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Online payroll provider -- Intuit payroll or ZenPayroll or Paylocity

Gary Campanella's Profile

We are a small growing company with several retail locations in New Hampshire, Maine, and Rhode Island. We expect to be at 50 people by end of year and at 200 a year from now. We use Paychex and don't like them at all from a customer service perspective. Does anyone have any experience with Intuit or ZenPayroll or Paylocity? Thanks.


Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

I have a client using paychecks and have no issues, although their on-line system is clunky and may not work on a Mac.

I have another using the payroll system from Xero, and no issues there, but not all states have been rolled out.

Sara Voight
Title: Controller
Company: Critical Signal Technologies, Inc
(Controller, Critical Signal Technologies, Inc) |

I have experience with Paylocity, starting from when the company was only a few years old. As I recall, all the same options, much more user friendly, and the cost was equal or less than ADP (where we switched from) with no extra charges for basic things. If my current company was looking to make a change now, I would jump to Paylocity withouth a second thought. That said, you can make any payroll system work to your advantage as long as you take the time to understand how it will work in your environment and set things up correctly on the front end. Too many times we are guilty of asking the question and allowing ourselves to be comforted by the canned response and/or the prepared samples you are shown. Get on the phone and ask real questions of the current users to understand how the system you are looking at works, and where it doesn't - since nothing is perfect.

Stephen Farber
Title: CEO
Company: UltraLinq Healthcare Solutions
(CEO, UltraLinq Healthcare Solutions) |

I historically used Intuit, as well as a PEO, and both were perfectly fine with their strengths and weaknesses. As of January 1, we switched to Zen Payroll (from Intuit), Zenefits (from a traditional insurance broker), and Xero (from Quickbooks). With 40 employees located in five states, I have found this tri-fecta to be excellent. Zen Payroll is the essence of simplicity, and easily used via browser or app. Compliance is seamless. The tone of the application is approachable and "funnish." From an employer and employee perspective, we have been very pleased. Plus, the cost is incredibly low. Some integration work remains between Zenefits and Zen Payroll (it's not as perfect as one would hope), but overall, it is quite strong.

From an application, tone, service and cost perspective, based upon my experience, I would go with Zen over Intuit. Depending upon needs, I would slo look at Zenefits as another tool which cost-effectively manages employee benefits and integrates nicely with Zen.

[Note: I am with a cloud-based medical image management company, and my comments reflect those of someone familiar with cloud apps, but no affiliation with any of the companies referenced except as a user.]

Don Wall
Title: CFO
Company: Double B Foods, Inc
(CFO, Double B Foods, Inc) |

We are in the process of converting from Paychex to Paylocity. Paylocity systems are much more user friendly, all data for a new EE can be entered on one screen vs. several for Paychex, and the cost is significantly lower.

(Vice President Finance) |

We just switched from Orchestrate to Paycom. I think we went from the frying pan into the fire. Paycom is not able to send benefits information to our insurance carriers (even though they said they could in the sales pitch), I cannot get the custom reports that I want and setting up new employees or changing from PT to FT requires a lot of steps in numerous screens. We are a small company with 48 FT and 30 PT employees. I wish I had looked at Paylocity. We talked to ZenBenefits, but it was just a little early in their development. They were still working on the payroll interfaces. As painful as it will be to switch again, I think we will need to do that in the near future.

Topic Expert
Keith Perry
Title: Director of Global Accounting
Company: Agrinos, Inc.
(Director of Global Accounting, Agrinos, Inc.) |

Echoing Stephen, Zenpayroll is dead simple and has been bulletproof for us. We discovered that it doubles as an automatic vendor payment system as well, which reduces our systems load and streamlines processes.

Note the system isn't genius, so you do have to have some basic knowledge. However, unlike the traditional systems / services, fixing errors or getting data out is a snap.

Rich Robins
Title: Accountant
Company: Tec
(Accountant, Tec) |

Any system that is born in the cloud-era is better than paycheck and adp. And that's key, born in the cloud-era. The two giants are struggling to enchanted their stuff on the back end and it's still clunky and not user friendly.

Winston Dimaano, CPA
Title: Corporate Controller
Company: MoogSoft
(Corporate Controller, MoogSoft) |

I used Paylocity for almost 3 years at my last company. I'm not sure what happened, but I believe we had a sub-par implementation and it caused us to have a domino effect of trouble with the reporting and setting everyone up. We implemented it at about 200 employees, and I left when we were close to 750. Some of the biggest hurdles:

1) Security/access profiles did not come standard - Paylocity spent a lot of time creating a "manager/supervisor" role for managers to approve PTO for their direct reports. When they told us it was ready to use, we found that these roles could see the complete salary info of the entire company.

2) The reporting requires a lot of customization - an issue that comes to mind was creating an accurate PTO accrual report. There wasn't an easy way to show historical PTO used/earned activity (as requested from our auditors)

3) We were only able to apply one classification to the employee record, making it difficult if you needed to cut your population by Department/Region/etc for expense tracking purposes.

One good thing was that you had a dedicated rep to assist you...but it was tough when that person went on PTO or had other clients to assist, then you were stuck waiting for a resolution. Also, their integration with Netsuite wasn't very robust, making journal entry and employee record automation really tough and we ended up not using it.

Kathleen Schmitt
Title: Prop
Company: MCH
(Prop, MCH) |

I checked out Zen payroll for a client of mine and found the Zen staff did not know that partners in a company receive guaranteed payments, not salary and not just draws. No one I spoke to there (at least 4 people) had ever heard of guaranteed payments. It would seem simple enough to just provide a new code for guaranteed payments, but if they don't want to do that, that's their decision. A real surprise, though, that the sales and support folks at a payroll company didn't know what guaranteed payments are. Instead, they just suggested that perhaps they were not the right fit for my client. True! Partnerships, be aware that there will likely be tax and basis consequences for treating all payments received as draws, as Zen Payroll is presently doing.

Sajan Sadhwani, CPA CMA
Title: C2C Specialist
Company: Ernst & Young
(C2C Specialist, Ernst & Young) |

I have a friend whom I've helped out in the past. I set him up with Wave's Payroll and he's been very happy.

It costs $15/month + $4/employee. So one employee costs $19, two cost $23.I'm not sure but at higher levels you might be able to negotiate a better rate.

Before you decide to move, take a look at your own P&P. Often the issue is that your own processes do not align with the other parties. This may be a reason to change but if you can't find a provider who is in alignment, then you'll just be unhappy with a new provider.

Take some time to review the payroll process and test the system. Often what you find is that the solution is a partial fit and you have to accept the deficiencies or find work-arounds. Designing your own payroll solution isn't the ideal solution, if you're a small company, you'll often have to revise your P&P regularly and scale accordingly.

If you expect to move from 50 to 200 people in a year then I would suggest that you plan carefully. This rate of growth is very high and may bring other issues with it. Payroll may only be one issue. Consider a widely adopted solution so that you can easily hire staff to manage payroll even if the solution isn't optimal.

Sajan Sadhwani, CPA CMA
Title: C2C Specialist
Company: Ernst & Young
(C2C Specialist, Ernst & Young) |

Forgot the link to their pricing page.

Esther Efraimovich
Title: CEO/President
Company: Consulting
(CEO/President, Consulting) |

We switched to Paycor in the beginning of this year. It's been wonderful in terms of cost savings and customer service. We have a dedicated rep to review and process each payroll and direct our questions to right specialists, a tax team to handle compliance, an HR/benefits module with employee self-service and manager portals.

Jon Placa
Title: Director of Finance and Operations
Company: NarrativeDx
LinkedIn Profile
(Director of Finance and Operations, NarrativeDx) |

I've been using ZenPayroll for a few years now and must say that their Customer Service is phenomenal.

However, I am finding limitation with just using ZP - I think a PEO would be more appropriate for an organization over 25 people

Topic Expert
Scott MacDonald
Title: President/Owner
Company: AlphaMac Resources, Inc.
(President/Owner, AlphaMac Resources, Inc.) |

It all depends on the service center you use for any of the payroll services and the individual account manager you have.

Before changing, ask your current payroll service provider to change your account management team. Tell them why you want to change and that you will be moving your business if you don't get a new customer service team. This is much easier than going out and throwing the dice hoping you will find a good customer service team at another payroll company.

In other words, it probably isn't the system that you have a problem with, it is the people who are servicing your account. You have no guarantee that the customer service team at the new payroll company will be any better than the one you have.

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