Top Recommended Zenefits Alternatives for Payroll Management

By: on March 11, 2019

Zenefits is a popular human capital management (HCM) software, with a 4.12 out of 5 rating from Software Advice users. The cloud-based solution offers integrated personnel tracking, onboarding, payroll, benefits administration, time and attendance, and compliance management.

It has a full payroll suite that helps businesses manage wages (pay type and frequency, bonuses, withholding etc.), print checks or make direct deposits. It can also calculate federal, state and local taxes (including Social Security, Medicare, unemployment and disability insurance).

However, not every small business needs an advanced tool like Zenefits for payroll. For instance, if your payroll team is primarily struggling to manage remote workers or contractors, then a full suite is unnecessary. Instead, you need a solution that helps you manage 1099-MISC forms and compliance regulations.

When evaluating alternatives for payroll software, HR managers should perform a thorough feature analysis. Without this understanding, you could end up wasting your money and time on the wrong tool.

To help you choose the right tool for your small business, we’ve compiled a list of the five most recommended alternatives to Zenefits. In this article, we discuss the features, benefits and user reviews of each solution in detail. These solutions are highly recommended by real users on Software Advice.

Here are the top five recommended alternatives to Zenefits:

Automatic Payroll Systems (APS)
Ceridian Dayforce
Paychex Flex
RUN Powered by ADP

Zenefits alternatives

Automatic Payroll Systems (APS)

APS Payroll is a cloud-based HR software that manages payroll, attendance, tax filing, direct deposits, onboarding, benefits administration, compliance management and other related functions. It offers built-in features such as manager and employee self-service.

The tool has centralized event tracking and dashboards for automated reporting, better visualization and transparency into the processes. It complies with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to e-file the necessary paperwork on behalf of employees.

APS is most suitable for midsize businesses that need applicant tracking and self-service support throughout the employee life cycle.

On the other hand, Zenefits doesn’t provide applicant tracking and has limited self-service functions. Both solutions provide basic payroll features to manage tax filing, time and attendance management and pay stubs.

Below, we’ve analyzed user reviews to understand what they like about APS and areas where they feel the solution could be improved.

What Users Liked

  • Availability of ready-to-use template reports and the option to customize reports based on business requirements.
  • The feature to clock-in and -out, submit time-off requests and give approvals online.
  • Personalized tutorials to understand the tool’s features.

Users Would Like to See

  • Option to migrate and download employee data, such as of new hires by department and of employee count by month, directly from the “Analytics” tiles.
  • A more streamlined HR module that integrates with the payroll module so that users won’t have to enter employee information twice in the system.

Ceridian Dayforce

Ceridian Dayforce (or Dayforce) is also a cloud-based payroll management software. It helps small businesses manage payroll payments, offer employee self-service and meet reporting and regulatory requirements. The tool helps users calculate federal and state taxes, Social Security benefits and income from disability insurance.

Dayforce integrates time management and payroll features to let HR managers audit payroll data in real time. It automatically calculates employees’ net pay based on the real-time changes made in their benefits or HR records.

You should consider adopting Dayforce if your small business needs an integrated timekeeping feature.

Dayforce can scale up or down for a business of any size across all industries. On the other hand, Zenefits is more suitable for small and midsize businesses (SMBs). Both solutions offer benefits management, self-service portals as well as time and attendance.

In the next sections, we’ve analyzed user reviews to understand what they like about Dayforce and the areas where they feel the solution could be improved.

What Users Liked

  • The ability to see employment information (pay stubs, address forms etc.) on their mobile device.
  • Email notifications when they submit time-off requests or make any changes in the payroll information.
  • The auditing feature that spots errors in tax submissions or direct deposits.

Users Would Like to See

  • A greater number of tutorials on creating custom payroll reports to fit the unique HR needs of many businesses.
  • A script feature to check potential problems before the upgrades are implemented.
  • A reliable software implementation process to ensure smooth transition from a legacy system to new technology.

Paychex Flex

Paychex Flex is a cloud-based payroll solution that helps you manage payroll services such as direct deposit, tax management, wage garnishment, and time tracking. It integrates with HR administration, retirement, and insurance management services. The tool also helps you comply with regulatory requirements at the state and federal levels.

Paychex Flex offers a self-service portal that lets employees view their pay stubs, tax documents as well as personal and benefits information. It also provides standardized reports that are fully customizable and configurable.

Paychex Flex is ideal for small businesses in a variety of industries, including retail, professional services, finance, manufacturing and construction.

Like Zenefits, Paychex offers payroll features such as time tracking, direct deposit, tax management and W-2/1099 preparation. Paychex Flex includes pre-employment background screenings and an open API (to integrate payroll data with proprietary software), which Zenefits doesn’t have.

Here is our analysis of user reviews to understand what they like about Paychex Flex and things that can be improved:

What Users Liked

  • The ability to manage paychecks and tax documents on their mobile phones.
  • The short response time of the support team to address user issues.
  • Ability to pull reports for a customized time duration and print those.

Users Would Like to See

  • A quick option to see the snapshot of an account or payments, without having to check the whole document.
  • Greater ease of accessing retirement accounts and a better interface.
  • A pop-up that allows them to hover over different features to get additional information.


Paycom is a cloud-based HCM software that calculates wages based on employees’ working hours. The time and attendance feature lets you manage when, where and how employees report their hours.

The solution is ACA compliant and handles all requirements related to 1094 and 1095 reporting for avoiding tax penalty.

Paycom lets you securely store employee payroll data in your database and ensures that changes reflect in real time across the entire system. This way, you won’t have to re-key information while navigating between different HCM applications when you are searching for forms or managing complex payroll tasks.

Paycom automates and streamlines the payroll and HR processes based on the data security standards of midsize businesses.

Both Zenefits and Paycom offer employee compensation and benefits administration features. Paycom also offers expense management to automate reimbursements and help HR managers define the rules, categories and parameters of monitoring claims. Though Zenefits doesn’t have this feature, it can integrate with Expensify to track and manage expense reports.

Based on the analysis of user reviews, let’s see what they like about Paycom and some areas where they feel the solution could be improved:

What Users Liked

  • The availability of customized reporting tools and ease of accessing paychecks.
  • Availability of employee documents, pay stubs, tax information etc., in one place, which saves the HR manager’s time.
  • Ability to modify payroll policies according to the company culture.

Users Would Like to See

  • A better implementation process and faster response from the support team to resolve customer queries.
  • A more user-friendly interface that is less complicated and easy to navigate.
  • A swifter sign-in process as it consumes a lot of time currently.

RUN Powered by ADP

Run Powered by ADP (ADP RUN) is web-based payroll solution that offers tax filing, payment processing as well as time and attendance management in its basic package. It offers some features at an additional cost, which include personnel tracking, document management, recruiting and applicant tracking.

Small businesses that are time-starved and don’t want to spend much time on administrative tasks, such as payroll and HR, should consider ADP RUN.

The solution has a dedicated HR portal to keep all critical employee information in centralized online storage. It helps small businesses comply with state and federal regulations. Also, it automatically includes any changes in tax laws and alerts employees when regulations or compliance requirements change.

Both Zenefits and ADP RUN provide core payroll features, built-in reporting and analytics capabilities to monitor and analyze monthly payroll activities. While ADP RUN provides payroll solutions for small businesses, Zenefits targets midsize businesses as well. Also, though ADP RUN doesn’t offer hiring and onboarding features, Zenefits does.

Let’s look at user reviews to understand what they like about ADP RUN and what could be improved:

What Users Liked

  • The ability to make changes to employees’ deferral percentages and investment options directly from the employee access hub.
  • Ease of managing employee benefits, previous pay periods etc., on a single dashboard.
  • Ability to automatically send out W2s to employees, which reduces the HR team’s time and effort in manually sending the forms to employees.

Users Would Like to See

  • Facility to import payroll data that will save time and eliminate the cumbersome manual process of data extraction.
  • A more intuitive user interface and dashboard to manage payments.
  • A few video tutorials to help new users learn about the tool.

Next Steps

This article aims to offer payroll management software buyers a glimpse of the top alternatives of Zenefits. To read more product reviews and view screenshots of each product’s features, click the links of each alternative solution below:

In addition to these top alternatives, there are many payroll management systems on Software Advice that could be a good fit for your small business. We recommend checking out our payroll management software Buyer’s Guide to compare features of similar products.

You could also call our software advisors at (844) 847-3290 for free and no-obligation advice. They will be able to guide you better on the pricing of these solutions and explain the capabilities of various systems after understanding your unique needs and budget.

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