In-house Payroll or Payroll Outsourcing: Which is right for you?

in-house or outsourced payroll


2024/25 Payroll Legislation Guide

The facts, figures, thresholds and allowances for 2024/25, in one handy guide.

People are the beating heart of every organisation. As a HR or payroll professional, taking care of those people is your top priority. And showing them they are valued starts with a timely and accurate paycheque. 

But that isn’t always as simple as it sounds. From pay-run to pay-run, things move fast. Contracts… legislation… even your organisation itself… So much can change in a month!  

You can find yourself in a spin trying to handle all the demands of your increasingly complex payroll. How can you keep up? 

The answer to that doesn’t lie in ever more complex spreadsheets!  

In fact, there are two simple options that will support you to manage everything with efficiency, compliance and control. All you have to do is choose which one best suits your team: in-house or outsourced payroll.

Option 1: In-house payroll

In-house payroll: What is payroll software?

It’s exactly as it sounds. It’s a tool which will simplify even the most complex payrolls when running your payroll entirely in-house. Payroll software can:  

  • automate calculations and manage all the payments you need to make to your employees 
  • take care of any deductions payable to the HMRC 
  • handle bonuses, benefits, and expenses 
  • deal with statutory payments 
  • built the necessary reports needed to submit to HMRC.  

And that’s just the start. If you want to know all the ins-and-outs then check out our handy guide to payroll software.

In-house payroll: What are the benefits?

1. Your data, your choice

Payroll software means you’ll have total control over data and payroll procedure. You have complete oversight of the system, and although processes are automated, they are verified by you and your team. Payroll software makes everything more efficient but without compromising your operations. 

2. Simple efficiency

We know that a really good spreadsheet can help you with your monthly pay run. So why is payroll software any better? One word… automation. Payroll software doesn’t just make sure your employees get paid. It automates your processes. It can handle all the calculations and deductions. It routinely updates when legislation changes. It catches the exceptions to the rules. And it can juggle multiple roles, spine points or pensions.  

And imagine how much more efficient things would be if you choose a package that integrates with your HR software. No more re-keying data. During on-boarding, the HR team enters all that data and it will automatically pull through to payroll. Reduce the margin for error and you reduce all that double, triple checking. 

You’re a team of trained professionals, so you know what you’re doing. The technology just makes your process smoother, simpler and effortlessly efficient.   

3. Total reassurance

Every payroll manager knows that sinking feeling when the panic sets in. Is the data I’m holding on all those employees secure? Am I 100% compliant with HMRC, GDPR and any other acronym I haven’t yet read about on the CIPP website?  

A good payroll software platform will help you keep on-top of legislative changes. Look for a package that has statutory rates included as standard and pre-built reporting to keep you on the HMRC’s good side. Even though most platforms are now cloud-based (don’t worry, we aren’t about to get technical!) your data is safe. Just look for ISO 27001 to be sure of the most secure platforms. And if you want a list of the software that is most compliant, HMRC has kindly produced one for you. 

In-house payroll: Is it right for me?

You have a team of payroll experts in-house with a wealth of knowledge. But that team is spending all its time tweaking spreadsheets, re-keying data, checking and double-checking.  

What you really want that team to be doing is spending time thinking about people, not time-consuming procedures. You just know that things could be better.  

This option lets you keep your admin and reporting in-house but will streamline processes, ensure compliance, and free you up for those bigger and better things. 

Option 2: Payroll outsourcing

Payroll outsourcing: What is it?

This isn’t your chance to hand everything over and never have to think about payroll again. But it isn’t a million miles away! The other name for payroll outsourcing is a fully-managed service. So what does that actually mean? 

What it means in practical terms is that if you choose this option you can swap your time-consuming, manual processes for modern, cloud-based data entry and total handover of payroll processing. No more cumbersome spreadsheets. Just innovative software solutions for your data entry and a team of experts who process your payroll on your behalf.  

That’s the same as the in-house payroll solution. But outsourcing takes you one step further. 

Alongside the software and all the efficiency it offers, payroll outsourcing gives you access to a dedicated team of payroll professionals to help you handle everything. 

They’ll do (almost all) the hard work for you. 

Payroll outsourcing: What are the benefits?

1. Your Dedicated Team

Imagine having a team of UK-based, experienced payroll experts at your fingertips. You never have to worry about one of your team catching the flu just before the pay-run. Instead, you’ll have a team of qualified payroll experts to manage your payroll for you. They’re dedicated to the world of payroll and improving your payroll accuracy. 

2. Compliance Rules

We know how much time compliance can consume. With payroll outsourcing you can ease the burden. Your payroll partner will help to make sure you’re compliant, keep you up-to-date with legislative changes and help you with HMRC reporting. 

3. Fully flexible, fully scalable

No matter what happens in your organisation, payroll outsourcing can move with you. It can grow as you do, or it can shift in line with any of your changes. And if any curve balls come your way, your outsourced payroll team have probably had to field one of those before! 

4. Time savers

Payroll outsourcing is a time saver in terms of payroll efficiency. Once the data is in place, calculations, deductions, pay slips and all the processes for the monthly pay run take care of themselves.  But it will also save you time when searching for answers. The team are there to reassure and help you make the right moves.  

Payroll outsourcing: Is it right for me?

If you’ve ever felt a little bit lonely when it comes to pressing the ‘Run Payroll’ button, then this is the option for you. Payroll expertise can be difficult to hire, so if you can’t have the right know-how in-house then it’s time to outsource.  

And if you’re struggling to find the talent to run payroll, then you’re probably a bit overstretched. Understatement of the century! In-house payroll takes time. Outsourcing frees you up to focus on what matters most. Use the experts to deliver a great payroll experience, and put your energy into your priorities. 

If your team lacks time and the right experience, the risk of errors or non-compliance increases.  If you have already noticed those errors (or worse, if your employees are spotting them on payday) then it’s time to think about payroll outsourcing.  

With a team of incredible payroll experts behind you, you’re not alone anymore. Find out more about how much outsourced payroll costs.  

In-house or outsourced?

Whichever route you choose, Cintra has a great solution.  

We can provide you with award-winning payroll software which offers everything you need to manage your payroll in-house.  And, if you need it, an incredible team of payroll experts who can become an extension of your own team with our outsourced payroll services, offering expertise and reassurance.  

With Cintra on your side, you can rest assured that your processes will run with accuracy, efficiency, compliance and control. We pride ourselves on providing innovative solutions to meet your challenges and add real value. We want to help you to ensure that the beating heart of your organisation, your people, will get everything they need. 

Simply book a demo to see Cintra in action! 

Picture of Danielle Nicholson
Danielle Nicholson
Danielle is our Communications and Content Manager, leading the content strategy for Cintra. Outside of her passion for all things copywriting, she loves being on the water in a kayak or taking long walks with her Golden Retriever!