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June 6, 2024
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Paylocity vs Square Payroll


As the dynamics of the workplace evolve, businesses increasingly rely on advanced Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) to streamline their operations. Paylocity and Square Payroll are two prominent players in this space. Paylocity offers a comprehensive product suite geared towards strategic decision-making in areas such as benefits, core HR, payroll, talent, and workforce management, all while fostering a modern workplace and boosting employee engagement. 

In contrast, Square Payroll is an online payroll service trusted by small businesses for its simplicity and efficiency in managing payroll tasks. Comparing these two HRIS tools helps businesses determine which system aligns best with their needs, streamlining operations and improving efficiency.

Paylocity Overview

Key Features

Paylocity is acclaimed for its extensive range of features that cover nearly every aspect of HR management. Key features include:

  • Payroll Management: Automates payroll processing, tax calculation, and compliance, reducing manual errors and saving time.
  • Benefits Administration: Manages employee benefits, open enrollment, and compliance with ease.
  • Core HR: Centralizes employee information, tracks attendance, and manages time-off requests.
  • Talent Management: Facilitates performance reviews, goal setting, and employee recognition programs.
  • Workforce Management: Streamlines scheduling, time tracking, and workforce analytics.
  • Employee Engagement: Includes tools such as social collaboration, feedback surveys, and engagement analytics to enhance workplace morale.

Paylocity’s all-in-one platform aims to simplify HR processes, making it a robust solution for medium to large organizations.

Square Payroll Overview

Key Features

Square Payroll is designed to meet the needs of small businesses with an emphasis on ease of use and efficiency. Key features include:

  • Payroll Processing: Simplifies payroll for both hourly and salaried employees, including automatically managing taxes and withholdings.
  • Time Tracking Integration: Syncs seamlessly with Square's point-of-sale (POS) systems for accurate time tracking.
  • Employee Self-Service: Allows employees to log in, access their pay stubs, and make updates to their information.
  • Contractor Payments: Facilitates payments to contractors with automatic tax filings.
  • Benefits Integration: Integrates with third-party benefit providers for health insurance and retirement plans.
  • Mobile Access: Offers mobile management, allowing payroll tasks to be handled on-the-go via mobile devices.

Square Payroll prioritizes simplicity and automation, making it an ideal choice for small businesses looking for streamlined payroll solutions.


Despite targeting different market segments, Paylocity and Square Payroll share several similarities:

  • Automated Payroll Processing: Both systems automate payroll calculations, tax withholdings, and compliance, minimizing the risk of errors.
  • Employee Self-Service: Each offers a portal where employees can view pay stubs, update personal information, and access relevant documents.
  • Mobile Access: Both platforms provide mobile apps or mobile-friendly interfaces, enabling payroll tasks to be managed from anywhere.
  • Integration Capabilities: Both tools integrate with other systems such as time tracking and benefits providers, ensuring seamless data flow across platforms.
  • Compliance Management: Paylocity and Square Payroll both handle tax filings and compliance with federal, state, and local regulations.


While Paylocity and Square Payroll share core HRIS functionalities, several key differences set them apart:

  • Scope of Features: Paylocity offers a comprehensive suite encompassing payroll, benefits, core HR, talent management, workforce management, and employee engagement, whereas Square Payroll is primarily focused on payroll and basic HR functions.
  • Target Audience: Paylocity targets medium to large-sized businesses with complex HR needs, while Square Payroll is designed for small businesses seeking straightforward payroll solutions.
  • Pricing Structure: Paylocity typically operates on a quote-based pricing model, reflecting its wide range of features. Square Payroll, on the other hand, offers transparent, fixed pricing geared towards small businesses.
  • User Interface and Experience: Square Payroll prides itself on simplicity and ease of use, often appealing to small business owners without dedicated HR staff. Paylocity provides a more complex yet powerful interface tailored for experienced HR professionals.
  • Employee Engagement Tools: Paylocity includes robust employee engagement features such as social collaboration and feedback surveys, which Square Payroll lacks.
  • Customizability: Paylocity offers a higher level of customizability in its features and workflows, suitable for businesses with specialized HR processes.

Pros and Cons



  • Comprehensive feature set covering multiple aspects of HR management.
  • Advanced reporting and analytics for informed decision-making.
  • Strong employee engagement tools to enhance workplace culture.
  • Highly customizable to meet specific business needs.
  • Scalable for growing companies.


  • Complex interface that may require a learning curve.
  • Higher cost compared to simpler payroll solutions.
  • May offer more features than necessary for small businesses.

Square Payroll


  • User-friendly interface that simplifies payroll management.
  • Affordable, transparent pricing suitable for small businesses.
  • Quick integration with Square's POS system for seamless time tracking.
  • Efficient contractor payments with automatic tax filings.
  • Mobile-friendly, allowing payroll tasks on-the-go.


  • Limited features beyond payroll and basic HR functions.
  • Lacks advanced employee engagement and talent management tools.
  • Not ideal for medium to large businesses with complex HR needs.
  • Fewer reporting and analytics options compared to comprehensive HRIS tools.

Use Cases

  • Paylocity: Best suited for medium to large businesses that require a fully integrated HRIS platform. Ideal for companies with complex HR needs, multiple departments, and a focus on employee engagement and performance management. Examples include enterprises looking for comprehensive payroll management, benefits administration, and workforce analytics.

  • Square Payroll: Perfect for small businesses that need an easy-to-use payroll system without the complexities of a comprehensive HR suite. Ideal for businesses that prioritize straightforward payroll processing, integration with existing systems like POS, and mobile access for on-the-go payroll management. Examples include small retail shops, restaurants, and startups needing dependable payroll services at an affordable price.


Choosing between Paylocity and Square Payroll depends largely on the size and complexity of your business’s HR needs. Paylocity offers a robust, all-in-one HRIS solution designed for medium to large businesses with comprehensive HR requirements, including payroll, benefits, talent management, and employee engagement. The platform’s scalability and customizability make it a suitable long-term partner for growing enterprises.

In contrast, Square Payroll provides a streamlined, user-friendly payroll service ideal for small businesses. Its affordable pricing, ease of use, and seamless integration with Square's POS system make it a great fit for smaller operations looking for essential payroll functions without the added complexity.

Ultimately, if your business demands a feature-rich, integrated HRIS platform with an emphasis on employee engagement and advanced HR functionalities, Paylocity is the superior choice. For small businesses needing efficient and straightforward payroll management, Square Payroll stands out as the more practical option. Assess your specific business requirements, budget, and long-term goals to determine which tool best aligns with your HR strategy.

Key takeaways 🔑🥡🍕

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