Payroll Data Migration: Your Common Questions Answered

Payroll data migration is a complex process and can be a monumental task to complete. It involves moving payroll data from your legacy system to a new system. Single country data migrations are time-consuming enough, but if you’re migrating on a global level, it can soon become complicated.

Whatever your reason to switch provider, there are a few common queries that occur when you migrate your payroll, both globally and locally. So if you’re unsure about when to move your data, or whether there are any risks, help is on-hand from our global payroll expert.

Here, Simon Bradbury, from Global HR Implementation Services, answers these common queries about payroll data migration.


Where do I start?

Switching your payroll provider is a daunting prospect in itself. And payroll data migration is arguably one of the most complicated aspects. Before you dive into the migration process, here are a few things to consider.


Plan your process

Set out the steps needed for a successful payroll data migration with your payroll provider. Consider when the best time is to make the transition, so it runs as smoothly as possible. Note down what your end-goal will be and set deadlines. Payroll migration is far more than a process; it requires a proven, detailed methodology.

You should aim for three data migrations for your payroll implementation: test stage, parallel run and go-live. The amount of employees you use will vary for each migration, so plan accordingly. There is no one-size-fits-all migration, as no two businesses are the same. Data migration on a global scale will involve more planning and an alignment of all payroll systems too, so take your time to ensure it is a success.


Cleanse out-of-date data

A change of systems is the ideal time to review the information held. But it can get complicated. If your HR and payroll systems are stand-alone, it’s vital that they’re in sync for a data-cleanse to be successful. Ensure you’ve prepared all the data needed for your new payroll system before you begin your cleanse too.


Lift and shift

The biggest part of any system implementation is the data migration. Lifting your payroll data from your legacy system into your new system is a lengthy and complex process. So it’s important to give yourself enough time to complete.


Test your new system

Before your go-live, verify that your payroll is calculated accurately by running a series of tests. These tests should compare the new system’s data with your legacy system. Testing should uncover any errors before you go live. It also gives you the opportunity to prove your data is clean and you’re able to complete the required testing.


Go-live with your payroll

Once your data is migrated, testing is complete and any errors fixed, you’re good to go live with your payroll. Remember to set a date for when your payroll needs to go live before you begin, as the data migration process can be lengthy.


When should I migrate my payroll data?

The most efficient time to go live with your payroll provider is the start of a new tax year. But there’s no need to panic if it isn’t possible at this time. If you have the resource available and the data that’s required, you should experience a successful transition.


What data is transferred from the legacy system to my new system?

Your payroll provider should provide a data migration template to fill out. This will let you know what data is required and what isn’t. It’s likely your migration will require year-to-date values, start dates and leave dates. This will aid a smooth transition from your legacy to your new payroll system.


Are there any risks?

Yes! Your employees expect you to act responsibly and appropriately with their personal data. The law demands this too. Failure to comply with data protection may lead to serious legal and financial implications for your business. You should never transfer any data via email. All data transfers should take place via the cloud. Inaccurate data can delay your go-live date too, so testing your data is a crucial step in the migration process. Take your time to test your data to alleviate these risks.


What does a successful payroll data migration look like?

Accurate and complete data is the key objective both for your migration and go-live. You must verify that all calculations in your testing and go-live are all correct. You should aim for all your payroll data to be reconciled. There are a few ways to achieve a successful migration; so take your time to plan, only transfer the necessary data and carry out pre-live tests.