Paychex Vs ADP Comparison

Do the complicated details involved in payroll make you sweat? When you're paying employees, you have to take into account wages, overtime, salary, bonuses, and benefits. You have to withhold the correct tax amounts and benefit account amounts from each paycheck. Doing so incorrectly can get you in serious trouble.

This is why payroll management software was invented. These systems use technology to automate your weekly payroll, tax reporting, and quarterly tax filing. Many also allow your employees to log in and view their payment history and a breakdown of their paychecks.

Two popular options for small business owners are Paychex and ADP. Both of these have pricing structures based around the available features and number of employees involved. Since the systems get more expensive with additional employees, they're best for people with just a handful of workers being paid.

There are some differences between the two systems in terms of ease of use, third party integrations, and available plans. I've taken a look at the options to give you an idea of what to expect.

Overview of Paychex and ADP

Shared Features

  • Payroll management systems that handle payroll automatically.
  • 1099 and W-2 support available for an additional fee.
  • Direct deposit available with all plans.
  • Workplace compliance posters regarding federal regulations.
  • Phone and email support consistently available.
  • Automated sending of physical checks.
  • Automatic new hire reporting.
  • Automatic tax calculating and withholding.
  • Ability to set up employee benefits.

Unique Paychex Features

  • No setup fees.
  • Frequently available discounts.
  • Very simple importing and exporting processes.
  • Options to access information through both mobile and web browsers.
  • Robust reporting options with some customization.
  • Easy client management system.
  • Single sign-in options.

Unique ADP Features

  • Super affordable base pricing.
  • Large amount of available online resources and support.
  • Flexible feature options from full service to DIY.
  • Easy product integration with other employee management software.
  • Cloud-based options can be accessed from all locations.

Available Solutions


Paychex has solutions that are available to use through your web browser or through a mobile app. Solutions can be downloaded for both iOS and Android. The company specializes in payroll services, but it also provides software for the following:

  • Time and attendance reporting.
  • HR services.
  • Hiring services.
  • More complex employee benefits.
  • Business insurance.
  • Startup services.
  • Finances and payments.
Paychex vs ADP

If you get a full suite that uses all of these software options, you'll have an integrated system that allows you to manage every aspect of your small business from employees to income to future planning.

You can browse specific solutions by the size of your business:

  • Self-employed contractors and freelancers.
  • One to nine other employees.
  • 10 to 49 other employees.
  • 50 to more than 1,000 employees.
Paychex vs ADP

Solutions can also be browsed by industry or company role:

  • Accountants, CPAs, and other finance management professionals.
  • Bankers.
  • Certified financial advisors.
  • National associations.
  • Franchises.


ADP's resources are typically geared toward mobile users. Though they also tend to focus mostly on payroll services, they too have a wide range of available solutions. Some of the available categories include:

  • Time and attendance.
  • Talent scouting and headhunting.
  • Advanced employee benefits and insurance.
  • HR services.
  • Outsourced HR services.
Paychex vs ADP

There's also a list of third party integrations that work with the software alongside an app marketplace to let you further customize your solutions.

You can browse solutions by business size or industry. There are no self-employed solutions. However, there are options for:

  • Between 1 and 49 employees.
  • Between 50 and 999 employees.
  • More than 1,000 employees.
Paychex vs ADP

The industries served include:

  • Restaurant and hospitality.
  • Professional services.
  • Technology.
  • Manufacturing.
  • Construction.
  • Retail.
  • Financial Services.
  • Healthcare.
  • Educational institutions.
  • Government.
  • Non-profits.

Winner: Paychex

Paychex comes out ahead because the available solutions can be integrated into a full business management system. There are also self-employed solutions. Also ideal are the solutions specifically made for different financial professionals. If you want solutions optimized for a specific industry, though, ADP has you covered.


These plan options are related to the payroll services alone, rather than breaking down every single available program. The pricing structure for other solutions tends to be similar.


You'll be given an exact pricing quote for small business payroll services based on your business needs and the number of employees you have.

There are two main plans for small business owners.

Paychex vs ADP

The first is a standard package. This comes with all the basics of automatic payment processing. You can choose from three different options for pay entry, and there's a gridded view that allows fast data entry. Also included is automatic tax payment and filing along with 24/7 support service.

With a premium option for small businesses, you can add services including:

  • Administration of state unemployment insurance.
  • Labor distribution services.
  • Job costing services.
  • Employee garnishment payments.

Paychex small business solutions are geared toward businesses with one to nine employees.

Their other payroll packages are rolled into solutions for midsized to enterprise businesses. This means anywhere from ten to 5,000 employees. Like small businesses, these solutions have both standard and premium options.


ADP generates exact pricing quotes for payroll software based on your location, number of employees, and company itself. You'll be emailed a specific price.

Paychex vs ADP

Small business payroll plans include:

  • Essential
  • Enhanced
  • Complete
  • HR Pro

➦ Essential is optimized for established businesses and startups that only need payroll automation basics. With Essential, you can give wage garnishment payments and have labor law posters printed.

➦ Complete has integrated HR features including an HR Help Desk, background checks, and employee handbooks.

➦ HR Pro comes with even more HR-related options and employee perks including employee discount programs, training seminars, work-life employee assistance programs, and legal assistance.

ADP also offers midsized to enterprise solutions bundled into one system. The main one is full service payroll, which can be integrated with other ADP products.

Winner: ADP

ADP has more variety in the available plans, which makes it good for those who want to purchase only what they need without any of the unnecessary extras.

See Full Review of - Paychex | ADP

Pros and Cons of Paychex


  • The document importing and exporting system is very simple, and the interface is very easy to use.
  • You can access your information and make changes from both mobile and web browsers.
  • The system has a large number of reporting options to suit needs across multiple industries and management levels.


  • The HR options provided through the system are fairly limited, but you can integrate the software with other HR software tools.

Pros and Cons of ADP


  • There are tons of online resources and support options including articles, live assistance, tutorials, user guides, and community help.
  • The flexible feature options allow you to tailor your plan to suit your preferences whether you're a do-it-yourselfer or full-service user.
  • The cloud-based plan options can be accessed from mobile and desktop regardless of where you are, and there's no risk of data loss.


  • The interface isn't as easy to use, and there can be a steep learning curve if you haven't used ADP in the past.

Final Thoughts: Which Is Better?

Both of these are good payroll options that can work for small and medium business owners. They offer assistance with taxes, automatically withhold necessary amounts, allow you to set up employee benefits, send out employee paychecks, and store important information regarding each employee's earnings.

ADP is best for people who have previous experience using payroll software. It's designed to integrate with a number of different employee management and HR software systems. The pricing varies widely depending on the features you want and the number of employees you have.

Paychex is a better choice for people who want the easiest and most convenient available option. The interface is much easier for beginners to use, and the import and export options have been streamlined. In addition, the reporting options tend to be more customizable and easier to use.


Official Top 5 Review Team
Official Top 5 Review Team

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