A Comprehensive Guide to Switching Payroll Companies

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March 17, 2021

No matter your business's size, running an efficient payroll system is vital to its overall success. Your employees have to get paid correctly and in a timely manner or morale will suffer. This is not negotiable. So, if your current payroll system is not offering you the desired value, it makes sense to consider switching payroll providers! 

Whatever the reason you are making the change, the process of switching payroll providers can be overwhelming. In this article, we provide a detailed guide to help you make a seamless transition. 

What is a payroll provider?

Processing payroll is a complex activity. It involves intricate calculations and strict regulations that you must comply with. The cost of error may range from employee lawsuits to penalties paid to regulatory agencies. This is why most businesses almost always use a payroll service provider for this important task. 

A payroll provider is a company that helps you process payroll automatically, from the calculations to tax statements, payroll deductions, remittance, end-of-year taxes, setting up payment via direct deposit or paychecks, providing payroll reports, and many more. 

Payroll providers take away the stress of doing payroll processing yourself. They do this by employing automation to provide seamless internet-enabled services. 

Of course, payroll is more than just the calculations and remittance. A payroll provider also ensures that your legal obligations as a business owner are met. They keep you up to date on new laws and regulations about taxes, workers' compensation, and other related payroll issues.  
All these allow you to pay more attention to other essential management tasks. 

To ensure your employees are paid correctly and on time, a payroll provider needs to perform other supplementary functions. Some of these functions may include:

  • Keeping a record of employees' working hours and attendance.
  • Setting up a means of payment for employees. It may be via direct payment or issuing of paychecks.
  • Ensuring compliance with all provincial and federal laws regarding payroll.
  • Handling of all payroll deductions, remittances, and taxes.
  • Providing easy to comprehend payroll reports and records to employees and employers. 
  • Providing support and other human relations services. 

Why should I consider switching payroll companies?

Switching payroll providers should be a strategic business decision for you. The ultimate aim of employing payroll providers' services in the first place is to relieve you of the stress of going through payroll processing yourself. 

However, when errors keep coming up, or deadlines are not being met, this convenience may be erased. 

As a business owner, the burden of handling employees' complaints about not being paid on time or accurately still falls on you. You are also responsible for penalties from regulatory agencies when payroll remittance falls due or when deductions are just inaccurate. 

So, you might want to consider switching payroll providers under the following conditions.

Compromised standard.

At the onset, your current service providers may seem just appropriate. But over time, errors may start piling up due to negligence on the parts of your payroll providers. 

You may notice your employees complaining more about the time of payments or inappropriate payroll deductions. This may happen once in a while, but when it becomes unnecessarily repeated, then you may need to try a better service provider. 

Undeclared fees.

As a small business owner, you might just be putting up with the cost of your current payroll providers. The price may seem small at first, but paying it 26 times a year (biweekly payroll) may add up to a significant number.

This coupled with the fact that some payroll providers charge substantially for services that should have been part of the whole package. These may include processing yearly or quarterly provincial or federal returns, delivery fees for tax returns, T4's, and paper checks. 

Lack of proper integration with other platforms.

Your decision about switching payroll providers can be because other vital operations are not compatible with your current payroll process. An example is the inability to pay your insurance through payroll software. 

This stems from a difficulty in incorporating a digital means of work hour tracking with your payroll platform. So, if are you finding it difficult with insurance audits at the end of the year, then the door is wide open for a change.

Bad customer service.

Your payroll provider should be there to answer all your questions and offer you help when payroll or tax mistakes occur. Providing answers and offering help is also not enough. How and when these are done is very important. 

It is not good enough if your payroll provider is not there to fix errors promptly or answer your call for help efficiently. 

Some payroll provider even offers you a dedicated representative to attend to you each time you call or have a problem. This ensures that you have direct communication with someone familiar with your business.

Lack of HR and other additional services.

A good payroll provider should be able to offer you, wise counsel, on labor matters, financial regulation, tax laws, and other related issues as they arise. 

An example is in the case of a legal tussle with an employee. Trying to figure out whether to grant or fight a claim can be challenging, especially when you lack the required expertise or experience. 

When is the best time to switch payroll providers?

Switching payroll providers can happen at any point throughout the year. Nevertheless, there are two times of the year when the change seems smoother and comes with less effort. These are:

  • At the beginning of the year
  • The beginning of a new quarter

Switching to a new payroll provider at the beginning of the year offers you and your business a fresh start. There will be no need to transfer detail of employee wages from the previous year to the new platform. 

When you switch any other time during the year, you have to transfer historical data from the old platform to the new one. 
If you decide to opt for a quarterly switch, you can start processing the quarter's taxes with your new payroll providers, although you still have to transfer historical data. 

Whichever time you choose to make it happen, you should begin preparations beforehand.  A proper preparatory phase can significantly help you in having a smooth transition.

What are the steps involved in switching payroll companies?

To make the process of switching payroll providers more effortless for you, we recommend you follow the guideline below. 

1 -Get a new payroll provider

Before switching payroll providers, understand what your previous service providers lack and what you want in a new one. Do some research, read customer reviews, and do some internal consultation to get a new ideal payroll provider. Be on the lookout for features that support your business growth. 

2 - Evaluate your present contract:

It is essential to review your current contract's terms before making the switch. Some fees or limitations on assessing data may be part of any termination. You must know this beforehand as it may influence your decision. Some contract requires you to give at least 30 days' notice before termination. This, however, does not apply to many cloud-based providers, as you can end your subscription almost at a moment's notice. 

3 - Request ROEs for a change of provider:

In cases where an employee quits or experiences any interruption in earning, a Record of Employment (ROE) is issued. It contains details of employment history. This document is also required when switching payroll providers. You should ensure your current providers submit ROEs to Service Canada after processing your last payroll. This gives your new providers access to a complete pay-per-period breakdown of insurable earnings to prepare ROEs on your behalf. You also have to inform your new provider if you have signed an ROE Web Authorization with the previous provider. This enables them to register as your primary officer and electronically submit ROEs to Service Canada on your behalf. 

4 -Request copies of all payroll register reports:

A payroll register report provides a detailed summary of each payroll. It includes wages paid, deduction, and remittance made on behalf of each employee. When switching providers during the year, this information is required to set up old and present employees with your new provider. The CRA also requires you to keep records for six years from the end of the last tax year. Doing this before terminating the contract is important because getting the reports afterward may be more difficult. 

5 - Request copy of pay stubs:

For proper documentation and record-keeping, you should make sure to demand copies of previous pay stubs for current and terminated employees within the current year. You'll find this very important when employees demand access to their past stubs when you're in the middle of switching payroll providers. 

6 -Clarify the provider to file your end of year report:

Once the transition is over, it is apparent that your new service provider should be responsible for filing your year-end report. It is still important to clarify and put this in writing. It could put you in a problematic situation if both providers submit reports on your behalf to the CRA. 

7 - Inform all stakeholders:

With these changes, your employees have to be notified of changes in how they receive their payments. This is especially important if there is any change in the frequency of payment (from biweekly to semi-monthly or vice versa) or payment mode (paychecks to direct deposit). You should also be in constant communication with the current and new providers. You can use the opportunity to give the necessary feedback to your old provider.

How long does it take to switch payroll companies?

It doesn't take much time to set up a new payroll system. For simple payroll systems, which most small businesses employ, it takes less than a week. Due to each business's unique nature, some factors may influence the actual time involved in switching payroll providers. These include:

  • Size of the business: This should be quite obvious. The lesser the number of employees involved, the faster it is to set up a new system. Transfer of data and other administrative tasks are faster for a dozen employees compare to a business with hundreds of workers.
  • Time of the year: Switching payroll providers at the end of the year would be a lot faster due to a reduced volume of information transfer from the previous to the new payroll system. 
  • The scale of the operation: If you decide on a complete overall of not just the payroll system but other related systems such as the work hours tracking and accounting systems, the transition may take longer. 

How should I choose a new payroll provider?

Make a wish list.

Make a list of all the new features you need.  You can't get what you want if you don't know it. So, take your time and make a list of features you want in a new payroll provider

Consider all the features.

Consider the features that you may want to add as your business grows. Look beyond the present. Your new payroll system must be able to grow with your business. So, you should make another list of new features your business may take up as you expand. 

Consider your current needs.

Consider a package that is easy to use and compatible with already existing features of your business. Your new payroll provider should not be difficult to integrate with other programs you use. Time tracking, accounting, and report generation software should run well with your payroll software.

Learn by trial and error.

Some payroll providers offer you an initial demonstration of their product and free trials. It would be best if you utilize this opportunity to the maximum. You can book a demo and try it out now with Push payroll software

Ask around.

Ask for references from clients similar to your business. The payroll providers other similar businesses are using may just be right for you. After narrowing your search down to two or three companies, ask for reviews from other businesses similar to yours. 

Consider the cost.

It is better to consider overall quality than price. However, when you're quoted a base price, be sure to ask if there are any other extra charges. Don't fall for the initially quoted price. Ask the necessary questions, but most importantly, shop for quality. 

Why should I choose Push? 

Push payroll software embodies everything you need in a payroll system. It offers you a fully integrated and cloud-based payroll system that makes it easy for you to stay on top of every aspect of your payroll. It's all you need in a single package. It also offer you the following services:

  • Automated taxes and remittance
  • Easy to access and view Record of Employments (ROE)
  • Easy to use and access employment records
  • Integration with time tracking and scheduling to aid data pulling
  • Integration with sales to provide accurate labor costs
  • Automated statutory holiday pay calculations
  • Management of multiple business locations from a single, smart system

All these features are designed to save you time and money by keeping your business law compliant and your employees happy as they get paid on time. 

It is obvious why small and big business owners in Canada use Push Operations has their go-to payroll provider for seamless payroll processing services. 

Knowing that you need a new payroll provider is one thing; choosing a new one that delivers and meets your business' immediate and future needs is another. With Push payroll has never been easier. 

Switching Payroll Companies

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March 2021


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