Taking the risk out of payroll software migration projects

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Understanding the influence that a good payroll system has on staff engagement is vital to the success and smooth running of your company. An efficient payroll system reduces errors and problems which inevitably leads to a higher level of productivity and trust in the workplace. This, in turn, improves staff engagement.

Despite these benefits, there's still the perception that changing a payroll system is fraught with difficulty and risk. Companies are concerned about choosing the right software and payroll partner, the challenges around training and implementation, financial outlay as well as the time it takes to make the transition. For many, these reasons stand in the way of adopting a new payroll system.

 Click here to learn more about how payroll software can improve employee engagement. 

But often the benefits outweigh the risks. The key is to identify any possible issues in advance and address them in order to ensure a successful transition. The best way to do this is to find a respected payroll system that suits your company's needs and plan the transition with the help of an experienced vendor.

Have you got the right technology solution?

When an older payroll system fails, isn’t compliant with legislation or cannot accommodate a very changing employee workforce dynamic, then a move to a new system becomes a priority. But, a premature transition to a new system that might not have internal technology considerations can lead to pay errors. Consider if your provider offers a true cloud solution.

The benefits of cloud computing

Moving your payroll software from “on premise” to a secure hosted environment offers many benefits including key cost and efficiency savings. Essentially you have no fixed costs, you don’t have to invest in expensive hardware to support the payroll software roll out, or have your IT team working to ensure it never is offline or inaccessible.

A cloud option also ensures that whatever changes there may be in legislation you don’t have to worry about having to research and update your own hosted internal tools to accommodate the processing of changes.

You never need to apply or pay for an upgrade when your provider adds an enhancement or new feature to their solution – all the risk has been removed from you and your internal team. The payroll team themselves can simply access their processes as usual and all new features or support patches have been managed.

It is also very important to ensure that payroll and employee data is secure and the cloud hosted solutions offered today are tightly regulated and managed to ensure this is the case.

The scalability of cloud computing means your capacity and services tailored to meet demands, can be scaled down or increased as your business changes. Is the technology you are reviewing offering a flexible solution that can adjust without penalty? Seasonal employee requirements, personnel demands or retrenchments should be accommodated by a product offering that can be flexible with your demands and needs. As your requirements are altered then per employee payroll costs should be automatically adjusted accordingly. Today the workplace is so dynamic and variable with the need to adjust for health, leave, flexible work opportunities, job sharing, shift work and the like. Adjusting the needs with a new payroll system can seem daunting and complex.

When deploying a complex software project, it is also important to consider the other finance, employee engagement and human resources tools your company is using. If your software provider has solutions that can support some of those requirements make sure they can also work with those specialist software products that you need to stay functioning each day. It is best to avoid migration until you have considered that your provider offers a secure payroll solution that can fully integrate with other software and tools you have.

Internal team support of migration

Does your provider support you with full testing, that all groups of employees are fully identified, and staff have been fully trained on the new system to avoid and errors before payday? Any complex platform provider will have a migration plan mapped out to ensure that all key personnel are trained, have the communications to support employees and will work with them step by step as the first pay runs are managed. Any special requirements or unusual requests can be reviewed and supported in the early phases.

Ongoing training should be provided and regular communication about legislation changes, regulatory requirements and such will ensure you don’t need to figure this out on your own.

What are some of the common issues addressed when changing payroll solutions?

Paying your team on time and without error

The transition to a new system becomes a priority when an old payroll system fails or the level of payroll errors increases. It is best to avoid these with a complete migration plan where all system integrations have been fully tested, all groups of employees are fully identified, and staff have been fully trained on the new system to avoid any errors in the first pay run. Ensure you work with a payroll provider who has local support and can work through the pay runs with you.

People or payments may have been uploaded incorrectly in the new system, or data hasn't been uploaded properly. Also, if staff don't receive sufficient training on the new system, they could enter incorrect information which will ultimately lead to incorrect wage payments and unhappy, disengaged employees.

Meet legislative or compliance requirements

It’s critical that the new payroll system can perform up-to-date calculations of tax and leave, social policy deductions and superannuation contributions. The system should also be able to generate accurate reports in the correct format to the relevant statutory agencies. These can vary according to countries and state jurisdiction. If businesses don't comply with these requirements, they could face serious fines.

Don’t lose sight of why you need a new payroll system

Understand what's driving the need to change your current system before you start shopping around for your new payroll system. There are many solutions in the market so it's easy to lose sight of what your organisation really needs. Whether it's a specific functionality that's missing, an upcoming compliance deadline, the risk of equipment failure or the inability to extract the data you need, don't forget why you're wanting to make the change.

Changing systems is seldom easy, or done without good reason. Once you've decided that you need to make the change, ensure that you keep all of the reasons in mind to help you choose the right software and partner. If you can do that, then half the battle is won.

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