- Numerous integrations
- Easy for employees
- Copious features
- Steep learning curve
- Nontransparent pricing
Paylocity is a web-based payroll program designed for businesses of all sizes. The company only recently branched out to include small businesses in its payroll software and stands out as a leader in bridging the gap between more streamlined payroll and HRM solutions.
Customizability is where Paylocity shines. Its program boasts many integrations for HR, benefits, time tracking, performance reviews, and applications fully tailored to your company’s needs and wishes. With a drag and drop interface and a specialized account person a phone call away to help make changes, there is a lot to like about this program. However, some users find the program counter-intuitive and prone to errors, which does not make this a good option for Luddites or payroll newbies. In general, small businesses with accountants might find their accountant appreciates Paylocity’s attentiveness to its many customizable forms and integration possibilities.
However, Paylocity is expensive to set up, and its fully-loaded options run near the top of the price range. Smaller businesses can find more affordable options elsewhere (such as with Gusto or Square Payroll). For companies wanting a catered experience and willing to pay a bit more, Paylocity is an easy-to-use system worth looking into, especially if customer service matters to you.
Table of Contents
Like several other big contenders in the payroll business, Paylocity doesn’t publish prices online. Chances to work with the program through a demo and receive a quote must be scheduled in advance. An email request for a demo prompted a national sales associate to direct me to a local sales associate. They also said it could be two to three days before they could schedule a demo. A live chat from the Paylocity website netted me a demo and prices within 24 hours. A quote for my business came after a lengthy but helpful explanation of the pricing tiers and their respective features.
Paylocity offers three different payroll tiers. The price varies by feature access, not by the number of employees. There are no contracts, and you can cancel your plan at any time.
Quotes are customized, and I was offered both discounted rates and a free month of use, and it would appear there is some room to negotiate rates and fees. The sales team is good, and that’s why they require demos and quotes to go hand-in-hand. To give you an idea, we were quoted between $125 to $200/month plus $6-8/month/employee depending on the plan. For small businesses, Paylocity is a bit more expensive than its competitors; for larger businesses, Paylocity’s plans are competitive.
Here is some information about the features available with each tier:
- Contact Paylocity for pricing
- Unlimited payroll processing
- Tax services
- Direct deposit
- Bank checks/check signing
- Check stock for printing
- Employee self-service portal with mobile app
- New hire reporting
- Poster updates
- QuickBooks integration
- HR support
This tier includes everything from the Effortless Payroll level and the following:
- Contact Paylocity for pricing
- Enhanced HR
- Benefit essentials
- Web expenses
- Unemployment management
- Web Time (cloud-based time tracking)
- General ledger reports for people operating without QuickBooks
- Custom-built PTO tracking and management
This pricing level includes everything from the Effortless Payroll and Efficient Tech and adds the following:
- Contact Paylocity for pricing
- Web recruiting and background checks
- Web onboarding
- Employee performance management
- Access to learning management systems
Here are some extra costs you can add on to your Paylocity plan:
- Worker’s Compensation Insurance: Most businesses with one or more employees across the 50 states need worker’s compensation as a legal business requirement. Paylocity partners with brokers who will search for the best insurance companies working competitively in your area.
- Medical/Dental/Vision Benefits: Paylocity partners with Maxwell Health and other integrations to bring your employees benefits and choices within the system. Cost depends on state laws and how many employees you have. Contact Paylocity for more information.
Cloud-Based Or Locally-Installed
Paylocity is entirely cloud-based. No downloads or installation required.
Hardware & Software Requirements
As a cloud-based payroll solution, Paylocity is compatible with any device as long as you have an internet connection. Paylocity also offers a mobile app for both Apple and Android phones, so you can run your payroll on the go. Its mobile app has constant updates and is easy to use for employees and is a nice selling point for this payroll system.
Specific Size Of Business
Paylocity is best for mid-sized to enterprise businesses. It recently expanded to offer services to emerging markets and is working to adapt its payroll systems to fit smaller clients better, but it’s clear that for super small businesses, the price might not be worth the extra features. While some of the additions at the higher tiers are attractive (web onboarding for employees, for example), it’s still an expensive option for small businesses.
However, for businesses hoping to expand and find a program that easily combines payroll and human resources management, Paylocity offers many features previously available only for enterprise clients. In that respect, you get what you pay for. Some small businesses, however, don’t need an upgraded HR and might find Paylocity is too expensive (although the pricing is competitive at the higher levels).
Ease Of Use
Paylocity’s payroll features were initially designed with accountants and HR directors in mind. It is because of that dedication to payroll and HR needs that the company has so many features and customizable integrations. However, people without any skill in payroll might not find the program simple enough. A handful of reviewers say that some integrations are clunky, and there is a steep learning curve to customization. Overall, the big message from the features is that Paylocity is very employee-friendly.
There is a one-time setup fee at each pricing level. To give you an idea, we were given a quote estimation of $200-$500 for the implementation fee; you may be eligible for discounts. From there, it is easy to set up an employee database. If you’ve purchased the Modern Workplace tier, self-onboarding is available for your employees. New hires can upload identification and tax information directly through the mobile app, which eliminates the time-consuming process and moves onboarding off your plate entirely.
Paylocity has an incredible feature set, especially for businesses looking to combine payroll and HR. Here’s an overview of what you can expect with Paylocity’s payroll services:
- Dashboard: The home page from the dashboard is fully customizable. Through Paylocity, you can manage time off and benefits, post payments, and push announcement notifications to employees. You can post a video for employees to watch or require them to complete a daily task. Employees can also clock in and out from the app or a computer/iPad/tablet with internet access.
- Employee Portal: Employees can access their information online or through the Paylocity mobile app. While some payroll companies are still in the process of adding an app to their features, Paylocity is leading the competition in this area. Its app is a highlight of the package. With great functionality, the app allows workers to apply for time off, clock in and out, download a pay stub, access a company director, and receive push notifications from managers.
- Employee Management: Paylocity has many features to help you manage your employees and contractors from a single interface. You can add extensive information, including job title, payment information, time off, tax documents, and benefits. You can also create employee reviews directly in the program. Paylocity allows you to manage additional earnings, deductions, and garnishments.
- Payroll: Paylocity’s Web Pay makes running payroll as easy as a click of a button. Once your employees are enrolled, their hours and pay scales set, and your pay date set, running payroll is simple. You can run payroll an unlimited number of times a month for no extra charge. Payroll is run by the next business day if received by 5 PM CST the day before. (For a Friday paycheck, have payroll setup and sent by 5 PM CST on Thursday.) It is possible to save and set up payrolls for the future.
- Payment Methods: Direct deposit is the primary source of payment. But Paylocity will help with other forms of payment as well, including working with cash card integrations.
- Pay Stubs & Checks: Employees can download a PDF of their pay stubs directly from their employee portal. If you choose to pay your employees by check, you can print the checks, and Paylocity will send the check stock to you.
- Paid Time Off (PTO): You can set paid time off policies for any plan, including vacation and sick days. Set sick/vacation days or accrued sick/vacation days are both possibilities under the payroll options. Some users say the PTO portion of the interface is a bit clunky and doesn’t always communicate well with payroll, however.
- Time Tracking: In conjunction with the mobile app, tracking hours has never been easier. Employees can clock in and clock out on their device or from a kiosk at your place of employment. Paylocity recommends pairing its time tracking to payroll instead of using any integrations for time tracking.
- Reports: This is another area where Paylocity is leading the game. If you can think of it, there’s a report for that. The reporting system is varied and extensive. Also, users can customize reports and even add reports to a database for everyone to see and use.
- Benefits Administration: Benefits administration is only available at Paylocity’s higher price tiers. Effortless Payroll will show deductions for benefits lumped into a single “deductions” category, and anything more requires a shift to the other two price plans. However, Paylocity has several options for benefits administration at higher levels. Combined with the mobile app, this is an employee-friendly option, as it enables employees to make benefit changes from their phones.
- Payroll Garnishment: Paylocity can handle pay garnishment for you. (And at its Efficient Tech level, all clients are offered employee scanning through Employer’s Edge.)
- Tax Support: Paylocity will help file and pay your quarterly and yearly payroll tax requirements from the federal down to the local level.
Customer Service & Support
Reviews on customer support are a mixed bag. The pluses: You are assigned an account manager who works with your company specifically. The company prides itself on satisfying customer dissatisfaction. The minuses: Turnover among managers is high. And even though you can get someone on the phone, sometimes fixing software issues takes several calls to fix. (Tip from reviewers: Calling your sales rep will usually expedite most concerns!)
Real human support is available Monday through Friday from 7 AM-7 PM CST. Here are all of the available Paylocity support options:
- Phone: Support for current Paylocity customers is available via the phone. The company has a “no voicemail” policy, which means that they commit to answering your phone call in 19 seconds or less during business hours.
- Email: You can send an email to your designated support team and receive a reply within the business day.
- In-Software Support: Within the software, there are videos and training courses to watch to educate you on aspects of the software.
- Help Center: There is a page for FAQs and a list of links to past articles.
- Social Media: Paylocity maintains Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn accounts.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
The majority of users for Paylocity give the company a good review. However, its expansive options mean that there are opportunities for error within the program for people unfamiliar with payroll. Other complaints surround the difficulty of using some of the integrations and the bugginess of Paylocity’s integrations. For experienced users or businesses with accountants, the customization and integration options outweigh the clunkiness. Here are some of the specific complaints users have:
- Not Suited For All Small Businesses: For basic payroll, this has too many functions and not enough simplicity to attract businesses looking for the easiest option.
- No A La Carte Options: Some of the more attractive features are only available at higher price points with no way to mix and match features to customize the experience for your business.
- Hard To Find A Payroll Expert: This is a ubiquitous complaint among all payroll software companies — the customer service is great, but no one is a payroll or tax expert. (As the reviews note: Skilled staff are often promoted and the dedicated account manager changes often.)
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
Reviewers’ highest praise for Paylocity focuses on helpfulness, the ease of running payroll and paying payroll taxes, and reporting options/options to customize. The software receives 4/5 stars on Capterra (based on 232 ratings). A collection of the best reviews boil down to the following features:
- Easy To Use: Payroll functions are seamless, and tax support is solid.
- Loaded With Features: While some of the more simple systems are lacking in features, Paylocity is leading the crowd with an ever-growing list of features and integrations.
- One-Stop-Shop: If a company wants to combine payroll and HR, Paylocity makes this possible within the system and without adding extra programs and costs.
- Employee Friendly: The mobile app and the easiness of access for employees are pluses for both the employees and the employer. Employees have more agency with their information through the mobile app.
Paylocity wants to stand out as a company that makes its integrations work for you, no matter what. At the moment, it has over 300 integrations available in its marketplace — and that number continues to grow. If there isn’t a program to match your needs, they are willing to help build integrations specific to your company’s needs (as long as you are in the Modern Workforce level).
Paylocity’s dedication to security is thorough and transparent. Paylocity is certified compliant in the Privacy Shield Framework, and the company is audited yearly by outside sources to test and enhance security continually. It relies on a multi-tiered, redundant backup strategy to protect customer information and constantly ensuring the company is compliant will all security best practices. Some of the things it does to safeguard and encrypt data are:
- Intrusion prevention systems (IPS) and intrusion detection systems (IDS)
- Web application firewalls
- Network firewalls
- Virus and malware detection
- Data loss prevention
- Penetration testing
- Vulnerability scanning
Also, all employees are trained and updated yearly on security compliance; employees working in data security become certified through training organizations.
First and foremost, nontransparent pricing is a letdown. While I’m happy to sit through an hour and forty-five-minute sales pitch to get those numbers for you as a baseline, that’s a lot to ask for busy small business owners. It’s hard to crunch numbers and effectively shop around if there’s no way to find out what the packages look like or cost without talking to a rep. With that said, the lower end of the payroll options is just too expensive for the product. Without the option to choose features a la carte, there are better basic payroll functions for half the price at Gusto and Square. (Albeit, without as many online functions, but purchasing a system with functions you won’t use isn’t helpful, either.)
For small businesses with accountants or who want more features as they grow, or for larger businesses, Paylocity is a good fit and is preferred by customers over Intuit QuickBooks. The feature set is a great fit for larger businesses needing combined payroll and HR capabilities. Integrations and security are excellent, and the company is dedicated to client happiness. Weigh the features and the cost and decide if it’s the right fit for you.
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