Paychex Flex Review 2024: Features, Pros & Cons (2024)

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What Is Paychex Flex?

Paychex Flex is a simple employee payroll platform for small businesses, offered as an alternative to the more complex Paychex platform for larger businesses. It provides just what small businesses need: easy employee payroll.

Beyond that, the platform’s offerings are pretty slim compared with Paychex’s competitors—though Paychex as a whole offers a suite of integrated products you could purchase to meet your needs under one brand.

How Paychex Flex Works

Paychex is a payroll and HR platform for small, medium and large businesses. Its Paychex Flex offers simplified payroll processing and tax filing for small businesses that don’t need access to its full suite of complex HR tools.

Paychex Flex offers three-tier pricing starting at $39 per month for access to basic payroll processing and tax filing, with an additional monthly charge per employee. You can upgrade to add accounting software integrations and employee training features.

Employees have access to a self-service platform through the Paychex website or the Paychex Flex app, and employers can submit payroll and access reports through either device. You have access to add-on features from the Paychex platform, including time tracking and benefits administration, to customize the platform for your business needs.

Is Paychex Flex Right for Me?

Paychex Flex is a good starting point for small businesses that need a quick, simple payroll solution. It offers you the flexibility to add on services such as time tracking as you need them, and you could easily grow into a more robust Paychex enterprise product as your business grows.

If you need a full-service platform that includes benefits administration, you could use a competitor such as Gusto for about the same price without the complexity of customized pricing and add-ons. Gusto includes automated payroll with tax filing as well as benefits management and time tracking all in one place.

Paychex Flex Is Best For:

  • New small businesses with simple payroll
  • Small businesses with few employees
  • Businesses with salaried employees
  • Bookkeepers who prefer to work over the phone rather than online

Paychex Flex Is Not Recommended For:

  • Businesses that need benefits administration

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OnPay

Benefits administration

Yes

Contractor payments

Yes

Base monthly price

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SurePayroll

Benefits Administration

Yes

Contractor Payments

Yes

Base Price

$29.99/mo plus $5 per employee

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Gusto

Benefits administration

Yes

Contractor payments

Yes

Base monthly price

$40 per month plus $6 per user

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Rippling

Benefits administration

Yes

Contractor Payments

Yes

Base Price

$35/month plus $8 PEPM

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Benefits Administration

Yes

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$50/month + $8/user

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What Sets Paychex Flex Apart

Paychex Flex is in line with its competitors for startups and small businesses, though its pricing structure is more complicated and pricier than some for the same services.

Uniquely, Paychex offers Voice Assist capability, which allows you to do hands-free payroll reviews, approvals, submissions and updates. This feature improves the platform’s accessibility over some competitors and could help you ensure your business is inclusive for employees with accessibility needs.

Similarly, Paychex also gives you the option to submit payroll over the phone through a payroll specialist. This additional option increases accessibility further and offers a fail-safe to ensure you’re able to file payroll even if you’re unable to access the platform online.

Paychex Flex Features

Here’s how Paychex Flex stacks up:

Ease of Use

Paychex Flex is typical of small-business solutions developed by software companies that traditionally serve large enterprises. It’s stripped down and includes a complicated web of add-ons to put together the service you need.

The benefit of this model is customizable plans. The drawback is complex and opaque pricing you can’t figure out without talking to a sales representative.

If you’re a simple small business, such as a restaurant or startup with an on-site workforce, Paychex Flex might be the simple payroll solution you need. It strips back complexities you’d have to sort through with more robust platforms—but its price doesn’t reflect that simplicity as much as it could.

Compliance

Paychex employs compliance experts to ensure reporting and tax filing meet state and local requirements. All Paychex Flex plans include new hire reporting for employees and contractors, and you’ll receive up-to-date printed or electronic federal and state labor law posters to display for your employees.

Onboarding

Depending on your Paychex Flex plan, you’ll have access to electronic onboarding, job posting integration with job platforms and an online employee handbook builder.

Tax Filing

Paychex Flex will automatically calculate, pay and file payroll taxes for each pay period.

Time Tracking

Paychex Flex plans don’t include time tracking, but you can add on the Paychex Flex Time feature so employees can punch in and out through the Paychex Flex Time app or kiosk with or without a cellular or Wi-Fi connection.

Benefits Administration

Paychex Flex plans don’t include benefits administration, but you can pay extra to access these features through the Paychex platform.

Analytics and Reporting

A Paychex Flex Pro plan includes custom analytics and reporting features, but the other plans don’t include reports.

Accessibility

Employees can register for a Paychex Flex account to view pay and tax information through the Paychex Flex mobile app, and employers can review and submit payroll and view reports through the app. If you add on time tracking, you’ll use a separate app for that feature.

Payroll

Paychex Flex runs payroll and pays employees by direct deposit or lets you print checks yourself to distribute to employees. It’ll also handle payroll taxes for you. The platform comes with a self-service employee portal, so employees can check in on their pay stubs and tax forms on their own.

Pay Contractors

You can pay contractors through Paychex Flex via direct deposit or print and mail checks, just as you can for employees. Contractors have access to the self-service portal, so they can see their pay stubs and 1099s online.

Time Tracking

Paychex Flex doesn’t include time tracking on its own, but it offers Paychex Flex Time, an additional service that integrates with Flex and lets employees track time, attendance, mileage and more.

Time integrates with Flex seamlessly, so you are able to automatically pay or reimburse employees based on what they track in the platform. The drawback is that it isn’t included with a Flex subscription, so you pay an additional fee for the feature.

Taxes and Compliance

Paychex Flex will automatically calculate, file and pay payroll taxes for you and employees. Paychex Flex also gives you access to free labor compliance posters online that you can share electronically with remote employees or print to display for on-site workers. And you have the option to purchase workers’ comp insurance through Paychex’s insurance broker, so you can stay compliant with any requirements.

Financial Wellness and Cash Flow Assistance

Paychex Flex offers on-demand access to earned wages and short-term loans to help employees manage their finances between paychecks.

Learning Management System

Employee training and development courses and programs are included with Paychex Flex Select and Pro plans, and all plans include an option for an online employee handbook builder.

Paychex Flex Pricing and Plans

EssentialsSelectPro

Starting Price

$39 per month plus $5 per employee

$44 per month and up plus $3 per employee

$89 per month and up plus $3 per employee

U.S. Payroll

Paper checks, direct deposit, tip disbursem*nt and pay cards

Paper checks, direct deposit, tip disbursem*nt and pay cards

Paper checks, direct deposit, tip disbursem*nt and pay cards

Global Payroll

Managed through partner IRIS FMP

Managed through partner IRIS FMP

Managed through partner IRIS FMP

Onboarding

Paperless, digital onboarding experience

Paperless, digital onboarding experience; job posting integration

Paperless, digital onboarding experience; job posting integration; employee handbook builder

Tax Filing

Automatically calculate, file and pay payroll taxes

Automatically calculate, file and pay payroll taxes

Automatically calculate, file and pay payroll taxes

Benefits Administration

Add-on

Add-on

Add-on

Time Tracking

Add-on

Add-on

Add-on

Expense Management

Add-on to transfer payroll data to accounting software

Add-on to transfer payroll data to accounting software

Add-on to transfer payroll data to accounting software

Workflow Automations

X

X

X

Mobile Apps

Employees can register for a Paychex Flex account to view pay and tax information via mobile app

Employees can register for a Paychex Flex account to view pay and tax information via mobile app

Employees can register for a Paychex Flex account to view pay and tax information via mobile app

Reporting and Analytics

X

X

Custom analytics and reports center

Third-Party Integrations

Voice assistant integrations and Paychex add-ons

Voice assistant and accounting software integrations and Paychex add-ons

Voice assistant and accounting software integrations and Paychex add-ons

Error-Free Guarantee

X

X

X

Customer Support

24/7 support via app or online chat

24/7 support via app or online chat

24/7 support via app or online chat

Paychex Flex Essentials

As the name implies, the Paychex Flex Essentials plan is a bare-bones payroll processing service that lets you do payroll and tax filing through the platform. It’s designed for businesses with fewer than 20 employees.

Paychex Flex Select

The Paychex Flex Select plan includes payroll and tax filing, as well as access to employee online training courses and programs.

Paychex Flex Pro

Paychex Flex Pro is a full-service option for small businesses. It includes payroll, tax filing, employee training tools, additional HR tools and a personal consultation with a Paychex rep. Wage garnishment capabilities are included with this plan, while they’re an add-on feature for the other two plans.

Customer Service and Support

Paychex offers 24/7 customer service for employers via online chat on the website or through the app, and phone support. Online support is also available for employees whose employers use the platform. FAQs are also available for clients who are logged in to the platform, so you can get the most common questions answered without contacting support.

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Additional Features Worth Noting

Paychex Flex plans are relatively bare-bones, but the platform includes a few extras that might appeal to small business owners.

Integrations

Paychex integrates securely with popular accounting software systems, including QuickBooks Online, Sage and Xero, so you can seamlessly sync your payroll data to your books.

Employee Screening and Onboarding

With a Paychex Flex Pro plan, the platform lets employees fill out new-hire documents, direct deposit and tax forms all online through the self-service portal. You can also conduct a limited number of background checks on new hires.

Employee Learning

With a Select or Pro plan, you can give employees access to online skill- and career-development courses through the Paychex platform.

Garnishment Pay Services

If an employee’s wages have been ordered to be garnished for any reason, a Paychex Flex Pro plan facilitates garnishment at no extra cost. Other payroll services offer this feature, but they charge extra for it.

Talent Management

Paychex Flex Select and Pro plans offer the option to add on recruitment tools, applicant tracking, employee performance management and document management.

Paychex Flex Alternatives and How They Compare

Paychex FlexGustoADP RUNRippling

Rating

Paychex Flex Review 2024: Features, Pros & Cons (11)

Paychex Flex Review 2024: Features, Pros & Cons (12)

Paychex Flex Review 2024: Features, Pros & Cons (13)

Paychex Flex Review 2024: Features, Pros & Cons (14)

Starting Price

$39 per month plus $5 per employee per month

$40 per month plus $6 per employee per month

$59 per month plus $4 per employee per month

$8 per user, per month

U.S. Payroll

Payroll with direct deposit or in-house printed checks for employees and contractors, self-service portal. Option to add on filing and reporting for payroll taxes.

Automated payroll, direct deposit for employees and contractors, and online pay stubs

Direct deposit or check delivery for employees and contractors, automatic filing and reporting for payroll taxes

Direct deposit

Global Payroll

Managed through partner IRIS FMP

No payroll for global employees; support for international contractors

International payments through ADP Global Payroll

Pay global employees and contractors in their local currency

Onboarding

Paperless, digital onboarding experience; job posting integration; employee handbook builder

Customizable hiring and onboarding templates available

New hire onboarding included in all plans

New hire onboarding included in all plans

Tax Filing

Automatically calculate, file and pay payroll taxes

Automatic filing and reporting for payroll taxes

Automatic filing and reporting for payroll taxes

Automatic filing and reporting for payroll taxes

Benefits Administration

Add-on

Administer health, wellness, retirement, transportation, housing and custom benefits

Add-on features for retirement, health insurance and workers’ comp

Online enrollment for health insurance, retirement benefits and more

Time Tracking

Add-on

Integrations available with beginner plan; time tracking included with higher-cost plans

Add-on

Automatically record employee work hours with online check-in

Expense Management

Add-on

Available through employee self-service platform

Available through Expensify for RUN add-on

Available through employee self-service platform

Workflow Automations

Integrations available

Integrations available

Integrations available

Included

Mobile Apps

Employees can register for a Paychex Flex account to view pay and tax information via mobile app

Gusto Wallet app for employee online banking; other features available through mobile browser only

Employer and employee functions available on app for iOS and Android

Employee time tracking through mobile; other features available through mobile browser only

Reporting and Analytics

Add-on

Customized reports; integrations available

Available through Workforce Now add-on

PTO and time reporting, compliance reports

Third-Party Integrations

Voice assistant and accounting software integrations and Paychex add-ons

Workflow automation, reporting and insights, benefits administration and more

Integrations with automation and accounting software, add-ons for other ADP products

Slack, Google Workspace, integrations among Rippling apps

Error-Free Guarantee

X

X

X

100% error-free guarantee

Customer Support

24/7 support via app or online chat

24/7 support via email or online chat

Automated phone support or online FAQs

24/7 support via email or online chat

Learn More

On Paychex’s Website

Read Reviews

Read Gusto Review

Read ADP RUN Review

Read Rippling Review

Paychex Flex vs. Gusto

Gusto is an online payroll and HR administration platform designed with dynamic startups in mind. Along with Flex, it facilitates payroll for both employees and contractors under a single plan, and it offers a more affordable contractor-only plan. Unlike Flex, it facilitates benefits administration, including health, retirement and custom benefits such as wellness programs. The platform also includes automated charitable donations (as an option) and a wallet that helps employees access their money when they need it.

Paychex Flex vs. ADP RUN

ADP is another traditional payroll and HR services platform for organizations of all sizes. Its small-business solution, RUN, serves companies with less than 50 employees. It facilitates payroll for U.S.-based employees, plus automatic tax filing and reporting and optional benefits administration in a self-service platform for your employees, with a pricing structure and add-on fees similar to Paychex’s.

Paychex Flex vs. Rippling

Rippling is a robust payroll and HR platform that combines the smooth user experience of a new tech company with the comprehensive services available on legacy platforms such as Paychex. Along with Paychex Flex, it combines a suite of apps to let you customize the platform to meet your needs, but the integrations are more seamless and easier to navigate than the maze among Paychex apps.

Our Expert Opinion

Paychex Flex is a good option for small- or medium-sized businesses that expect to grow in size and complexity. The variety of add-on features available make it easy to customize and upscale the platform as your company grows, but they might be too complex for a small business with basic needs. You might also be able to find a platform that offers all of the services under a single plan without the bloated pricing structure.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between Paychex and Paychex Flex?

Paychex is a payroll and HR platform for businesses of all sizes. Paychex Flex is its simplified, payroll-only platform for small businesses.

Is Paychex Flex legit?

Paychex has been serving small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) since its founding in 1971 and is trusted by hundreds of thousands of companies in the United States and Europe. In recent years, it’s made Forbes’ lists of World’s Best Employers, World’s Most Innovative Companies and more.

Is Paychex a good payroll service?

What makes a good payroll service depends on the size and needs of your business. Paychex Flex is a simple, payroll-only service designed for small businesses. If your business requires benefits administration or more complex payroll help, the more robust Paychex platform or another service might be a better fit.

Which payroll software is best?

The best payroll software for your company depends on your business size and needs. Top payroll services for small businesses include ADP RUN, Paychex Flex and Gusto. Traditional companies offer customizable plans to fit your needs, while platforms tailored for startups offer straightforward pricing and all-inclusive packages you can get up and running in minutes.

Paychex Flex Review 2024: Features, Pros & Cons (2024)

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