The Best Payroll Software Solution: Off-the-shelf or Bespoke?

Payroll Solution: Off-the-shelf vs Bespoke

Within the turbulent world of payroll and contracting with it's frequent ups and downs, unexpected legislation changes and the occasional system crash, it's good to have a payroll solution that you can rely on.

But how do you get the tailored performance of bespoke payroll software with the realistic pricing of a tried and tested off-the-shelf solution?

To answer lets look at the pros and cons of each...

Off the Shelf


  1. Tried and tested

    You know it's been used successfully by other payroll providers, so you can rely on it working for you.

  2. Reasonably priced

    Off-the-shelf payroll software comes with a smaller price tag than bespoke software making it suitable for smaller businesses.

  3. Relatively simple set up and use

    Most systems are designed to work in a variety of conditions with minimal disruption to your normal work flow.


  1. After sales support can be variable

    Some off-the-shelf payroll solutions are great until something goes wrong. A lack of dedicated support can make these one-size-fits all solutions difficult to maintain as your business grows.

  2. Changing the way you work

    Rather than working around you, off-the-shelf software can mean you have to work around it. You may have to adjust the way you work to make sure the software fits in with your existing in-house systems.

  3. Your competition are probably using it already

    The chances are your competition are using the same or similar solutions giving you no competitive edge over them.



  1. Custom built from scratch to meet your exact requirements

    Skilled developers can plan and build bespoke payroll software to match your business needs exactly. It can also be made to integrate seamlessly with your existing systems.

  2. Scalability for growth

    Bespoke software can be designed with your company's overall strategy in mind. If you plan on a massive expansion over the next few years this can be catered for.

  3. Can give you a unique edge on your competitors

    Having a unique payroll system can put you way ahead of your competition by solving common problems during the planning phase and developing more efficient ways of managing your payroll.


  1. Premium price tag

    While all of the above pros sound great they often come with a team of elite developers who are more than happy to pour themselves into your business for a significant fee.

  2. Can take months if not years to build and implement

    Being bespoke means your system is built from the ground up, this can take a significant amount of time as new features are developed, tested, modified and implemented.

  3. After sales support is usually good but expensive

    Support packages for bespoke products usually require the attention of the same elite developers that built them, meaning an additional cost for any problems or extra training that might be needed.

So, in essence it really comes down to your business needs, your budget and how quickly you need the solution. However as you're already on our website, reading our blog, we invite you to consider another option.

If like many businesses you need something that fits the needs of you and your contractors exactly, but won't bankrupt your business in the process, then consider our Umbrella Payroll Software.

As always if you have any queries don't hesitate to give us a call.

This article was originally posted 25/04/14

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