5 Traits of a Great Cloud-Based Payroll Provider

Achieving Operational Excellence :

Moving Payroll to the Cloud with a great Provider 

As you begin to evaluate various cloud-based payroll providers, there are several considerations to keep in mind. Here is a handy checklist of the Top 5 things to look for when selecting a new payroll provider:

According to McKinsey & Company, by 2024 the average company aspires to have cloud spend representing 80 percent of its total IT-hosting budget. Major benefits are expected in complimentary applications.

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Experience and expertise
When evaluating payroll providers, look for organizations that can provide a balance of third-party validation and direct feedback from existing clients. High ratings from peer review sites and a long list of happy customers deliver the confidence you need to pick a winner, but you need to have a positive impression of the team that will be implementing your platform as well Do they have experience connecting with the specific ERP platform you currently use? Have they helped organizations to migrate from on-premises to the cloud before? Can they provide you with the guidance and support you need to ensure your move to the cloud is successful and engaging for your employees? As you begin to assess providers, ensure these questions are part of your evaluation process.

Track record for innovation
There are few technology sectors that are more dynamic, or more critical, than the payroll/HR space. If the past couple of years have taught us anything, it’s that the employment landscape can change dramatically in a brief period of time. If you want to attract and retain talent, you need to ensure your process and your platform can keep pace. Getting the paycheck right is just the baseline functionality. Look for providers that take your payroll capabilities to the next level by delivering a portfolio of additional services and value-add functionality. These services should be part of the platform itself – such as Employee Self-Service (ESS) resources, onboarding capabilities, life events, benefits elections capabilities, and the like – as well as include the ability to leverage other third-party applications from directly within the platform. Delivering access to “pay on-demand” capabilities, talent management tools (such as learning management and recruiting), and other similar resources are all hallmarks of a “future-proof” platform that can evolve as market dynamics change. And to ensure core functionality always keeps pace with change, seek providers who have a documented process for driving continuous improvement and optimizing their solutions.

Superior security
Today, more than ever, maintaining security and confidentiality are important. Seek providers who invest heavily in their platform and can provide third-party validation that they are adhering to best practices and are vigilant in safeguarding client data. The SOC 2 Type 2 certification, for example, is like a top-notch “seal of approval” from a cybersecurity standpoint. The “Type 2” aspect of the SOC certification makes a big difference. Type 1 certification looks at an organization's ability to adhere to security best practices at any given point in time, but Type 2 certification looks at how a company performs over time. As a result, the Type 2 audit can take up to a year to perform and conveys a deeper sense of commitment to protect your data. You must also ensure the provider safeguards the physical security of their facilities and teams as well as online security. This is particularly important if you plan to use that provider to print and mail your year-end tax forms.

World-class support
Personalized, on-shore support is becoming increasingly rare, but it makes all the difference for something as mission-critical as payroll. Look for providers who can deliver dedicated team members for your account and have a well-documented escalation policy should serious issues occur. Again, interviewing existing clients and reviewing comments from peer review sites can paint a more complete picture of the client experience.

Demonstrated compliance experience
The compliance landscape has become particularly complex during the post-COVID era. With a significant percentage of employees working remotely, many of whom have relocated and now conduct work in a different state than your physical location, multijurisdictional tax implications could come into play. It is a similar story for those traditional “deskless workers” – such as traveling nurses, home health care professionals, and utility workers – whose day-to-day activities could take them across state lines. Working with a partner who both understands these nuances and can actively help you to avoid compliance issues will pay dividends well into the future.

Moving to the cloud doesn’t need to be an arduous task, particularly if you start with payroll and follow these five steps for success.

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