How a PEO Keeps Small Businesses Focused

iStock_000038734596_FullAsk your local catering company owners what they need to succeed in business, and you’re likely to hear a tale of fine food, experienced chefs and staff that are dedicated to pulling an event off without a hitch. You’re less likely to hear that this company relies on staff who are experts in payroll, benefits, workers’ compensation, and other issues. But a lack of attention to these issues can mean the difference between a becoming a growing business and becoming one that has to shut its doors.

This was the story of one large catering business based in Cincinnati, says Stuart Manning, vice president of operations for PEO (professional employment organization) at Sheakley, a company dedicated to providing human resources solutions to small and mid-sized businesses. With more than 50,000 clients, over 53 years in business, and four offices in Cincinnati, Columbus, Nashville and Des Moines, Sheakley helps businesses with their needs “from hire to retire,” Manning says.

When it came to their catering client, the Sheakley teams knew that the client “wanted to focus on the food,” not the forms and paperwork. Sheakley devised a bundled solution for them that provided all of the back office services the company needs. “We take away all the headaches and allow them to grow,” Manning says.

To some, growing a business staff seems like an easy task: just hire and go. But businesses are subject to a number of regulations they must follow exactly, such as new health care regulations put in place by the Affordable Care Act. “The burden on business owners from compliance and regulation has gotten more intense since the ACA,” says Jeff Andrews, vice president for corporate growth. “Smaller businesses are required to participate, and there are new reporting regulations. There’s a risk, if businesses don’t comply, of [incurring] penalties and fines.”

Businesses also must be careful to file mandatory paperwork, such as W2 and I9 forms for employees, and they must stay compliant with human resources regulations in every state in which they do business. Manning believes the catering company may not have been able to grow so quickly had they not called upon Sheakley for their back-end services. “Many people say this keeps them in business,” Manning says.

How does a business know when it’s time to bring in a PEO like Sheakley? Sheakley serves companies that range from one employee to 5,000, and Manning says that each business is unique. “If you have employees that are not owners-operators of the business, it’s time” to ask for a little outside help with human resource concerns, he says. And using one provider to handle your HR and risk management needs allows you to focus on your core business. Manning concludes that all companies with employees whom they are responsible for could benefit from a little help to keep their focus on their core business.