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Paychex Review

Laura Handrick
Laura Handrick
  • Paychex is the payroll service we recommend for larger businesses.
  • Paychex particularly excels at supporting businesses that are required to abide by labor law requirements due to their size and/or complexity.
  • In addition to its online payroll software solution, Paychex provides a variety of HR tools that help a large organization run smoothly.
  • This article is for business owners who need an online payroll service that can also support labor law compliance.

Larger companies have more complex payroll needs than small businesses. This is due, in large part, to various labor law requirements that kick in when companies have 15, 50 and more full-time equivalent (FTE) employees. In addition to payroll processing and tax preparation, big firms often need human resource tools, custom user roles, and integrations. Therefore, Paychex is our choice as the best online payroll service for larger businesses.

Paychex

Paychex

The Verdict

Paychex is the best online payroll service for larger businesses, as it can manage payroll from 50 to over 1,000 employees. It has multiple plans and add-on services, and it integrates with popular HR, time and attendance, and business software platforms.

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Paychex offers a full-featured payroll service for W-2 employees and 1099 contractors. Having been in business for 50 years, the company has the experience to manage any kind of payroll compliance issue – from local taxes to shift differentials to customized reporting.

With any of Paychex's plans, you can choose from the following options for your company's payroll schedule: weekly, biweekly, semimonthly or monthly. Paychex also offers a variety of payment methods, including paper checks, online direct deposit and payroll cards. Paychex's higher-level pricing tiers give your employees online access to their payroll documents, including paystubs and year-end tax forms.

Read our reviews of other top payroll companies, see answers to frequently asked questions and review a complete vendor list on our online payroll best picks page.

Paychex Payroll Pricing, Service Plans and Features

Paychex offers three service plans: Paychex Go, Paychex Flex Pro and Paychex Flex Enterprise. Each plan includes Paychex's core payroll processing and payroll tax administration services.

Paychex offers transparent pricing for only one of its three payroll services, Paychex Go. The Paychex Go plan has a base fee of $59 per month, plus there's an added fee of $4 per month per employee. For the other two plans, we've listed the base monthly fee, but per-employee pricing was not available to us. We recommend that you contact Paychex, who will give you a price quote based on the number of employees (and/or contractors) you have, the services you need, and how often you process payroll.

Here is some additional information about the three plans available through Paychex.

Paychex Go

This plan starts at $59 per month, plus there is the $4 per-employee, per-month fee. In addition to payroll processing and payroll tax services, the Paychex Go plan includes new-hire reporting, automated W-2s, 1099s and other HR forms, direct deposit, general ledger integration, labor law posters, and 24/7 phone and chat support.

Paychex Flex Select

This plan starts at $90 per month in addition to the monthly employee fee. This is the most popular plan for larger businesses. It includes everything in the Go plan, plus access to a dedicated payroll specialist, paper check options, income verification services and a free mobile app.

Paychex Flex Enterprise

This plan starts at $160 per month, plus there is a monthly employee fee. This is the most comprehensive plan designed for larger organizations. It includes everything in the Paychex Flex Select plan, plus workforce analytics, customized reports, and HR administration services like paperless onboarding and employee background checks.

At the time of this writing, Paychex was offering a three-month free trial.

If the Paychex Go plan meets your needs, you can sign up online. For the Flex Select and Flex Enterprise plans, you will need to contact the company.

Keep in mind that the Paychex Flex plans are priced based on how often you run payroll. For example, if you run payroll weekly for your hourly workforce, you're charged for that, plus any biweekly or semimonthly payrolls you may process for your salaried staff. And, if you run a bonus payroll or re-run payroll to fix an error, those count as extra payroll runs, too. Those costs can add up.

Other factors that influence your pricing include the following:

  • How many employees and freelancers you pay
  • The number of states in which your business operates (and pays taxes)
  • Additional services you need
  • Any customizations you want, such as interfaces and reports

TipTip: Once you provide your business and employee information to Paychex, a rep will give you a detailed price quote and estimated implementation timeline.

Paychex Features

Paychex offers a variety of value-added services beyond payroll processing. Here's more about those resources and services.

Pay and Deductions

Paychex calculates how much each employee should be paid based on the hours they work and their pay rate. It also accounts for additional income sources such as bonuses or commissions and deductions for everything from health insurance to uniforms and wage garnishments.

Paycheck Options

You can pay your employees by direct deposit, check or pay card. If your employees want to be paid by check, Paychex prints the checks and mails them to you, or you can print checks on-site.

Payroll Tax

Paychex manages your payroll taxes and year-end W-2 and 1099 filings. It accurately calculates, files, and pays state, federal, and local payroll taxes on time. Paychex backs up its services with a guarantee stating that Paychex will pay penalties you incur for any mistakes in your payroll taxes.

Payroll Reports

Paychex provides employers with more than 160 payroll-related reports. Enterprise users can also create their own custom reports.

New-Hire Reporting

Regardless of the plan you purchase, Paychex manages all of the state-required new-hire reporting for you.

Accounting Integrations

Paychex allows businesses to link their payroll data to popular accounting software programs such as QuickBooks and Sage.

Unemployment Insurance

Paychex coordinates the entire unemployment insurance process for your business.

Employee Financial Wellness Program

The Paychex Flex plans give your employees a variety of tools and education to help them achieve their financial goals. It also offers short-term loans.

Onboarding

Paychex Flex users get employee onboarding tools like paperless onboarding for new hires, including tax withholdings, I-9 and direct deposit forms.

Background Screening

The Enterprise plans include pre-employment background checks.

HR Administration

Add-on HR tools can help you track performance reviews, manage employee training, and store company and employee documents securely.

Other Services

Paychex offers a range of other services, including time and attendance, employee benefits, benefits administration, workplace compliance, records administration, hiring, business insurance, loans, payment processing, tax services, business incorporation services, and online marketing.

Did you KnowDid you know? Paychex's average small business client has 16 employees.

Ease of Use

Once the Paychex platform has been configured to your business, you and your employees will find it easy to use. As a cloud-hosted system, with intuitive menus and dashboards, Paychex Go and Paychex Flex are accessible from any web browser. You can also manage your payroll from the Paychex mobile app, which is available on iOS and Android devices if you upgrade to Paychex Flex.

On the homepage, you'll be notified when your next payroll is due. There is a link to start the payroll process, upcoming check dates, the cash required for the next payroll, and a quick link to the payroll reports section of the system.

Running payroll takes a few steps each pay period. You enter your payroll information (salaries, hours worked and pay rates), confirm that the data is correct, and submit the payroll for processing. If you prefer, you can set up payroll to run on a recurring schedule.

If you upgrade to Paychex Flex, the system offers employee self-service with a secure mobile login so they can see their personal information and paystubs and download their year-end tax forms.

In addition to accessing the payroll tools and features, you can use the Paychex Flex platform to access other Paychex services your business uses.

Key takeawayKey takeaway: Once you're set up on Paychex, you'll find it easy to set up payroll for new hires and to process payroll for your team. You can rest assured that your payroll and payroll taxes are accurate, with all forms managed for you at year end.

Customer Service

Paychex provides customer service both for payroll administrators and employees over the phone, via chat or through an online form with 24/7 availability. However, if you're interested in Paychex's services, you are likely to be subject to a series of sales calls in which they will try to upsell you on additional services.

On the plus side, Paychex's Flex plan users get a dedicated payroll specialist to handle payroll issues. Many of the other payroll providers offer a call center or require you to email questions to a service desk.

TipTip: Customer support 24/7 is a great feature, as long as the person you're talking to can help. Online reviews are mixed as to the quality of customer support received from Paychex.

Limitations

The biggest drawback we found with Paychex was the sales process. Nearly all of the other payroll companies we investigated provided detailed answers to questions about their service and how it works. Most also gave us price estimates to help us understand how much their payroll software would cost.

For smaller businesses, Paychex doesn't offer as many perks with its entry-level Paychex Go plan as what other providers offer in their plans, such as an online onboarding and payroll app. In addition, setup with Paychex Flex may take several weeks to complete.

While Paychex is an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau, with an A+ rating, it has hundreds of complaints, and Consumer Affairs gives it a low rating. However, Paychex is a large company, and it is common for large organizations to receive many complaints. Paychex does appear to engage with most dissatisfied customers to work toward a resolution, which is reassuring despite the relatively high volume of complaints."

Ready to choose a payroll service? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:

Image Credit: AndreyPopov / Getty Images
Paychex

Paychex

The Verdict

Paychex is the best online payroll service for larger businesses, as it can manage payroll from 50 to over 1,000 employees. It has multiple plans and add-on services, and it integrates with popular HR, time and attendance, and business software platforms.

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Laura Handrick
Laura Handrick
Business News Daily Contributing Writer
Laura Handrick, MA, SPHR, is a professional with more than 30 years experience in HR, training, organizational development, and innovation management give her insight into business management, technology best practices, and labor law compliance. Having served at the executive level in Fortune 100 firms and international franchise organizations, Laura is passionate about helping businesses grow and scale. She has written over 100 long-form articles on topics ranging from software selection to performance management and shared her expertise in over 75 publications including the Wall Street Journal and Fast Company. Laura has a master's degree in instructional technology, is certified as an international franchise executive through the IFA, and as a senior professional in human resources through SHRM.