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Both ADP and Paychex target growing and established businesses with advanced needs. However, the two payroll software titles have nuanced differences.

Paychex sides more with small businesses. The company provides fewer solutions than ADP. But it offers a more user-friendly platform with simplified processes.

ADP, on the other hand, enables businesses to achieve global domination. Nearly every administrative need is met. But this complexity is more geared towards organizations with hundreds or even thousands of employees worldwide. There is a small business-targeted option called Roll by ADP, however.

Let’s dig deeper and explore which payroll software is right for you.

Recommended Alternative: GustoSPONSORED

Gusto’s payroll and HR software is a user-friendly alternative to both ADP and Paychex. With a base price lower than ADP and far fewer add-on fees than Paychex, Gusto is our top recommendation for users who aren’t satisfied with either payroll software option.

ADP vs. Paychex: Comparison table

ADP Paychex Gusto
Our rating 4 out of 5 4 out of 5 4.6 out of 5
Starting price Undisclosed $39/mo. + $5/worker/mo. $40/mo. + $6/employee
International support Yes Only through third-party partners No
PEO services Yes Yes No
24/7 human-assisted customer service No Yes Yes
Data analytics Highly detailed Simpler With integrations
Visit ADP Visit Paychex Visit Gusto


ADP vs. Paychex: Pricing

ADP

ADP’s pricing is not publicly disclosed for most plans. Outside of its small-business product Roll by ADP, which starts at $39 per month plus $5 per employee per month, the company opts for personalized packages instead. So it’s difficult to compare with competitors.

But when we look at Roll by ADP, we can set it side-by-side with competitors and see how it compares:

  • Gusto: $40 per month plus $6 per employee per month.
  • Patriot Software: $37 per month plus $4 per employee per month (for a full-service tax filing plan).
  • QuickBooks Payroll: $45 per month plus $6 per employee per month.

The bottom line is if you’re a larger business, you’ll need a flexible budget for the company’s personalized packages. And if you’re a smaller organization, $37 to $45 per month and $4 to $6 per employee per month is a fair price range for more modest software, including Roll by ADP.

Paychex

Paychex similarly hides most of its pricing. Its small-business product, Paychex Flex, starts at $39 plus $5 per worker each month for the Essentials plan, but many crucial functions, like talent management, are missing. And unfortunately, higher tiers require custom pricing.

Also Read: How to Choose Payroll Software

ADP vs. Paychex: Feature comparison

Best legal compliance: ADP

ADP stands out for its strong focus on legal compliance. For starters, SmartCompliance is its service that proactively monitors tax law changes, among other protective measures.

But legal safeguarding goes beyond taxes. ADP also provides standardized employee training for various topics, like sexual harassment and disability accommodations — you won’t have to provide your own materials. And if you operate overseas, the company provides local labor and tax compliance around the world.

The title boasts plenty of other proactive compliance measures, from wage garnishments to the Affordable Care Act. Simply put, ADP is akin to having an in-house attorney watching your back 24/7.

Easiest to use: Paychex

Let’s face it: ADP is a beast. That’s an excellent trait for larger, fully staffed organizations with ever-growing needs. But because of that, it can be complicated or may require a dedicated team to manage it.

Paychex is better for most businesses wishing to balance power with ease of use. The title focuses more on the classics, like payroll and time tracking. But you can still snag advanced perks like deep analytics and HR advice. And it’s all delivered via an appealing user interface and a beautiful mobile app that anyone can understand.

Best for hourly employees: Paychex

Paychex has clearly invested heavily in its time-tracking functions. The company provides its own time clock hardware, like key cards and iris readers. Or, you can keep it simple and issue personal identification numbers. Either way, the coupling of software and hardware makes the platform super convenient if you oversee many hourly staffers.

Conveniently for you, all data is automatically synced with the main payroll platform. So, you won’t have to copy over information come payday.

Best analytics: ADP

Data junkies rejoice with ADP’s goliath intelligence capabilities. People Analytics is the platform’s knowledge base for everything going on in your organization. It will crunch the numbers automatically to reveal turnover rates, budget predictions, demographic analysis, opportunities to eliminate overhead and more. Graphs, charts and raw data are beautifully displayed — no more boring slideshows.

And if you need context, you’re in luck. DataCloud dishes out broader industry-wide intel gathered from the millions of employees ADP clients manage. So, you get a bird’s eye view on your competitors. These rich insights are hard to beat, so the platform takes the analytics prize.

Best mobile app: Paychex

The Paychex Flex mobile app is a highly rated, comprehensive suite of features for employers and staff alike. It delivers more of a simple, point-and-click interface than ADP.

The mobile solution includes payroll management, HR services, time tracking and more. For administrators, the app allows the entry, review and submission of payroll, alongside accessing employee data and reports.

Bottom line, Paychex’s mobile app is the better of the two thanks to its better user-friendliness and streamlined power.

ADP pros and cons

Pros of ADP

  • Comprehensive payroll and HR solutions.
  • Proactive compliance alerts, live HR advice and access to a team of experts to assist with compliance questions.
  • Integrates with around 1,000 third-party applications and services.

Cons of ADP

  • Unclear pricing for most plans.
  • Can be too complex for smaller businesses.

Paychex pros and cons

Pros of Paychex

  • Range of payroll and HR services designed to scale with your business.
  • 24/7 customer support.
  • Onboarding, benefits administration and time and attendance systems.

Cons of Paychex

  • No in-house international support.
  • Unclear pricing for higher plans.

Should your organization use ADP or Paychex?

Choose ADP if…

  • You’re looking for a robust payroll and compliance solution that can tackle almost any need at any growth stage.
  • You operate internationally.
  • You love rich analytics and data science.
  • You have a generous budget.

Choose Paychex if…

  • You operate primarily in the United States.
  • You prefer a simpler, more straightforward platform that is still comprehensive.
  • You value a strong mobile app.
  • You have lots of hourly workers.

If you still need help deciding which software is right for your business, try out our payroll services comparison tool.

Methodology

We carefully reviewed each platform’s pricing, features, strengths and weaknesses, and suitability for different business needs and growth stages. We also considered factors like cost transparency, compliance support, feature richness, scalability and customer service. Finally, we evaluated user feedback to understand how actual clients feel about the software.

For more information about how we rate payroll software, take a look at our methodology page.


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