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Are you considering upgrading your business's payroll system?

The decision to change payroll systems is a major one and not one that should be taken lightly considering it will impact every person in your business.

Having had 30+ years of experience in the payroll tech industry, I have one crucial piece of advice for you: actively select the system, rather than simply letting yourself be "sold" on a specific option.

Why is this so important? Well, first and foremost, not all payroll systems are created equal. Each business is unique, with its own set of needs, goals, and existing systems in place. Therefore, it's essential to carefully evaluate your current situation, as well as any potential vendors or solutions you're considering.

Here are a few key factors to keep in mind:

  1. Identify your business needs

What specific functions do you require in a payroll system to meet your business goals? Do you need something straightforward and easy to use, or does your company require a more complex system with detailed reporting capabilities? Knowing your requirements is an essential step to choosing the best fit for your business.

  1. Research, research, research

Don't jump at the first payroll system that looks appealing to you. Take the time to research multiple options and read reviews from current and previous users. Additionally, take note of any features that stand out or could be valuable to your business.

  1. Don't be afraid to ask questions

When you're in the midst of selecting a new system, it's crucial to ask vendors questions that can help you understand how well their system meets your company's needs. Don't be afraid to ask for references or a detailed list of features and capabilities.

By actively selecting a system that works for your business, rather than simply being talked into one by a salesperson, you'll be in a much better position to optimize your payroll system and achieve your business objectives.

A Move from PC-based Payrolls to the Cloud

Recently we have seen payroll vendors like Ace, IMS, MYOB, Exo and other providers of PC-based payroll solutions pushing their clients to move to a cloud-based alternative they are offering.

The problem is that in most cases the cloud alternative they are pushing is either not as good as the PC-based system they are trying to get you off or the cost of the new cloud product is up to 10 times more expensive on an annual basis.

In many cases, we are seeing clients who are being pressured or bamboozled into changing and they end up regretting it.

To help ensure this doesn't happen to you we have put together a quick list of some important questions you should ask during the selection process.

10 Important Questions to Ask a Vendor When Selecting a New Cloud-Based Payroll System

Selecting a new cloud-based payroll system is not an easy task. There are many factors to consider, including the features of the system, the vendor's reputation, and the cost. To make the process easier, it's essential to ask the right questions. Here are ten of the most important questions to ask a vendor when selecting a new cloud-based payroll system.

  1. What Are the Features of the Payroll System – Adopt a “Show me, don’t tell me” Approach

Before you even speak to a vendor ensure you have made a detailed list of what features are critical in your business, such as Leave Management, IRD Compliance, Reporting and Integrations to name a few.

Then ask the vendor to demonstrate how their payroll system meets your needs in these areas. Every business has different needs, so it's essential to select a system that meets those individual needs.

  1. What Is the Implementation Process?

Once you select a payroll system, you will need to implement it. The process can be complex, so it's essential to ask the vendor what the implementation procedure is. Determine how long it takes, what steps are involved, and what resources are needed. Establish expectations early on, so everyone is on the same page.

  1. How Is the Payroll Compliant with New Zealand Legislation such as the Holidays Act.

Compliance is essential for any business. Some aspects of New Zealand Legislation are complex and change constantly, so it's critical to ensure the payroll system is up to date. Ask the vendor how they manage compliance, who is responsible for it, and how they keep it current.

  1. What Is the System's Security Like?

Security is a vital factor when selecting a cloud-based payroll system. Ask the vendor how they ensure the security of the system and the data it contains. Determine what security measures they use, such as encryption and restricted access, and how they manage backups. Also ask what happens to your data should you choose to change again in future.

  1. What Are the Reporting Capabilities?

Reporting is essential for any business to analyse data and make informed decisions. Ask the vendor what reporting capabilities the system has. Determine whether you can customize reports, generate reports in real-time, and export reports in multiple formats.

  1. What Is the Support Like?

Support is vital when selecting a payroll system. Ask the vendor what support they provide, such as phone, email, or chat. Determine what their support hours are, who provides the support, and the response time for support. Be sure to discuss this critical area when speaking with reference sites the vendor gives you.

  1. What Integrations Are Available?

Integrations with other systems are essential for many businesses. Ask the vendor what integrations are available with the payroll system, such as accounting software, time and attendance systems, or HR systems. Determine what the process is for integrating the systems and what resources are required.

  1. What Is the Cost?

Cost is a critical factor when selecting a payroll system. Ask the vendor how much the system costs and what the pricing structure is. Determine whether the pricing is based on the number of employees, usage, or a combination of both. Compare the cost of the system to other systems on the market to determine whether it's a good value.

  1. What Is the Vendor's Experience and Reputation?

The vendor's experience in the New Zealand market and reputation of the vendor is essential when selecting a payroll system. Ask the vendor for references or case studies and do some research on the vendor's reputation. Check online reviews and ratings and ask others in your industry if they have experience with the vendor.

If you need the payroll to integrate with other third-party systems such as a time & attendance system, speak to that vendor and ask how their other clients have found working with this vendor or their system.

  1. What Is the Vendor's Future Roadmap?

The final question to ask a vendor when selecting a new cloud-based payroll system is what their future roadmap is. Determine what features they plan to add to the system, what integrations they plan to support, and what the timeline is for these additions. Establish whether the vendor plans to continue developing and updating the system to ensure it meets your business needs.


Selecting a new cloud-based payroll system can be a daunting task, but asking the right questions can make the process smoother. Consider these ten questions when evaluating payroll systems, and you will be well on your way to selecting the right system that meets your business needs and delivers the value you need.

We have helped many of our TimeHub clients select and implement a new payroll. So if you would like to have a no-obligation (and no cost) chat about payroll alternatives or just want to talk through the process of selecting a system, I am happy to help. Just use the link below to book a time in my calendar.

Steve Nathan, Co-Founder @ TimeHub

Click here to book a time to chat with me about payroll systems



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