Payroll migration DO's and DON'Ts

When the time comes to migrate your payroll to a new service provider it’s crucial that you choose a supplier who has the necessary expertise and capabilities in all the complex processes involved in the Education Sector.

The administration of pension contributions, forms and reports is particularly challenging. Add to this the intricacies of pay spines, grades and Term Time Only (TTO) pay calculations, which are vital in the sector, and the picture is already looking extremely complicated.

Whatever your choice you need asupplier who fulfils the entire monthly and annual pension reporting requirements in its standard service, as these are extensive and time-consuming to complete manually.

It’s also useful to make sure your chosen supplier can deal with ad-hoc service enhancements such as same day payments, extra report generation, e-mailed payslips and automated uploads of account journals.

To accommodate last minute starters or leavers each month it’s important to be able to make a draft first run of your payroll so you can make the changes you need to close to pay day.

Take a phased approach to your migration project, ensuring that your timeframes accommodate your current supplier’s notice period, and making sure that any year end processing by your current supplier is complete. 

Also bear in mind that it can take up to 8 weeks for a new PAYE reference to be supplied, so don’t forget to obtain your current reference from your existing supplier prior to transfer.

It is wise to allow at least two or three months to migrate to a new supplier, allowing adequate time for testing, checking reports and making any data format changes that are necessary. Don’t allow any BACS files, payments or payslips to be transmitted until you are fully confident that they are accurate.

Your payroll provider should be a trusted partner in your business process, so communication and good working relationships are crucial. Choose a supplier whose advice and guidance you can rely on.

Make sure your chosen supplier can provide:

  • Full pension capability
  • Maximum flexibility and range
  • Ad-hoc service enhancements
  • Clarity and transparency of costs and SLAs
  • Thorough phasing and testing prior to migration
  • Monthly draft runs

Prior to migrating make sure your current supplier provides:

  • Electronic exit data files including third party information
  • Payment schedules for staff on maternity and long term sick leave
  • PAYE reference
  • Confirmation in writing of all outstanding responsibilities- such as Year End returns processing


If migrating on 1 April, prior to the end of the tax year on the 6 April, make sure your current supplier has confirmed in writing that they will complete all Year End returns processing for the payroll months they have managed on your behalf.


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