Paychex Review (2023)

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It’s not easy running a small business. At the best of times; there are potentially thousands of different tasks all requiring attention. Any background area that can be outsourced or automated probably should be if a small business is going to perform at its best. That’s where payroll services can help.

Paychex overview

Paychex is among the more expensive payroll services we reviewed for small businesses. Traditionally, they tend to work with larger companies (1000+ employees), although they do offer solutions for small businesses, and this is reflected in their own size, prices, and responsiveness. However, they offer a strong range of features and can even offer benefits through a third-party provider.

Check out our roundup of the Best Payroll Services for Small Business

Paychex features

We’ll discuss Paychex features specific to each package along with pricing later. But first, let’s take a look of the features that make Paychex distinctive as a payroll service and HR support company overall.

Setup Paychex

Paychex will set up your payroll for you, but they charge $200 to do it, compared to $25 for ADP and other companies (like Gusto) who will do it for free. Since this is a one-time payment, it’s arguably not too bad. However, it does reflect Paychex tendency to charge more than their competitors.

The setup process works, but it a little slow. There’s a fair amount of waiting, it isn’t done in a single sitting, and the process can take days.

Customer Support and Experience

On customer support, Paychex is strong. Phone and email support are available 24/7, while online chat can be reached between 8am and 8pm EST. Support staff seems capable, polite, and helpful.

In terms of user experience and software, Paychex is similar to other larger PEO-style human resources companies in offering a slightly more technical, less innovative feeling experience. The software is functional, but compared to the exciting experiences offered by Gusto and Paycor, it doesn’t stand out.

Paychex Benefits and Accessibility

On the plus side, Paychex size means they can offer extremely attractive group benefits packages, and the opportunity to have all the human resources needs of your small business outsourced and handled by professionals (including taxes) is appealing.

As you’d expect from a modern payroll service, you are able to manage all of the payroll features (and most if not all of your HR needs, depending on your package) online or on the app.

Paychex pricing and packages

Paychex offers four main packages focussed on payroll services:

  1. Express Payroll
  2. Paychex Flex Select (which they recommend for small businesses)
  3. Paychex Flex Pro
  4. Paychex Flex Enterprise (recommended for larger organizations)

1. Paychex Express Payroll

This is the smallest package Paychex offer, making it the most affordable. This plan has the following features:

  • Payroll tax administration
  • New hire reporting
  • Access to the mobile app
  • 24/7 phone and chat support
  • An employee financial wellness program, primarily educational but including short-term employee loans if necessary
  • Direct deposit
  • Paycards

Contact Paychex to get a quote specific to your company.

2. Paychex Flex Select (Best for Small Business)

Paychex Flex Select includes all of the options featured in Paychex Express Payroll, plus:

  • Extra employee pay options, such as paper checks, check signing, and a check logo service
  • A dedicated payroll specialist as a point of contact
  • A labor compliance poster kit
  • Paychex learning management system

Paychex recommend this package for small businesses, and you can get a quote directly from them specifically for your business.

3. Paychex Flex Pro

This package is for organizations looking for extra analytics and reporting. The features of this package include:

  • A general ledger service that links to popular accounting software like Quickbooks
  • Workers compensation reports
  • State unemployment insurance service
  • Analytics and reporting with customizable parameters and a library of over 160 reports.
  • A garnishment payment service
  • Paychex Flex onboarding essentials
  • Employee screening essentials

This package will be more expensive than Paychex Flex Select and may be less well suited to small businesses. However, to be sure you can contact Paychex directly and ask for a quote.

4. Paychex Flex Enterprise

While this package currently contains the most features, Paychex recommends it for larger organizations. However, every small business is different and you may find some or all of the features listed here valuable. In addition to all of the features listed above, Paychex Flex Enterprise includes:

  • Custom analytics and reporting beyond those included in other plans
  • Paychex Flex HR Administration

Alternatives to Paychex

  • If you’re looking for another PEO-type solution, TriNet and Justworks both feature payroll services as well as access to many other features including group benefits. They also both currently seem to be offering lower quotes for similar services from comparable organizations.
  • If you’re still looking for a rich variety of features from a well-known and high-end service, ADP are considered the market leaders my many in payroll services.
  • However, if you’re interested in companies offering more for less, often with innovative features, you might also consider Gusto, Paycor, and Patriot Software. Intuit Payroll is also strong in this area – though more pricey than average – and offers excellent integration with Intuit Quickbooks.

Should small businesses use Paychex?

Paychex is among the more expensive payroll services we reviewed for small businesses. Traditionally, they tend to work with larger companies (1000+ employees), although they do offer solutions for small businesses, and this is reflected in their own size, prices, and responsiveness. They offer a strong range of features and even offer benefits through a third-party provider.

Overall, Paychex offers a strong range of features, however, it’s hard to recommend Paychex when other payroll services offer similar features at a fraction of the price. If you’re already familiar with Paychex software, have a big budget, and expansion plans — then Paychex might make more sense for your small business.

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