If you intend to change your payroll service provider, there are some practical steps that will help you achieve a smooth transition, says NIKKI JOHNS.
The end of the year is probably the best time to change your payroll provider. But before deciding to make a change, it’s important to establish if your existing supplier knows that they are not meeting your requirements.
Have your spoken to your existing payroll provider about the problems you are experiencing?
If your existing payroll company has been providing support for a period of time, it’s likely that they have a reasonably good understanding of your business. So, if they are not delivering the services that you require, it could be that they don’t realise their offering doesn’t match your expectations. It is worth having a conversation with them to find out if they can up their game. However, if they don’t have the skills or capacity that you require then you probably need to switch to another company.
Timing the switch correctly
Usually, the end of the year is the best time to make the change as the initial set up will be less time consuming for the new provider. Getting the timing right is very important. (See our previous blog on choosing the right time to change your payroll provider).
Checklist for switching your payroll provider
Once you make up your mind to switch, there are a number of practical steps to take in order to achieve a smooth transition. Here is a checklist of seven key points to cover:
- Check the contract with your existing provider. What is the notice period? Are there any exit fees or penalties? Are there any other conditions you need to comply with?
- Research potential providers. Check that they are properly qualified to deliver the services that you require. Questions to ask include: Can they provide all the services that you need? Do they have adequate staffing and resources to cope during busy periods or when a staff member is absent or ill? What payroll software do they use? Is it compatible with your software and systems? Do they have adequate data security measures in place? Will they provide a dedicated contact for your business? How will they cope if your business requirements increase or change in the future? (This can be very important if your business is growing and your payroll is likely to expand). How will they liaise with you and your team? Will they liaise with Revenue on your behalf?
- Make a list of any software or apps that you use which integrate with your payroll process. You may need to allow time to make changes to these in order to keep things running smoothly.
- Once you have a shortlist of potential future providers, check how their services compare with your existing provider. This will help you to confirm that their offering is a better fit for your business requirements.
- When you select your new provider, you will need to find out what information they require from your existing provider. Collect all relevant information before switching as this will help avoid problems down the line.
- Choose the right time to notify your current provider that you are switching.
- When everything is in place, you then need to notify your employees so that they know that they will be receiving email and/or other communication from the new provider. Your employees may also require training on the new system depending on how it interacts with your existing systems for things like recording annual leave, overtime, commissions, sick absences, etc.
Payroll problems can be very time consuming when systems do not run smoothly so it is worth taking the time to choose the best possible provider. Changing to a new payroll company is a good opportunity to resolve existing problems and get a service that fully meets your needs.