At Norton Rose Fulbright, we have been able to participate in the beta review of the new payroll and so far, it has been a great experience. We first needed to be on version 7.0.2 and once we had that accomplished, we were able to execute the payroll conversion. We did all of this in our test database and I have to say it has been a painless process. 

When we did the first conversion, PDS worked with us to make sure we had everything set-up correctly. We were even able to tweak a couple of the steps based on how we are set-up to do our back-ups and restore. From there it has been as “easy as pie”! I have done the conversion now three times on my own. First, I restore my development database with a copy of my production database right before the payroll was processed. We use the back-up that was done right before the payroll is updated in production so we can then run the new payroll and use the same transactions. After the restore is done, I execute a process where I enter the target database and passwords which (in my environment) runs for about 40 minutes. After that, I run benefit processing and Nightly Utility Procedure and I’m done. I have to say this was a very well thought out conversion process, all the way to changing the color of the Vista top frame so that visually you know you are in the new payroll site.

Our first validation on the new payroll went very well. The new validation stream now only contains 3 jobs, instead of previous 8! After you make updates and run the validation again, you are only running the process against the changes you made, making everything very efficient and quick. PDS has put together a very slick payroll register comparison utility to compare the data in your last production payroll to results from the new payroll. The output from the utility is an excel spreadsheet with separate tabs for gross earnings, deductions, garnishments, taxes and more. This makes identifying the discrepancies easy. Not only is there a comparison report, but on the new employee payroll page there is a current payroll link that will show you the pay information from the last production payroll and the payroll from the new payroll system.

I was pleasantly surprised with the limited number of “discrepancies” on the comparison after our first validation – there just weren’t that many and I expected a lot more. We are currently working with PDS to identify the cause of the issues we have encountered, most of which are one-off problems.

I strongly recommend running the Vista Issue Detective in your production database, using the Notification Category of “Payroll Upgrade” to help audit for any new payroll requirements. Identifying and correcting any issues before you are ready to convert to the new payroll will make your conversion easier.

We still have more to go in our checking, but my first glimpse into the new payroll has been a very positive experience.   

If you would like to take part in the Vista 7 Payroll Beta, it is currently available by request for customers who meet the minimum requirement of Vista 7.0.2. To become a payroll beta tester, please log in to the PDS Service Center. Create a new Customer Support ticket and select “Vista 7 Payroll Beta Request” from the Application field. PDS will provide the beta documentation and additional components needed to participate in an early review of Vista 7 payroll. 

Meribeth Carter
US Director, Human Resources Operations
Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP