Written by Rob Binns Reviewed by Heleana Neil Updated on 4 May 2023 On this page 1. Iris Staffology: Best cloud-based payroll software overall 2. ADP: Best for security 3. MHR: Best for reporting 4. Frontier: Best for international businesses 5. Advanced: Best for training 6. Moorepay: Best for expertise 7. 12 Cloud: Best free payroll software Important payroll dates recap Our Methodology: How Did We Decide on the Best Payroll Software? Verdict FAQs Expand With several HMRC deadlines coming up in July, it pays to have solutions that help you meet them. Cloud-based payroll software allows you to securely manage your employees' data and comply to current legislation – and since it runs online, you're not dependent on a specific computer or location to do these.For our money, Iris Staffology is the best cloud-based payroll system out there. Its hands-on training, convenient mobile app, and highly-secure data processing made it shine in our deep-dive research into this field. Its HR integration also allows for small businesses to combine these two services while saving money. Which are the Best Cloud-based Payroll Software solutions? These are the providers we recommend based on our research. Use our comparison tool to find the best service for your business.1. Iris Staffology: Best cloud-based payroll software overall2. ADP: Best for security3. MHR: Best for reporting4. Frontier: Best for international businesses5. Advanced: Best for training6. Moorepay: Best for expertise7. 12 Cloud: Best free payroll softwareThat said, we were also impressed with six other providers in our analysis – one of which might serve you better depending on your needs. To know more about Iris Staffology or any of our other top picks, just head to our list below. Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Best overall Iris Staffology ADP MHR Frontier Advanced Moorepay 12 Cloud Best Cloud-based payroll software overall Best For security Best For reporting Best For international businesses Best For training Best For expertise Best Free payroll software Price Range From £11.75/month Price Range Bespoke Price Range Bespoke Price Range Bespoke Price Range Bespoke Price Range Bespoke Price Range Free for companies with up to 9 employeesFrom 10 employees onwards, £15/year per employee Pros Plentiful accounting and HR integrationsTransparent pricingExtensive training features Pros Allows for custom reportingCustomer service is available via phone and live chatOffers tax education resources Pros Allows for custom reportingAllows for payroll data to be shared across different systemsCustomer service is available via phone and live chat Pros Offers live trainingAllows for custom reportingCustomer service is available via phone and live chat Pros Provides live training and CIPP-accredited expert adviceAllows for custom reportingCustomer service is available via phone and live chat Pros Provides live training and CIPP-accredited expert adviceAllows for custom reportingCustomer service is available via phone and live chat Pros Provides live trainingTransparent pricing Cons Doesn't provide payroll changes reportDoesn't allow users to create custom reportsClock-in feature isn't available on mobile app Cons Doesn't provide payroll changes reportPricing only available through quotingHelp is not available through chatbot Cons Doesn't provide live trainingPricing only available through quotingHelp is not available through chatbot Cons Doesn't provide open API, preventing integrationPricing only available through quotingHelp is not available through chatbot Cons Doesn't provide open API, preventing integrationPricing only available through quotingHelp is not available through chatbot Cons Doesn't provide open API, preventing integrationPricing only available through quotingHelp is not available through chatbot Cons Limited third-party integrationHelp is not available through chatbot Prices correct as of May 2023 Need help managing your employees' payroll data? Find your cloud-based payroll provider Compare and save It takes less than a minute! 1. Iris Staffology: Best cloud-based payroll software overall Iris Staffology Pricing From £11.75/month Compare quotes Quick overview Iris Staffology is a HMRC-recognised payroll software, which makes submitting the necessary forms online that much more seamless. Iris offers in-depth reporting so you can stay on top of your payroll at all times.One of the difficulties of using a payroll solution can be the lack of control you have over it, but with detailed reporting, you can be confident everything is going as planned. Read more + Read less - Strengths Plentiful accounting and HR integrations Transparent pricing Extensive training features Weaknesses Doesn't provide payroll changes report Doesn't allow users to create custom reports Clock-in feature isn't available on mobile app Pricing See more See less Base price £10/month Payslip fee for companies with up to 20 employees £2/month per employee Payslip fee for companies with 21 to 50 employees £1.75/month per employee Payslip fee for companies with 51 or more employees Quote-based Iris Staffology's pros and cons Pros Plentiful accounting and HR integrations Transparent pricing Extensive training features Cons Doesn't provide payroll changes report Doesn't allow users to create custom reports Clock-in feature isn't available on mobile app Iris Staffology's key featuresComprehensive, feature-rich systemDeep-dive reportingUnlimited users, employees and companiesMobile appHow does Iris Staffology compare to its competitors?In an industry that largely operates on a quoted basis, Iris Staffology's pricing is very straightforward, which is incredibly useful for small businesses with a limited budget and wanting to move forward fast, without going through a demo request (though the provider also offers this). This makes Iris Staffology more transparent than Frontier and Moorepay, which only provide pricing through a requested quote, and helped it shine brighter among the providers our experts tested.It packs more accounting and HR integrations than any of the providers we researched (seven and five, respectively) – which allows it to work alongside more programs than ADP (three and three) or MHR (one and three). This benefits businesses owners who want to keep their current accounting or HR software and integrate them with Iris Staffology.Iris Staffology's pricingBase price: £10 per monthPayslip fee for companies with up to 20 employees: £2 per month eachPayslip fee for companies with 21 to 50 employees: £1.75 per month eachPayslip fee for companies with 51 or more employees: quote-based 2. ADP: Best for security ADP Payroll Bespoke Compare quotes Quick overview ADP is a global specialist in business outsourcing, offering both managed payroll and HR services to help support your business throughout every stage of the employee lifecycle. It's the provider the biggest industry recognition among the ones we researched: in the Global Payroll Awards 2022, ADP won the Global Payroll Supplier of the Year category. It also was named the Best International Payroll Service Provider at the CIPP Annual Excellence Awards for four years in a row. Both of these confirm its strong standing in the industry.ADP is flexible and you choose add-on features and services that you need for your business, plus, you can contact its experts to get advice and guidance around issues, services, legislation, and more. Also, with offices located near the Bank of England headquarters, in the heart of the City, it's among the best payroll companies in the UK and London we analysed. Read more + Read less - Strengths Allows for custom reporting Customer service is available via phone and live chat Offers tax education resources Weaknesses Doesn't provide payroll changes report Pricing only available through quoting Help is not available through chatbot ADP's pros and cons Pros Allows for custom reporting Customer service is available via phone and live chat Offers tax education resources Cons Doesn't provide payroll changes report Pricing only available through quoting Help is not available through chatbot ADP's key featuresSells HR, recruitment, benefits management and learning management solutionsProvides CIPP-accredited expert payroll adviceMobile appEfficient time and attendance featuresHow does ADP compare to its competitors?ADP is a payroll provider big on security, attested by its ISO 27001 certification (something Qualitas Payroll Service doesn't have) and its efficient data encrypting. Also, unlike Advanced, it wasn't hit by any data breaches in the last two years.Like Iris Staffology, ADP can be combined with several other types of software so you can run many strands of your company together. However, unlike this competitor, it does so through natively-developed platforms, not third-party ones. This is crucial for businesses keen on keeping the number of their suppliers low, thereby saving money.Finally, through its time and attendance feature, it's particularly suited to companies with rotating shifts, which can use ADP as a clock-in system.ADP's pricingBespoke pricing. 3. MHR: Best for reporting MHR Bespoke Compare quotes Quick overview MHR boasts one of the most sophisticated hosted payroll software programs in the industry, iTrent. iTrent combines powerful payroll processing capabilities with time-saving HR functions to create a central business hub for employee data. The company’s partner reach is in the hundreds, and includes big names such as Microsoft Azure, Experian, and Thomson Reuters Elite. Better still, no matter how many countries your business operates in, you'll be assigned a single point of contact to manage your account and answer any questions you might have.Among the providers our experts analysed, MHR is a good choice for business owners who want the flexibility of choosing between running payroll in-house, outsourcing or a combination of the two. Some customers have found that it can take a while for issues to be sorted, which can be frustrating. Read more + Read less - Strengths Allows for custom reporting Allows for payroll data to be shared across different systems Customer service is available via phone and live chat Weaknesses Doesn't provide live training Pricing only available through quoting Help is not available through chatbot MHR's pros and cons Pros Allows for custom reporting Allows for payroll data to be shared across different systems Customer service is available via phone and live chat Cons Doesn't provide live training Pricing only available through quoting Help is not available through chatbot MHR's key featuresPacks a highly-detailed reporting platformOffers educational materialProvides CIPP-accredited expert payroll adviceMobile appHow does MHR compare to its competitors?In iTrent, MHR has one of the most detailed report-generating on the market. In our testing, we used it to track KPIs, assess risks, establish costs, and produce legislative reports and it excelled in all those tasks, with the bonus that you can action them through the same platform. Due to its sheer breadth, this makes MHR more suited to large businesses, as such deep reporting prowess is likely to be lost in smaller organisations.Unfortunately, MHR is very light on the accounting and HR integrations: it packs only one and three, respectively – way less than Iris Staffology (seven and five). This is bad news for business owners who want to coordinate payroll with these related activities. For its part, however, MHR makes it easy for payroll data to be shared with different systems, which mitigates the lack of integration to some degree.MHR's pricingBespoke pricing. Save by comparing services quotes from leading suppliers Do you use cloud-based payroll software already? Yes No It only takes a few clicks! 4. Frontier: Best for international businesses Frontier Pricing Bespoke Compare quotes Quick overview Frontier is a provider that offers solid reporting tools for businesses keen on getting insights on their payroll data. Certified by the CIPP Payroll Assurance Scheme (PAS), they're big on training, providing plenty of hands-on learning modules - a very useful feature for small businesses that lack a big accounting team. On the other hand, Frontier doesn't provide an open API, which limits businesses' chances of integrating it with other third-party platforms. Among the providers we tested, it shares this trait with Advanced. If third-party integrations are key to your business, ADP is a better choice. Read more + Read less - Frontier's pros and cons Pros Offers live training Allows for custom reporting Customer service is available via phone and live chat Cons Doesn't provide open API, preventing integration Pricing only available through quoting Help is not available through chatbot Frontier's key featuresMobile appNative HR softwareAllows for payment of international employeesProvides payroll changes reportHow does Frontier compare to its competitors?Frontier allows payment of international employees – a must if you have staff across different countries. Among the providers we tested, Frontier shares this feature with Iris Staffology and ADP and beats Advanced and Moorepay on that front, since they don't have it.On the other hand, like Advanced, Frontier doesn't provide an open API, dealing a killer blow to business owners hoping to integrate with their own HR and accounting software. For those, ADP will be a better choice. Also, like MHR, it doesn't offer advice on how to stay compliant with payroll laws.Frontier's pricingBespoke pricing. 5. Advanced: Best for training Advanced Payroll Pricing Bespoke Compare quotes Advanced review Quick overview Advanced is an efficient cloud-based payroll software. One of its selling points is its incredible training offering, which makes it a great choice for businesses keen on implementing and getting a hold of the system quickly.Advanced offers both fully-managed and part-managed services, like Moorepay. It's best suited to serve businesses who want more agency over their payroll process than they'd get with ADP, which only offers itself as fully-managed.You can tailor the software to your business' specific needs, anything from complex salaries, bonuses or multiple sites.Advanced offers integration with HR, attendance and finance solutions, providing you with one comprehensive platform. In fact, we found it to be one of the best providers to integrate HR and payroll. Read more + Read less - Strengths Provides live training and CIPP-accredited expert advice Allows for custom reporting Customer service is available via phone and live chat Weaknesses Doesn't provide open API, preventing integration Pricing only available through quoting Help is not available through chatbot Advanced's pros and cons Pros Provides live training and CIPP-accredited expert advice Allows for custom reporting Customer service is available via phone and live chat Cons Doesn't provide open API, preventing integration Pricing only available through quoting Help is not available through chatbot Advanced's key featuresPensions auto enrolment software as standardIn-depth reportingEasy integration with other Advanced business software productsDedicated support centre with 300 staffHow does Advanced compares to its competitors?Advanced's training prowess makes it great if you're running a small accounting team. In that regard, it beats Moorepay by having a live training feature. However, in our deep analysis, we found Iris Staffology also offers this.Advanced provides integrations with its native suite of other applications, like ADP does. However, it lacks the free trial that Iris Staffology offers, which, combined with the fact that its pricing is bespoke, can delay knowing if it's right for you. Similarly to MHR, however, Advanced offer in-depth reporting which can especially benefit larger companies.Crucially, it lacks the mobile app that many of its competitors (such as Iris Staffology and Moorepay) offer. And as far as data security goes, it could be better: of all the providers we researched, it's the only one that had a data breach in the last two years, being a victim of a ransomware attack in 2022.Advanced's pricingBespoke pricing. In Case You're Wondering... Unlike traditional desktop-installed programs, cloud-based payroll software is charged on a monthly basis, which reduces your upfront costs massively.It allows you to file PAYE reports with HMRC in real time, ensuring your business stays fully compliant with industry regulations. There are clever tools for calculating pay and, crucially, information is stored online where it’s available to access at any time, from anywhere. 6. Moorepay: Best for expertise Moorepay Pricing Bespoke Compare quotes Quick overview Moorepay provides an integrated payroll and HR platform. Expertise is its calling card: it allows you to access UK-based payroll specialists who are here to help you solve any issues, answer your queries, and give you advice. This contributed to it topping our ranking of the best payroll companies in the UK. Also, Moorepay has an easy and helpful onboarding process, which is a huge help especially if you struggle with tech. If you're switching payroll companies and moving over to Moorepay, it handles any legislative or policy changes that your business might need. Our expert researchers found that Moorepay's implementation team helpful and friendly, making the set-up easy and painless. This feature helped the provider feature highly in our best payroll solutions for small businesses ranking. Read more + Read less - Strengths Provides live training and CIPP-accredited expert advice Allows for custom reporting Customer service is available via phone and live chat Weaknesses Doesn't provide open API, preventing integration Pricing only available through quoting Help is not available through chatbot Moorepay's pros and cons Pros Provides live training and CIPP-accredited expert advice Allows for custom reporting Customer service is available via phone and live chat Cons Doesn't provide open API, preventing integration Pricing only available through quoting Help is not available through chatbot Moorepay's key featuresExtensive advice offeringOffers large suite of HR/people management solutionsMobile appOffers tax-related educational resourcesHow does Moorepay compare to its competitors? Winner of The Rewards Payroll & HR Software Product of the Year Award 2022, Moorepay boasts an array of consultants ready to give insightful information to its customers, making it ideal for businesses that require hands-on guidance. Like ADP, Moorepay provides CIPP-accredited expert payroll advice and offers tax-related educational resources.Unfortunately, it doesn't allow for payment of international employees nor does it offer live training – features that Frontier offers. Also, it lacks the transparent pricing that Iris Staffology packs, although for its part, this fact does align it with most of the providers we analysed and tested in our in-depth expert research.Moorepay's pricingBespoke pricing. 7. 12 Cloud: Best free payroll software 12 Cloud Pricing From £0/month Compare quotes Quick overview 12 Cloud's one of the few providers approved by HMRC to offer free payroll software for businesses with fewer than 10 employees. It offers a comprehensive payroll software with feature-rich dashboard interfaces for quick access to commonly used functions. One feature we particularly like is the “Rollback facility”, which makes it easy to correct mistakes and re-run pay with minimal effort. Read more + Read less - 12 Cloud's pros and cons Pros Provides live training Transparent pricing Cons Limited third-party integration Help is not available through chatbot 12 Cloud's key featuresFree for small businessesCompetitive pricing for larger businessesFree phone support within working hours“Rollback facility” for easily amending errors in payHow does 12 Cloud compare to its competitors?Unlike MHR (and in fact, most competitors), 12 Cloud is an HMRC-approved free payroll software provider for businesses with fewer than 10 employees. It boasts an intuitive dashboard layout, like ADP. On the flip side, 12 Cloud doesn't pack a lot of integrations: it only syncs up with Sage on the accounting front. As far as accounting integration goes, this is the same offer as Moorepay's, but that competitor also allows for HR and time and attendance integration (which 12 Cloud doesn't).12 Cloud's pricingFree for up to 9 employees£15/year per employee for 10+ employees Important payroll dates recapWith nearly 15 years of covering the payroll industry, we know how crucial keeping HRMC's deadlines is. When one approaches, you have to be extra careful with your reporting and make sure everything is kosher to withstand the government's scrutiny.Cloud-based payroll systems can certainly help you meet the relevant deadlines, but in any case, you need to be on the ball when it comes to them. As a refresher, here's a brief recap of the most important payroll dates.5 April– The 2022/2023 tax year ends.– Deadline for payroll software update.6 April– The 2023/2024 tax year begins.19 April– Deadline for final 2022/2023 tax year reports submission.22 April– Deadline for the month 12 Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) payment.31 May– Deadline for your employees to receive their P60s (earning statements).6 July– Deadline for expenses and benefits report to the HRMC.– Deadline for P11D and P11D(b) forms submission.19 July– Deadline for Class 1A National Insurance contributions on benefits in kind payment (if you're not using digital systems to do so).22 July– Deadline for Class 1A National Insurance contributions on benefits in kind payment (if you're using digital systems to do so). Our Methodology: How Did We Decide on the Best Payroll Software?Five researchers carried out in-depth research into payroll software platforms according to a comparison framework designed by our research team leader. For each provider we've asked these questions:How much control does it give you over your payroll process?How secure is it? What security measures does it take to protect your data?How much help and expertise does it offer when it comes to taxes and compliance?How scalable is the product? Can it grow alongside your company?How helpful is its customer support offering?We've factored all these questions into our rating system and come out with a ranking of the best payroll software platforms. Verdict While you're spoilt for choice when it comes to cloud-based payroll software, our research points to Iris Staffology as being the best one for your business.Iris Staffology's various features, HR integration, and transparent pricing make it particularly suited to small businesses keen on getting the best value for money while also benefitting from a resourceful payroll system.If you're still in doubt about which will fit your bill, why not give our free quote comparison tool a try? It's the easiest way to quickly be matched with trusted providers. They'll then reach out to you with bespoke quotes for you to compare and get the best deal. Compare payroll software quotes from leading suppliers Get Free Quotes FAQs What is cloud-based software? Cloud-based software is software stored on a server and accessed over the internet, rather than your computer’s hard drive. This means it can be accessed anywhere provided you have an internet connection and your login details. Why choose cloud-based payroll software? Cloud-based payroll software gives more agency to authorised employees to access and update their own information. They also update automatically, are highly scalable, and are more easily integrated with other platforms, such as HR systems. What is the best software for payroll? We found Moorepay to be the best payroll software in the UK. It gives access UK-based payroll specialists and has an easy and helpful on-boarding process, both of which helped it top our UK payroll companies ranking. Is ADP payroll cloud-based? ADP is a cloud-based payroll platform, which can also be easily integrated with its associated HR system. ADP allows you to scale as and when you need to, which means you don’t need to pay for solutions and features you don’t use. This feature helped it land a spot in our best payroll providers for small businesses ranking. Written by: Rob Binns Services Expert Rob writes mainly about the payments industry, but also brings to the table industry-specific knowledge of CRM software, business loans, fulfilment, and invoice finance. When not exasperating his editor with bad puns, he can be found relaxing in a sunny (socially-distanced) corner, with a beer and a battered copy of Dostoevsky. Reviewed by: Heleana Neil Business Services Editor Heleana Neil specialises in Business Services, managing the strategy and production of content for SMBs, helping businesses with the challenges and opportunities they face today. Covering everything from payroll to payment processing, Heleana uses her expertise to help business owners make better, informed decisions and grow their companies.