- Extensive, unique HR features
- 24/7 support with some plans
- Suitable for companies of all sizes
- Robust platform
- Difficult to navigate offers
- No lifetime access to user accounts
How do you feel about a company that does it all? From managing payroll to HR to insurance, business loans, startup services, and even going as far as to include electronic gadgets in certain offers… is this the real package deal or a red flag? We were curious ourselves so we dug a little deeper to find out what the deal behind American company, Paychex, is. Established in 1971 by one man with a tiny investment, the company is now one of the largest in its industry and is used by businesses of all sizes and stages – from self-employed individuals to startups to corporations with 1,000+ employees. The software can either be used online or through the mobile app (available for both iOS and Android). While it’s officially under the category of ‘payroll software’, Paychex’ HR-related features seem to account for about half of what the product can do and are what set it apart from similar products in this industry.
Upon visiting the website, you may find yourself overwhelmed with the sheer number of offerings. If you attempt to get in touch with the sales team to better understand these, prepare to be slightly harassed by them and pressured to tell them when you plan on making your purchase decision. To break it down for you so you can avoid this unpleasant situation, there are basically two different product lines: Paychex Go and Paychex Flex. Within these two product lines are more options depending on the company size, needs, and other factors. Paychex Go is described as ‘self-service payroll’, which basically means that the features stop strictly at payroll. Paychex Flex includes everything that Paychex Go does, plus a multitude of other functionalities and perks, especially in the HR domain.
Payroll management, which is included in both product lines, is just a small portion of what Paychex does, but it seems to do it well. Payroll data can either be imported or manually entered and the reports generated afterwards are useful, including ones covering general payroll, cash requirements, and even employee shortfalls. Beyond processing payroll, all tax administration is taken care of as the software calculates, files, and pays federal, state, and local taxes for you. However, keep in mind that there is an extra cost involved for each tax form filed unlike many software solutions that include this in a flat-rate subscription fee.
Payouts can be done through direct deposit, physical, customizable checks, or even through a ‘paycard’ which is for those who don’t have a bank account but still want direct deposit. At a time where most companies have completely foregone any other options besides direct deposit, this flexibility can certainly be appreciated.
It’s possible to pay employees on salary, hourly, or contractor bases, and you can even pay out tips to workers at the end of their shifts. Certain plans include retirement and insurance management, so these will also be calculated and deducted accordingly from paychecks. Unfortunately, Paychex does not give users access to their accounts if they don’t work for the same employer anymore or the employer stops using the platform, so if a user needs to refer back to a form or tax number from the past, it may be an issue.
Integrations & Extra Services
As mentioned, the HR features are what make Paychex stand out, but of course you’ll only have access to them if you’re subscribed to one of the more premium plans. HR help starts before any hiring is done with recruitment assistance, such as tools for posting open positions online, thorough applicant screening, and more. Once you’ve chosen your match, the onboarding tools kick in, like generating the necessary forms for your new hires to fill in so that you’re always following state hiring regulations correctly.
Taking it a step further is what Paychex does to keep your HR team compliant and your company as low risk as possible, such as how it helps you implement safety programs and custom employee handbooks. Your HR team will also always be up to date on best practices and ever-changing regulations thanks to the learning management system which includes online courses and training. What’s more, Paychex provides printable posters that can be put up around the workplace with important information regarding work laws, etc. that employees need to know about. If anything whatsoever is overlooked HR-wise, you can count on the professional consulting service to fill in those blanks.
If all that Paychex can do still falls short of what you need, you have a few options for integrating with third-party platforms, but not many, especially in comparison to its competitors. As far as accounting software goes, there are integrations available for Xero and QuickBooks, and if you don’t want to use Paychex’s time tracking tools – either online or its nifty InVision Iris Time Clock which is a special gadget that we can’t say we’ve seen anything close to amongst competitors – there are a few time tracking tools it can connect with. Beyond this, there isn’t much else going on in the way of third-party integrations (think business operations tools, for example). Paychex seems to want its customers to stick to the resources it provides as much as possible.
One of the reasons that Paychex is favored by larger businesses is the fact that the price is on the higher side with regards to average market prices. The Paychex Go line (which is the more basic one) has a flat-rate cost of $59 per month plus $4 per employee and $4 per W-2 form filed. The Paychex Flex plan pricing varies, since the plan is customizable based on the company’s size, location, and desired features. It’s given on a quote basis and the sales team must be contacted in order to get an estimate.
Although it’s a bit more expensive, there are some nice advantages that come with Paychex, such as the first month for free. With Paychex Flex, you also get a generous $1,000 stipend to spend on digital marketing services such as SEO, ad campaigns, social media promotion, and more.
We’re in a love-hate relationship with Paychex’s customer service. Starting from the beginning – if you’re trying to find out initial, basic information that one would want to know before investing in a product (like the price), good luck. Cost information is nowhere to be found and a standard FAQ is MIA. You may think you’ll be able to get the answers to your questions by contacting the team via the instant chat, but you’ll quickly find out that this ‘chat’ does not actually exist as it seems to always be closed. You then may be relieved to be directed towards the email form option where you’ll be expecting to type in your question, but to your dismay, you will only be prompted to fill in numerical information to get a quote and have no option other than to be solicited with a sales call. This got us off on the wrong foot.
What saved us was the team member manning the Facebook page. Although they cannot provide real support through this channel, at least it was nice to finally speak with someone and be assured that an agent would be in touch via the communication channel we wanted (e-mail) and the person who did follow up was quick and was able to answer all of our questions for the most part. However, as mentioned above, once the initial questions are answered, a full-blown obnoxious, pushy, and persistent sales process takes over which was a definite turnoff for us.
Moving past the initial sales interaction and onto the post-purchase support, for paying customers who are subscribed to the Paychex Flex plan, a dedicated account manager is included and is available to help with any issues that may arise 24/7, via phone or chat. Paychex Go clients have access to support as well, but in a more limited version.
We have a feeling that a lot of prospective Paychex users tap out in the initial research phase – the vast number of products offered and the way they are presented is, frankly, exhausting to look at, and the frustration of not being able to get straight answers to basic questions while navigating the site doesn’t help.
If you can manage to get past this and start using a plan that corresponds with your company’s needs, the quality and detail of the product itself is worth the battle to get there. While the company may be spreading itself a bit thin going in all the directions that it goes, in terms of payroll software alone, it has this aspect down pat.
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