Paycom is a cloud-based payroll service, meaning your data is stored on the cloud and you can access your account anywhere you have internet access. This being said, although Paycom is typically considered a payroll software first, its service combines broader human resources management into one application.
Paycom breaks down the functionality of its platform into five categories: payroll, time and labor management, HR management, talent acquisition and talent management. With all of these services covered in a single software, Paycom gives you the opportunity to streamline processes in the same system, essentially offering full-service HCM, or human capital management. With an advanced self-service app available for employees (on iOS and Android), Paycom allows you to extend the technology of its software to your team as well.
First and foremost, the Paycom software allows you to set up payroll, run it on your schedule and pay employees, as well as manage some of the more complex payroll processes, like tax management and expense reimbursements. Specifically, Paycom’s payroll features give you the ability to:
Customize your payroll setup with the Paycom Payroll Grid, which allows you to delegate steps to users; designate an internal process; add employees, pay codes and data sets; control manual check processing; and more
Sync payroll data systemwide
Give employees 24/7 access to their pay stubs, scheduled earnings and deductions and more through the Paycom self-service app
Create customized payroll reports using data from across the Paycom system that covers multiple years, EINs and formats
Receive automated payroll tax management — Paycom handles completing, filing and paying payroll taxes (and sends you a copy of every return)
Use Paycom’s full-service garnishments administration software to make payroll compliance easier — Paycom will reconcile payment amounts and calculations, balance all deductions every pay period, administer and send required payments and documentation and send orders to employees through its app
Manage expense reimbursements through the Paycom app; allow employees to submit expenses with photos of receipts; easily approve expenses with automatic flow to payroll for reimbursement
Customize expense tracking with your business’s expense accounts and unique classes and rules
Add Paycom’s mileage tracker to allow employees to track and submit their mileage from their mobile device; add Paycom’s FAVR tool to customize your mileage rate (it’s important to note that these are not included within the standard payroll features, but are available as add-ons)
Use Paycom’s general ledger software to import mapped payroll general ledger reports into your accounting software, customize the file layout of your mapping and map data across multiple sectors within your business
Use Paycom Pay to issue paper checks from a Paycom bank account and let Paycom manage this process — ensuring that employees cash checks and drafting net payroll, taxes and fees from your account once per payroll.
Time and labor management
In addition to these advanced payroll features, Paycom also includes tools to help you track your employees’ time and manage labor costs. Within these time and labor management features, you’ll be able to:
Allow employees to submit their time using a time tracking app; edit and approve submitted time and automatically sync data to payroll
Customize time tracking options and scheduling for your business with rounding rules, bonuses, shift and weekend differentials, holidays worked, etc.
Manage employee PTO, allow employees to submit time-off requests and approve or deny PTO
Use scheduling software to create schedules; give employees access to Schedule Exchange to view their schedules, mark availability and swap or pick up shifts
Use web or physical time clocks (with three terminal options for physical clocks) to allow employees to clock in and out, control clock in and out times and sync time clock data automatically with payroll
Set up labor allocation software to assign labor to a particular department or category when employees clock in, automatically sync data to payroll and receive labor allocation changes in real-time
Track employee hours based on role, responsibility and location; view job costs among locations or roles
Use labor management reports to get real-time reports, see who’s clocked in and monitor labor distribution
Use Enhanced ACA from Paycom to view all of your ACA data in a single dashboard, learn about changes to the Affordable Care Act and ensure that your business is up to date with compliance
Generate advanced time and labor reports across all data in the system, including multiple years and EINs.
With the HR Management tools from Paycom, you can streamline your core HR tasks including benefits administration, compliance and more.
On the whole, these capabilities include:
Create, assign, archive and store HR documents like W-4 and I-9 forms, safety policies, employee handbooks and emergency contact sheets; limit access or assign privileges for certain documents
Set up tasks and workflows for onboarding and other processes, enable electronic signature verification on employee forms
Remain compliant with government regulations; receive notifications of changes in legislation; generate compliance reports for Equal Opportunity (EEOC), Fair Labor Standards (FLSA), Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) and more
Use the Paycom benefits administration software to set up employee benefit plans, deduction amounts, enrollment dates and waiting periods
Find benefits carriers through Paycom; update carriers and changes online
Allow employees to review plan information and select benefits through the self-service app; approve benefits plans and receive updated deductions in payroll
Generate reports to see and notify employees who are eligible for benefits enrollment, send reminders about enrollment, view changes to employee benefits packages made in a specific time period and view the benefits each employee has enrolled in
Use COBRA administration software to send required correspondence, track important dates, collect and remit premiums and receive updates to changes in COBRA laws
Access manager tools to review and approve employee requests, conduct performance reviews and submit employee changes — as well as search prospective job applicants, schedule interviews and approve candidates
Generate and complete personnel action forms
Create employee satisfaction surveys and receive confidential feedback, allow employees to complete surveys in the self-service app and view results in customizable graphs
Allow Paycom to work with your 401(k) provider to meet its data requirements, create custom 401(k)-specific reports and send to carriers and clients
Use direct data exchange to monitor employee usage, view costs based on employee tasks and see overview of employee usage data as well as more specific breakdowns.
Next, Paycom’s talent acquisition features allow you to efficiently find, hire and onboard employees. Specifically, you can:
Share open positions across online job boards; manage, update and close job postings; implement knockout questions to filter out unqualified candidates
Use Candidate Tracker to build a customized applicant tracking system from resumes, measure ROI of recruiting efforts and assemble a searchable contact history for candidates
Receive notifications for candidates to be interviewed, make hiring decisions and move new hires to onboarding
Track which recruiting sites drive the most applicants, number of days it takes to fill a position, as well as other pieces of hiring information for analysis
Use tax credit software and allow Paycom to determine eligibility of each job applicant, receive notification about eligibility, locate, secure and administer available tax credits, and monitor the federal tax code for updates
Run background checks on candidates (or even current employees); remain in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act; create pre-adverse and adverse action letters; receive secure storage of results
Create a streamlined onboarding process with new hire paperwork and task checklists, allow employees to complete all necessary procedures online and store all completed documents in employees' online file
Use E-Verify to verify employment eligibility, securely store information and receive notification of employees who need re-verification
Generate advanced talent acquisition reports, measure and analyze activity across your system, as well as multiple years and EINS, in a variety of formats.
Finally, the Talent Management category of the Paycom software includes all of the tools you need to grow and retain your employees. In particular, these features give you the ability to:
Implement performance reviews, including self-reviews, manager reviews and 360 reviews
Build a directory of positions with required skills and salary levels
Assign performance goals and track goals by employee and across the company
Manage a compensation budget, view reports of compensation spending, update employee compensation and sync system-wide
Create a merit matrix to evaluate compensation adjustments
Assign consistent compliance training to employees and allow them to complete them through the self-service app; create business-specific training courses for employees
Allow employees to use the “Ask Here” feature within the self-service app to ask questions and get directed to the proper person in the organization for an answer
Create comprehensive reports across payroll and HR data; allow executives to customize their own dashboards; export reports in a range of formats.
As you can see, across these five categories, Paycom extends beyond simple payroll and HR management and provides highly automated, comprehensive software capabilities that truly simplify your processes, or even outsource them completely.
Based on the extensive features included within the Paycom platform, you’re likely wondering what pricing looks like for this full-service payroll and HR software. Unfortunately, although its website does mention that it has “pay-as-you-go pricing,” Paycom doesn’t include specific pricing information on its website.
Instead, you can request a demo and then work with Paycom's sales team to determine what the cost of the software will be for your business specifically. Therefore, although you can’t compare the cost of Paycom until receiving a quote from its team, you can keep in mind some of the common factors that may affect your pricing.
Generally, when it comes to quote-based payroll software, much of the cost will depend on the size of your business and how many employees you’ll be adding and paying using the system. Typically, payroll providers price their services on a monthly subscription basis — charging a monthly base fee, plus a monthly per-employee fee. Moreover, you might see additional fees for setup, certain tax forms, as well as for particular tools or services within the platform.
This being said, since Paycom doesn’t detail its pricing upfront, you’ll want to ensure that you find out exactly what kind of fees it charges, how its fees break down on a monthly or annual basis and what features are included for a particular price when talking to its sales team.
Pros of Paycom
In terms of benefits, Paycom is a highly automated, detailed and advanced software solution. This platform truly is full-service, allowing you to manage the most specific parts of payroll, HR and broader HCM within a single solution.
In this way, whereas many payroll services provide the essential tools you need to optimize your payroll and HR tasks, Paycom takes this optimization to the next level — in many cases, handling important and complex processes on your behalf (making it similar to a professional employer organization).
Additionally, a particularly noteworthy aspect of Paycom’s functionality is the employee self-service app. This app contains all of the necessary features of the software, allowing employees to manage their time, benefits, documents, training and even ask questions and find the right answers within the company.
Moreover, Paycom is known for its top-notch customer service. A majority of the Paycom user reviews online mention Paycom’s customer support — highlighting how helpful and knowledgeable its representatives are.
Cons of Paycom
On the other hand, there are also downsides to using Paycom as well.
First and foremost, Paycom doesn’t provide transparent pricing information on its website — making it difficult to determine whether it’s a viable solution for your business without talking to its sales team. Additionally, because you’ll only know the pricing Paycom offers your business, you may be paying more (or less) than other businesses for the same service. With quote-based pricing, Paycom makes it harder for you to adequately compare its service to other providers who do list pricing information.
In addition, although Paycom’s advanced features and automation can be benefits of the platform, they can also be drawbacks. When it comes down to it, it’s likely that most small businesses don’t need everything that’s included within the Paycom software. Therefore, if you’re a smaller business looking to optimize your payroll and HR, you may find Paycom too overwhelming and confusing, especially if the tools you do need are buried amongst a variety of those you don’t.
Finally, it’s worth noting that Paycom doesn’t seem to offer any integration options for third-party tools. Although based on its feature set, you may not necessarily need to integrate other platforms with Paycom, it’s nevertheless worth mentioning. In contrast, many other payroll and HR software solutions give you the ability to connect to other business tools, especially accounting software.
Ultimately, based on this evaluation, it seems that Paycom is better-suited for larger businesses with more complex needs. If you run a large organization and need an all-in-one solution that can be completely customized to your business, Paycom may very well work for you. On the other hand, if you need a straightforward payroll or HR platform to manage the essential tasks for a smaller team, you’ll likely want to explore an alternative solution.
Paycom user reviews
This being said, if you think Paycom may be a suitable solution for your business (and perhaps even if you don’t), you may be interested in what users have to say about their experience with the platform.
Overall, online Paycom payroll reviews are fairly positive. Reviewers highlight the scope of functionality within the Paycom system, especially as a payroll and HR software. Additionally, many users praise Paycom’s customer service.
Although there aren’t many wholly negative Paycom user reviews, users do have critiques of the system. On the whole, most of these critiques are regarding the intuitiveness of the platform. Many users feel that the system isn’t very user-friendly and has a steep learning curve when getting started.
Along these lines, some users also feel that the software is too customizable and some write that Paycom’s capabilities do come at a price, although they don’t include any specific pricing information.
If your business doesn’t need all of the functionality that’s included within Paycom, you might look into Gusto Payroll as a top alternative.
Like Paycom, Gusto is a web-based payroll solution that allows you to not only manage payroll, but also a range of HR processes. Gusto is available in three plan levels — Core, Complete and Concierge — and the features you receive will depend on which of the three plans you choose. Gusto also has a new option for contractor-only employers, who simply pay the $6/employee rate and no base price.
On the whole, however, Gusto offers full-service payroll capabilities, employee self-service and profiles, health benefits and workers comp administration, paid-time-off policies and unlimited customer support via phone, chat or email. In addition, with the higher-level plans, Gusto also provides employee onboarding tools, time tracking, surveys and more.
This being said, regardless of the plan you choose, Gusto can accommodate a variety of third-party integrations — which Paycom does not offer. Along these lines, whereas Paycom operates on a quote-based pricing system, Gusto includes all of its pricing information on its website.
Gusto plans start at $39 per month, plus $6 per person per month for the Core plan. Gusto also offers a range of fringe benefits add-ons for low monthly fees.
Ultimately, although Gusto doesn’t offer the same range of features as Paycom does, it’s a worthwhile solution for many small businesses — plus, with Gusto’s transparent pricing, you know exactly how much it would cost your business to use this service and can compare this cost to any other solutions you’re considering.
For a Paycom alternative with a greater focus on HR capabilities (but can incorporate payroll as well), you might consider Zenefits. Like Gusto, Zenefits is a user-friendly, web-based solution that is more likely to benefit small businesses.
With Zenefits, you receive core HR features, like hiring and onboarding, directory and organizational charts, document management, time and scheduling and more. Additionally, Zenefits offers three plan levels, each with an increasing number of capabilities. With the higher-level Zenefits plans, you’ll receive access to compensation and performance management tools, as well as employee well-being features.
This being said, Zenefits breaks down the pricing for all three of its plans on its website, with the Essentials plan starting at $10 per month per employee. If you want to add payroll capabilities to your Zenefits software, you can do this as well — for an additional fee of $6 per employee per month. Moreover, Zenefits includes mobile app access, third-party integration options, as well as HR and payroll advisory services (these will require an additional monthly cost).
Essentially, like Gusto, Zenefits is well-suited for business owners who don’t need the extensive automation and range of features that Paycom offers. If your business is looking for a simple, easy-to-use, HR software with transparent pricing, Zenefits is certainly worth considering.
A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet