Switching Payroll Providers: Six things to do

Switching Payroll Providers: Six things to do

If your current payroll provider isn’t giving you the service or experience you need, then it may be time to switch. Here are a few questions to ask when switching payroll providers that will make the transition better
  • What’s the best time to switch payroll providers?
  • What payroll services do I need?
  • How can I make the switch seamless?
We’ll answer these and more questions for when you’re changing payroll providers. When considering other payroll services, we suggest checking out Eddy! Eddy's payroll team ensures you'll have a smooth transition from your previous payroll provider. Request a free, custom quote today!

Is it hard to change payroll providers?

Changing your payroll provider does require some effort on your part, but with the right payroll provider it can be a simpler project than you might expect. Some people might put off a transition because they are concerned about the time and effort. To help you plan your transition we've created this list of things to do when you switch.

Why it Might be Time to Switch Payroll Providers

It’s time to switch payroll providers when your provider isn’t working for you. How do you know when your provider isn’t working for you? How do you know when there might be a provider that works better for you? Start by considering what does and doesn’t work well with your current provider and compare that to other providers. The most important things to consider when it comes to a payroll provider are cost, customer service, ease of use, and product/service deficiency. Take the time to consider if you are paying more than you should for your provider, if your provider’s customer service is reliable, if your provider’s software is easy to use or causes added difficulties, and if the product really offers everything you are looking for. With all the options of payroll companies that are available, don’t settle for the first payroll provider you find, but find a payroll provider that really works for you.

How to Switch Payroll Companies

Here’s a payroll transition checklist of things for you to keep in mind:
  1. Pick the right time
  2. Determine needed services
  3. Check the terms of your current contract
  4. Notify your old payroll provider
  5. Choose a new payroll company
  6. Gather info for your new provider
  7. Set up your new contract
  8. Notify employees

1. Pick the right time to switch payroll companies

You should be able to switch payroll providers whenever it is convenient for you if you’re not stuck in a contract. Still, changing payroll providers mid-year can add just a little bit of complexity.
Is that added complexity worth dealing with a provider you don’t like? Absolutely not. Is it something to keep in mind? Yes, probably.
If you’re planning on switching payroll providers, doing so at the end of a calendar year is easiest. If you do it then, you won’t have to pull all of your historical payroll data. That can be a real pain if you have many employees, so it may be worth trying to avoid.
Switching midyear also takes more effort when it comes to tax payments and filings. You’ll have to figure out what your current provider will take care of and what your new provider will manage.
If you can’t change providers at the turn of a year, then shoot for the beginning of a quarter. If even that won’t work, just make sure the switch doesn’t interfere with your employees getting paid on time.
There’s a lot going on here, but Eddy’s payroll team can walk you through it and help you make sure everything gets done right.

2. Determine needed payroll services

There is a whole lot that a payroll provider can provide, but they don’t all offer all of these services.
Here’s what full-service payroll providers do:
  • Top-of-the-line customer service
  • On-time employee payment
  • Quarterly and annual tax returns
  • New-hire reporting
  • W-2 preparation, filing, and distribution
  • Tax remittance
Everything on that list has to be done. It just comes down to whether you’re doing it or somebody else is. When you’re choosing your payroll provider, you have to make that same decision.
Make sure that your new provider is fairly priced and provides all the services you need. If you’d prefer a more customized package, go with a company that can work with you on what you need.
"If you’d prefer a more customized package, go with a company that can work with you on what you need."

3. Check the terms of your current payroll company contract

Before you leave your current payroll provider, you should double-check the terms of your contract with them. There may be some terms in it about service cancellation fees and some companies may require a 30-day notice.
If your current contract is almost up, waiting to switch providers until your contract ends may be worth it.

4. Notify your old payroll provider

If the terms of your current contract allow you to change providers easily at the time you are hoping to change, be sure to notify your current payroll provider about your plans to switch providers. Early communication will ensure a smoother process on both sides.

5. Choose a new payroll company

If you have decided which services are important to you in a payroll company and made a list of your priorities, you are ready to evaluate potential payroll companies.
It’s a good sign if the payroll company you are looking at offers the services you have prioritized, but there is more you can do to make sure it’s the right company.
It’s helpful to ask for references of the company’s customers and talk to them about heir experience with the company. It’s also helpful to ask for a demo of the software to be sure that you won’t be paying for any services you won’t need.
To evaluate a potential payroll company, find the answers to these questions:
  • What is the customer service experience typically like at your company? Which representatives would I speak with?
  • Would this software be compatible with your current software? Could I integrate it with other current or future software?
  • How would the company handle the transition? What would my responsibilities be during the transition and afterward?
  • How secure is the software?
  • What would happen if a payroll mistake is made?

6. Gather info for your new payroll company

There’s a lot of information that you need to gather from your own company to get started with a new provider.
  • Employee info
  • Business info
  • Payroll Registers and/or Quarterly Reports
  • A voided check
  • Proof of FEIN (Federal Employer Identification Number) from the IRS
  • Payroll tax returns for the current year quarters
  • Copies of payroll registers for each check date of the current quarter
  • W-2 Forms
  • Copies of a payroll quarterly report for each completed quarter for the current year
  • Copies of quarterly tax returns for the current year
  • Employee profile information including, name, address, social security number, tax withholding information (information found on the W4 form), rates of pay, recurring earnings/deductions, garnishment paperwork, and direct deposit information.
You should keep this info on file because many providers charge fees to collect it after you leave their service.
The sooner you can get this information to your new payroll provider the better. If you take too long, you’ll run the risk of not paying your employees on time. Your new provider will tell you how much time they need to set everything up, but fourteen business days should be enough.
"You should keep this info on file because many providers charge fees to collect it after you leave their service."

7. Set up your contract with your new payroll

Your new payroll provider should make this pretty simple, but you should be familiar with the details of the contract. You should know how to avoid fees, your responsibilities to keep things running, and any cancellation requirements.
Being very familiar with and sticking to your contract is a great way to keep a good relationship with your provider.

8. Notify employees

Make sure to let your employees know that you’re switching payroll providers. Ideally, the switch won’t affect them much, but every payroll provider has slightly different processes.
"Make sure to let your employees know that you’re switching payroll providers."
Your employees will lose access to the old provider’s information, so have them print or save past pay stubs, and help them find the new ones.
Have your employees check their first pay stub with the new provider very closely. Tons of information gets transferred during payroll provider changes, so it’s smart to double-check that everything is correct moving forward.

Final Thoughts

Payroll is definitely a critical business expense, and it’s also one of the most frequent. You should enjoy working with your payroll provider and be totally satisfied with their service. If that’s not the case, it’s worth considering a switch.
Eddy’s HR+payroll platform is designed from the beginning to be easy to use for admins, managers, and employees. Request a free, custom quote today!
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