Questions to Ask Before Purchasing a New Payroll System
Questions to Ask Before Purchasing a New Payroll System

Questions to Ask Before Purchasing a New Payroll System

Selecting the best payroll system for your company is one of the most important business decisions you’ll make as a payroll professional. Your payroll system can make your team and employees feel as if there’s no easier system to use, or it can make them feel as if the company is trying to cost them time and cause stress.

What type of support does the payroll provider offer?

You’re looking for a true partner, not just a vendor, so it’s best to avoid generic, off-the-shelf “solutions.” You need a partner that can handle the level of complexity for your business and one who can grow as your company does. Ask them:

  • What experience do you have working with companies the size of mine?
  • What kind of ongoing support will I receive?
  • Will I have a dedicated support team for my business?
  • How many other clients do they support?
  • When I call for support, will I immediately be routed to my dedicated team?
  • Can you review the implementation process with me? What’s the time line? Who exactly is involved?
  • As part of our demo, can you run through a payroll and show one-time changes?
  • Can the system support multiple rates of pay, bonuses or shift differentials that would create a need for blended overtime calculations?
  • How does the system handle local taxes?
  • Can your system manage employees who work in multiple tax jurisdictions?
  • Can you facilitate data transfers between my company and our healthcare and/or 401(k) brokers?
  • How much of your company’s revenue is re-invested into R&D? (The best HCM tech providers invest at least 12-14% back into their technology. Gartner’s Strategic Roadmap 201-2018)
  • How has your platform changed over the years based on user comments and suggestions?
  • How do you plan to keep my systems up-to-date?
  • How often do you provide system updates?

colleagues evaluating payroll system

Payroll Compliance

Compliance can be very tricky, and if you don’t have someone in-house monitoring the always-changing government rules and regulations you could end up in a tough spot in the event of an audit. You need a partner to help you adapt and stay ahead of what’s next, so your team can act quickly as the regulation environment evolves, so ask:

  • How does your system manage compliance regulation updates or tax rate changes?
  • Are system updates and changes automatic?
  • Do you have a support team that proactively monitors compliance changes and will update our company when new regulations go into effect?
  • Do you have a support team that helps with tax notices from the IRS, state and local agencies?

Payroll Software With a High Usability

Of course, all of the payroll system vendors you talk to will say their system is easy to use. What sales person in their right mind would ever say, “Well, you know, it’s pretty complicated and there’s a steep learning curve”? The most usable systems are built using “informed design,” which is an approach to creating user interfaces based on close observations of how real people interact with the system. Typically, the more that end-users can influence the design of a product, the better it will be. The best payroll system technology evolves in a continuous feedback loop with the people who are using it to get work done.

To make sure their system really is user-friendly for everyone involved, administrators and employees alike, you need to get under the hood and see for yourself. Ask these questions to get to the truth:

  • Login screens and dashboards are important, but can you show me the behind-the-scenes details that make up those screens, since that’s where I’ll be spending most of my time?
  • Do you offer a single sign-on? If not, how many user names and passwords does an admin/manager need to access the system?
  • Can I access all relevant employee data from a single employee record or will I be required to switch between products or modules (time, payroll, benefits, etc.)?
  • How long does it take to perform basic functions, such as payroll or time entry?
  • Can an employee clock-in and clock-out the minute that they are hired? (Pro tip: If your salesperson says no, that is a telltale sign that the systems are disjointed and not truly unified.)
  • Can I easily make changes to the system on my own, such as tax changes, GL changes, earnings, etc. without contacting the payroll provider or sending them a spreadsheet?

creating payroll report

Payroll Reporting and Analytics

Analyzing your payroll data can help you more easily understand and manage common payroll concerns such as:

Getting your overtime costs under control can be difficult, but most businesses face the same challenge. When you can get your fingers on hard data you can quickly see how much of your company’s total compensation is due to unexpected overtime and easily identify the departments or managers that are the source.

  • Can you create a custom report for me on the fly as part of the demo?
  • Is it possible to run a report that includes both HR and payroll data?
  • Do you provide truly unified HR reporting, or do you rely on a third party to deliver that functionality?

Running payroll can be an inefficient and burdensome task. At Paycor, we’ve spent decades perfecting the payroll process. Our payroll and tax system is the simplest and most powerful solution for small to medium-sized businesses available on the market. Get time back in your day by quickly and easily paying your employees from wherever you are and never worry about tax compliance again.

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