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How to ensure your payroll implementation does not feel like a roller-coaster ride.


So, your old faithful payroll application is being retired and you have been promised that the new system will do everything for you apart from making the tea. Here are some tips our team have put together based on experience in the field to help the changeover go smoothly.


One of the biggest failures we see in a payroll implementation project is underestimating the amount of time it takes to set up and parallel your new payroll system. Don’t forget you still have your day job and your employees will still need paying and processing on your old payroll application while you change over to your new application.

To get around this you may want to consider:

  • Looking at tasks that you could temporarily pass over to another member of staff or team to help while you have your hands full with your new baby.
  • Consider taking on a temporary payroll assistant to help you out during this busy system implementation. A great tip here is looking for someone who has used your new payroll application before as they can often share valuable experiences.
  • The time of year chosen to implement your new payroll system can be critical to the success of the project. Avoid busy period such as tax or financial year ends, holiday periods, audits, and salary reviews period.


Bringing in a new payroll application is a great time to review your current payroll processes and reporting requirements. The different application will handle things differently, therefore, your processes will need to be reviewed.

  • Be open to the fact that your reports will not necessarily look the same. Focus more on the information in the report rather than the look and feel of it. Let be honest, payroll reports tend to be functional rather than a fashion parade.
  • It is a great time to review whether payroll reports are still required or are now redundant. Check with the recipients to see if they still need it.
  • Review the set of reports and dashboard’s your new payroll application can offer.
  • Often modern payroll applications will have functionality built-in that can replace your manual processes or spreadsheets. Take time to be fully trained on the application and the reporting tools available at the start of the project so you can factor requirements into setup.


Ask yourself what would happen if you need to do an extra parallel run.

  • Be realistic about when to end your relationship with your current provider. Being open and honest with your current supplier will often mean they will be flexible with you if it does not go to plan and you need to extend your current application.
  • Create a checklist of everything that needs to be achieved by your go-live milestone and agree on this with your implementation partner. Review this checklist regularly to ensure you are on track to meet your go-live date.
  • Another one of the biggest failure points we see in payroll projects is that third-party integration with things such as banking software, financial systems and pension providers are not considered till late on in a project, which can cause significant delays to the Go-Live date.


Ensure you communicate with your organisation at the earliest point as employees are very passionate about their pay.

  • Be clear to communicate with all stakeholders the switch over date.
  • Create time in your schedule around go-live to answer questions your employees may have about the new application and payslip.
    • Think ahead of your go-live about common questions you may be asked and create a FAQ document. This will save you answering the same question multiple times.
    • If your payslip layout has changed send an example ahead of time showing them where all the common information is located.
  • If you have cut off dates each period for things like timesheets and expenses, consider moving them forward to give yourself more time to process in a new system. Letting stakeholders know ahead of time that they need to get things to your earlier will mean they will have time to plan

For support or further advice on managing the implementation of a payroll system, get in touch with the team at LitE Consulting.