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Updated: April 29, 2024

Why year end can be the right time for accounting firms to switch payroll software

Published By:

Jon Davis

For accountants who manage their client’s payroll, it is no small task to choose a new payroll software provider who understands the unique needs of your firm and clients. However, there can be specific reasons why switching can make a lot of business sense, and for many accounting firms, the end of the year is when making a switch rises to the top of the priority list.


There is no one reason why you may be considering a change in providers. It could be as simple as receiving subpar service, or as serious as the current vendor missing tax filings during the year, which has clients second-guessing. On the other hand, some firms in growth mode may find that their current provider is not keeping up or scaling with them and their clients.


In this primer, we discuss why many accounting firms switch payroll services at year’s end, what to look for when researching providers, and some questions to ask when shopping around.

Firms want a fresh start

Many accounting firms will use year’s end to their advantage by reviewing operations across the board. For example, it can be a good time to:

  • Review and plan budgets
  • Evaluate employee performance
  • Understand marketing performance
  • Determine if all the services they are paying for are worth the investment


In addition, for firms that are finding that more and more of their clients want them to take over their payroll, it could be a good idea to add evaluating their current payroll software to the list.


For many companies, worrying about client’s prior wages makes the decision to change payroll software difficult. The reality is that even perceived issues with the safety of client data or accuracy when migrating prior wages are enough to prevent an accounting firm from considering a switch. By taking advantage of the year’s end, you and your clients get to start with a clean slate on January 1. Therefore, the end of the year is an ideal time to make a switch if you are worried about migrating client data but are ready to transition to a different provider.

Promotions that put you ahead

When most businesses are looking to close the year’s business on a high note and may run special offers to reach their goals, there will be promotions that payroll software providers offer, which you can take advantage of.

Enroll clients today and pay later

Another reason firms choose to switch at the end of the year is that they can get clients enrolled and set up in advance, without fees charged to them until the new year rolls around. By transitioning clients early in November or December, you can remove some of the stress of changing payroll software while having clients ready in advance to run payroll in the new year. Plus, you won’t be charged until your first payroll run in January.

One caveat to call out

At no cost to you, our team can help you make a seamless switch any time of the year — and we make it super easy. Our team understands that you’re busy at the end of the year and we’re here to help when you’re ready!

Mitigate mistakes

Mishaps in the payroll system may occur, such as missed tax filings, or your clients will get notices in the mail. If you are handling this yourself with prior wage migration, mistakes can be made. Most companies will make you do this unless you pay for it (but we don’t). The last thing you want is clients getting in touch to say that there have been errors that have led to penalties, or that their employees are being underpaid.

Subpar support

Often, when firms are looking for a new payroll partner, it’s because support is not a consideration that their current provider takes seriously. For example, it may be cumbersome to connect with a live person by phone. Or when starting a chat online, the customer service representative is nowhere to be found and the conversation gets lost in cyberspace. To take this a step further, some providers may not even offer in-house support, thereby outsourcing efforts to an outside company without the knowledge or experience to handle payroll-related questions.


When shopping around for a service to suit your needs, it is worth asking the vendor if they train their teams on payroll. Look for payroll software vendors that provide additional customer service training for their support staff. Therefore, they can address the unique needs of accounting professionals and become familiar with the most common reasons why an accountant or bookkeeper will reach out for support.


About 4 in 5 accountants say OnPay saves them time on running payroll

Budgeting is a balancing act

In addition, year’s end can be the right time to take stock and see how much it’s costing you to manage client payroll with your current software. Evaluate whether there is more value to be had by moving to a different provider. For example, you may be paying extra to handle a client’s multi-state payroll, making amendments, or for direct deposit.


The takeaway is that while offering payroll services is helping your firm scale, you might find that you’re paying out of pocket more than you had planned. Like OnPay and with many payroll software providers on the market, shopping around could add up to savings in the new year.

Reward referrals throughout the year

Establishing a new relationship with a provider can create additional revenue opportunities for your business. For example, OnPay occasionally offers referral programs in which accountants or business owners who recommend our software can earn cash when another company signs up.

Skin in the game

For firms that are seeking a new vendor that is truly invested in the success of their firm, it could be worth exploring if there are companies that put their money where their mouth is. For example, does your current provider have a revenue-sharing system that you can take advantage of? Or are there opportunities to earn complimentary payroll that you can use for your firm?

Responsive support

OnPay is easy-to-use software that doesn’t have excessive clicking for information or hunting around for reports like other providers. Their customer service is top notch and response time is always quick and on point.

— Tanyaa Kilham, The Legal Accountant

Year’s end offers opportunities to assess your current provider

When it comes to generating revenue and building long-term relationships with your clients, adding payroll to your practice can be a no-brainer. But to scale and provide a seamless experience, it pays to have a payroll software provider who understands how valuable your clients are to your growth. With so many companies using year’s end to plan budgets, it can also be a good time to look for ways to run operations more efficiently.


So, if you are looking for an integration that your current provider does not offer, or want to see if switching provides more value, get in touch today to find out how our team can assist you.

Talk to us and see how easy it is to offer payroll services your way.

Jon Davis is the Sr. Content Marketing Manager at OnPay. He has over 15 years of experience writing for small and growing businesses. Jon lives and works in Atlanta.