Paychex Review 2022

To evaluate Paychex, we spent hours combing through its plan details, prices, features, HR packages, customer service reputation, customer service hours, and overall usability.
Best for growth
Paychex
Paychex
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
  • Starting at $39.00/mo. + $5.00/payee/mo.
  • Check
    Well-rounded HR + payroll packages
  • Check
    Thorough financial reporting
  • Check
    Excellent mobile app
  • X
    Accounting software integration with priciest plan only

Data as of 1/3/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

We are committed to sharing unbiased reviews. Some of the links on our site are from our partners who compensate us. Read our editorial guidelines and advertising disclosure.

The bottom line: Paychex's scalable plans and comprehensive HR + payroll options make it a good fit for small to midsize businesses planning for growth. Its cheapest plan compares favorably to Gusto and OnPay, while its pricier plans add expansive HR options that should suit growing midsize businesses nicely.

However, Paychex is a little pricier than many of our other top payroll providers for small businesses. And while its HR support is pretty sturdy, it's not as comprehensive as ADP's, especially in terms of analytics.

Pros
Pro Bullet Scalable plans for growing businesses
Pro Bullet Responsive customer service
Pro Bullet Expansive HR library and forms with each plan
Pro Bullet Excellent mobile app for both employers and employees
Cons
Con Bullet Limited pricing transparency
Con Bullet Limited reporting and analytics
Con Bullet Additional fee for payroll tax administration and workers compensation integration

Paychex review: Table of contents

Pricetag
Paychex sales and discounts

Paychex has one of the better free trials in the payroll business: typically, it offers three free months to new users.

Paychex plans and pricing

Plan name
Monthly price
Employee pay options
Accounting software integration
Get started
Paychex Flex Essentials$39.00 + $5.00/payeeDirect deposit, prepaid paycard
Icon No  DarkNo
Paychex Flex SelectContact for quoteDirect deposit, prepaid paycard, paper check
Icon No  DarkNo
Paychex Flex ProContact for quoteDirect deposit, prepaid paycard, paper check
Icon Yes  DarkYes

Data as of 1/3/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Paychex’s key features

All three of Paychex's payroll plans include these essential features:

All three plans also include an employee financial wellness program and an employee assistance program, which offers more generalized assistance to employees who need it.

Paychex Flex Essentials

In terms of HR features, Paychex Flex Essentials also adds labor compliance posters, key HR documents, and automatic new-hire reporting. Those are far from the most HR features and employee benefits we’ve seen with a full-service plan (both Gusto and OnPay offer more), but they're also far from the fewest—call it a good middle-of-the-road solution.

Paychex Flex Essentials leaves off some crucial payroll features, though, like paper check payment options and accounting software integration. In fact, unless you choose the priciest Paychex Flex solution, you can't integrate Paychex with any accounting service provider, not even popular software like QuickBooks Online.

Plus, all Paychex plans charge an additional fee for payroll tax administration. While the software will calculate and withhold taxes for you, Paychex charges extra to actually file those taxes for you. If you want payroll tax administration built into the base fee, we recommend a provider like Gusto, OnPay, or QuickBooks Payroll instead.

Best Small Business Payroll Software
Gusto
Best overall
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
Paychex
Best for growth
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
OnPay
Best for new employers
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
ADP
Best Payroll + HR packages
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
SurePayroll
Best customer service
3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4
Learn more about our top brands.
Tired of payroll? Gusto handles payroll taxes and more

With unlimited payroll runs and automatic tax filing, Gusto helps small-business owners worry less about payroll and put more time into growing their business.

  • Get automatic payroll tax filing, including end-of-year tax forms
  • Manage workers compensation insurance
  • Track paid time off, sick leave, and holiday pay

Paychex Flex Select

Paychex Flex Essentials covers all the basics for small businesses. In contrast, Paychex Flex Select was made for midsize businesses that need some extra HR, payroll, and onboarding help, but that aren’t big enough to completely outsource HR to another service.

Most importantly, Paychex Flex Select gives you multiple employee payment options (namely paper checks) without charging you an extra fee. It also adds on a dedicated payroll specialist, someone who specializes in your business’s payroll practices and can help with any problems.

Paychex Flex Pro

While Paychex Flex Essentials and Select both include standard reporting and analytics, Paychex Flex Enterprise offers custom reporting and analytics, which can help you draw up financial charts specific to your business.

Custom reporting also includes workers’ compensation reports, which can help you track which wages are subject to workers’ comp and ensure you pay the right premiums.

The plan also tacks on quite a few more human resource features than the two cheaper plans:

  • Employee onboarding
  • Employee background checks
  • HR administration
  • State unemployment insurance management
  • Wage garnishment

Paychex vs. top competitors

Brand name
Starting monthly price
Payroll tax administration
Health benefits administration
Get started
Paychex

Paychex

$39.00 + $5.00/payee
Icon Yes  DarkYes (addt'l fee)
Icon Yes  DarkYes (addt'l fee)
ADP

ADP

Contact for quote
Icon Yes  DarkYes (addt'l fee)
Icon Yes  DarkYes (addt'l fee)
Quickbooks

QuickBooks Payroll

$45.00 + $4.00/payee
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes (addt'l fee)
Gusto

Gusto

$39.00 + $6.00/payee
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
OnPay

OnPay

$36.00 + $4.00/payee
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes

Data as of 1/3/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Paychex’s key drawbacks

Paychex's pricing is less transparent than competitors with similar starting prices. Paychex Flex Essentials has the only clear price on the site—you'll have to call Paychex to get a custom quote on the other plans.

You'll also need to contact Paychex to get more info on its add-on prices. Unlike Gusto and OnPay, Paychex charges extra for tax filing, including end-of-year W-2 and 1099 distribution.

Speaking of features Paychex doesn't include for free, only its priciest plan comes with built-in accounting software integration. While accounting integration isn't a must for payroll software, it eliminates redundant data entry, saves you time, and ensures your books are always accurate. Most other popular payroll providers integrate seamlessly with QuickBooks and Xero, at the very least. It's frustrating that Paychex doesn't do the same.  

Pin
Price check: Paychex vs. Surepayroll

SurePayroll is a cheap, no-frills payroll service provider owned by Paychex. Its full-service plan starts at $29.99 a month (a price that includes free tax remittance). SurePayroll doesn’t have nearly as many HR features as Paychex, but if you like Paychex's customer service reputation and need solid payroll without human resource management, give SurePayroll a look.

Additional Paychex features

Paychex is one of the few payroll providers to offer international payroll. If your US-based business pays employees across the globe, put Paychex at the top of your list of payroll options.

Plus, while Paychex's payroll service is great on its own, it's even better when paired with one of Paychex's HR and benefits solutions:

  • Automated employee benefit administration
  • HR records administration
  • Dedicated HR support
  • Timeclock software
  • Business insurance, including workers’ compensation
  • Compliance services

This services work best for midsize to large businesses that plan on growth, especially since Paychex's HR and payroll packages can scale up with you as you grow. If you're interested, talk to a Paychex rep about adding potential HR perks and employee benefits to your payroll package.

On the other hand, if your business has just a few employees and plans to stay small, try a provider like OnPay instead. OnPay's single-plan service doesn't add more features as you grow, but its basic HR administration and built-in benefits are simpler (and cheaper) than Paychex's mid-level solutions. 

Compare other options

The takeaway

If you own a growing, midsize business and want a payroll provider that also offers extensive HR and benefits administration, Paychex is the perfect pick. You can easily customize your Paychex HR and payroll package, and each plan can scale with you as you grow. Paychex's basic plan is also perfectly suitable to small businesses with five to ten employees—though Paychex doesn't include tax filing with its base price, which makes it more expensive than comparable providers like OnPay.

Want to research additional payroll service providers before settling on Paychex? Our list of the year’s best payroll software for small businesses can help.

Related reading

Paychex FAQ

What is a PEO?

A PEO is a professional employer organization, or a company that takes every aspect of HR—from hiring to payroll—off your hands. Paychex offers PEO services, but PEOs work best for large enterprises that have outgrown software and want to turn full-time HR work over to another provider. In other words, if Paychex Flex can’t keep up with your organization’s personnel demands, it’s probably time to look into Paychex’s PEO service instead.

Does ADP own Paychex?

No. ADP and Paychex are two of the most popular PEO companies for small businesses in the US, but they’re distinct corporations.

How much does Paychex cost?

Paychex’s small-business payroll services start at $39 a month. You’ll also pay an additional $5 per payee per payroll run.

Does Paychex do background checks?

Yes. Paychex’s most comprehensive payroll plan, Paychex Flex Enterprise, includes background checks.

How does Paychex Flex work?

Paychex Flex is a cloud-based, online payroll solution. Once you sign up, you’ll log on to your Paychex Flex account via your web browser. You can run payroll and check financial data from any web-enabled device. And if you do payroll on the go, you can download the Paychex Flex app (included with Paychex Flex Select and Enterprise) to run payroll from your phone or tablet.

Employees can also access a version of the app or use the online self-service portal to check their hours, access tax information, and set up direct deposit.

Does Paychex have a payroll calculator?

Yes. Even if you don’t have an account with the company, you can use Paychex’s payroll calculators to calculate wages and determine payroll tax withholding.

Does Paychex include a 401(k) withdrawal option?

Yes—we think. Paychex includes a page on its site explaining how employees can set up 401(k) and retirement plan contributions to have the amount automatically withdrawn from their paychecks. However, Paychex doesn’t advertise automatic employee benefits deductions on its payroll plans, so you should double-check with your sales agent to make sure.

Does Paychex have good customer service?

Customers give Paychex’s payroll service middling to poor reviews. Every plan includes 24/7 phone or chat support—our chats and calls were answered within two minutes. But while Paychex is accredited with the Better Business Bureau and has an A+ rating,1 the company averages just 1.6 out of five stars on the review site Trustpilot.2 Its Consumer Affairs and Trustradius reviews put it closer to three out of five and eight out of ten, respectively.3,4

Methodology

To evaluate Paychex and calculate our star rating, we assessed Paychex in several key areas: 

  • Payroll features
  • HR features
  • Pricing
  • Number of plans, including HR and payroll bundles
  • Customer reviews
  • Customer service hours
  • Mobile app access
  • Interface

We also considered our accounting and payroll expert's opinion when calculating our rating. Star ratings are reevaluated and updated frequently and are subject to change.

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Sources
1. Better Business Bureau, “Paychex, Inc.” Accessed January 3, 2022.
2. Trustpilot, “Paychex.” Accessed January 3, 2022.
3. Consumer Affairs, “Paychex,” December 29, 2021. Accessed January 3, 2022.

Kylie McQuarrie
Written by
Kylie McQuarrie
Kylie McQuarrie has been writing for and about small businesses since 2014. Prior to writing full-time, she worked with a variety of small-business owners (from freelance writers to real-estate solopreneurs), which gave her a front-row look at small-business owners' struggles, frustrations, and successes. Currently, she’s Business.org’s accounting and payroll staff writer. Her work has been featured on SCORE.org, G2, and Fairygodboss, among others.
Recent Articles
Young black woman with shoulder-length black hair types on a silver laptop in an office
The Best Payroll Companies for Small Businesses in 2022
We looked at 15 of the top payroll processing companies and evaluated them based on...
two women in a conference room
The 10 Best Payroll Software for Small Businesses 2022
We reviewed dozens of top payroll software solutions to bring you the ten best. To...
Busy father working on computer while holding sleeping baby
The 9 Best Nanny Payroll Services of 2022
We looked at 15 of the most popular nanny payroll services in the US, then...
A black male waiter serves a group of black and white women eating at a restaurant
The 9 Best Payroll Software for Restaurants 2022
We looked at 20 of our top payroll brands, then assessed them by price, plans,...