3 Common Errors During HR/Payroll User Acceptance Testing (UAT) and How to Fix Them

December 15, 2016

There is no doubt about it – implementing or changing to a new Human Capital Management (HCM) system can be stressful.  It takes a lot of work and dedication to make sure your end product is configured optimally to fit your organization’s requirements, and that your end users know the ins and outs of the new system.

There are many stages that you will encounter in an implementation project, and each one should be looked at as being the ‘most crucial’.  You will go through Planning, Analysis, Configuration/Validation, Data Conversion/Validation, User Acceptance Testing and finally Deployment.  Once you have hit the User Acceptance Testing stage, your implementation project is nearing the end.

During UAT, you will be performing tasks that if not done with a sense of ownership and looked at with a high level of detail, there is a strong possibility that you will encounter some errors at Go Live.   Treat tasks during the UAT as ‘life or death’ situations, and you will ensure that your system is performing as expected during UAT and subsequently, will perform that same way at Go Live.

As an HCM Implementation Consultant, I’ve seen a multitude of issues arise during UAT.  Here are 3 errors I commonly see and how you can avoid and/or fix them.

Neglecting Test Scenarios

When in UAT, not having a document that list test scenarios to follow during testing is a BIG mistake.  If you enter into UAT without one, you are truly going in blind.  You will forget an important scenario, and it could cause you frustration down the line.   These scenarios will help make sure you are testing all of the situations and scenarios that you expect to encounter as an end user.  Make sure your scenario document has a place to indicate whether you have passed or failed the test scenario.  This way you can review the failed scenarios with your consultant and he/she can help fix the issues.

To avoid forgetting things you really should start thinking of and documenting scenarios from day one of a signed contract.  You know you have to do some testing at some point in the implementation process, so why not start early?  Think of things like what happens during the life cycle of an employee, during payroll year-end processing, and reports you use on a monthly, quarterly and yearly basis to help you develop your list of scenarios.


Double Check NACHA File (Direct Deposit)/Check Processing

Another error during UAT is not testing direct deposit files and check printing with the bank during your parallel testing.  It is crucial to make sure that the NACHA file you configure, based on bank specs, actually is processed with no errors and if your company uses checks, that some test checks are sent to the bank for approval, to make sure the account number/routing number/MICR line, etc. are all in the right place for when live checks are sent for processing.  I have seen this overlooked for one reason or another and then when Go Live processing happens, the NACHA File is rejected by the bank, the bank refuses to cash a check and you are scrambling to make sure your employees are paid.  Employees are your livelihood so make sure they are taken care of by getting them paid.

To avoid this issue, remember to send those test files to the bank and have some test checks processed.  It will make your Go Live payroll so much easier if you aren’t trying to reconfigure the NACHA file at the last moment to get your employees paid.


Keep up with Dual Maintenance

During implementation, you do a one-time conversion of employee population data.  At the time of UAT, you enter into a period where you’ll have to do dual-entry employee data maintenance, which means that you have to maintain data in your legacy and new system simultaneously.  The error I see being made is that that dual entry is not being kept up.  Example of this would be the end user making a salary change in the legacy system and forgetting to make the same change in the new system.  This would result in a pay error at Go Live processing.

To avoid this error, come up with some sort of quality check system so that when a change is made in the legacy system, it will also be made in the new system.

Being prepared for and following through with UAT with the help of your consultant and the resources he/she gives you will, in the end, help reduce the likelihood of issues being raised at Go Live.  With the reduction in errors, this will lead to a higher level of user satisfaction.  At HRchitect, we have helped numerous clients with evaluating, selecting, and implementing HCM technology. HRchitect can assist you with all your implementation and testing needs to make sure that you have a smooth transition to your new system, your services are not disrupted, and to help you get the most from your investment.