Need payroll help? Here are the best options for getting help with payroll in the UK

Last checked and updated on 23 June 2022

Do you need help with payroll? If so, you’re not alone. Many businesses find payroll to be a complex and daunting task. There are a number of different options available for getting help with payroll, and it can be difficult to know which option is the best for your business.

In this article, we will discuss the best options for getting payroll help in the UK. We’ll also take a look at some of the compliance risks associated with getting payroll wrong, and we’ll explore how much it costs to get this kind of guidance.

When should a business get help with payroll?

There are a number of different factors to consider when deciding whether or not to get help with payroll.

One of the most important factors is the size of your business. If you have a small business, it’s likely that you can handle payroll yourself. However, if you have a large business, it’s likely that you will need to hire someone to help you with payroll.

Another important factor to consider is the complexity of your payroll. If you have a simple payroll, you may be able to handle it yourself. However, if you have a complex payroll, it’s likely that you will need to hire someone to help you with it.

The compliance risks of getting payroll wrong

One of the biggest risks associated with getting payroll wrong is the risk of non-compliance. This means that if you make a mistake on your payroll, you could be fined by HMRC.

Another risk of getting payroll wrong is the risk of underpaying your employees. If you underpay your employees, they may be entitled to claim back pay from HMRC. You will also get into hot water with HMRC if you make mistakes with calculating income tax and National Insurance contributions.

How much does payroll help cost?

The cost of getting help with payroll will vary depending on the size and complexity of your business, as well as the type of help you need.

As a general rule, expect to pay between £50 and £200 per hour for help with payroll.

Factors that affect the cost are whether you need one-off help or ongoing support, how many employees you have, and whether you use an automated payroll system.

See our separate guide to payroll costs.

Top four ways to get payroll help

There are a number of different ways to get help with payroll, and the best option for your business will depend on a number of factors.

The four most common options are:

  1. Hiring an accountant
  2. Hiring a specialist payroll services company
  3. Hiring a payroll consultant
  4. Employing an in-house payroll expert

1. Hiring an accountant

Using an accountant for payroll help might be the best solution for your business if you have a complex payroll or if you’re not confident in your own ability to manage payroll.

An accountant will be able to provide comprehensive help and advice, and they will also be able to deal with HMRC on your behalf.

However, hiring an accountant is likely to be the most expensive option, so it’s important to make sure that you’re getting value for money.

The benefits of hiring an accountant include:The downsides of hiring an accountant include:
✔ You’ll get comprehensive help and advice✗ You might not need all the help they offer
✔ They can deal with HMRC on your behalf✗ You might be able to find a cheaper option
✗ It’s likely to be the most expensive option
Pros and cons of getting payroll help from an accountant

2. Hiring a specialist payroll services company

An outsourced payroll provider is often a good solution for small businesses that don’t have the time or resources to manage payroll themselves.

A specialist payroll services company will be able to take care of all of your payroll requirements, and they will also be able to deal with HMRC on your behalf.

It’s also important to make sure that you compare the costs of different companies before you make a decision.

Hiring a specialist payroll company is likely to be less expensive than hiring an accountant, and it’s also likely to be less time-consuming.

The benefits of outsourcing payroll include:The risks of outsourcing payroll include:
✔ You’ll have less work to do✗ The quality of service you receive may be variable
✔ You’ll save time✗ You may not have as much control over your payroll
✔ You’ll save money✗ You may have to pay more if your requirements are complex
✔ You’ll reduce the risk of compliance issues
Pros and cons of getting help from a payroll services company

3. Hiring a payroll consultant

If you need help with specific aspects of your payroll, such as compliance or setting up a new system, you may want to consider hiring a payroll consultant.

A payroll consultant will be able to provide expert advice and support, but they are not likely to be able to deal with HMRC on your behalf.

Hiring a payroll consultant is likely to be less expensive than hiring an accountant or a specialist payroll services company, but you may get advice only, and the hands-on payroll tasks may still be left to you.

If you decide to hire a payroll consultant, we recommend that you use a reputable and experienced firm.

The benefits of hiring a payroll consultant include:The downsides of hiring a payroll consultant include:
✔ You’ll get expert advice and guidance✗ They may not be available when you need them
✔ You’ll have access to specialist knowledge✗ They may be more expensive than other options
✔ You can use them on an as-needed basis✗ They might offer advice but not complete the hands-on tasks for you
Pros and cons of getting help from a payroll consultant

4. Employing an in-house payroll expert

For larger businesses, it may be a better long-term solution to employ your own payroll manager. It’s important to make sure that you employ someone who is experienced and knowledgeable about payroll.

The benefits of employing your own payroll manager include:The downsides of hiring your own payroll manager include:
✔ You’ll have full control over your payroll✗ They may not be as experienced as a specialist payroll company
✔ You can build a good working relationship with your payroll expert✗ They may not have the same level of knowledge about HMRC regulations
✔ You may be able to negotiate a lower rate✗ Employing someone is a bigger commitment
Pros and cons of employing an in-house payroll administrator

FAQ

What are the compliance risks of getting payroll wrong?

The compliance risks of getting payroll wrong can be significant. If you don’t comply with HMRC regulations, you could face penalties, interest charges, and even prosecution.

How much does payroll help cost?

The cost of payroll help will vary depending on the option you choose. Hiring an accountant is likely to be the most expensive option, while employing an in-house payroll expert is likely to be the least expensive. As a general rule, expect to pay between £50 and £200 per hour for help with payroll.

What is the best option for getting payroll help?

The best option for getting payroll help will depend on your specific needs and requirements. If you have a complex payroll, we recommend that you use an accountant. If you need help with specific aspects of your payroll, we recommend that you use a payroll consultant.

Can I get help with my payroll if I’m not based in the UK?

Yes, there are a number of companies that offer international payroll services. However, it’s important to make sure that you choose a reputable and experienced firm.

I’m not confident in my ability to manage payroll. What should I do?

If you’re not confident in your ability to manage payroll, we recommend that you seek help from an accountant or a specialist payroll services company.

I’m not sure if I need help with my payroll. How can I decide?

If you’re unsure whether you need help with your payroll, we recommend that you speak to an accountant or a specialist payroll services company. They will be able to assess your needs and requirements and give you expert advice.

I need help with my payroll but I don’t want to outsource it. What are my options?

If you need help with your payroll but you don’t want to outsource it, you could consider hiring a payroll consultant or employing an in-house payroll expert.

I need help with my payroll but I’m not sure where to start. What should I do?

If you’re not sure where to start, we recommend that you speak to an accountant or a specialist payroll services company. They will be able to assess your needs and requirements and give you expert advice.

Important – The information provided in our articles is intended to be for general purpose use only, and not advice for you or your business. We strive to publish accurate information, but encourage you to fact-check and seek expert guidance. We recommend that you always speak to a qualified professional to get advice about how to operate your business under your specific requirements and circumstances.