Specialist payroll software vs. your accounting software’s payroll module

25th Nov 2021
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"Jack of all trades, master of none,” depending on what way you look at the saying, it could either be taken as a compliment or as an insult. On the one hand, it can mean that someone is versatile and able to do many different things. On the other hand, it can mean that while the person can do many different things, they amy not excel in any one of them. Whichever way you look at it, when you apply this logic to choosing a payroll software for your business, choosing a “jack of all trades” provider who does not specialise in payroll can have both its advantages and its disadvantages.  

If your practice is already using an accounting software which has its own payroll module, it can seem like the obvious choice to use it to run your clients’ payroll. However, the decision may not be as straightforward as you think, and you shouldn’t just default to using your accounting software’s payroll module before you weigh up the pros and cons of both. 

Using a payroll software provider that specialises in payroll vs. using one which doesn’t 

1. Integration 

Of course, choosing to manage your clients’ finances and their payroll all in one place makes sense. Many accounting software providers which have their own payroll modules list the integration between the two systems as a major selling point. However, thanks to Application Programming Interface (API) integration, specialist payroll software providers have the same ability to send payroll data from the payroll software directly into the accounting software.  

List of accounting software that integrate with BrightPay

BrightPay is a specialist payroll software that has integration with a number of accounting packages. This means that through BrightPay, in just a few clicks, you can send the payroll journal directly to the accounting software. Thanks to API Integration, it is just as easy to send payroll data from BrightPay to the accounting package as it would be if you were using the payroll module of that accounting software provider. You can also choose where you would like things to get posted in the accounting software. BrightPay has direct API integration with the following accounting packages: 

  • Xero 
  • AccountsIQ 
  • Clear Books 
  • FreeAgent 
  • FreshBooks 
  • Kashflow 
  • Quickbooks (Online) 
  • QuickFile 
  • Sage Business Cloud Accounting 
  • Twinfield 
  • Zoho Books 

2. Features and Innovation 

Although most payroll software will have the same basic functions, when you choose a specialist payroll software, since their sole focus is payroll, they are likely to have a wider variety of features. At BrightPay we are constantly adding to and improving our payroll functionality. As payroll is our main priority, we are always looking for ways to make life easier for payroll processers and take all customer feedback on board. Through our optional cloud add-on, BrightPay Connect, we have introduced even more powerful features which can improve payroll processing. 

Many non-specialist payroll software providers see functions such as CIS (Construction Industry Scheme) modules or having the ability to pay employees from within the payroll software as “extras” that you need to pay more for. While BrightPay, a payroll specialist software, includes these functions at no extra cost. 

3. Set up 

One of the main reasons you may decide to use the same software provider to process payroll as you do to manage your client’s bookkeeping is the convenience. When you decide to use the payroll module of your accounting package to run payroll you can easily add it to your overall plan, and you will be only billed one amount per month. When it comes to running payroll for the first time, you may assume that setting up on a completely new software will take a lot more time and effort compared to using the payroll software provided by your accounting package. However, this is not the case and setting up payroll on either will take about the same amount of work.  

If you are setting up a completely new payroll or switching to a new payroll software at the beginning of the tax year, setting up and importing data is very straight forward. However, if you are moving payroll provider mid-year, the process will be a bit more complicated, and many payroll processers will need assistance. BrightPay is an example of a payroll software provider which specialises in payroll and who have a team of payroll experts dedicated to assisting customers in migrating their data from one software to another, at no extra cost. Many non-specialist payroll software providers outsource their migration support and charge for extra data to be transferred (eg. If you wish to migrate more than 2 years of historic data). 

4. Support  

When it comes to payroll, it can feel like there is a never-ending amount of information to know. That's why when you need an answer to a payroll related query, to know. That’s why sometimes you need an expert. At BrightPay, because our main focus is payroll, we have a whole team of payroll experts on hand to assist customers with any query and their help is completely free. BrightPay also hosts weekly live webinars on a wide range of payroll related topics which anyone can join for free. Many of BrightPay's webinars provide information to payroll processers in changes to payroll legislation while also answering questions sent in by the audience. 

If you’re interested in trying out a payroll software which specialises in payroll, why not book a free BrightPay demo and find out how it can help improve your workflow.