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Hiring a payroll software developer

8 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Software Developer

This is it. The boss is counting on you. Make the wrong decision and your name will be mud. Make the right decision and you’ll be heralded as a hero, they might even give you that bonus you’ve been hinting at. It’s time to hire a Software Developer.

How can you know what makes a great software developer? And, how can you increase your chances of hiring the right people for the job (and securing that bonus)?

This article will help.

Here are 8 questions that can help you to hire a great payroll software developer. These questions are useful whether you are hiring an individual software developer or engaging the services of a software development company.

1. How much experience do you have?

While experience isn’t always guaranteed to lead to success it certainly helps.

An experienced payroll software developer should have a good understanding of both software development and the payroll industry. They should have worked with a variety of clients over a number of years, successfully solving issues and producing quality payroll software.

A well-established footing in Software Development and in the Payroll Industry is essential. A reputable software developer should have a proven track record of quality, up-to-date software.

In short, look for someone with extensive experience in Software development and the payroll industry.

2. Do you have any client testimonials or case studies?

Good payroll software usually has a band of happy customers willing to explain how much it has helped their business. Ask your prospective software developer to provide a range of client testimonials. If possible look for case studies and testimonials from those in a similar industry to yourself. If you can, get contact details and speak to the clients yourself.

Things to look out for when reviewing the case studies of a payroll software developer:

  • Are there case studies for businesses similar to yours?
  • How recent are the case studies?
  • What did the clients think of the outcome?
  • Can you physically speak to the clients?

3. What types of software can you work on?

Many software development companies specialise. It’s important to make sure that your chosen payroll software developer is proficient with the right kind of software for your business. Their chosen software package should integrate well with your current systems, if it doesn’t there should be a good reason. It would be prudent to carry out some independent investigation into the technologies your prospective software developer plans to use. Are those technologies well-supported and widely used within the industry? Or are they archaic and ready to be retired?

In short, you should ask your prospective payroll software developer these questions:

  • What technologies do they use?
  • Do their technologies fit with your current set up?
  • Are the tools they use niche or widely used by others in the industry?

4. Where are you based?

In the age of Zoom meetings and remote working, distance doesn’t tend to be a problem. However, if you are torn between two equally good payroll software developers, distance could be a deciding factor.

Having a software developer based nearby can be useful if you need them to come out to your office in an emergency.

5. What is your process for building and maintaining software?

While asking this question may feel like you’re opening up a can of worms, there is a good reason for it. Firstly, it’s important that your software developer has a system. Even if it’s one you’ve not considered before, the fact that they work to a certain methodology tells you several things about your prospective payroll software developer:

  • Your software developer is organised
  • They have failsafes in place if things go wrong
  • The software development progress can be tracked

When you ask,

What is your process for building and maintaining software?

And the answer is something like

we just play it by ear



followed by a blank look. A red flag should be going up in your mind.

Some other considerations in harmony with this are:

  • How long will the payroll software take to build?
  • Who will be the main point of contact during and after development?
  • Does your prospective payroll software developer have a well-documented plan?
  • How often will the payroll software be maintained?

6. What kind of support do you offer?

In a perfect world, your payroll software would work straight out of the box and keep ticking over quietly for as long as needed. In reality, things break, software becomes out-of-date, and security flaws can start to appear. With this in mind, it’s important that your chosen payroll software developer has a robust support package in place.

Some additional questions to ask your payroll software developer:

  • Is there an additional charge for support?
  • How quickly can you fix issues?
  • How extensive is the support?
  • How long is support offered for?
  • What does the support include?

7. How much will the payroll software cost

Conversations about costs and pricing can be awkward if not handled properly, but experience shows us that it’s essential for both parties to get a good understanding of costs upfront. Knowing your payroll software developer’s pricing strategy upfront will help to avoid any nasty surprises during or after development. Getting prices agreed upon in writing is also key.

Some additional questions for your payroll software developer:

  • How does your pricing structure work?
  • Is there a cooling-off period?
  • What is included in the cost?
  • Are there any additional costs?

8. What information do you need before development work can begin?

You have a great series of meetings, a volley of well-mannered emails moves back and forth, the board gives the project the green light, contracts are signed, and the project sets sail, full steam ahead…. Only to grind to a staggering halt 2 weeks in because Bob who has the master password is on honeymoon for a month in deepest Borneo.

The above scenario is one of a series that could hamper, if not stall the development of a fledgling piece of payroll software. Discussing and agreeing to the requirements at the outset can help to manage expectations all around and ensure the software development gets off to a good start.

Some other points to look out for:

  • Is the prospective payroll software developer interested in your business? They should be
  • Will they need access to sensitive parts of your business?
  • Are their requirements reasonable?

One final thought on hiring the right payroll software developer

Before making a final decision, take the time to think things through carefully. Ask yourself; Does it feel right? Experience shows that it is far harder to back pedal once the software has been developed and installed. Taking the time to consider the initial steps can save many problems down the line and maybe, just maybe land you that bonus.

Forest Computer Solutions