A mild, functional group tolerant method of the preparation of phenyl esters from aryl chlorides via palladium-catalyzed carbonylation is described using atmospheric pressure of carbon monoxide. Phenyl esters are shown to be useful acylating agents, delivering libraries of carbonyl derivatives, including alkyl, allyl and thioesters, under very mild conditions. Direct preparation of alkyl esters and carboxylic acids is also demonstrated, providing the first method for the preparation of methyl and ethyl esters from aryl chlorides without pressured reactors.