Paychex Payroll Review 2024: Everything You Need to Know

Our Verdict

Seamless, automated payroll that can scale with your business

Paychex is an excellent payroll provider with a wealth of add-on features that make HR administration and people management simple. While it’s not the cheapest provider on the market, Paychex’s modular approach means companies of any size can find a customized plan to suit their needs. In particular, we recommend Paychex for growing businesses with hourly workers because of the platform’s fantastic time-tracking capabilities. For small organizations looking for a less expensive platform, Gusto is another great option.

Pros

  • Modular features to choose
  • Automated payroll
  • Excellent time and attendance capabilities
  • Intuitive and easy-to-use platform

Cons

  • The basic plan has limited features
  • No price transparency on higher-tier plans

In this Paychex payroll review, we’ll explore the features of Paychex Flex: a highly scalable, intuitive payroll platform equipped with plenty of add-ons to make HR administration and talent management simple.

Whether you’re a sole trader or large business, Paychex’s versatile software can fit your needs. Read on to discover more about Paychex’s price, payroll functionality and how it fares against other payroll software competitors.

Paychex Plans & Pricing

Paychex starts out at a very competitive price, making it initially seem more cost-effective than competitors like Gusto and QuickBooks payroll. However, features such as performance management, PTO management and labor costing all come at an additional fee, meaning Paychex payroll can quickly escalate in price.

Essentials Select Pro
Monthly Cost $39/Mo. + $5 per Employee Bespoke based on module choices Bespoke based on module choices
Free Trial
Users Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
PTO Management ✅ as add-on ✅ as add-on ✅ as add-on
Expense Management ✅ as add-on ✅ as add-on ✅ as add-on
Reporting Custom reporting Custom reporting Custom reporting
Customer Support 24/7 across email, phone, and chat 24/7 across email, phone, and chat 24/7 across email, phone, and chat

Let’s take a closer look at each of the plans.

Essentials – Starts at $39 per month

Paychex Flex’s essential plan is geared toward sole traders and small businesses. With this plan, you’ll get access to Paychex’s automated online payroll software and automatic tax administration service, which means Paychex will take care of calculating, paying, and filing your taxes on your behalf.

This plan also comes equipped with an employee onboarding feature to streamline the process of onboarding new hires. Your employees will additionally get access to the Paychex self-service app, where they can view their pay stubs and tax information.

Select – Custom pricing

The select plan has all the features of the essentials plan, plus some additions. This plan comes with several additional pay options beyond bank accounts and checks, enabling employees to access their earned wages on demand and giving HR professionals the option to automatically disburse tips where applicable.

On top of that, the select plan comes with valuable HR features that growing businesses will value. There’s an in-built learning management system to help HR progressions digitize the L&D process, as well as an HR library packed with templates and resources to make people management more efficient.

All of these features are part of the package for the select plan, but there are a lot of other add-ons available too, including applicant tracking, performance management, time and attendance, and much more. This is likely why Paychex doesn’t show pricing options for its higher-tier plans. Its packages are highly customizable, making it difficult to establish a baseline price.

Pro – Custom pricing

The pro plan comes with even more in-built features than the select plan. With this plan, you get a general ledger service included, allowing you to integrate your accounting platform of choice directly with Paychex’s payroll data.

This plan also comes with pre-employment screening, state unemployment insurance services, and workers’ compensation reporting. While these features wouldn’t make sense for smaller businesses, they’ll certainly appeal to bigger companies with a large workforce.

Like the select plan, the pro plan is also highly customizable and has a wealth of potential add-ins that businesses can choose from.

Paychex Payroll Overview

Starting price $39/Mo. + $5 per Employee
Best for Organizations looking for a payroll platform to scale with their business
Customer support 24/7 support
App integrations QuickBooks, Xero, Bamboo HR
Security & Compliance SOC 1 Type 2 and SOC 2 Type 2
Reporting & analytics
Mobile app
Auto-alerts and reminders
International Payroll 140 countries via partners
Digital Payslips

Standout Features

Over a month, we put Paychex Flex to the test, reviewing the platform’s features in terms of usability, automations, and more. Overall, we were very impressed. Paychex’s interface is modern and user-friendly on desktop and mobile, and the reporting and analytics function will be an asset to any HR team.

Here’s an overview of Paychex’s standout features in detail.

Payroll

Payroll management made easy with Paychex

Paychex’s automated payroll offering is very digitally savvy. We reviewed the system from both the employee and employer perspectives and found the software easy to use on both sides. For employers, the Paychex Flex app is a dream to use–and we loved that you could even complete tasks on your Apple watch.

On desktop and mobile, the interface is very intuitive. The central dashboard shows your urgent tasks, key payroll data, and data about the previous and next pay runs. Once we configured the platform, running payroll took just a few clicks. The process is very intuitive, even for HR people using payroll software for the first time.

We also liked that the dashboard is also highly customizable. You can easily add or remove widgets based on your preferences, which other providers like Gusto don’t offer.

For employees, too, the Paychex app offers a great user experience. Once you log in, you’ll see a central dashboard with clearly sign-posted features that enable users to check their W-2 forms, choose their payment method, and view pay. Like the HR dashboard, employees can also customize what they see on their homepage to their preferences.

Reports and analytics

Manage your expenses with Paychex's financial reports

Paychex’s reporting and analytics dashboard is designed to help HR personnel turn payroll and HR data into valuable insights. The more data you feed the platform, the better it will be, so you’ll want to invest in some of Paychex’s broader HR capabilities to make the most of it.

Still, even for payroll alone, we were impressed by the reports Paychex delivered with regard to pay benchmarking, diversity, and equal pay. These reports come as ready-built templates within the platform, and there’s also the option to build your own custom reports depending on your business’ needs.

Tax services

Automate calculating and filing taxes

Alongside automating your payroll, Paychex also alleviates the burden of keeping up with tax payments through its automated service, which is part and parcel of every plan. This feature means you’ll no longer have to worry about calculating and filing relevant taxes–Paychex takes care of the whole process for you.

Paychex also has its ear to the ground when it comes to changing tax regulations and tax credits. We noticed that the platform offers an Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) service and a Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) service to help its clients claim credits they’re eligible for, which competitors like Gusto don’t offer.

HR features

While Paychex’s payroll features are outstanding, the platform offers the potential to become a full-suite HR platform. This is why we think Paychex is a great option for companies of any size–its modular functionality means it can scale with your business.

On the HR side, Paychex’s talent management services span everything from recruitment to performance management. Like the payroll feature, these services are intuitive to use and highly data-led, giving you visibility into interesting statistics like the percentage of workers per generation and much more.

Paychex’s time and attendance feature is also excellent, and the additional feature we most recommend investing in. With the time-tracking solution, your employees can punch into work across a range of platforms and the entire procedure is geofenced to ensure accuracy and reliability.

The time and attendance feature also comes packed with reports to help HR professionals stay compliant with overtime laws, easily conduct job costing, and track leave and time-off requests. While businesses with a handful of employees might find this feature unnecessary, we can see how useful it would be to larger companies–especially those with hourly workers.

Integrations

Paychex integrates with tens of HR, productivity, and accounting applications to unify disparate data sources. While competitors like Gusto and ADP facilitate these integrations at no extra cost, connecting apps within Paychex isn’t included in the most basic plan.

Depending on the nature of your business, this could be a deal breaker, as purchasing both Paychex and an app like Xero or QuickBooks for bookkeeping, and having to then pay for the integration, would make for an expensive monthly cost.

However, app integrations do come as part of the higher-tier plans.

Paychex Customer Reviews

After using Paychex for over a month, we were impressed. It’s a reliable, intuitive platform that makes running payroll simple. But that’s just our experience. We also wanted to see what long-term users thought about the platform, so we reviewed user reviews on trusted websites like G2 and TrustRadius.

On TrustRadius, users were complimentary of the simplicity of the platform and its reporting features. Some customers noted a high turnover in customer sales representatives, which felt disruptive to their HR operations.

On G2, Paychex’s ease of use was praised repeatedly by customers. However, some customers noted that the platform can be extensive–although it’s still generally cheaper than competitors like ADP and Rippling.

A review of Paychex Payroll on G2

What is Paychex Payroll Good For?

Paychex is an excellent payroll solution for organizations looking for a payroll solution that can grow with their organization. In particular, the platform’s employee mobile app and time-tracking features make it a great option for organizations that employ a mixture of salaried and hourly workers.

Paychex Payroll vs Top Competitors

Paychex ADP Papaya Global Gusto
Best for Growing organizations with hourly workers Multinational companies Non-US companies Startups
Starting Price $39/month + $5/employee $59/month + $4/employee $25/mo per employee $40/month/user
Free Trial
Standout Features – Fantastic self-service app for employees
– 24/7 human support
– Effortless payroll
– Excellent customer support
– Next-level HR capabilities
– International payroll
– Coverage in 160 countries
– Localized employee benefits
– Excellent contractor payment suite
– Wealth of integrations
– Employee financial wellness features
– College saving benefit
Reporting Custom reporting Custom reporting Custom reporting Custom reporting
Mobile App

Paychex vs ADP

Paychex and ADP are two well-known players in the payroll and HR software game. While both providers offer international payroll capabilities, ADP’s offering is slightly more robust, with better local knowledge of different tax regulations, benefits, and so forth. However, ADP is also more expensive. Because of this, we’d recommend Paychex over ADP for domestic organizations.

Paychex vs Papaya Global

Papaya Global is another payroll provider geared towards the international market, with coverage in 160 countries. It’s also undeniably geared toward corporate enterprises, rather than companies with hourly workers like Paychex.

Paychex vs Gusto

Gusto and Paychex both offer a range of payroll and HR features, but Paychex’s capabilities are more extensive and expansive. We’d recommend Gusto for small organizations that aren’t looking to scale, while Paychex is a better option for organizations with ambitious growth plans.

Verdict – is Paychex Payroll Worth it?

Paychex is a feature-rich, highly reliable platform for running payroll and simplifying tax responsibilities. Whether you’re a small organization or a large corporation, you can tailor Paychex’s platform to suit your exact needs, making it an excellent option for companies of all sizes looking to digitalize the payroll process.

How We Test Payroll Software

To give you comparative, valuable advice on payroll software, we test every provider with the following key success factors front of mind:

  • Pricing – We compare the price of the provider against other well-known pieces of payroll software to give you a sense of affordability.
  • Features – We explore the features available in each plan so you know what to expect when you use the platform.
  • Integrations – We review the integrations offered so you know whether the platform can slot into your digital infrastructure with ease.
  • Automation – We explore how the platform uses automation to make HR professionals’ jobs easier.
  • Ease of use – We assess how intuitive the platform is to use without prior training.
  • Third-Party Reviews – We conduct online research to gather the overall sentiment towards the platform from real-world users.

How to Choose the Best Payroll Software

You don’t want to pick a payroll provider, only to find that it doesn’t quite work for your business. So, before you commit, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Price Is the platform affordable for your business now? Is there a big jump in plan prices should you need more features in the future?
  • FeaturesDoes the platform have all the features you need?
  • Scalability – Does the platform have the capacity to scale with your business as you evolve?
  • Ease of use – Is the platform intuitive to use? Will you need training?
  • Integrations – is the platform compatible with business-critical applications?
  • Customer support – Is customer support responsive? Can they be reached by your preferred medium?

FAQs

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Hannah Pisani
Tech Expert

Hannah Pisani is a seasoned writer with a keen focus on the intersection between technology and the evolving nature of work. Over the last five years, she has written content for numerous leading technology brands, including Microsoft, AWS and Oracle. She regularly contributes to international technology publications such as Silicon Angle, Cloudwards and Techopedia. Hannah's depth of knowledge encompasses HR software, cybersecurity, SaaS tools and marketing optimization. She thrives on leveraging her expertise to empower business leaders, guiding them towards informed decisions that optimize efficiency and drive productivity.