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June 6, 2024
XX min read

Paychex vs Breathe


Selecting the right human resources information system (HRIS) tool can significantly streamline HR processes and improve efficiency. Paychex Flex® and Breathe are two prominent HRIS tools designed to cater to different needs within the human resources domain.

Paychex Flex® is an all-in-one HR solution designed with simplicity in mind. Paychex reduces the complexity and risk of running your own payroll, while ensuring greater accuracy with up-to-date tax rates and regulatory information.

On the other hand, Breathe is a multi-award-winning simple and secure people software that helps UK and Australian SMEs move their core people processes online – saving time, giving peace of mind, and enabling businesses wherever they are working.

This comparison aims to provide an in-depth analysis of Paychex and Breathe to help businesses decide which HRIS tool might be the best fit for their specific needs.

Paychex Overview

Paychex Flex® offers a comprehensive suite of HR solutions that simplify payroll processing, compliance, and employee management. It is tailored to reduce complexities and mitigate risks associated with HR operations.

Key Features

  • Payroll Management: Automates payroll calculations, tax withholdings, and compliance with regulatory requirements.
  • HR Administration: Provides tools for managing employee benefits, tracking time-off requests, and handling employee relations.
  • Employee Benefits Management: Simplifies the administration of employee benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and more.
  • Time and Attendance: Enables tracking of employee hours, scheduling, and attendance.
  • Compliance Management: Keeps up to date with federal, state, and local regulations to ensure compliance.
  • Learning Management System (LMS): Supports employee training and development through various online modules.
  • Mobile App: Provides employees and managers access to essential HR functions on the go.

Breathe Overview

Breathe provides a straightforward and secure platform for UK and Australian SMEs to manage their HR processes online efficiently. The tool is especially well-regarded for its simplicity and ease of use, making it ideal for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Key Features

  • Centralized Employee Database: Stores all employee information in one secure place.
  • Holiday and Absence Management: Enables employees to request leave and manage their absences seamlessly.
  • Performance Management: Simplifies performance reviews and goal tracking.
  • Document Management: Provides a secure repository for storing and managing HR documents.
  • Reporting and Analytics: Offers various reports to help track HR metrics and gain insights into HR operations.
  • Mobile Access: Allows access to essential HR functionalities via mobile devices.


Both Paychex and Breathe offer robust HRIS solutions tailored to easing HR-related tasks. The similarities include:

  • Employee Data Management: Both platforms centralize employee information, making it easily accessible and manageable.
  • Absence and Leave Management: Each tool provides functionalities for managing employee leave requests and tracking absences.
  • Document Management: Both platforms include options for secure storage and management of HR documents.
  • Mobile Accessibility: Both Paychex and Breathe offer mobile access, ensuring users can manage HR tasks on the go.
  • User-Friendly Interface: Each tool is designed to be intuitive and easy to use, minimizing the learning curve for new users.


While both tools have similarities, they also have distinctive differences:

  • Target Market: Paychex is geared more towards businesses in the US and focuses on payroll and compliance heavily. In contrast, Breathe targets SMEs in the UK and Australia, focusing on simplifying everyday HR tasks.
  • Payroll Management: Paychex offers a more extensive payroll management system with automation and compliance features. Breathe does not focus on payroll processing.
  • Learning Management System (LMS): Paychex includes an LMS for employee training, while Breathe does not have this feature.
  • Compliance Management: Paychex provides strong compliance management tools to adhere to various regulations, which is a limited offering in Breathe.
  • Reporting Capabilities: While both offer reporting functionalities, Paychex might provide more intricate and detailed compliance and payroll reports compared to Breathe’s reporting mainly focused on HR metrics.

Pros and Cons



  • Comprehensive Payroll Features: Automates payroll, taxes, and compliance, reducing errors and saving time.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Ensures up-to-date regulatory information, reducing the risk of non-compliance.
  • Detailed Reporting: Offers extensive reporting features that are crucial for audit trails and compliance checks.
  • Learning Management System (LMS): Facilitates employee training and skill development.


  • Complexity for SMEs: Smaller enterprises might find the system too complex or feature-heavy for their needs.
  • Cost: Could be more expensive compared to simpler HRIS solutions like Breathe.



  • Simplicity and Ease of Use: Very user-friendly, making it ideal for small to medium-sized businesses.
  • Cost-Effective: More affordable for SMEs, especially those that do not require extensive payroll functionalities.
  • Focus on Core HR Processes: Efficiently manages essential HR tasks such as leave management, performance reviews, and document management.


  • Limited Payroll Features: Does not offer extensive payroll management, which could be a drawback for businesses looking for an all-in-one HR and payroll solution.
  • Regulatory Updates: Less focused on compliance compared to tools like Paychex, which could be important for businesses with more stringent regulatory requirements.

Use Cases


Paychex is ideal for larger companies or those with more complex HR and payroll needs. It's perfect for businesses that:

  • Need robust payroll processing and compliance management.
  • Require detailed reporting for audits and regulatory compliance.
  • Want to incorporate employee training and development through an LMS.
  • Operate in regions with complex tax and employment laws which require up-to-date compliance features.


Breathe is best suited for SMEs, particularly those in the UK and Australia, looking for a straightforward HRIS tool without the complexities of extensive payroll management. Ideal scenarios include:

  • Small and medium-sized enterprises needing a simple, user-friendly HR management system.
  • Companies looking for cost-effective solutions that provide essential HR functionalities like leave management and performance reviews.
  • Businesses that prioritize ease of use and quick implementation, without needing advanced payroll features.


In comparing Paychex versus Breathe for HRIS needs, the choice largely depends on the specific requirements of your business. 

Paychex Flex stands out with its comprehensive payroll and compliance management, making it a strong candidate for larger businesses or those with complex payroll needs. Its extensive reporting and LMS features further enhance its suitability for companies demanding robust HR solutions.

Breathe, on the other hand, shines in its simplicity and affordability, tailored for SMEs in the UK and Australia. It's an excellent option for businesses needing a user-friendly, efficient tool to manage core HR processes without the added complexity and cost associated with comprehensive payroll management.

Ultimately, if your business requires detailed payroll management and compliance features, Paychex is the ideal choice. However, if you are a small to medium-sized enterprise looking for a straightforward, cost-effective HR solution, Breathe is likely the better fit.

Key takeaways 🔑🥡🍕

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