Paychex vs. Zenefits 2021 Comparison Review

Compare features, pricing and more of Paychex vs. Zenefits to help you find the best payroll software for you.
Nina GodlewskiOct 28, 2020

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Paychex and Zenefits are fairly similar small-business human resources and payroll products with overall positive reviews from users.

Zenefits offers upfront pricing for its plans, while Paychex does not provide pricing online. You’ll likely want to reach out to Paychex for pricing information before you can truly draw a fair comparison between the two platforms.

One of the biggest distinctions between the two platforms is that Paychex is first and foremost a payroll provider with some HR capabilities, while Zenefits is first and foremost an HR management solution, with the option to include payroll. Thus, decide which features are most important to your business to help you decide.

Paychex

Features

You’ve probably heard of Paychex before, if not actually used it at some point in your career. The company is popular among small and medium-sized businesses that need a variety of HR and payroll solutions for their employees. Paychex offers a variety of features in all of its plans, including payroll taxes, direct deposit, financial wellness help and more

There are three Paychex Flex payroll options for you to choose from, Paychex Flex Select, Paychex Flex Pro and Paychex Flex Enterprise. These three options offer you a range of features and allow businesses of all sizes to find the right plan for them. For instance, the Paychex Flex Select plan is best for small businesses while the Enterprise plan, as the name implies, is popular among enterprise-level businesses.

Here’s a closer look at some of the features you can enjoy with the Paychex Flex plans.

  • Direct deposit: Employees can set up their direct deposit easily online so they can receive their payments on time, securely and easily.

  • Payroll tax administration: Paychex takes care of filing and paying your federal, state and local payroll taxes, so you don’t have to worry about them.

  • New hire reporting: Paychex also handles your reporting requirements for new employees.

  • Mobile app: A free mobile app allows you to log in and manage your payroll from anywhere, not just the office.

  • Phone and chat support: If you don’t have an in-house HR team, you may find Paychex’s 24/7 phone and chat support especially helpful.

  • Payroll specialist: You’ll also get a specialist who is dedicated to your account and can answer any questions for you.

  • Employee financial wellness: Employees have access to financial health and wellness tools online.

With higher-level plans, you can also enjoy additional features, including integration with your business accounting software, workers compensation reports, analytics and reporting and HR add-ons such as onboarding essentials, employee screening and more.

Pricing

Paychex has a quote-based pricing scheme for customers, so there’s no way to know exactly what you’ll have to pay for one of its plans without consulting its sales team directly. Most HR plans either come with a base price plus a monthly per-employee cost or a simple monthly pricing scheme per employee.

The good thing is that you can get a free quote from Paychex by inputting some basic information on its website. While you sacrifice pricing transparency with a quote-based company, you may also benefit from this pricing method by being able to create a custom plan for your business — only paying for the features you need, and not for those you don’t.

Reviews

Paychex users highlight the ease of use and the support that comes with all their plans. They appreciate that they can get any answers to their questions quickly so they can resolve the problem efficiently.

Paychex scores highest when it comes to the inclusivity of the plans it offers, the compliance tools included with every plan and their expense management tools.

Zenefits

Features

Zenefits is a full-service HR software that can help you manage everything when it comes to your employees, from hiring and onboarding to comprehensive employee data. Zenefits has three plans — Essentials, Growth and Zen — each of which offers an upfront pricing model and varying levels of features. It’s worth noting up front that in order to run payroll with Zenefits, you will have to opt into its payroll add-on; this feature does not come standard with any of its plans.

Here’s a closer look at some of the features included in all of the Zenefits plans.

  • Core HR: From hiring and onboarding to employee management, time-off tracking, business intelligence and documentation management, you can manage all of your HR functions with Zenefits. This includes auto-generation W-4 and I-9 forms.

  • Time and scheduling tools: Automated time off and scheduling tools include mobile PTO requests, schedule reporting, geolocation tracking, admin/manager approvals, compliance alerts and triggers and more.

  • Integrations: Connect your Zenefits account with a variety of third-party tools to more efficiently manage and streamline your business processes. Integrations include G Suite, Slack, Salesforce, 401(k) providers and more.

  • Mobile app: Employees can access Zenefits through their Apple or Android apps, allowing them to update their info, enroll in benefits and complete other tasks required by admins.

With its higher-level plans, Zenefits users can also receive compensation and performance management tools, as well as well-being resources for employees.

Add-ons

It’s worth exploring Zenefits’ add-ons more thoroughly as well. Payroll is an add-on with Zenefits. Adding payroll to any of the plans mentioned above costs an additional $6 per employee per month.

A second add-on is access to advisory services for $8 per month per employee. This gets you access to professional HR representatives to help you with any HR-related questions you may have.

The last add-on is Zenefits’ benefits admin for $5 per month per employee. This feature is for business owners who want to use their own broker to manage their benefits.

Pricing

Zenefits offers three plans, each with a different price point. Each plan has a monthly cost per employee. You can save by choosing annual billing, versus monthly. Here is how each plan’s pricing breaks down:

  • Essentials: $8 per employee per month billed annually or $10 billed monthly.

  • Growth: $14 per employee per month billed annually or $18 billed monthly.

  • Zen: $21 per employee per month billed annually or $27 billed monthly.

In addition to these costs, you may also want to opt for some of the add-ons mentioned above, which come with their own additional monthly fees.

Reviews

When it comes to the reviews for Zenefits, they’re not all that different from those for Paychex.

Zenefits users highlight the integrations the platform offers that make it easy for them to do any business task they might have, saving businesses significant time.

Other users note the simple and clean design that makes the platform super easy to use as a highlight of the Zenefits experience.

A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.