Square Offers a Simplified Small Business Payroll Service

By Julie Knudson | Posted November 05, 2015

How many hours does it take your business to process the payroll? Gathering time cards, adding up hours, and calculating taxes takes time. So does tracking potential compliance issues when it comes to state labor rules—something you want to know ahead of time rather than after an employee has accumulated too many hours.

Square Payroll can help. This cloud-based subscription service is designed to free small business owners from the cumbersome, time-consuming tasks associated with managing and processing payroll. Instead of spending hours on back-office tasks, you can spend it generating revenue.

According to a Square spokesperson, the company works closely with merchants using its processing services to find where small business pain points exist. "We found that payroll was one of the most time-consuming parts of their business on a recurring basis," she said. [Editorial note: Normally we provide the name and title of interview subjects, but Square makes it a policy to not identify its spokespersons by name in print.]

Square Payroll service for small business: employee setup

Square Payroll makes it easy to add new employees to the system.

A Clearer View: Small Business Payroll

Each week owners and managers typically reconcile information from time card systems—some digital, others a mix of electronic and paper—and then figure out overtime or double-time rules for their individual states. Calculating tax withholdings on top of that adds to the burden.

"We tried to reinvent the payroll process from the ground up, with a focus on how we can reduce the time to the point where it takes someone less than five minutes a week instead of five hours a week," Square's spokesperson said.

Not only does Square Payroll save small businesses time, it also gives them new tools to control costs. Knowing the number of scheduled shifts and which employees have accrued more than their expected hours, for example, can help companies manage expenditures.

"Square Payroll reporting clearly indicates when employees hit overtime and double-time," Square's spokesperson explained. Owners and supervisors can then better manage work schedules to minimize out-of-standard costs.

Square Payroll: running your payroll

Initiating payroll runs in Square Payroll is fast and simple.

Streamlined Payroll for Small Business

Square Payroll provides a simple interface from start to finish. Signing up involves supplying your company's information—employer identification number (EIN), employee information, select payroll frequency, etc, through Square's website. And Square Payroll claims that when it comes time to do payroll, the process is equally easy.

Customers "log back into the website once a week—or once every other week as their pay schedule demands— and then they just hit one button to submit, and payroll's taken care of," the spokesperson said.

A streamlined dashboard displays who's currently working and where hours have been accrued, along with overtime and double-time calculations, in one easy-to-read spot. Owners and supervisors can login as often as they'd like to see real-time payroll data.

Small Business Payroll Meets Point-of-Sale

While Square Payroll works just fine as a stand-alone product, some small business owners may want to pair it with Square Register—the company's point-of-sale solution—for a more comprehensive platform. Register lets employees clock in and out directly through the application, even on their mobile device if they aren't near a fixed workstation. It's especially handy for workers who travel to customer sites for meetings, service work, and other activities.

Square Payroll Pricing

Square Payroll costs $20 per month and then $5 per month for every employee paid in that month. "We wanted to provide a fair pricing structure for businesses of any size," Square's spokesperson said. Seasonal businesses and those with fluctuations related to project load or other factors can trim expenses during months with lower staffing levels.

Good news for budget-conscious small business owners: the pricing structure also includes what you need to comply with taxes, paperwork, and other regulations. Some payroll providers may tack on fees for things like issuing W-2s at the end of the year. "Our pricing is truly all-inclusive," Square's spokesperson said. Paper checks, direct deposit, tax filings, and creating W-2s—it's all part of the $20 plan. Small business customers can relax knowing they won't find any surprises in their monthly invoice.

Julie Knudson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in technology magazines including BizTech, Processor, and For The Record. She has covered technology issues for publications in other industries, from foodservice to insurance, and she also writes a recurring column in Integrated Systems Contractor magazine.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

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