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What to Expect During Implementation 

January 29th, 2024 | 7 min. read

By Kelli Lewis

You’ve signed an engagement letter with us, and you’ve scheduled your Kick-Off call with an Implementation Specialist. So, what’s next?!

Perhaps this is a tad dramatic, but if you've been engaged before, you probably felt excited, nervous, and a little scared. You said yes, you got a pretty ring, but the unknown of what's next is causing a little anxiety. At least, when I got engaged, that's how I felt.

I've been happily married for six years now, but that 9-month engagement was a scary time for me even though I knew I was making a great decision! I had a lot of decisions to make, wasn't quite sure where we were going to end up, and just wasn't quite sure what to expect.

Like I said, comparing your engagement to implementation might seem crazy, but we know that you're feeling some things as you transition to our services, and we want to set you up for success. To start, sometimes it helps to put a face to a name, so here’s our wonderful implementation team.

Now that you’ve met the team, here's what you can expect for you and your business during implementation.

Scheduling Your Kick-Off Call

You’ve scheduled your Kick-Off call with an implementation specialist – but what happens during that call?

Your Kick-Off call is a Zoom screen-share where you and your implementation specialist fill out your New Client Information Form. We ask you to be patient with us – we know it’s a lot of redundant information you already gave to our sales team, but this allows us to ensure 100% accuracy, gain former payroll logins, and get your federal and state tax account numbers.

We ask you these same questions to confirm that we have the correct information about your company (you know salespeople – sometimes they miss the details!). We have to make sure your client and payroll information is correct. If we don’t ensure accuracy on this step, it can lead to confusion about role assignments within your team or worse, missed payroll tax filings due to errors.

However, if you’ve already filled it out, our Kick-Off call will be short and only consist of confirming your authorized contacts, outlining your Go-Live Date, and getting login credentials to your past payroll system. A Kick-Off call usually takes about 45 minutes, but if you pre-fill your form, it should take 20 minutes instead.

During this call, we will ask you to designate your authorized contacts.

What is an Authorized Contact, and Who Should it be?

An authorized contact is a person on your team that you trust with sensitive information about your company like your employees' social security numbers and payroll details. You can think of this contact like a super admin; there are only a handful of employees that need full access to your platform.

This is how we ensure we protect sensitive information about your company and eliminate potential fraud risks. We only speak with designated contacts concerning your company. If one of your employees called in, and asked us for information about another employee, we would not give them any information unless they were an authorized contact. In that case, we would tell your employee to speak with you directly.

There are two types of authorized contacts. You want to decide who should be a full-access authorized contact and a basic authorized contact. We have additional permissions set for managers, supervisors, and employees, but we’ll worry about that later.

  1. Full-Access Authorized Contact

A full-access authorized contact is someone on your team who has the authority to see all of your company and employee-related data and make changes to this information.

This is often the owner, CFO, CHRO, or even the payroll administrator in your company, and will depend on who handles specific tasks. Keep in mind – this person can:

  • View salary information and make changes
  • Give pay raises, promotions, and provide disciplinary infractions
  • Onboard new employees, add new hires, and terminate staff
  • View bank information, social security numbers, and companywide reports

This authorized contact must be someone who you trust and feel comfortable with handling these sensitive employee details.

  1. Basic Authorized Contact

There is also a basic authorized contact. This contact is someone who has the authority to see all your company and employee-related data but cannot change and update information.

We often see a W3 signer, an absentee owner, or C Suite leaders fall under this access. They need to see company-wide information, receive tax notices, access reports, and work with our support team if they have questions – but they probably aren’t involved in the day-to-day employee management and don’t really need to be able to make changes.

When is My Go-Live Date?

After you’ve given us your authorized contacts, we will work together to plan your Go-Live Date.

Your Go-Live Date is typically thirty days after your Kick-Off call, depending on your payroll process. Let’s say your Kick-Off call is scheduled for October 1st, and you do biweekly payroll with the pay dates of the 15th and the 30th, your implementation specialist may tell you that we will run your last payroll of the month for the 30th pay date.

Occasionally, we may outline a later date depending on your calendar and availability for training with our team. Once this date is established, we will have a working timeline for what needs to occur as we move closer to your Go-Live Date.

Why Do You Need My Prior Login Credentials to My Old Provider?

In your Kick-Off call, the last thing we’ll do is gain access to your current payroll system with your admin login details. Once we log in, our team will create administrator access for our team.

We do this because:

  • We will convert your historical payroll details from your old system
  • Bring over all of your employee records and information
  • Reconcile your last 941 tax filings

We build out your client shell with all of your information before we ever schedule training on our platform. This is good news – you don’t have to worry about converting any data! We handle the heavy lifting, so you don’t have to.

When Do I Terminate Service with My Old Provider?

Everyone asks this during the Kick-Off call. We recommend you provide notice to your former payroll provider AFTER your Go-Live Date with our team. This ensures we have access to all last-minute payroll changes and employee information – right up to the day we process your first payroll in your new platform.

After we’ve successfully run a payroll together, you can reach out and officially cancel service with your former provider. (Heads up, most providers require a thirty-day written notice to terminate services).

If you are concerned about paying for two payroll services in the same month or for the same payroll period, voice your concern with your implementation specialist so that we can work out a solution.

This is usually the last thing we cover at Kick-Off. At this point, we have:

  • Your company information
  • Your old login credentials
  • We’ve outlined your Go-Live Date

What’s next?

What Happens After My Kick-Off Call?

Your implementation specialist will send you a detailed follow-up email that includes any additional information we need from you.

We often need the following:

  • Your current employee handbook
  • Your G/L report for accounting
  • Your current PTO policy

There are usually many questions about PTO and leave policies, so we’ll send you articles about that if you’re unsure about your policies. If you need help reviewing your employee handbook and PTO policies, you might want to check out our Whirks People package. If that’s a need you have, we can always work together to update those policies through HR services after we’re up and running.

Changing providers is an excellent opportunity to ensure you have the right leave policy in place for your company. Now, your implementation specialist will ask you to send over that information to us securely.

We always recommend you send sensitive information by using our Secure Send portal with this link. Always send to ATTN: (your company name + Implementation Specialist’s Name). This secure link is also included in any Whirks employee signature block so if you lose the link, you can find it on an email thread, like this:

After you’ve sent over the necessary documents, don’t expect to hear from us for a week or two!

We know this might make you feel panicky, but don’t worry! Our team is handling the conversion, ensuring accuracy, and preparing for your training.

We typically schedule training the week of your Go-Live Date, so keep a few one-hour blocks open on your calendar the week of your Go-Live Date. Our team will reach out to get those scheduled as soon as we’re ready.

My Go-Live Date is Getting Close; When Will I Do My Live Trainings?

Earlier, we mentioned scheduling live trainings based on the services and packages you bought. A few days before your Go-Live Date, we will send you a calendar link to schedule your payroll training.

It feels super scary to train on payroll right before it’s time to Go-Live, but we’ve found that scheduling this training closer to your Go-Live Date ensures it’s still fresh on your mind the first time you process payroll, and you’ll feel more comfortable since it’s top of mind.

It’s the same reason the rehearsal dinner is usually just the day before your actual wedding. If you scheduled it a month before your wedding, the groomsmen would probably not remember the order they go down the aisle (sorry guys, you know it’s true!).

Why Do I Receive a Calendar Link to Schedule Trainings? That Feels Impersonal.

Not too many of you ask us this question, but we like to address this proactively.

We help a point of contact on your team understand what they should do and what they could do for process improvement and overall strategy. You are the quarterback, and we’re the coach! It’s our job to help you be the best you can be.

So, let’s start on the right foot! When we ask you to schedule your training with your implementation specialist. This gives you the ability to:

  • Own your work & prioritize what’s important
  • Check your team’s calendars
  • Ensure that everyone who needs training can be there
  • It provides us with the ability to send you email reminders, so nothing is overlooked

By now, you know the implementation process usually takes 30 days and consists of a lot of back and forth between our teams. After we process your first payroll on your Go-Live Date, this is where the fun can truly begin! Now we can work towards all the goals you have for process improvement, automation, integration, delivering positive employee experience – the sky is really the limit!

We know implementations can be tough, so once we’ve made it to your Go-Live Date, we recommend taking a break and getting used to working with our team and on our platform. After you feel adjusted, we can start scheduling your live training for the additional services you need, like:

  • Onboarding
  • Benefits Administration
  • Time and Attendance
  • Attract and Hire

The Hardest Part is Over!

You’re running your payroll smoothly and you have more time to do what you love. Our team helps you reach your goals one step at a time. You’re not just an account number to us – we strive to offer personalized, around-the-clock service to answer all your questions and put to rest any concerns, helping you and your business get one step better every day.

If you haven’t scheduled your kick-off call, now is the time! Use this link to get it scheduled and begin the journey with our team.