Corporate payroll services for large organisations – UK guide 2024

Updated on 8 December 2023

Payroll is something that all businesses need to handle, whether they are big or small businesses. However, there is no denying that things can get more complicated the more employees that you have. This is why you need to carefully consider how you will handle payroll at your business.

Quick, easy, no commitment!

You can keep things in-house or you can take the weight off your shoulders and outsource to a third-party payroll provider instead who could handle more as your business grows and could take care of payroll and HR, including National Insurance, furlough payments, sick paypayroll fraud and more.

Video: Payroll outsourcing explained

If you are looking for a payroll provider, there is a lot that needs to be considered. You need to make sure that the payroll company in question has experience in dealing with an organisation of your size.

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In this guide, we will provide you with some great pointers on how to make sure the payroll solution you select is suitable. We will also give you some insight into the price of payroll outsourcing and some of the best companies out there providing this service to help you remain compliant. So, let’s get right to it…

Payroll systems for large companies – outsourcing vs software

One of the major decisions you need to make when it comes to handling your company’s payroll is deciding whether this is something that is going to be done in-house with a software solution such as SaaS or whether you will outsource to a third party (managed payroll).

If you opt to use software, you will implement a dedicated payroll system. While the software provider will be able to provide you with technical support and advice on how to use the program, you are going to be responsible for ensuring your employees get paid on time and all the human resource work that goes with it.

Therefore, you need to have a person or number of people with payroll expertise working at your company to make sure that everything runs smoothly. This can be attractive if you already have those individuals working at your business.

If you don’t, you may be more drawn to outsourcing as otherwise, payroll can be more time consuming. When you outsource, you leverage the services of a team of industry experts who will combine their knowledge with the latest technologies to ensure that all payroll tasks are handled in an efficient and effective manner. This is a hands-off approach, meaning you will not need to do anything apart from providing the company with the data they ask for regarding your employees and their salaries.

When it comes to choosing between the two, it is not about one option being better than the other but more about figuring out what is going to be most suitable for your business. To help you do that, we have put together a comparison table below.

Payroll Services – ProsPayroll Services – ConsPayroll Software – ProsPayroll Software – Cons
Enhanced assistance with complex needsMore expensiveLong-term vendor relationships with supportMistakes are your own responsibility
Ease of use Only as good as the company you chooseEasy to accessOnly as good as the software you choose and the operators
 Usually one point of contact More internal control Difficulty of training staff
 Ability to integrate with HR Easier to amend details 

As you can see, there are pros and cons associated with both options, so it is all about figuring out what makes the most sense from your business and is likely to bring about greater accuracy, cost efficiency, and convenience.

Needless to say, irrespective of what route you go down, there will be differences from payroll software to payroll software and payroll provider to payroll provider, so you need to take the time to consider your options carefully. You will be presented with plenty of different features that go beyond payroll processing, so it is important to consider what your business really needs from a service like this.

Best payroll solutions for big businesses – how to get it right for your organisation

It is important to get payroll right at your business. When you do, all employees will be paid on time and accurately every month. This can take the weight off your shoulders while also boosting employee satisfaction and retention rates. To ensure you get payroll right at your organisation, let’s take a look at some of the key questions you should be asking yourself.

Do you really need a payroll provider?

This is the first question that you need to ask yourself when it comes to payroll. Do you really need to outsource this service and use an expert provider? If you already have a competent team in-house, it may make sense to simply look for high-quality software that they can use to enhance their ability to complete payroll tasks.

What are the risks when choosing a corporate payroll solution?

The risks when it comes to choosing a payroll solution are varied. If you do not choose wisely, you could end up selecting a company that is not very reliable, and this can end up causing frustration amongst your employees, which is the last thing anyone wants. The most basic requirement that every worker expects from their boss is to be paid the right amount, on the right date, every month. When this does not happen, it can result in huge job dissatisfaction, which is why it is critical to select a payroll provider with a lot of care and consideration.

Aside from this, another risk that you need to take very seriously is that of a data breach. Whenever you use the services of a third party, it is important to find out what measures they use to keep your data safe.

A payroll provider is going to have access to a lot of confidential data regarding your business and your employees, so you need to make sure that this information is going to be protected. Do not simply take the company’s word for it. Enquire about the sort of techniques and technologies they have in place to make sure that your private data is not going to be compromised. After all, the impact of a data breach is devastating for any business and this is the last thing you want to experience when leveraging the services of a payroll provider.

What questions should you ask your potential payroll provider?

There are a number of key questions that you should be asking your payroll provider to determine whether or not this is going to be the right company for you. Examples include the following:

  • How much experience do you have? How many years have you been working in the industry?
  • Do you specialise in working with large businesses? What is the average size of the businesses you work with?
  • How will we communicate? Will I have a single point of contact?
  • How much do your services cost and what does the payment schedule look like?
  • What payroll services do you provide? Do you offer any extra HR services? Will I get real time updates when I need them?
  • What steps have you put in place to make sure that my data is protected?
  • Are you based in the UK? If not, where are you located?

What’s unique about UK payroll solutions?

You will notice that the final question relates to the location of the payroll provider. We definitely recommend that you look for a payroll company that is based in the UK. You may be wondering why this is important, so let us explain.

When you choose a payroll provider that is UK based, you know that they fully understand the market and the changing legislation that is in place. If you select a payroll provider that is not based in the UK, they could be offering their services to companies all over the world. This increases the chances of a mistake occurring because they are not aware of the requirements in the UK. This is no small issue when it comes to matters concerning compliance, which is why we recommend you do not cut any corners.

How to choose a payroll provider for your large organisation

If you do a quick search online, you will see that there are many different payroll providers to select from today. While choice is a good thing, it can make it difficult to narrow down your search effectively and choose the best payroll provider for you. So, what do we recommend doing?

Well, you may want to begin by asking fellow business professionals, friends, and family members for their recommendations. It could be that they know a company and have had a positive experience with them. It is also a wise idea to use independent review websites so that you can understand whether or not the companies you are considering have a good reputation. Make sure you check the feedback on independent platforms so that you can be sure that it is 100 per cent genuine.

Aside from this, it is a good idea to sit down and really think about your needs and requirements. What is it that you are looking for from a payroll provider? Do you want a company that simply provides a basic and affordable payroll solution? Or, are you looking for some extra HR services? And if so, what sort of services would help your business? Large organisations can be complex creatures, and so you may want a payroll provider that goes a bit further than what is expected when it comes to standard payroll processing.

In addition to this, the industry that you work in matters as well. All industries have their own nuances when it comes to payment structure and salaries. This can be more specific and niche in some sectors when compared with others – for example, law firms or schools and universities. Therefore, it is vital to choose a company that has plenty of experience in the industry you work in and thoroughly understands the way in which your employees are paid and how their salaries work.

Payroll solutions prices and costs for large corporations

Of course, one thing that everyone wants to know is how much it is going to cost them to outsource payroll. Unfortunately, it is one of those how long is a piece of string questions. This is because there are many different factors that influence how much payroll services cost.

One of the major factors that is going to impact how much you will need to pay is the number of employees working at your business. After all, most payroll providers will charge per employee, per month. Therefore, the larger your company, the more you can expect to pay. Despite this, we do recommend checking out the payment terms and conditions, as not everyone follows the same payment structure. Moreover, other factors, such as the experience of the company, will play a role in how much you are charged.

A lot of companies are going to offer a number of different payroll packages. This will start from the basic package and then it will move up to a more comprehensive offering and sometimes even a custom package. Of course, the more services you add to your payroll package, the more expensive it is going to be. You also need to be careful and make sure that there are no hidden costs involved when choosing a payroll company.

Best payroll providers for large organisations

We hope that the information that we have provided above will help you to understand what you need to consider when looking for a payroll provider. However, to give you a further helping hand, we are going to take a look at 10 of the best payroll providers for large organisations in the UK.

RankCompanyWhy we shortlisted them
1ADPThere is only one place to begin, and this is with ADP, a company that provides payroll services for medium to large businesses. They are active in many sectors too, from financial services and retail to construction and manufacturing. (Read our ADP Payroll review)
2FMP GlobalA company with over four decades of experience, FMP Global is more than qualified to help your business with its payroll service. They provide both part-managed and full-managed services, so if you want to keep some control, you can.
3Perfect PayrollsIf you want to have some control over payroll and you are looking for the perfect software for your large organisation, this is a good option to consider. There is a dedicated contact team in place should you need any assistance with the solution.
4Rapid PayrollNext, we have Rapid Payroll, a company that makes it very easy for you to get the payroll services you require. They have around 15 years of experience in the industry, boasting more than 200 payroll clients. You can focus on your core business needs while they take care of payroll for you.
5PayPlusPayPlus is a global payroll provider that offers a dedicated service in the UK, so you can be sure that they understand payroll requirements in this country. They boast some big names as clients, so you can be sure that you will be in safe hands with PayPlus.
6RSMWith an outsourced payroll team situated in the UK, you can expect smart technology to be combined with years of experience. Features include a self-service employee portal, secure delivery and data exchange, integrated HR solution option, a dedicated payroll associated, and auto-enrolment and HMRC compliance.
7MHRMHR is another company that has an excellent reputation when it comes to providing payroll services to larger businesses. They are committed to helping businesses align everyone, build resilience, save time, and drive strategy, as well as growing efficiency too. They can help you to unlock greater success at your business with their HR and payroll services.
8SageOneIf you are interested in finding a quality payroll software provider, we are sure that you will have heard of Sage before, and they have a great solution known as SageOne. The great thing about going down this route is that their software is incredibly easy to use. (Read our Sage Payroll review)
9CeridianNext, we have Ceridian, which is another company that has a great reputation in the industry. You can use their software to add a number of different rules to your payroll procedures, for example, you can get the software to take the likes of HR, net earnings, and so on into consideration.
10EquiomLast but not least, we have Equiom, which is a great choice if you are looking for a company that will not only help with payroll but also the likes of accounting, cybersecurity, and a whole host of additional services. They have an excellent reputation too for your peace of mind.


What is the best payroll software for large business?

There are lots of great payroll software products for large businesses. This includes the likes of Paycor, Rippling, OnPay, Gusto, and QuickBooks Payroll. It is not a case of there being one sole solution that is the best; it is about finding something that is right for your business. You need a solution that fits in with your requirements and the sort of services you are looking for. Therefore, we definitely recommend that you sit down and think about the different features and tools you need, and then you can select a solution that provides this.

How to choose a payroll solution for large organisations?

There is a lot to consider when looking for a payroll solution for a large organisation. You can ask for recommendations from family and friends, as well as reading reviews online that have been posted on independent review platforms. We also advise doing your own due diligence and searching for information about the company online. You will be looking out to make sure that they are reputable and experienced. It is also important to make sure that they have good security measures in place, as they are going to be handling confidential information about your business and your employees. Of course, you will need to look into the service they provide, assessing the features they offer and the different payroll packages that are available so that you can determine whether or not they are going to be the right fit for you. This is not a decision to rush into. Take the time to assess all of your options carefully.

Why outsource payroll for a large company?

You may be trying to determine whether or not you should outsource your payroll tasks or handle them in-house. There are a number of benefits associated with going down the former route. As a large organisation, it is likely that your business needs to wear many different hats. While keeping everything in-house is admirable it can result in a lack of efficiency, as you’re spending too much time on activities that do not represent your core business tasks. Instead, by outsourcing payroll, you are able to free up time so you can spend more time doing what you do best, which will, of course, boost your bottom line. Not only this, but you can have peace of mind knowing that your employees are going to be paid accurately and on time every month. This can boost employee satisfaction and consequently, employee retention rates too. A lot of businesses also experience cost savings, as hiring personnel and providing them with the training needed can often be very expensive. Overall, it is not hard to see why more and more large businesses and organisations are deciding to outsource payroll today.

What’s best for a big business: payroll software or payroll outsourcing?

When it comes to payroll, big businesses generally have two options at their disposal. They can outsource payroll tasks to a third-party payment provider, or they can use software to handle payroll in-house. When choosing between the two, there is no right or wrong answer, it is all about figuring out what is going to be right for your business. There are some excellent payroll software products on the market today, which will enable you to automate your payroll requirements. However, they do need some level of manual input, so you will need someone who understands how to use the solution and how payroll works within your business. Of course, the positive of this is that you will still be in full control of your payroll, and this is something that a lot of business owners want. Nevertheless, if you are looking for the weight to be taken completely off your shoulders and a team of experts to provide you with the service you need every month, then outsourcing makes the most sense.

Reviewed by , Managing Director

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