You’ve spent months researching all the different payroll systems on the market. You’ve had demos. You’ve made pro and con lists for each one. You’ve talked to the business leaders about the vision for the new system for the organization. You’ve asked your network about their payroll system experiences. You’ve done product research and presented your findings. But what about your payroll system implementation consultant? Your choice here can have as much impact on the project success as your choice in the system itself.
A consultant can be an invaluable partner when it comes to implementing your new payroll system, regardless if it’s an in-house product, outsourced, on the cloud, or a fully integrated HRIS/Payroll/Finance system. Not every payroll system consultant will be a perfect fit for your organization. There are many factors to consider as you go through the selection process. Be diligent and thoughtful as you meet with each potential consultant. Remember that they are not superheroes, swooping in to save the day. You are looking for a partner to help guide you through your project.
Some questions to ask:
- Do they have a proven track record? Industry experience? Have they worked on a similar project? Who are their past and current clients?
- Are they familiar with the current version of software you are implementing? Software is frequently updated and revised. New features are introduced; bugs are fixed. You want a consultant who is up-to-date on the payroll system you are implementing.
- What’s their availability? How often can they be on site and how much time will they be working remotely? Is there a time zone difference? Do they have other clients and if so, how much time do they have to give to your project?
- What is their training style and their plan for knowledge transfer? How do they document their work?
- Are they flexible, adaptable, able to work with a broad variety of staff with different levels of experience? Are they technically strong?
- Once you’ve made your decisions, work with the consultant to get a realistic plan as to how long the implementation will take, given the scope of work you want done and the budget you have. The scope, budget and timeline are all interconnected. If you increase the scope of work, the budget and timeline will also need to be adjusted. Be prepared to adjust the deliverables from the consultant if you are under a tight deadline and/or have budget constraints.
Ensure the expectations of the role of the consultant are clear and that their work is well-documented for future reference. The contract will document the agreed upon terms, but you should also be mindful that the contractor does not become an employee, under the Canada Revenue Agency. Refer to the Canadian Payroll Association’s Employee or Self-Employed Payroll Best Practices Guidelines for more information.
You’ll also want to have a payroll system consultant who is the main point of contact for the consultant at your organization. This person will ensure the consultant stays on track, meets their deliverables, and follows the protocols of your organization. They will also review the consultant’s invoices. If something goes sideways, the point of contact will also deal with terminating the relationship.
A payroll system consultant is not a substitute for your responsibility and ownership of the new payroll system but can be instrumental in guiding you through the implementation project. Whether or not you ultimately select AccSys Solutions as your payroll system implementation consultant, be sure that you take the time to find the consultant that’s the right fit for your organization, and foster a relationship that will be mutually beneficial.
This article contains excerpts from Dialogue Magazine, which is received by members of the Canadian Payroll Association.