose a service that employs robust security measures, such as encryption, multi-factor authentication, and regular data backups. Additionally, establish internal protocols to safeguard employee data and ensure compliance with data protection regulations.

3. Integration Challenges: Integrating your online payroll service with your existing systems, such as accounting software or time and attendance systems, can sometimes be challenging. To overcome this, choose a service offering seamless integration capabilities and dedicated support for integration setup.

4. Compliance: Staying compliant with the legislation can be complex and time-consuming. Online payroll services help address this challenge by automatically calculating and withholding the correct amount of taxes, generating tax forms, and staying current with tax law changes. However, you must review your payroll data regularly and consult a tax professional to ensure compliance.

By being aware of these challenges and implementing the appropriate solutions, you can maximise the benefits of online payroll services and overcome any potential obstacles.


Online payroll services have become indispensable tools for streamlining business operations in today's digital age. By automating payroll calculations, tax filings, and compliance reporting, these services save you time, improve accuracy, and enhance employee satisfaction. The top 5 online payroll services for small businesses offer a range of features tailored to meet your specific needs, from employee self-service portals to seamless integration with accounting software. When choosing the right service for your business, consider features, pricing, customer reviews, and scalability. Once you've selected a service, set it up and integrate it into your existing systems to ensure a smooth

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We have been using Moonworkers for quite some time and compared to other software in the market, we found it very simple to use and excellent. Moreover, the customer service is great.
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