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June 6, 2024
XX min read

UKG Ready vs Square Payroll


In the world of Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS), finding the right tool to manage payroll, employee data, and other HR functions is crucial for any business. Two popular solutions in this space are UKG Ready and Square Payroll. UKG Ready is a comprehensive human resources solution tailored for small and mid-sized businesses, offering robust capabilities in time, payroll, and talent management. On the other hand, Square Payroll is a user-friendly, online payroll service trusted by small businesses for its simplicity and efficiency. Comparing these tools helps businesses to choose the best fit based on their unique requirements.

UKG Ready Overview

UKG Ready, developed by Ultimate Kronos Group, is an all-in-one HR solution designed to streamline various human resources processes. The software excels in payroll management, time and attendance tracking, and talent management, making it suitable for small to mid-sized businesses that need a comprehensive HR platform.

Key Features

  • Time and Attendance Tracking: UKG Ready offers powerful tools for tracking employee hours, including biometric and mobile clock-ins, ensuring accurate timekeeping and reducing time theft.
  • Payroll Management: The platform automates payroll processing, tax calculations, and compliance, minimizing errors and ensuring timely payments.
  • Talent Management: UKG Ready supports recruitment, onboarding, performance management, and employee development, creating a cohesive approach to workforce management.
  • Employee Self-Service: Employees can access their information, request time off, and view pay stubs through a user-friendly self-service portal.
  • Advanced Reporting and Analytics: The software provides detailed analytics and reporting capabilities, helping businesses make data-driven HR decisions.
  • Compliance Management: UKG Ready includes tools to help businesses stay compliant with labor laws and industry regulations.

Square Payroll Overview

Square Payroll is an online payroll service designed for small businesses. Known for its simplicity and ease of use, Square Payroll integrates seamlessly with other Square tools, making it ideal for businesses already using Square's ecosystem. It provides essential payroll services with a focus on efficiency and compliance.

Key Features

  • Payroll Processing: Square Payroll automates the calculation of paychecks, tax withholdings, and submissions, ensuring accurate and timely payments to employees.
  • Tax Management: The service handles federal, state, and local tax filings, reducing the administrative burden on small business owners.
  • Employee Benefits: Square Payroll facilitates the management of health benefits, 401(k) contributions, and workers' compensation insurance.
  • Direct Deposit: Employees can receive their wages through direct deposit, simplifying the payment process.
  • Employee Self-Service: Similar to UKG Ready, Square Payroll includes a self-service portal where employees can view pay stubs and manage personal information.
  • Integration with Square Tools: For businesses using Square's point-of-sale and other tools, Square Payroll offers seamless integration, creating a unified business management system.


Despite catering to different business sizes and needs, UKG Ready and Square Payroll share several similarities as HRIS tools:

  • Payroll Management: Both platforms automate payroll processing, ensuring accurate and timely payments.
  • Tax Compliance: Both services handle federal, state, and local tax calculations and filings, simplifying compliance for businesses.
  • Employee Self-Service: Each tool provides a self-service portal for employees to access their information, view pay stubs, and manage personal details.
  • Direct Deposit: Both UKG Ready and Square Payroll offer direct deposit options for employee wages.
  • Compliance Management: Each service includes features to help businesses stay compliant with labor laws and regulations.


While UKG Ready and Square Payroll share core HR and payroll functionalities, they differ in several key areas:

  • Target Audience: UKG Ready is geared towards small to mid-sized businesses looking for a comprehensive HR solution with advanced features. In contrast, Square Payroll targets small businesses in need of straightforward payroll processing.
  • Feature Set: UKG Ready offers a broader range of HR functionalities, including talent management, time and attendance tracking, and advanced reporting. Square Payroll focuses primarily on payroll and tax management.
  • Integration: Square Payroll provides seamless integration with other Square tools, making it a convenient choice for businesses already using the Square ecosystem. UKG Ready, however, offers integrations with a wider range of third-party applications.
  • Complexity and Learning Curve: Due to its extensive feature set, UKG Ready may have a steeper learning curve compared to the more straightforward and user-friendly Square Payroll.
  • Scalability: UKG Ready is designed to grow with a business, offering advanced features as the company expands. Square Payroll, while efficient, is typically better suited for smaller operations.

Pros and Cons

UKG Ready


  • Comprehensive HR functionality that covers time tracking, talent management, and payroll.
  • Advanced reporting and analytics for data-driven decision-making.
  • Scalable to meet the needs of growing businesses.
  • Strong compliance management features.
  • Flexible integration options with various third-party tools.


  • May have a steeper learning curve due to its extensive feature set.
  • Potentially higher cost compared to simpler payroll solutions.
  • The comprehensive features may be overkill for very small businesses with limited HR needs.

Square Payroll


  • User-friendly and easy to set up, ideal for small businesses.
  • Seamless integration with other Square tools.
  • Efficient payroll and tax management features that simplify administrative tasks.
  • Employee self-service portal for viewing pay stubs and managing benefits.
  • Cost-effective for businesses with straightforward payroll needs.


  • Limited HR functionalities beyond payroll and tax management.
  • Less suitable for larger businesses or those needing comprehensive HR solutions.
  • Fewer advanced reporting and analytics capabilities compared to UKG Ready.

Use Cases

UKG Ready

UKG Ready is ideal for businesses that:

  • Require a comprehensive HR solution that includes time tracking, talent management, and payroll.
  • Are mid-sized or plan to grow and need a scalable HRIS tool.
  • Need advanced reporting and analytics to make informed HR decisions.
  • Require strong compliance management features to adhere to labor laws and regulations.
  • Want flexibility in integrating with various third-party tools and applications.

Square Payroll

Square Payroll is best suited for businesses that:

  • Are small and need a simple, user-friendly payroll solution.
  • Already use other Square products and want a unified business management system.
  • Require efficient payroll and tax management without the need for extensive HR functionalities.
  • Want a cost-effective payroll service with features like direct deposit and employee self-service.
  • Prefer a tool that is quick to implement and easy to learn.


When comparing UKG Ready and Square Payroll, it's clear that each tool has its strengths and is designed to cater to different business needs.

UKG Ready offers a robust, all-in-one HR solution that includes extensive features for time tracking, talent management, payroll, and compliance. This makes it a powerful choice for small to mid-sized businesses looking for a comprehensive HRIS tool that can scale with their growth.

On the other hand, Square Payroll provides a straightforward, efficient payroll service ideal for small businesses. Its seamless integration with other Square tools and user-friendly interface make it a convenient and cost-effective option for businesses with straightforward payroll needs.

Ultimately, the best choice between UKG Ready and Square Payroll depends on your specific business requirements. If you need a scalable, full-featured HRIS solution, UKG Ready is the better fit. However, if you're looking for a simple, efficient, and affordable payroll service, Square Payroll is likely the better option. Evaluate your business needs carefully to make the best decision for your HR and payroll management.

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