This is the most commonly asked question of our team. Most clients assume that converting at year end will be the best. They will have an entire year on their old system and begin the new year with a fresh product. While this is true, there are other complications to consider.
Year end is an extremely busy time for both software implementers and for you, payroll administrators. Let’s talk about your workload first. First, typically you have just completed Open Enrollment and are loading in all the changes and updates for the new benefit coverage period – usually effective January 1st. Second, you have your normal quarter end reports plus all your year end reports. Federal reporting of W-2’s and ACA filing must be done. Going live with a new system on January 1 will always result in many questions and slower processing for your first couple of payroll runs. Your time is already shortened in January with your year end reporting. And third, going live on January 1, means you have just spent the last 30-60 days in implementation. You and your team are exhausted from this major project. Now you face all your annual activities on the heels of an implementation.
Implementing on January 1 means your team will have extra workload in November and December. Both these months are virtually 3-week months with all the holidays and added vacation. Not to mention the distraction of the holiday season itself.
Implementers, like CS3, also find January 1 go-lives stressful. Late December through February 15th are the months with the highest number of support calls for payroll. The “once a year” activities require extra assistance simply because clients do them so infrequently. Also, year end balancing creates the need for support as well. For this reason, many firms, including CS3, limit the number of January 1 implementations. Many firms charge a premium because of the overtime incurred to achieve both heavy support calls and added implementations.
Experienced firms can easily transition your payroll to a new software at any month-end, pay-period-end or quarter-end. This allows you to bring a system up during any slow activity period. CS3 takes the responsibility to convert your data so all month-to-date, quarter-to-day, and year-to-date balances tie to the penny. W-2’s, 941’s and all other local, state and federal reporting is uninterrupted. Every individual employee’s balances reflect correctly.
We are always looking out for your best interest, making sure that your service, support and implementation are completed in the most stress free way.