It takes alot to get under my skin and for me to post such an in depth review of a service that I am utterly dissatisfied with.
Zenefits Customer Here...for now
I'm a current customer of Zenefits. As of this writing they have 303 days remaining to prove to me they're a competent company that deserves my businesses business.
I run a small service based business that requires payroll and the numerous encumberances that come along with it. As most business owners know, it is time consuming and difficult to remember when and where to login to -- to file that one report. As an entrepreneur and small business owner my time is extremely valuable. The small monthly fee paid for payroll was worth it, however, you'll see how things progressed with Zenefits over our first year.
In the beginning of 2016 we made the switch to Zenefits. Of course we had self-inflicted hiccups the first month but, continued on and overall it was better than what we had been paying for previously. When creating payruns in Zenefits it tells you how much is calculated to go towards taxes (employer and employee side).
Employment Tax Miscalculations
The first big screw up came early in the year on Zenefits' behalf and continued throughout the year. If I remember correct it was around Q1, or just after. We get a phone call with an apologetic representative stating they've been doing some reconciliation and there is a balance of taxes due and a deadline is close. If they missed the deadline they would pay the late fees on our behalf. I verbally approved everything and thanked their representative for the alert of the transaction. Overall it was a pleasant interaction.
It all ended up coming down to how they calculate our taxes (employer and employee). Mind you, they have access to our checking account to pull payroll whenever we go in and approve of the run. For the first 3 months of service their system wasn't correctly pulling the taxes when we did a payrun which left us with a surprise transaction of a few thousand dollars that quarter. This wouldn't be an issue if it happened just once...over the course of the Q4 of 2016 we were hit with around ten thousand dollars worth transactions of miscalculated taxes.
As a small business owner these transactions and miscalculations continued to concern me. What exactly am I paying for here? It became so common that Zenefits began to just simply shoot an email over to notify us that there was again a balance due for taxes and promised these changes were being made to their application so that this wouldn't happen again in the future. Well, SURPRISE!, for Q4 of 2016 there was again a rogue tax balance owed that was taken out of our account in January of 2017.
I was under the impression this is what I already pay Zenefits for...to be sure all of this is calculated at pay-run time so we can properly account for all the other moving parts of a business.
I began thoroughly looking over the numbers for our previous year and started to wonder, how correct are these reports provided to me in Zenefits platform? Lo and behold we have transactions on our bank statement that don't align with the reports in Zenefits. (The reports were missing withdrawals.) After additional back and forth emailing with their support (mind you, I have so little time as it is) the representative wanted me to send them our bank statement in question. The problem here is this: Zenefits' system should have all the records unless something is seriously wrong with their platform. We are paying you to ensure our employees get paid on time and that all taxes are appropriated to the correct departments at the state and federal levels. The value is in the piece of mind. This is why I don't value their service any longer.
Here's a snip of our bank statement highlighting all the transactions labeled Zenefits:
And here is Zenefits "Bank Transaction" report for January of 2016. This actually had more transactions when I ran it earlier this year. Again, highlighting the inconsistencies and problems with Zenefits' platform.
Updating Business Information
Tax percentages change annually, this is information that with our previous payroll vendor was easy to update. A few clicks and inputs... Zenefits seems to make a simple process as difficult as possible. To edit the State Tax information in Zenefits there is a form within the HR platform, however, it refused to validate and allow me to add information I recieved from the state. These are percentages that affect the overall payroll numbers. It took a period of 2 days and me sending them the document for "proof" for the issue to be resolved. All of what should have taken me 60 seconds.
This rubbed me the wrong way a bit because of how Zenefits forces their way into your business. You wanted my bank statements so you could true up your books? Now you want me to send in documents that the state sent me and what should have been a simple update on my behalf with zero interaction from their support tuned into a 2 day ordeal. What's next?
Due to a Washington State mandate we were forced into a plan which we paid annually in giving Zenefits the benefit of the doubt and in hopes they improve their service over 2017. This was an action that Zenefits realistically had no other choice to do to keep their Washington State customers.
A word on what not to do once you get a customer in at a certain price for a year contract. Do not email and offer to get in on a lower plan that offers more than what I'm currently locked in at with no other previous emails on the subject. Here's the email that makes it seem like I have to upgrade:
Instead of offering me in on a plan that I don't need, why wouldn't you offer a refund since we had just gotten onto the annual plan January 1 rather than make me feel like we are stuck on the "legacy" plan.
Are you building a next level HR platform?
Don't do what Zenefits is doing.
We'll begin the search once again to find the right payroll system for us...I've given enough valuable feedback to the Zenefits team that was supposed to make it to their product people. Our issues are with the basic functionality of an HR platform, and that is getting payroll correct.