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Paylocity Payroll Review 2021: Benefits, Drawbacks, Alternatives

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Paylocity’s all-in-one cloud-based payroll and human resources platform stands out by offering scalable services, hundreds of app integrations and solid customer service availability. Its payroll features aid business owners in paying employees, filing and paying taxes, reimbursing expenses and more. It’s best suited for midsize and large businesses, though it also serves small businesses. One downside: Pricing is quote-based and available only when you schedule a demo.

Deciding factors

Paylocity’s cost structure includes a base rate and a per-transaction fee, but the actual amounts are determined on a case-by-case basis.

Tax filing and payments

Yes, in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam. The software processes:

  • Form 940 federal unemployment returns and Form 941 quarterly returns.

  • Federal and state unemployment tax returns.

  • State and local withholding tax returns.

  • State and local annual reconciliation.

  • 1099-MISC.

Ability to manage employee benefits

Yes. Paylocity integrates retirement plan and benefit information with several vendors and offers benefits administration services.

Employee access to portal

Yes. Employees can clock in and out, request time off, view balances, see schedules and more on Paylocity’s app. 

Live support

Yes, phone support is available from 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Central.  

How does Paylocity work?

Paylocity makes payroll faster by automating certain processes. For instance, you can automatically pull approved expenses and add reimbursements to an employee’s next paycheck, or automatically transfer 401(k) information, retirement plans or benefits plan files to specific vendors through app integrations. It also offers flexible payment options, including same-day transfers and the option for employees to access a portion of their paycheck before payday.

Employees can complete several tasks through their Paylocity self-service portals, including submitting expense reimbursements, requesting time off, enrolling in benefits or viewing existing insurance coverage.

You can also run reports on Paylocity that can help you make informed decisions about your business. For example, running a labor cost report on the platform could highlight overspending or high cost centers. Other reports can offer insights about headcount, retention and turnover.

How much does Paylocity cost?

Paylocity’s pricing is quote-based. The cost depends on the size of your organization, the frequency of payroll runs and the number of Paylocity services you’ll use. When you request a demo, the company will send you a proposal that includes costs.

Benefits of Paylocity

Scalable services, including HR and benefits administration

Paylocity’s payroll services can handle greater complexity than some systems. That makes it more scalable — and a particularly good fit for midsize and large businesses with complicated requirements or large payrolls. With garnishment orders, for instance, you can email them to a dedicated team that will manage the wage garnishment process, including communicating with the proper agencies, setting up the garnishment, maintaining records, making payments and complying with state and federal laws.

Beyond payroll, Paylocity also offers other services that can help with time tracking, hiring, onboarding, staff development, benefits administration, compensation management and performance management. In 2019, it added a social network platform for companies, called Community, where employees and managers can share posts, publish comments and celebrate employee milestones, such as work anniversaries or birthdays.

Access to hundreds of integrations

Paylocity’s robust integration ecosystem means more choices when it comes to payroll add-ons and benefits providers. More than 300 companies integrate with Paylocity, including over 100 retirement savings companies. Other payroll services on the market have a smaller selection, have partnerships with a single provider or don’t offer retirement integrations.

Live customer service with high availability

Paylocity’s live support team is available beyond basic business hours, and account managers are reachable 12 hours a day on weekdays. For comparison, Gusto, a top-rated HR and payroll product designed for companies with 100 employees or fewer, offers seven or eight hours of customer support on weekdays, depending on the subscription plan. While other payroll products — including the basic plan from QuickBooks Payroll, a payroll product for businesses with up to 50 employees — require employers to submit a ticket and wait for a callback, Paylocity says 9 out of 10 calls are answered within 20 seconds.

Drawbacks of Paylocity

Lack of transparency

Paylocity doesn’t publish pricing information on its website; you’ll need to schedule a demo with a Paylocity representative to get pricing information. While quote-based pricing isn’t unusual for HR and payroll products for midsize and large companies, it can make the shopping process more laborious.

Product specifics can also be tough to come by without a sales meeting; even Paylocity’s collection of product training courses require you to log in. And unlike some payroll products, Paylocity doesn’t offer a free trial.

Other HR and payroll options

Paycom: Also good for larger businesses

Similar to Paylocity, Paycom is an all-in-one HR and payroll platform with extensive automation and reporting features. These features ease the burden of managing a large workforce by reducing the need for data entry and other routine tasks.

With Paycom’s payroll product, you can also delegate certain steps to other users and customize internal checklists for completing payroll for greater accuracy, for example. Paycom’s customer support, which is available via phone and email, is also well-rated. Pricing is quote-based.

Paychex: A solid option for small or midsize companies

Paylocity offers HR and payroll services, but it doesn’t offer the same support as a PEO, or professional employer organization. A PEO is an outsourcing firm that acts as an employer of record for tax purposes, negotiates with providers on your behalf and administers benefits. Paylocity and other HR and payroll products, in contrast, act as a third-party broker with benefits providers. PEOs are generally more costly than working with third-party brokers, but generally come with a dedicated service team and more comprehensive HR administration. For small and midsize companies, the extra support can be worth the cost.

If you’re interested in a PEO and payroll product, consider Paychex. It offers cloud-based payroll through its Paychex Flex products, and as a PEO, it can administer certain HR functions, including payroll, benefits and training. Paychex also allows customers to cancel the service at any time without a fee. Paychex Flex products start at $59 per month plus $4 per person; PEO services are quote-based.

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