Gusto vs Paychex Flex

When running a business, it’s easy to get lost in back-office tasks — whether it’s running payroll, managing HR, or making sure you’re staying compliant. That’s probably why you’re here looking for a payroll provider.


Both Gusto and Paychex can help you save time in the back-office and reduce errors when it comes to payroll tax filings and other compliance issues. Here’s a comprehensive review of each provider to help you make the best decision.

When running a business, it’s easy to get lost in back-office tasks — whether it’s running payroll, managing HR, or making sure you’re staying compliant. That’s probably why you’re here looking for a payroll provider.

Jump to compare Gusto and Paychex by:

Ratings and Reviews | Pricing and Features | Support

Compare ratings and reviews

When you want to choose which payroll provider is right for you, start off by looking at the reviews — from both small business owners and industry experts. While they’re both very popular, neither Gusto nor Paychex consistently get top ratings from their clients or the experts.


See who's the top-rated provider
Customer ratings Expert reviews

Gusto

Paychex Flex

Ease of Setup

88%
84%

Ease of Admin

90%
87%

Quality of Support

84%
86%

Performance

92%
88%

Reliability

92%
89%

Customization

81%
77%

Reporting

87%
86%

Based on G2Crowd ratings

Gusto

Ease of Setup

88%

Ease of Admin

90%

Quality of Support

84%

Performance

92%

Reliability

92%

Customization

81%

Reporting

87%

Paychex Flex

Ease of Setup

84%

Ease of Admin

87%

Quality of Support

86%

Performance

88%

Reliability

89%

Customization

77%

Reporting

86%

Compare features and pricing

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of everything Gusto and Paychex Flex do for small businesses. Gusto’s basic plans cost a little less than Paychex Flex, but both have a number of pricey add-on features. Also, note that Paychex charges per pay run, while Gusto charges a single monthly fee (no matter how many times you run payroll).

Gusto Paychex Flex
Pricing
Base price Starting at $39 per month No published price. Negotiate with sales. Price is per pay run, not monthly.
Per worker cost Starting at $6 per person No published price. Negotiate with sales. Price is per pay run, not monthly.
Full-service payroll
Automated federal, state, and local tax filings and payments Included Included
Unlimited pay runs Included Additional fees
Multi-state payroll Included Additional fees
Edit or cancel a pay run Included Additional fees
Multiple pay rates and schedules Included Included
Garnishments Included Included
Accounting and time tracking integrations Included Time tracking integration: Included

Accounting integration: Additional fees for some providers
New hire reporting Included Included
Year-end filings, W-2s, and 1099s Included Additional fees
Onboarding and Employee Self-Service
Employee self-onboarding Included Additional fees
Employee self-service portal Included Included
Document e-sign for I-9s and W-4s Included Additional fees
Send and sign offer letters electronically Included Not available
Employee lifetime account access Included Not available
HR and Team Management
Manage and track time off Included Included
Org charts Additional fees Additional fees
Document storage and audits Included Additional fees
Custom onboarding workflows Not available Additional fees
Benefits and Compliance
Medical, dental, and vision plans Pay premiums only Additional fees
Integrated workers’ comp plans Pay premiums only Additional fees
Integrated 401(k) plan Pay premiums only Additional fees
Reporting and Usability
Payroll and employee reports Included Included
Real-time reporting filters Not available Not available
Custom report designer Not available Additional fees

Compare support

If you ever have questions you need answered — or help using the platform — your provider should be easy to reach and reliable. Here’s how Gusto’s support compares with Paychex:

Gusto Paychex Flex
Setup and data migration Included Additional fees
Expert phone support Included Included
Chat support Included Included
Accuracy guarantee Not available Not available

Decide what payroll features you need

When it comes down to it, your payroll provider should do more than just process paychecks. They should help you manage employees, simplify back-office tasks, and save you time. Since every business has unique needs, depending on its size, industry, and other factors, it’s worth zooming in on a few key product areas to decide the winner of Paychex vs. Gusto matchup.


Customer service: The best payroll providers should be there to help you along the way — whether that’s answering any questions you may have or getting you fully onboarded. If you’re switching payroll providers, you should be able to get help with setup and migration at no additional cost. Or if you’re running payroll for the first time, your provider should have flexible support options to ensure you don’t hit any speed bumps along the way.


Both Gusto and Paychex offer phone and chat support at no additional cost. However, when it comes to setup and data migration support, you may be paying a few extra dollars for Paychex. Some other providers get higher marks for their level of customer service.



Accuracy Guarantee: First off, it’s important to make sure your payroll provider will automate federal, state, and local tax filings and payments. But on top of that, check to see who assumes the responsibility if a mistake is made. You should be offered an accuracy guarantee that puts the responsibility on the provider if they make a mistake.


Both Gusto and Paychex file and pay all federal, state, and local taxes, but neither offer an accuracy guarantee. So if they miss a filing or make a mistake, you would be financially responsible for fixing it. There are other providers that offer an accuracy guarantee as part of their full-service payroll offering (so you can rest knowing things are done right).



HR and employee benefits: The majority of payroll providers not only offer payroll services, but also offer HR features and benefits administration to keep employees happy and healthy. Check to see if integrated health, 401(k), and workers’ comp plans are included. And when it comes to HR, a few of the top features to look out for include PTO tracking and approval, employee self-service with custom onboarding flows, e-signable documents, and organization charts.


Providers like Gusto and Paychex both offer a wide range of integrated benefits and HR options. But there are a few things to keep in mind for each provider: Gusto includes almost all of these features in their base price, but doesn’t offer custom workflows. And while Paychex does offer all of these features, most of them come at an additional cost. There is another provider that offers both integrated benefits plans and all the HR tools you need for a lower monthly price.



Integrations: In addition to integrated benefits and workers’ comp, you also want to ensure your payroll provider integrates with time-tracking and accounting systems as well. These integrations will help you save time entering hours, and allow you to get your information flowing straight into your accounting platform. You also want to be sure these integrations offer the flexibility and customization options you need to get your data organized the way you want it.


Accounting and time-tracking integrations are included in Gusto’s monthly price, but you may be paying extra for some of those accounting integrations with Paychex. Also, the flexibility of the integrations with both Gusto and Paychex is limited, as they don’t offer some of the key customization options that others do.



Compare more providers

Depending on the needs of your business, both Gusto and Paychex are great options to take into account. But, there are other providers that offer similarly robust feature sets, get better reviews, and cost less. Take a look to see who else you should consider:


See who's the top-rated provider

Or see a head-to-head comparison of how Paychex Flex and Gusto do versus providers:

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