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June 6, 2024
XX min read

Square Payroll vs Sapling


Choosing the right Human Resource Information System (HRIS) is crucial for any business aiming to streamline payroll and HR processes. Two notable HRIS tools in the market are Square Payroll and Sapling. Square Payroll is a widely trusted online payroll service for small businesses, while Sapling, as part of the Kallidus product suite, brings robust capabilities in onboarding, offboarding, core HR, and people operations bolstered by Kallidus’ strengths in learning and performance management. A thorough comparison of these tools will help businesses select the most suitable solution for their specific needs.

Square Payroll Overview

Square Payroll is an online payroll service designed to simplify payroll processing for small businesses. It provides features essential for managing employee payments, taxes, and compliance without hassle.

Key Features

  • Automated Payroll Processing: Streamlines employee and contractor payments, ensuring accuracy and compliance with tax regulations.
  • Tax Filing: Automatically calculates, files, and pays payroll taxes at federal, state, and local levels.
  • Direct Deposits & Checks: Offers flexibility in payment methods, including direct deposits and printed checks.
  • Employee Self-Service: Employees can access their payroll information, manage tax withholdings, and view pay stubs.
  • Timecard Management: Integrates with timekeeping systems to easily import employee hours and calculate accurate payroll.
  • Benefits Management: Supports the administration of benefits like health insurance and retirement plans.

Sapling Overview

Sapling, a product from Kallidus, stands out in the HR technology space with features designed to enhance employee onboarding, offboarding, and overall HR management. It integrates seamlessly with core HR systems to improve efficiency in people operations.

Key Features

  • Onboarding and Offboarding: Automates and personalizes onboarding and offboarding processes to ensure smooth transitions for employees.
  • Core HR Management: Centralizes employee data, streamlining administrative tasks like payroll, benefits, and compliance tracking.
  • People Operations: Enhances HR workflows by integrating with existing systems and providing customizable workflows.
  • Employee Self-Service: Empowers employees to manage their information, request time off, and access company resources.
  • Performance Management: Includes tools for setting goals, tracking performance, and providing feedback to improve employee engagement and productivity.
  • Learning and Development: Leverages Kallidus’ expertise to offer training and development resources, ensuring continuous employee growth.


Both Square Payroll and Sapling provide essential tools for managing HR and payroll processes, emphasizing automation and user-friendly interfaces. Here are some notable similarities:

  • Employee Self-Service: Both platforms offer self-service options, allowing employees to access and manage their personal information.
  • Payroll Processing: Automates payroll processing to ensure accurate and timely payments to employees.
  • Compliance and Tax Filing: Helps businesses stay compliant with local, state, and federal regulations by automating tax calculations and filings.
  • Integration Capabilities: Both tools integrate with various systems, enhancing their flexibility and usefulness in different business environments.


While both platforms are HRIS tools, they cater to slightly different needs and business sizes:

  • Target Audience: Square Payroll is tailored more towards small businesses, whereas Sapling is suitable for businesses of varying sizes, including those with more complex HR needs.
  • Feature Scope: Sapling provides a wider range of HR functionalities, including onboarding, offboarding, performance management, and learning and development, while Square Payroll focuses more on payroll and benefits administration.
  • Onboarding and Offboarding: Sapling offers more advanced tools for managing the employee lifecycle from hiring to exit, which is not a primary focus for Square Payroll.
  • HR Integration: Sapling integrates more deeply with other HR systems, providing a comprehensive HR management platform. Square Payroll’s integration capabilities are more geared towards timekeeping and benefits management.

Pros and Cons

Square Payroll


  • User-Friendly Interface: Easy to navigate and set up, making it ideal for small businesses.
  • Automated Payroll and Tax Filing: Reduces the administrative burden and ensures compliance.
  • Affordable Pricing: Priced competitively for small businesses.


  • Limited HR Features: Lacks comprehensive HR functionalities such as performance management and detailed employee record-keeping.
  • Scaling Constraints: May not be ideal for larger businesses with complex HR needs.



  • Comprehensive HR Suite: Offers a wide range of HR features beyond payroll, including onboarding and performance management.
  • Customizable Workflows: Allows businesses to tailor HR processes to their specific needs.
  • Seamless Integration: Easily integrates with other HR systems and tools.


  • Learning Curve: More features can mean a steeper learning curve for new users.
  • Higher Cost: More comprehensive features come at a higher price point, which might be a consideration for smaller businesses.

Use Cases

Ideal scenarios for Square Payroll:

  • Small Businesses: Perfect for small businesses with simple payroll needs looking for an affordable and easy-to-use solution.
  • Basic HR Functions: Suitable for businesses primarily looking to automate payroll and basic HR tasks without needing comprehensive HR management features.

Ideal scenarios for Sapling:

  • Growing Companies: Best for mid-to-large-sized businesses looking for an all-in-one HR solution that can scale with their growth.
  • Comprehensive HR Management: Ideal for companies needing advanced HR functionalities such as onboarding, performance management, and learning and development, along with integrated payroll processing.


Square Payroll and Sapling both offer valuable features tailored to different business needs. Square Payroll simplifies payroll for small businesses with its user-friendly interface and affordable pricing, making it an excellent choice for small businesses looking to streamline payroll processes. On the other hand, Sapling provides a more comprehensive HR management solution with features that support the entire employee lifecycle, making it suitable for growing businesses with more complex HR needs. 

In summary, businesses should choose Square Payroll if they want an efficient, easy-to-use payroll system without needing extensive HR capabilities. Alternatively, Sapling is ideal for organizations seeking to integrate robust HR management with scalable payroll solutions. Understanding the specific requirements and growth plans of a business will help in making the best choice between these two HRIS tools.

Key takeaways 🔑🥡🍕

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