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3 Easy Steps for Transitioning to a New Payroll Provider

by Brad Johnson on December 4, 2019
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Cropped pillar page imageEvery business has one-of-a-kind payroll needs. A local coffee shop doesn’t require the same payroll schedule, timekeeping system or HR support as a 50-person marketing agency. 

Finding the right payroll provider for your unique company takes ample research and even some trial and error. Most importantly, the right payroll management company should give you back the gift of time:

  • Time to grow your business
  • Time to address ongoing problems
  • Time to support your employees with individualized attention

Not every payroll company pulls this off, however. Incorrect payments, employee misclassification or time-consuming technical issues are just some of the major complaints companies have about their service. Frozen by the fear of changing payroll companies, far too many businesses stick with a system that isn’t a good match.

Modern Companies Make the Switch Easy

Fortunately, the digitized payroll industry makes switching payroll providers far easier than it was in the past. The right agency will have the expertise and knowledge to help businesses make the transition with little to no interruption in your employee’s experience. 

Would switching to a new payroll provider save you and your employee’s time and energy? We’ve compiled a guide for simplifying the switch.


1. Determine Your Payroll Needs

The ebb and flow of your fiscal year is not the same as the business next door to you. Begin by considering what makes your payroll situation unique. For example:

  • Do you manage hourly employees?
  • Do you cycle through seasonal staff?
  • Is there a low and high period of the year for hiring?
  • How large is your administrative team that handles payroll?
  • What is your onboarding process? Is it something you’ve wanted to improve upon?
  • How do you manage yearly updates to payroll laws?

Here is an example: let’s say you handle the payroll for a private school. Though you may hire some support staff throughout the year, the majority of your teacher, substitute and staff turnover occurs at the end of the school year to prepare for September. You may also employ part-time staff for the dormant summer months. The right payroll company gets to know your unique needs and helps you prepare for the hiring season in the late spring.


2. Use Your List To Choose Services

Determine which payroll services fit your needs by using your list. With the competitively flexible options on the market today, understand what they have to offer and which solutions that will be valuable for your business. These may include:

  • Software that is easier to use and update, access to tax professionals and an accessible employee interface
  • Timekeeping and scheduling software
  • Hiring tools like applicant tracking, employee screening, onboarding support and ACA automation
  • HR support for employee training compliance, handbooks and round-the-clock support from an HR professional
  • Benefit support and unique options to make your company competitive in the job market.

3. Interview your candidates

Now that you know exactly what you’re looking for, it’s much easier to set up interviews with potential companies. Payroll companies should be vying for your business, so don’t hesitate to ask all the questions you need before signing on. 

Here are a few helpful questions to guide your conversation and research:

  • Have you worked in my industry before?

Tax laws, fiscal years and hiring needs vary widely from place to place. You need a payroll company that either understands or is excited to learn the ins and outs of your industry. Do they have examples of similar companies in your industry? Inquire about the challenges they faced when setting up the program and ways they streamlined their payroll process.

Above all, the right payroll provider should be adaptable to your needs, especially as you change and grow as a company.

  • What is the size of your agency?

You want to ensure the provider is both large enough to meet your needs and not too large that you become another number. Though both large and small payroll services have their benefits, you should never lose that personalized relationship with your team.

  • What is your pricing structure?

Cost is a major concern for many companies looking to change or set up new payroll services. Your payroll company contact should be able to provide a detailed rundown of the overall costs and any additional fees included in their structure. Many companies customize their payroll packages so you’re never paying more than you need.

It’s also important to inquire about the cost of customer support. Will you be charged each time you call with a question? How often do they increase prices?

  • How will you protect me from security breaches?

Both you and your payroll company can remain diligent about phishing and security issues. Your provider should be able to educate you on the recent phishing scams and how to protect your information. Inquire about their network security and how they will offer updated protection as scams change each year.

  • Can you provide references?

A great payroll company will have enthusiastic users ready to sing their praises. Ask to speak directly to both new and old clients to get a sense of how the company changed over time. Though testimonials are helpful, you’ll get a better sense of how the company handles customer care by speaking with them directly.


At Horizon Payroll Solutions, we want each of our clients and potential clients to find the right match for their needs. We understand that outsourcing your payroll transforms how much time you have to care for your business and your employees. With flexible programs, highly personalized service and up-to-date security knowledge, we aim to put all our clients at ease. If it’s time to make the switch—or even talk about making the switch—reach out today to begin the conversation.


Topics: Payroll