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Edited by: Kimberlee Leonard
 and Reviewed: Kimberlee Leonard

Paychex vs. ADP: Pricing, Features & What’s Best in 2023

Author: | Sep 11, 2023

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on Go Sifter Advisor. Commissions do not affect our editors’ opinions or evaluations.

Small businesses that want to scale should focus on finding ways to increase their revenue, expanding their marketing activities, and saving time and money by automating repetitive tasks.

Using payroll software is one of the simplest ways to cut your payroll processing time, but which payroll software is best? Paychex and ADP are two top names in the cloud-based payroll service world; both offer automated payroll processing, payroll tax filings, and HR tools, including onboarding features and employee benefits.

If you’ve narrowed down your payroll software options to Paychex vs. ADP, this article will help you determine the right choice for your business.

Deciding Factors

PricePlans start at $39/month plus $5/month per employeeSmall businesses can get their first three months free, and plans are custom-priced 
ScalabilityAbility to upgrade plans as your business growsMultiple plans are available for companies of all sizes
Time Tracking ToolsAs an add-onAs an add-on
Onboarding Tools✔️✔️
Employee BenefitsAs an add-onAs an add-on

Paychex vs. ADP: Features

Paychex and ADP both offer a mobile app, automatic payroll processing, tax filing, onboarding, analytics, and employee benefits. Let’s take a look at ADP and Paychex features to see which one is best for your company.

Paychex Features

Paychex’s payroll plans include the following features:

  • Payroll processing that can be done from a desktop or mobile device
  • Automatic payroll tax filing and payment
  • Direct deposit, paper checks, or payment card
  • Garnishment service
  • Employee portal
  • Onboarding
  • HR library
  • Analytics (160+ reports)
  • New hire reporting to meet state legal requirements
  • Labor law posters
  • Learning management system
  • General ledger service (ability to export payroll data to your accounting software)
  • Employee handbook builder
  • Pre-employment screening
  • State unemployment insurance (SUI)
  • Workers’ comp service
  • Accounting software integrations

It also provides the following features as add-ons:

  • Integration with job boards (including Indeed)
  • Recruitment and applicant tracking
  • Performance management tools
  • Document storage
  • Job costing
  • Time and attendance tracking
  • Paychex voice assistance integrations
  • Accounting, hiring, and HR software integrations
  • Retirement services
  • Business insurance
  • Employee benefits

ADP Small Business Plan Features

ADP Run plans are designed for small businesses, and include the following features:

  • Payroll (can be done via computer, phone, or mobile app)
  • Direct deposit, paper checks, or debit card payments
  • Reporting
  • General ledger interface
  • New hire reporting
  • Tax filing
  • Multi-jurisdiction payroll
  • Check signing and direct deposit receipt and payroll check envelope stuffing
  • SUI
  • Labor law posters
  • Employee portal
  • Onboarding
  • Employee discounts
  • Background checks
  • Google Ads setup and management 
  • ZipRecruiter (software that posts to over 100 job boards) posting
  • HR support via phone or email
  • Employee handbook builder
  • Applicant tracking system
  • Marketing tools
  • Legal assistance

You can add the following services to the ADP Run plans:

  • Time and attendance
  • Retirement
  • Workers’ comp
  • Health insurance
  • Marketing toolkit (for lower-level plans)

ADP Midsize and Enterprise Business Features

ADP Workforce Now plans are for larger organizations, and include these features:

  • Payroll
  • Tax filing
  • A general ledger interface
  • Employee surveys
  • Onboarding
  • HR tools
  • Document storage
  • Benefits administration
  • Workforce management

The following features are available as add-ons for ADP Workforce Now plans:

  • Recruitment tools
  • Job posting (including the ability to post to 25,000+ job sites)
  • Performance and compensation management
  • HR support
  • Analytics
  • Learning management system

When it comes to features in ADP vs. Paychex, ADP takes first place, as it provides features and plans suitable for businesses of all sizes. 

Paychex does offer a couple of benefits over ADP: Workers’ comp is included in Paychex’s highest-level plan but is only available as an add-on for ADP’s small business plans. The learning management system comes with Paychex’s custom-priced plans but is only available as part of ADP’s top-level small business plan, or as an add-on for its Workforce Now plans. 

However, we chose ADP as it offers multiple plans with robust features. Applicant tracking comes with ADP’s highest-level small business payroll package but is only available as an add-on with Paychex. All of ADP’s small business payroll plans offer SUI, while that feature is only available in Paychex’s top-tier plan. The ADP Run plans also come with Google Ads setup and maintenance. As an added perk, ADP Run offers employee discounts for both national products and local retailers.

Paychex vs. ADP: Cost

Which is better when it comes to Paychex vs. ADP prices? In general, we like companies that offer transparent pricing, as it saves time for busy business owners researching their options. However, although ADP offers the first three months free for its small business packages, it doesn’t provide transparent pricing, and Paychex has limited pricing information on its website. 

While the lack of transparent pricing makes it difficult to compare costs, we analyzed each company’s plans to give you an idea of what you can get at different levels.

Paychex Plans

Essentials: This plan starts at $39/month plus $5/month per employee. It includes payroll processing, payroll tax filing and payment, a wage garnishment service, onboarding tools, and analytics. 

Select: The Select plan is custom-priced and includes everything in the Essentials plan (except the garnishment service), plus access to a learning management system. 

Pro: This custom-priced plan includes everything in the Essentials and Select plans, plus a general ledger service, employee handbook builder, pre-employment screening, SUI, workers’ comp, and accounting software integrations.

The following features can complement any of Paychex’s plans for an additional fee:

  • Integration with job boards (including Indeed)
  • Recruitment and applicant tracking
  • Performance management tools
  • Document storage
  • Job costing
  • Time and attendance tracking
  • Paychex voice assistance integrations
  • Accounting, hiring, and HR software integrations
  • Retirement services
  • Business insurance
  • Employee benefits

ADP Plans

The ADP Run payroll plans are designed for companies with 1-49 employees. ADP Workforce Now plans are for mid-sized and enterprise organizations with 50-1000+ employees.

ADP Run Payroll Packages for Small Businesses

Essential: The Essential plan includes payroll, reporting, a general ledger interface, new hire reporting, tax filing, labor law posters, an employee portal, SUI, onboarding, background checks, employee discounts, and Google Ads setup and management.

Enhanced: This plan includes everything in the Essential plan, plus ZipRecruiter job posting.

Complete: The Complete plan includes everything in the Enhanced plan, plus advanced HR support and tools and an employee handbook builder. 

HR Pro: This plan includes everything in the Complete plan, plus an applicant tracking system, marketing tools, and legal assistance.

ADP Workforce Now Packages for Mid-sized and Enterprise Businesses

Select: This plan includes payroll, tax filing, a general ledger interface, employee surveys, onboarding, HR tools, and document storage.

Plus: The Plus plan includes everything in the Select plan, plus benefits administration.

Pro: This plan includes everything in the Plus plan, plus workforce management tools. 

Both ADP and Paychex offer multiple plans for businesses of all sizes with essential payroll and HR features. Although ADP offers the first three months free for its small business packages, Paychex wins the fight of ADP vs. Paychex for cost due to transparent and affordable pricing for its starter plan.

Paychex vs. ADP: User Reviews

We researched Paychex vs. ADP reviews on popular consumer review sites including Reddit, TrustPilot, and ConsumerReviews, and found that ADP came out on top.

Reddit users have mixed reviews of both companies and tend to recommend Paychex for smaller businesses and ADP for larger organizations. 

Paychex has a 1-star (out of 5 stars) rating on TrustPilot, with customers stating problems with payroll delays, overcharging, and poor customer service. ADP fares only slightly better with a 1.4-star TrustPilot rating, due in part to customer service frustrations.

ADP gets a much better rating on ConsumerReviews (4.3 out of 5 stars) with customers raving about its ease of use. Customers give Paychex a 3.1 rating on ConsumerReviews due to customer service issues. 

Paychex vs. ADP: Integration With Other Software

Paychex and ADP are tied when it comes to integrating with other software. 

ADP integrates with its other human capital management (HCM) systems, third-party accounting and HR software, and most enterprise resource planning (ERP) apps.

Paychex integrates with third-party job boards, voice assistance, accounting, hiring, productivity, and HR software. 

Paychex vs. ADP: Which Is Best For My Business Needs

When it comes to ADP vs. Paychex for small businesses, the best one depends on your unique needs. If you need a payroll service provider that offers a variety of plans that can grow with your business, or if you have an enterprise organization in need of payroll and HR services, then ADP is your best choice. However, if you have a smaller business that needs payroll software with HR features and more transparent pricing, Paychex is the way to go.

Paychex vs. ADP Comparison: The Final Verdict

Who wins the Paychex vs. ADP payroll service provider comparison? Paychex and ADP both provide excellent payroll and HR features and integrations with financial and productivity software. However, although Paychex offers transparent pricing for its starter plan, ADP wins thanks to more plans that can support growing businesses with lots of employees (including the ability to post to 25,000 job sites) and higher customer satisfaction ratings.

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