The ultimate payroll provider selection checklist

The ultimate payroll provider selection checklist
The ultimate payroll provider selection checklistThe ultimate payroll provider selection checklist

If you’re seriously considering changing your payroll solution, you’ll already know that there are a lot of decisions to make. A starting place is to make a list of potential suppliers, which leads to the question:

How do I select a reputable payroll provider?

This question is so important because the expertise, integrity and reliability of the payroll provider will play an incredibly important role in the decision-making for your project. 

To assist in the process, our team at PayCaptain has put together a comprehensive checklist which will help you screen potential payroll providers. 

This checklist is based on our expertise in the industry, as well as from feedback and input from our own customers and contacts. They’ve shared their experiences and the criteria they used when they were searching for a new payroll provider. 

So, whether you’re looking for a fully outsourced, managed payroll service or a cloud-based payroll solution, this checklist should help you drill down to ‘must haves’ from your service provider. 

The Ultimate Payroll Screening Checklist

Payroll Company Name:

Business information and experience

  1. Is the payroll solution listed on the HMRC website as HMRC-recognised Payroll Software? You can check here
  2. Has the company received awards/recognition for their payroll solution?
  3. How is the business structured – financially and operationally?

Customer References

  1. How many customers does the payroll services provider have?
  2. How many of their customers can be contacted to give a reference?

NB – call at least 5 customers for a reference. Some suggested questions are below:

  • If you were selecting a payroll solution again, would you choose the same company?
  • Do you have your own dedicated payroll manager/team? 
  • Can you contact the support help desk quickly and easily?
  • What methods are available for contacting your service provider?
  • Is it obvious who your contact is in different scenarios – payroll specialist, Payroll Manager, technical support, Account Manager?
  • Do you have a clear escalation path with a dedicated contact in the event of problems?
  • What is the percentage of payrolls delivered within agreed deadlines?
  • How accurate is the payroll?
  • How responsive is your service provider to payroll queries?
  • Do you feel you’re well supported by your payroll service provider?
  • How does the service provider handle changes and problems if they arise?
  • How enjoyable is the experience working with your service provider?

Reviews and Ratings

  1. Does the payroll service provider have a ratio of at least 50:1 good reviews to bad?
  2. How do they respond to negative reviews online?
  3. What is the process for your service provider seeking feedback and how is it dealt with?
  4. How often are service reviews carried out?

Service quality

  1. Does the service provider use metrics to measure performance?
  2. Are metrics reviewed with their customers regularly?
  3. Are metrics measured at individual customer level and by payroll professional and rolled up to the overall department?
  4. How do changes come about after metrics have been reviewed?
  5. What are SLAs for problem resolution?

Payroll professionals

  1. Does the service provider invest in their payroll professionals?
  2. Do the payroll professionals have credible qualifications and memberships such as the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (‘CIPP’)?
  3. Is there an annual training plan in place to keep skills and knowledge up to date? 
  4. What are the core values of the business and are they a good employer to work for?


  1. Does the software save time and improve the quality of the payroll experience for employees?
  2. Is the software an intuitive cloud-based solution?
  3. Does it have automation built in?
  4. Are reports available immediately?
  5. Are reports configurable?
  6. Is there exception reporting?
  7. Can actions be achieved in just a few clicks?
  8. Does the software integrate with other solutions – HR? Labour Scheduling? Accounts? Pensions?
  9. Can the software easily and automatically send information to approved third parties?


  1. Is the service provider ISO27001 certified?
  2. What security certifications does the payroll service provider have?
  3. What is the disaster recovery plan?

Sales and onboarding

  1. Does the service provider identify the customer goals and measure against them?
  2. Is the solution configurable to meet the customers’ needs or does the customer need to adapt their way of working to fit the payroll solution?
  3. What is the onboarding process?
  4. Can the payroll system be implemented at any time during the year?
  5. Does the payroll service provider run parallel payrolls and run reports to check for any exceptions during the transition to the new payroll solution?


  1. Is the solution roadmap transparent and does the service provider communicate the value they will deliver in the future?
  2. Does the service provider listen to feedback and consider it for future deliverables?
  3. Do customers have the option to be involved in testing or early adoption?


  1. Are there consistent standards of service?
  2. Are there statistics available for disruption to the payroll service?
  3. How responsive is the service provider when there are changes to legislation ? 
  4. Are issues rectified quickly?

We hope you’ll find the suggested questions in our checklist a useful start for when you’re considering changing your payroll system.

If you’d like to know more about outsourcing payroll, take a look at the articles below:

Which is the best payroll company?

What are the pros and cons of outsourcing payroll?

Like to know more? Speak to Mike!