Payroll RFI, RFP and RFQ: What’s the difference?

Author: Simon Bradbury, Global Payroll Consultant and CEO at Global HRIS

Last updated: 28/06/2023

If you’ve made the decision to change your payroll, it can quickly become overwhelming. A lengthy but invaluable step is to request information from a variety of payroll providers. You can ask each provider questions via a RFI (request for information), RFP (request for proposal) or RFQ (request for quotation). Don’t be overwhelmed by these terms. Each request plays an important role in the journey. Whilst these may be similar, they serve different purposes in the procurement process.

Requests are a great opportunity to work with a variety of stakeholders across your business. Remember: your new project won’t just affect payroll. Any new software will touch multiple departments of your business, including HR and finance and IT. Similarly, your procurement team should be involved as early as possible. They will be experienced in producing these types of requests and will ensure you’re asking the right questions. As well, this should create buy-in and co-operation from the outset.

Selecting a new HR & payroll system is a big decision and producing requests can be a daunting process. We will support your business to create a request that outlines your payroll query. Your internal teams know your business best. We’ll work with them to provide specialist payroll support and answer any questions they have.

Payroll, whether it’s on a global or national scale, is complex. Typically, there are many detailed requirements you need fulfilled. Requesting information will help you choose the best provider for your unique payroll needs. Here we share the three different types of requests (RFI, RFP and RFQ), so you can decide what’s best for your business.

Request for information (RFI)

A RFI is a simple way for a business to ask information from suppliers about their services. This is an important first step in the procurement process. Requests for information are usually sent early in the buying process, to find out general information from suppliers.

A RFI allows you to gather easily digestible information about suppliers. It’s best to ask open-ended questions and provide a clear template for answers to be filled. Also, set a clear deadline for suppliers to share their research.


Benefits of a request for information (RFI)

When used correctly, a request for information is hugely beneficial. Information is gathered in a formal, structured, and comparable way. A successful RFI will save you both time and money.

However, RFIs can quickly become complicated. If you’re looking to streamline your business’s current processes, we can help. We will review your existing processes to identify any areas of improvement. Following on from your assessment, we will work with you to produce a suitable request for information.


Request for proposal (RFP)


A request for proposal allows you to ask specific questions about the service, product, and supplier’s business. It is a formal invitation to suppliers for solutions based on your specific criteria. It should specify exactly what you’re looking for.

Firstly, introduce your organisation and the purpose of the RFP. Now is the time to be direct and specific with your questions. The more targeted your questions are, the more specific and insightful responses you will receive. Use the first part of your RFP to list your requirements from a provider and any ‘pain points’ of your existing payroll process. Rather than describing a solution, try listing the problem as best you can. Note down your company’s values, so you can find a supplier that fits with your culture.


Benefits of a request for proposal (RFP)

A request for proposal enables you to compare features, functionality, and pricing. It also provides the opportunity to find a suitable provider that fits your company’s unique culture. All potential suppliers have access to the same information, too. This provides everyone with an opportunity to showcase their service.

However, if you’re not direct in your RFP, you may not get the solution you’re looking for. Explain your needs and write down your questions clearly and concisely.


Request for quotation (RFQ)

A request for quotation provides the cost of meeting a specific need. The request for quote process is necessary for businesses that buy and sell highly specialised products, such as payroll software.

A RFQ may include pricing, deployment method, and integration capabilities of your new software. It should contain details about what your business needs, the length of the contract and required resource. Once you’ve received these details, you can select the supplier best suited to your needs.

If you’re looking to send out a RFQ, you must prepare your document. Whilst it’s a timely process, take the time to outline the length of the project and contract terms. Make sure you ask questions about what it will cost to meet the requirements. Keep your request structured and prescriptive. Make sure your RFQ is clear and concise.


Benefits of a request for quotation (RFQ)


The biggest benefit of a request for quotation is the focus on price. A pricing template gives guidelines to all potential suppliers to follow, so it’s a clear comparison. It is essential to find the right supplier, and cost is a huge factor. It’s best to use a RFQ is when you have a specific service, project, or task that you only trust a few select vendors to handle.

However, you may have a limited choice of suppliers, especially if you haven’t previously used a RFI. New vendors who may be able to provide the same service may not have the opportunity to showcase their service.


What request is best for my business?


Outsourcing your payroll or choosing a new software can be difficult. There are many suppliers in the market, and it’s tough to know what’s best for your business. All requests have very distinct purposes. So, your first step is to clearly establish what you’re trying to achieve.

If you’re new to the process, a request for information will provide an overview of suppliers. Once you’ve gained an overview of each provider, it’s time to use a RFP. A request for proposal will offer suppliers an opportunity to present a solution to an existing problem. It is an incredibly important part of the procurement process. You should include a minimum of three vendors, although it is best practice to start with five providers.

Finally, a RFQ is most suited for potential suppliers that will fit with your unique business needs. It provides them with an opportunity to offer a solution, alongside the cost of their service. A RFQ should be the final step before finalising your new provider.


Each request is a lengthy and timely process. That’s where our team can support you. We will we identify where your payroll processes can be streamlined. Secondly, we will work with you to submit each request.

So, speak to us today or use our contact form.

Find out more about how we can help you by calling Global HRIS today on +44 161 317 2903 or get in touch through our website.
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