What Not to do When Purchasing New Payroll Software

3 minutes

It’s always an exciting prospect when there’s a new bit of tech on the horizo...

It’s always an exciting prospect when there’s a new bit of tech on the horizon for you. Especially when you know it’s going to transform your vital business processes, like payroll.  

But often, the journey between considering taking on a shiny new product and actually reaching the go-live phase is littered with speed bumps, delays, unforeseen expenses and lack of engagement. In fact, McKinsey estimates that 70% of digital transformations for businesses fail. When you look at this more specifically, and consider just payroll implementations, The Standish Group found that 44% ran into problems and challenges, with a failure rate of at least 15%.   

With the number of innovative payroll products, like Dayforce©, on the market, implementations have become commonplace in businesses, and are continuing to grow. 

So, if you’re thinking about transforming your payroll processes, how do you avoid becoming another failed statistic? Luckily, we’ve got some tips on what NOT to do, to help steer you in the right direction… 


Lack of planning is usually the foundation for mistakes made during payroll implementations.  

A lot of companies run into problems because they didn’t meticulously plan every step of the implementation process – from picking a vendor, to design, to post-implementation considerations, time, deadlines, testing, resources… the list goes on. Remember, the larger your organisation, the more planning this transformation will take. 

If you fail to prepareyou’re preparing to fail. 

Pick a vendor/product that fits your business case 

Sometimes, a new payroll system fails because it doesn’t actually fulfill the requirements of your business – thus, it was doomed from the start. 

Look at what problems you need to solve in your payroll processes, and what your current system lacks, along with your overall business objectives and the solutions you need. This should help you identify the features you require from your new payroll tech.  

Ask as many questions as you like of your potential vendors – really get to the root of the functionality of the product before you commit, and this will also help guide you through the design and implementation phase. 


If you don’t consider the resources you need at all stages of a payroll implementation, and don’t factor this into your budget, your transformation will fall short. 

Who from your current workforce are you putting on this project? Who has the insight you need to make sure the functional side of your implementation goes to plan? Who is going to cover their BAU tasks? 

You might need to consider bringing contractors into the organisation during the implementation, and depending on the size of the company, potentially 1+ permanent members of staff to oversee the project and continued maintenance of your system. 

How you manage your resources will have a massive impact on the success of your new payroll system. 

Governance and compliance 

This is such an easy place to go wrong. You need to think about data migration, data security, compliance with tax laws and regulations, time-sensitive calculations and payments… all of these will be disrupted during an implementation.  

If you haven’t factored in all the things you need to do to remain compliant, you could find yourself in some seriously hot water before your new system is even up and running. 


Don’t forget that your new payroll software needs to be able to merge with and talk to the other systems you already use. 

One of the easiest mistakes to make is not planning for or considering integrations when investing in a new bit of tech. You need to find out how these integrations will work before you sign up for a new payroll product. If you only realise integration issues at the point of integration, this can have a huge impact on the success of your payroll project. 


Never skip over the testing phase! Once your design and build phases are complete, you’ll need your payroll tech specialists to carry out tests on your system to make sure the configuration works for you. 

It might feel like this phase causes delays, but if you don’t highlight and fix these issues now, the problems you experience down the line could be even more cost- and time-consuming. Depending on the size of your implementation project, you may need to hire a Test Manager at this point. 

Post-implementation maintenance and change management 

Now, this is probably the most common mistake organisations make when investing in new payroll software. 

So much energy goes into implementing it, and you build up to this big go-live launch date, and then everybody goes back to their day jobs afterwards. No one is able to take charge of making sure the system is functioning as it should, or that people are engaging with it in the way they’re meant to. 

You need to make sure there’s a plan in place for ongoing training and support for the end-users of your payroll tech, and that any maintenance updates and feature releases are covered by someone. It’s a huge shame when an implementation goes well, but the transformation falls flat because the ball gets dropped post-implementation.  

Transitioning from the pitfalls to the solutions is crucial in navigating the complexities of implementing new payroll software effectively. Investing time and effort into thorough planning, selecting the right vendor, allocating adequate resources, ensuring compliance, planning for integrations, conducting comprehensive testing, and establishing post-implementation support mechanisms are all critical steps toward a successful payroll transformation. By heeding these precautions, businesses can position themselves for success and maximise the benefits of their new payroll software. 

While the challenges outlined may seem daunting, they can be mitigated with careful planning and consideration. It's imperative to recognise that successful implementation extends beyond just selecting the right software; it involves meticulous planning, resource allocation, and ongoing support. By addressing these aspects proactively, businesses can steer clear of common pitfalls and ensure a smoother transition to their new payroll system.  

You can read some great Dayforce© implementation success stories herea great example being with the Hanover Insurance Group, who have achieved 100% adoption of the platform across their workforce. 

If you’re thinking of implementing Dayforce©’s payroll products, and you want to talk about timescales and how to resource for this, we’ve got you covered. Focus on DF is 100% dedicated to recruitment within the Dayforce© market, and as an official recruitment partner, we can discuss what your talent requirements are based on the scope of your project, and get you candidate profiles within a matter of hours. Get in touch today to take another potential pitfall out of your sight when implementing your new payroll system. 

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