What should you consider when looking for new payroll software?
This depends on your business. As a payroll software provider, we’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of businesses trying to make a product fit where it just doesn’t. Here are some questions to ask yourself when trying to select the right platform for you.
If you’ve got five salaried employees, it’s unlikely you need a tool with complex award interpretation capabilities - the payroll function included in most accounting systems might be enough. Alternatively, if you’ve got a range of employment types, awards and levels, you want something that will provide as much automation and compliance as possible. Think award interpretation, rostering alerts and warnings, and customisable onboarding to ensure you’re collecting the right information from the get-go.
Will you be the principal user most days? Or will a manager be approving shifts and checking the pays each Monday? Do you have a dedicated payroll resource. This matters, because depending on the role, the accessibility of the platform ‘on-the-go’ could be important, as can access - Is the same person that’s rostering, responsible for payroll?
Talk to the key stakeholders and identify any gaps they have in their roles and processes.
Map out your entire payroll process – you might find that payroll isn’t your biggest issue, but collecting time and attendance data is. This is something we see so often, where businesses have prioritised smoothing out payroll processing, without dedicating the operational time to optimise data collection.
This leads into the next question…
This could be anything from your HR system to BI and Rostering tools. Are these things that must integrate or are you better off looking for an all-in-one solution, to cut down on tools and the risk that data doesn’t flow properly. If you don’t have your own internal IT team, an all-in-one product may be easier to configure and maintain.
This includes the implementation process. Have a think about who should be involved and why. If you don’t have the payroll expertise in-house, consider enquiring about a more managed implementation rather than a self-configuration option. If the only options are a high-cost implementation, or DIY – consider that it might not be the platform for you.
Discuss automation with your provider and get a clear understanding of what is automated and what is not. For example, if an employee has not supplied their TFN, are they automatically taxed at the higher rate after 28 days or is this something you need to manage manually? Don’t get alarmed if no platform can automate everything, just understand what levels of manual intervention you’re happy with.
Not a rhetorical question - it’s an important consideration.
Many providers will charge an additional fee for access to general customer support. Sure, it’s probably a model that works, but it means that support is quantified, rather than being an innate part of that provider’s ethos.
It’s often the businesses that are hesitant to pay for additional support that need it the most. Even perfect products need to provide customer support, so finding a payroll partner that values this - so you can get the help you need, WHEN you need it - is important.
An extension of this is Help Resources. How comprehensive and easy to understand are the platforms’ Help Guides – ask to see them and assess for yourself!
All these things should point to how much value the provider puts on ensuring their customers’ ongoing success.
It’s not a deal breaker either way, but this can influence customer support processes and turnaround times. A natively built payroll function can mean that data integrity is higher and platform updates are delivered seamlessly and more often.
When calculating this, ensure you include the cost of time and attendance processes, wages for payroll processing, reporting and any adjustments. This is of course, on top of any costs for payroll platforms, and any associated platforms that feed data into it like HR and rostering products.
The employee experience is important. Having quick access to shifts, personal details and payslips means more satisfied employees... and allowing them to self-serve translates to less work for you and less risk of mistakes.
To a larger extent, what does the future of your business look like? Choose a product (and fee structure) that can grow and scale with your business. When it comes to innovation, ask how updates are delivered. With the ever-changing payroll landscape, an agile platform that constantly improves is important. As your business grows, you may find your needs change too – so something flexible, and configurable is ideal.
While a list of ‘requirements’ is important – don’t get too bogged down in the nitty gritty of certain features or functionalities. Be open to assessing your current processes and where they could improve with the introduction of a new tool.
And finally, keep it Aussie. We might be biased here, but Australian-built and managed means you’re investing in the Australian economy and getting the expertise right from the source.