Few days are more exciting for most employees than payday. Everyone appreciates getting paid accurately, easily, and on time. Keeping your company’s payroll operations running smoothly so you can always deliver on these goals? Not as simple. Thankfully, there are a variety of payroll services to help make life a little easier. If you’re looking to outsource your payroll work to the professionals—be it through payroll software or otherwise—you’ve probably run into Paycor.
If Paycor hasn’t hit your radar yet, here’s what you need to know: Paycor offers a robust suite of software solutions to help small- and medium-sized businesses handle nearly every component of their typical HR tasks. In addition to Paycor’s payroll software, the company also provides support for timekeeping and attendance, employee onboarding, benefits administration, scheduling, and recruiting. Whether you only want to use Paycor for payroll or want to tack on a few more components of their suite of tools, you’re likely to find a product you’re looking for.
Paycor is far from the only provider of its kind, however. There are tons of options within the payroll software space and each comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. In this Paycor review, we’ll outline the features, pricing, pros, and cons of this software provider, as well as look at some of their competitors.
What Is Paycor?
Paycor is one of several software providers who focus on helping businesses run their operations more smoothly. To do this, Paycor offers a suite of tools that help business owners manage all aspects of their HR and payroll administration. Instead of having to hire a team dedicated to things like recruiting, onboarding, employee management, benefits administration and payroll, Paycor can handle the bulk of the work through their software suite.
There’s a ton to talk about in terms of what Paycor can do for small businesses. But first, let’s get into more detail about how the Paycor system works and why it might be a fit for your small business.
How Paycor Works
Not every small business can afford to hire and employ a full-time HR staff, and in some cases, hiring a team of professionals is more than what’s needed—particularly for small businesses. In most scenarios, however, HR and payroll tasks end up falling on the shoulders of other employees as a second responsibility. That can lead to oversized workloads, confusion about responsibilities, and mistakes made by untrained professionals. But, for many years, the only other recourse would be to hire a part-time staffer or team to aid with this work, which was a costly proposition for many small businesses.
In the era of cloud computing, it’s never been easier to find an affordable way to manage these back-office tasks, and to do so without extra headaches or pricey experts. Paycor works by essentially creating a cloud-based HR system that can, for most tasks, replace a dedicated on-site HR and payroll staff. Because most tasks are automated, Paycor and their competitors can offer these tools as a less expensive alternative to live, outsourced support.
Paycor provides a suite of tools that empower small business owners to manage their HR and payroll tasks with confidence. The platform makes it easy to customize by parceling out many common tasks into individual parts of a larger software offering. This way, business owners can purchase what they need without paying for tools they don’t use (or can manage on their own).
Who Is Paycor For?
Paycor is a great option for small and medium-sized business owners who may have companies that are large enough to have a need for professional HR services, but that may not be at a point in which hiring a full-time HR professional is justifiable. These tools can help bridge the divide between managing all of your company’s people and payroll tasks and hiring an expert. This frees up budget and headcount for other areas of your operation, which can be particularly helpful if you’re filling rolls strategically to keep business booming.
Even if the above doesn’t quite fit the description of your business or needs, there are likely other reasons why Paycor might be for you. The software Paycor offers can be bundled together, for sure, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. If you only need help with something like benefits administration, for example, you can sign up for Paycor’s HR, Benefits Administration, and ACA Software suite. This package helps users manage their company’s benefits packages, employee selections, and all matters relating to compliance with Affordable Care Act legislation for businesses.
So long as you need an extra hand managing your company’s people, you’re likely to find a Paycor program that can help ease the burden. Plus, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re taking much of the guesswork out of the process.
Since Paycor offers several software options to handle different aspects of business administration, the overall cost of the platform will vary depending on what you choose to use. Plus, as with most HR software platforms, you may pay more or less depending on how many employees you manage within the system.
If you’re looking at Paycor’s payroll pricing, there are three tiers that cater to different-sized businesses. Each tier also includes an increasing number of tools and support, even including assistance from a certified payroll professional with one-on-one counseling.
- Paycor Basic starts at $99 per month and includes tax calculation and filing, reporting, and an employee self-service portal in addition to full-service payroll management. With the Basic package, you’ll get 10 employee slots as well, with additional seats coming with an extra monthly charge depending on your needs.
- Paycor Essential builds on what’s included in the Basic plan, incorporating employee self-service tools for wage garnishment and child support, HR templates for employee forms, and enhanced analytics tools. This is in addition to full-service payroll tools, employee self-service tools for regular payroll matters, and tax filing. This plan starts at $149 per month for 10 employees.
- Paycor Complete provides everything in the Basic and Essential plans, but adds in tailored assistance from payroll specialists, onboarding tools for new hires, 401(k) accounting support, tax filing, and integrations with other common accounting tools. Paycor Complete Payroll costs $199 a month for up to 10 employees.
The full Paycor suite is robust, covering just about every aspect of a small business’s HR and payroll needs. Currently, Paycor offers tools that can assist with recruiting and ATS, HR and benefits, learning management, time and attendance, payroll and tax, and reporting and analytics. Here’s a brief summary of what each of these tools does.
Recruiting and ATS
- Candidate application and interviewing pipeline beginning with candidacy to onboarding
- Real-time payroll analytics and reporting tools
- Identification of hiring tax credit opportunities and compliance support
- Employee onboarding tools
HR and Benefits
- Unified employee recordkeeping system
- Process and workflow creation
- Performance management tools
- Open enrollment portal for benefits
- Administrative task automation and coordination with benefits providers
- Online learning portal that allows employees to log in from anywhere
- Manage, organize, and track training modules and usage
Time and Management
- Mobile punch-in support
- Employee scheduling software
- Unified recordkeeping
- Customizable alerts and messaging
- Employee self-service tools
Payroll and Tax
- Full-service payroll administration
- Tax compliance, calculation, and withholding
- Real-time analytics and reporting
- Employee self-service capabilities
Reporting and Analytics
- Tools to help business owners track progress on goals
- Customizable dashboards and report scheduling
Paycor is a large player in the HR and payroll software space, which means there are plenty of opinions from satisfied (and less than satisfied) customers. Most reviews are positive, although not without finding a few faults in the Paycor app environment. Given how many people have weighed in on Paycor reviews, it can be tough to keep track of the high (and low) points. Here’s a summary of what most users have to say.
Positive Paycor Customer Reviews
- Easy to use
- Easy to set up
- Robust scheduling tools for managing employees
- Very customizable
Negative Paycor Customer Reviews
- Can be difficult to create customized shifts
- Time and attendance functions can be hard to navigate at first, but easier to set up with the one-on-one support Paycor offers
When deciding which payroll and HR software is best for your business, it’s helpful to look at Paycor alternatives too. It’ll help you decide if you want to go forward with using Paycor, or, alternatively, point you in the right direction if you’ve concluded that Paycor isn’t quite the right fit.
First up is Gusto, which is a relatively new payroll platform that’s been quickly adopted by many startups and technology-focused firms. The platform also enables you to manage benefits and some HR tasks along with payroll. There are three different levels of services for Gusto, so it’s likely you’ll find a nice, tailored fit for you—and you can always add on additional benefits management to make the platform even more custom.
Pricing for Gusto consists of a monthly base price plus a monthly per-employee cost and ranges from $39 per month plus $6 per employee to $149 per month plus $12 per employee. If you only employ contractors, though, you can skip the monthly base fee and pay only $6 per contractor per month.
You’ll certainly know the name QuickBooks from the accounting software that’s popular with so many small business owners. And to meet your payroll needs, there’s QuickBooks Payroll. This software integrates into QuickBooks Online seamlessly, enabling you to manage two of your biggest business operations tasks in one place. Thus, if you already use QuickBooks for your accounting needs, this is likely your best option for payroll.
Like Gusto, there are three different versions of QuickBooks Payroll—from $45 per month plus $4 per employee to $125 per month plus $10 per employee. Currently, QuickBooks Payroll is offering a 30-day free trial, so it’s easy to try it out and figure out if it’s a fit.
Our last Paycor competitor is Paylocity, which is similar to Paycor in many ways. Paylocity’s features extend beyond payroll to a host of HR-related tasks; however, the biggest difference between the two platforms is that Paylocity does not offer transparent pricing. Their pricing is quote-based, meaning you’ll have to reach out to their sales team directly to get a quote for your business. Read our full Paycor vs. Paylocity comparison to see which platform is a better fit for your business.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for highly customizable payroll software that’s very easy to use, Paycor may very well be a strong option for your business. The pricing is on the higher side, but it is a very comprehensive suite that manages much more than just payroll.
As you make a decision, it’s worth also considering Paycor alternatives. And, if there are free trials of any other software you’re interested in, don’t forget to take advantage of those, too. The more information you have about the payroll software options, the more likely it is you’ll find the best fit for your small business.
Brian O’Connor is a contributing writer for Fundera.
Brian writes about finance, business strategy, and digital marketing. He is the former director of digital strategy at Morgan Stanley, and has worked at Foreign Affairs magazine, Student Loan Hero, and as a partner of a small consulting firm, too. Combined, these experiences allow him to offer a unique perspective on the challenges small business owners face.