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June 6, 2024
XX min read

Square Payroll vs UKG Pro


In the realm of HRIS (Human Resource Information System) tools, selecting the right solution tailored to your organization's needs is essential. Two notable HRIS tools that often come under comparison are Square Payroll and UKG Pro. Square Payroll is an online payroll service trusted by small businesses, offering a streamlined approach to payroll management that simplifies the complexities of payrolling for smaller enterprises. On the other hand, UKG Pro is a comprehensive cloud-based human capital management (HCM) solution designed for midsize and large organizations, giving a robust management framework covering all aspects of people’s pay.

Comparing these HRIS tools is crucial to identifying which one aligns best with your organizational goals, payroll requirements, and overall HCM strategy.

Square Payroll Overview

Square Payroll is an easy-to-use payroll service that integrates seamlessly with other Square services, making it a popular choice among small businesses. It is designed to simplify the payroll process, reduce errors, and help ensure compliance with payroll regulations.

Key Features

  • Integration with Square POS: Direct integration with Square Point of Sale (POS), streamlining payroll for businesses already using Square for transactions.
  • Automatic Payroll Calculation: Automatically calculates and deducts taxes, overtime, and benefits.
  • Employee Benefits Administration: Manages benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, and workers' compensation.
  • Direct Deposits and Checks: Offers both direct deposit and manual check options for employee payments.
  • Time Tracking: Includes basic time tracking to integrate with payroll services, avoiding manual input and errors.
  • Mobile App Accessibility: Provides a mobile app for both employees and employers to manage and access payroll data.

UKG Pro Overview

UKG Pro, formerly known as UltiPro, is a comprehensive HCM solution aiming to streamline various HR functions, including payroll, for larger organizations. It combines payroll processing with broader HCM capabilities, offering a centralized approach to managing employee data, payroll, and administrative HR tasks.

Key Features

  • Comprehensive Payroll Processing: Advanced payroll functionalities including multi-state and complex tax calculations.
  • Human Capital Management: Detailed HCM suite covering employee lifecycle management from recruitment to retirement.
  • Time and Attendance: Robust time and attendance management that integrates seamlessly with payroll processing.
  • Advanced Reporting and Analytics: Provides detailed reports and analytics for complex payroll and HCM data.
  • Employee Self-Service Portal: Allows employees to access and manage their own payroll and HR information.
  • Compliance Management: Keeps up-to-date with legal and regulatory changes affecting payroll and HR.


Both Square Payroll and UKG Pro aim to simplify payroll processing and enhance HCM functionalities for their respective audiences. Some of the core similarities between these tools include:

  • Payroll Automation: Both provide features to automate payroll calculations and deductions to minimize errors.
  • Direct Deposit: Both systems support direct deposit payments to employee accounts.
  • Accessibility: Each offers user-friendly interfaces with mobile accessibility for managing payroll and HR tasks.
  • Time Tracking: Both include time tracking capabilities to streamline payroll processing.


While Square Payroll and UKG Pro share some similarities, they differ significantly in their targeted user base, comprehensiveness, and detailed functionalities:

  • Target Audience: Square Payroll is tailored for small businesses looking for a straightforward payroll service, whereas UKG Pro is designed for midsize to large organizations needing a wide array of HCM solutions.
  • Integration Depth: Square Payroll integrates deeply with Square POS, making it ideal for businesses using the Square ecosystem. In contrast, UKG Pro offers extensive integrations across various HR and business applications.
  • HCM Suite: UKG Pro provides a full-scale HCM suite covering all aspects of employee management, while Square Payroll focuses mostly on payroll with ancillary HR features.
  • Advanced Analytics: UKG Pro offers advanced analytics and reporting capabilities, which are more limited in Square Payroll.

Pros and Cons

Square Payroll


  • Ease of Use: Simple and intuitive interface, ideal for small business owners without a dedicated HR department.
  • Integration with Square POS: Seamless integration for companies already using Square for transactions.
  • Affordable Pricing: Cost-effective solution for small businesses.
  • Automated Calculations: Automates tax calculations and filings to reduce manual tasks.


  • Limited HCM Features: Lacks comprehensive HCM functionalities available in larger systems.
  • Basic Reporting: Reporting capabilities are more basic compared to larger, more advanced systems.
  • Scalability: May not scale well for larger businesses with more complex needs.



  • Comprehensive HCM Solution: Offers a full suite of HR, payroll, and talent management features.
  • Advanced Analytics: Detailed reporting and analytics for deep insights into payroll and HR data.
  • Employee Self-Service: Robust self-service portal for employees to manage their information.
  • Compliance Management: Keeps up-to-date with legal and regulatory requirements, simplifying compliance.


  • Complexity: Can be complex to set up and manage for smaller organizations.
  • Cost: Higher cost, which may be prohibitive for smaller businesses.
  • Learning Curve: More features mean a steeper learning curve for users.

Use Cases

Square Payroll:

  • Small Retail Businesses: Ideal for small retail operations that utilize the Square POS system and need straightforward payroll processing.
  • Restaurants: Useful for restaurants using Square for payment processing, with simplified management of payroll and tips.
  • Freelancers and Contractors: A good fit for independent workers and small firms needing reliable, straightforward payroll services with minimal overhead.

UKG Pro:

  • Midsize to Large Enterprises: Best suited for larger organizations requiring a comprehensive HCM solution covering all aspects of HR management.
  • Enterprises with Complex Payroll Needs: Ideal for businesses with complex payroll needs, including multi-state and multi-national operations.
  • HR Departments Seeking Advanced Analytics: Beneficial for HR departments needing advanced reporting and predictive analytics to drive strategic decision-making.


In summary, Square Payroll and UKG Pro cater to different segments of the market, each offering unique benefits tailored to their target audiences. Square Payroll is the go-to solution for small businesses seeking an affordable, easy-to-use payroll system, particularly for those already embedded in the Square ecosystem. Its simplicity and integration with Square POS make it an attractive choice for small retailers, restaurants, and freelancers.

On the other hand, UKG Pro is a comprehensive HCM solution ideal for midsize to large organizations. It offers sophisticated payroll functionalities, advanced analytics, and a full suite of HCM capabilities that support complex payroll needs and broader human capital management. While it comes with a higher cost and complexity, it provides the depth and breadth of features necessary for enterprises with intricate HR and payroll requirements.

When choosing between the two, consider the size of your organization, your payroll complexity, and the specific HR management needs. Small businesses with straightforward payroll needs will benefit more from Square Payroll’s simplicity and cost-effectiveness, while larger organizations seeking comprehensive HCM solutions with advanced capabilities should consider UKG Pro.

Key takeaways 🔑🥡🍕

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