Choosing payroll and HR software can be an intimidating task, especially with all the options available in today’s market. It is an important decision, because it is a long-term investment, and it must be thoroughly evaluated to ensure alignment with your business goals. Choosing the right software can improve efficiency, lessen the workload and lower costs. Fortunately, there are guidelines to help you navigate the terrain of software purchasing.
Before you begin looking, educate yourself. You need to have a solid understanding of the features and functionality available, and how they will meet the needs of your organization. Become familiar with your company’s existing software. What does it do well? More importantly, what could it do better?
Spend some time talking to your team, salespeople and vendors to determine your software needs. Focus on the needs of the people who will be using the software and the expectation of the people who will be making decisions based on how well the software performs. Ask plenty of questions, such as:
- Do we need a program that is Windows based or web-enabled?
- Should it be hosted or do we want to purchase it and install it on our network?
- Does the company need time collection? Many programs now have integrated applications to track time records for payroll. Some programs allow you to import time records from your current time collection system.
- Do we need to track employee benefits? Benefits such as accrued vacation and sick time can be tracked and managed with the right program.
- Do we have any special payroll needs? Will we need to export payroll data? Are there any garnishment issues or other complications we will need to manage?
- Do we require training management? Determine if the company would benefit from an application with the ability to track, record and schedule employee coursework.
- What do we need in terms of reporting? Reports may be simple, or they may be complicated, so you will need to find a program that meets your requirements.
Narrow the Field
Compile a detailed list of requirements based on your research. Eliminate the software and services that don’t meet your needs, and then evaluate the remaining options by asking questions such as:
- Does the software work with our current network applications and will it be compatible with multiple browsers?
- What does the program offer in terms of payroll tax filing solutions?
- Is the program fully customizable?
- How often are updates offered and how does the update process occur?
- Does the software company offer training and customer support?
- What is the true cost of the software and service? Consider the cost beyond the “sticker price,” such as additional fees for maintenance updates or license renewals. Determine this budget before you shop, so you can negotiate firmly based on your budget.
By no means is this a complete and comprehensive list. But these questions should get you thinking about what to look for when deciding which software is best for your organization’s specific business needs. Purchasing and implementing payroll and HR software is an important investment, but it does not have to be overwhelming.