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FAQs: How to Switch Payroll Companies

April 29, 2022

Courtesy of the Ahola Corporation

Something is lacking in your current payroll provider. Maybe they are responsible for much of your payroll problems — too many paycheck errors, you could never get anyone on the phone, or its services are too expensive. Or maybe you’ve simply outgrown each other — your company is expanding and it just can’t keep up with the services you need.

When making the switch, you want to know that your unmet needs will be satisfied by the new provider. This means thoroughly researching potential companies and seeking answers to the following questions.

When should I switch?

It’s important that you check your existing contract for any termination clauses. For instance, if 30 days’ notice is required, be sure to give it.

Ideally, you should switch either at the beginning of a new quarter or at the start of a new year, as this will result in less confusion and a more streamlined process.

For example, if you switch right after closing out the year, you and your new provider can start with a clean slate while your old provider handles W-2 processing and the previous year’s tax filings.

What information is needed to get started?

The new provider will let you know what it needs. Generally, you’ll need to supply all of the information required for it to manage payroll on your behalf. This includes:

  • Federal and state employer identification numbers (for tax withholding).
  • Your bank’s account and routing numbers (for direct deposit).
  • Your employees’ payroll records.
  • Quarter-to-date and year-to-date payroll summaries.

How simple is the implementation process?

This will dictate not only the length of the implementation but also how smoothly it will go. Make sure you will receive a dedicated representative whose job is to make migration as quick and painless as possible.

Will you teach me how to use your system?

A good understanding of the new provider’s technology is key to optimizing payroll management and improving your business practices. Therefore, it’s essential that you are trained on how to use the new system. Training may be centered around the following:

  • Wages and deductions.
  • Time and attendance.
  • Employee leave.
  • Employee benefits.
  • Overtime management.
  • Employee self-service.
  • Report generation.

How can I make the transition easier for employees?

Your employees may dread the change, as they wonder how it will affect their paychecks. Be sure to collaborate with the relevant managers and supervisors ahead of time to alleviate employees’ fears.

Also, work toward producing timely, accurate paychecks from the outset. This can be achieved by running a test payroll before going live. With a test run, you have the opportunity to not only familiarize yourself with the new system but also to spot and quash nascent glitches. If necessary, do multiple trial runs, as they will give you the confidence you need when it’s time to forge ahead.

Learn more by getting in contact with Chad Huson at chad.huson@sbam.org.

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