Best Payroll NZ

Compare the 8 best payroll solutions in New Zealand

Payroll software in New Zealand is a very competitive space and this is by no means an exhaustive list. I've chosen to compare only the very best payroll providers for small to medium sized businesses.

As with all competitive industries, each provider will have specific features which make their offering unique. I've tried to break it down to the most important features. Some features you might not need, while others will be deal-breakers.

I've chosen not to include prices as they're all very competitively priced. You should instead find a provider with the features which best suit your needs, both now and in the future.

Something not right? Out of date? Let me know so it can be updated.

Automated IRD Filing

This is the biggest time saver after having payroll software do the maths and calculations for you.

There are two main ways to automate your payday filing requirements:

  • Intermediary

    This is when you assign the filing responsibility over to the payroll provider and they ensure your obligations are met. They usually have an API which automates this process at the time of running the payroll.

  • IR Integration

    This is where you connect your IR account to the payroll providers application so you can action a transfer of the payday filing data. This action may include an additional workflow requirement at the end of processing your payroll.

Automated Banking

I highly recommend this option to save time and cut down on admin errors.

There are several ways to connect your bank to your payroll provider including direct integrations, direct debit authority, letters of credit and hopefully soon - open banking.

Be careful before signing up to a provider if you use one of the smaller banks. They will all support the big four, but not all of them can offer the same level of service with the likes of KiwiBank, HSBC, Rabobank etc.

The advantages of automated banking are:

  • Save Time

    You don't have to think about the banking side of things. This is all taken care of behind the scenes.

  • No Errors

    As there is no manual data entry, there are no opportunities to get the number wrong.

  • Can't Forget

    Never miss paying staff or the IRD on time as the process is taken off your hands.

Some people prefer to maintain full control over their banking and cashflow. If you don't want automated banking, your options are either:

  • Download Banking Files

    The payroll software should generate a banking file compatible with your bank to reduce the data entry. It still takes time to login, upload and action the payments.

  • Manual Transfer

    You may need to perform a single transfer to the payroll provider, or you may need to manually make all of the payments to your staff and the IRD. This opens up the opportunity for errors and takes a lot more time.

Accounting Integration

All of the leading providers offer accounting integration with Xero. If you're using another accounting provider, make sure to check first if it's supported first.

Integrating with your accounting software should be a no-brainer. Cutting down another manual task through integration automation will save time and cut down on manual data entry errors.

Employee Timesheets

Not all industries or jobs require timesheets; for example, office workers who are paid a regular salary would not require this feature. For others though, it's essential.

If you have staff which work in hospitality, retail, manufacturing, trades or even farming - then timesheets are a must have.

It doesn't make sense to pay for a third party timesheet system when it can come with your payroll software. Especially if the timesheet system provided by the payroll provider can match the features you need.

Most payroll providers can support the data from 3rd party timesheet and time-clock software, but the real time savings are made when the employee completes their timesheet and the only thing you have to do is take a look and approve it with a single click of a button - no transferring data or re-keying the information into the payroll system.

Job Costing

This is an extension of timesheets and accounting integration. Being able to allocate the cost of different jobs or activities to time spent doing them and then having that allocated time appear in different categories within your accounting software.

This feature is great for businesses who want to track their expenses in a more granular way.

If your payroll provider can link allocated cost centres to timesheets and automatically push that data through to your accounting software then you're on your way to saving some serious time while have some incredible reporting capabilities.


Similar to timesheets, it's not for everyone, but if it is for your business, then why not try and combine providers to save some money.

Rosters by nature can have many features, and some would argue are a specialised tool which are not the domain of payroll. However, with such a large crossover of time, attendance and leave requirements, it seems inevitable that the two will meet.

Expense Claims

Most businesses will have at least a few staff which are out and about incurring expenses. If they are not issued a company credit card (or other means of payment), then they need to cover the costs and the only way for them to get their money back is to claim an expense.

Expenses incurred during the line of work are usually paid back with their regular payroll, often as another line item on their payslip. This makes sense as you are already banking their wages, why not pay back their expenses at the same time.

Business need to account for each particular expense as they are not all treated the same. This means they require receipts, GST numbers and categories for each expense. If your payroll software has tools for employees to submit their expense claims, then it keeps it all in a single place for reference and quick processing for payroll.

Earned Wage Access

This is a new concept spearheaded by the gig economy, that employees should have access to the money they have already earned.

As businesses look to save money, one way is to run payroll less frequently, from weekly to fortnightly, or fortnightly to monthly. This is great for businesses, but not so great for employees, especially if they live paycheque to paycheque.

Earned wage access allows employees to essentially pick their own payday. It is especially useful if the employee needs money for an emergency, reducing their exposure to high interest payday lenders.

Phone Support

Nothing is more important than paying your staff on time and correctly. Sometimes, unfortunately, it's not that easy and you may need help.

The last thing you want in these emergency situations is being unable to contact someone directly. Online knowledge bases, email and chat support are good - but nothing can compare to talking to an expert to ensure a smooth pay run.

So make sure your provider offers phone support, preferably free as part of your subscription.

Two Factor Authentication (2FA)

As we move more of our lives online, and as online crime is becoming more sophisticated and prevalent, we need to ensure our information is safe.

A strong password can go a long way, longer if it is unique to that specific service, but having two factor authentication (2FA) takes it to the next level.

With 2FA, not only would someone need to know your password, they would also need to have possession of a physical device, typically your mobile phone.

2FA works by producing a unique code on the physical device which expires after a set period of time. This code can come by way of an authenticator app, SMS or TXT message.

If this level of security is important to you, ensure it's available from your payroll provider.

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Disclaimer: The information presented on this webpage is true and fair to the best of my knowledge. If you believe any of the information provided to be false or misleading, please contact me using the form above so it can be corrected immediately.