The best payroll services in Canberra

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Who are Canberra’s leading payroll services? Photo: file.

With so much government work in Canberra, it’s no surprise that contractor payroll services are an integral part of the local recruitment industry.

While many contractors depend on payroll services to get paid, not all payroll services are equal. The industry is largely unregulated, so choosing the wrong company could have negative repercussions.

The best payroll service providers have formal qualifications, are financially stable, have extensive knowledge of relevant legislation and hold proper insurance. They know how to navigate employment law, which can be complex, and can be trusted to manage payroll funds accurately and on time.

In this article, we’ll outline the qualities to consider when choosing a payroll service, and share where to find the best in Canberra. But first, we’ll provide a couple of important definitions.

What is a contractor?

In the eyes of the Australian Government and the ACT Government, a contractor:

  • runs their own business and has an ABN
  • takes their own tools of trade to work
  • work the hours they define
  • are unsupervised
  • are paid at the end of their task
  • guarantee their work by fixing errors for free.

What is an employment agency?

An employment agency is contracted to supply workers to another business. This includes recruitment companies who supply contractors to employers.

What is a payroll service?

These companies provide specialist payroll services for contractors such as salary packaging, novated car leasing and living away from home allowance.

Most employment agents don’t themselves provide these specialist payroll services. If a contractor needs them, the employment agency outsources to a payroll service.

What makes a great payroll service?

Choosing the right contractor payroll service can provide reassurance that these specialised services will be provided accurately, efficiently and on time.
It can be helpful to keep the following in mind when choosing a contractor payroll service.

  • Professional and knowledgeable. Your contractor payroll service should have an established office and have a Certified Practicing Accountant or Chartered Accountant on permanent staff. You’ll want a payroll company that can explain statutory requirements in plain language, provide advice and be clear on what it does and doesn’t do. Your contractor payroll service should have extensive knowledge of Australian employment law and understand that contractors are casual labour hire employees of employment agents.
  • Financially stable. Many payroll services regularly manage millions of dollars. You’ll want a properly structured and financially viable company. You don’t want to get stuck with a company like the now-defunct Plutus Payroll which became part of Australia’s largest-ever tax fraud.
  • Dedicated. The best contractor payroll services are dedicated to this specialised line of work. They don’t provide this as a sideline or “add-on” business.
  • Available. You’ll also want a service that’s available to answer your calls and emails promptly.
  • Provide defined paydays. Look for a payroll service that has defined pay days so there’s confidence in timing.

The best payroll services in Canberra

RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.

Payroll Canberra

Fast, reliable and affordable payroll services is what Payroll Canberra is about. The company’s small and friendly team have more than a century of experience in the ICT industry. As a local company, Payroll Canberra understands both public and private sectors and provides a service guarantee. Payroll Canberra began in 2016 and has been providing hassle-free payroll services ever since. As trusted and connected partners, the experts at Payroll Canberra operate with low fees.


The dedicated team at Bookssorted has helped Australian IT contractors take control of their payroll processes for more than a decade. With a passion for accuracy and outstanding service, Bookssorted promises to meet pay deadlines on time. The company is large enough to meet client payroll needs, but small enough to provide personalised service.

On Google, Cameron Harding wrote, “Very happy with the service I received from Bookssorted. Payroll was always processed promptly, and they were very quick to respond to questions.”

Achieve Corp

Achieve Corp has helped IT contractors and professional consultants manage contracting income and ATO reporting obligations since 2003. Achieve Corp assigns personal payroll managers supported by an experienced team (including a payroll administrator who looks over salary payments, and a contract administrator who assists with contract renewals and documentation). Achieve Corp is committed to paying contractors on time, every time, and offers a weekly pay option.

White Pillar

White Pillar provides easy and professional solutions tailored to business needs. The company uses innovative payroll software, devises hybrid payroll systems and helps businesses streamline practices to save time and money. Its professional, cost-effective payroll services are ideal for businesses of all sizes, including not-for-profit organisations and independent contractors. White Pillar always puts clients first and understands the significant challenges business owners face with payroll.

If your looking for more information, you might like our article on the best salary sacrifice services or the best recruitment agencies Canberra has to offer. If you’re looking for more information on financial services in Canberra, you might like our articles on the best tax accountants and the best financial planners Canberra has to offer.

Your experience with payroll services in Canberra

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Have you had experience with any of the payroll services listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the advantages of using a payroll service?

Using this type of specialty service can save you time, money and stress. It can also free you to focus on providing the services your business is dedicated to offering.

Is there any chance the payroll service may miss a deadline?

Contractor payroll services are experts at what they do. Good ones are well established and have automated systems and process in place to get the job done, and on time. Your written agreement with your payroll service should detail how they work and what their guarantees are for meeting payroll requirements.

If a payroll mistake is made, who is liable for it?

This should be covered off in your written agreement with your payroll company to make sure you’re both clear. It might be helpful to also talk to the Australian Taxation Office, and/or your company lawyer.

What does it cost to use a payroll service?

This depends on factors like the size, frequency and complexity of your payroll requirements. It’s best to talk to the service, outline what you need and ask them for a written, detailed quote so there are no surprises. This will help reassure you that you’re not being overserved.

What about confidentiality?

You’ll want to sign a confidentiality agreement with the payroll service, to provide you peace of mind. Reputable payroll services are set up to protect personal and other confidential information. Ask how they do so, however, for total reassurance.

Join the conversation

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I’ve always found PayMe are prepared to go above and beyond. PayMe provides the most flexible and personal services to meet all of your requirements as a contractor. PayMe and their staff are exceptional, and it stands in stark contrast to the normal experience as a contractor where you expect mediocrity.

I recently joined Payroll Canberra to manage my contractor pay. Based on my interaction, Payroll Canberra offers excellent customer service and streamlined on-boarding process. I am enjoying Payroll Canberra’s low fee and Guaranteed fortnightly pay. After I tried multiple payroll companies, I am happy with Payroll Canberra’s prompt service and I will be with Payroll Canberra for a while. I strongly recommend Payroll Canberra for contractor payroll matters.

I have been with Payroll Canberra since 2017. They are friendly and exceptional in looking after my payroll services. Payments related enquires were promptly dealt with. Payroll Canberra team genuinely cares and offers its services to their clients consistently. I have referred Payroll Canberra to numerous colleagues and friends and will highly recommend it to anyone looking to switch!

Sabeshan Sithamparanathan10:14 pm 15 Dec 20

Hi All,
I have been using Payroll Canberra for the past 3+ years for my contract roles. Payroll Canberra team has been providing exceptional service to me. I am able to call them any time and able to discuss about my contract matters. I only pay 1.5% payroll admin fees for Guaranteed fortnightly pay even my employer drags their payment to Payroll Canberra. If you are looking for friendly service with guaranteed payment, I strongly recommend you to have a chat with Payroll Canberra before consider other options.

Garrie Irons12:48 pm 06 Oct 20

I’ve been a customer of PayMe for many years and PayMe is the most prompt, thorough, and stress free part of contracting. They cater for my car and living away from home allowance, and I have referred colleagues to PayMe and will continue to do so. My life would be a lot more complex without Ian and Maria their dedicated team backing me up.

PayMe has made the jump from salaried work to contracting incredibly simple, they take care of everything! Banked hours make it easy for me to manage unexpected absences from work, the staff provide valuable information and are genuinely looking out for you as a contractor, and weekly pay means your budget is safe regardless of your contract payday. Highly recommend using PayMe to manage your payroll.

I really found it a scary proposition moving from full time employment to a contract role. However, I came across the PayMe website and found the information invaluable, so too the Payroll Calculator and now I am benefiting from the Australian Contractor Community. Exceptional.

Phillip Jackson3:56 pm 26 May 20

I have been with PayMe as a contractor over 10 years and the team at PayMe care. They look after me so well it’s like I have all the benefits of being in a permanent role. The ability to “bank” days for use between contracts, salary sacrifice, car leasing, phone and equipment and now security clearance. It’s brilliant.

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