Your Financial Questions Answered With Paul Highness

Written by: Andrew Jason

Photo by Hillary Ehlen

You’re an expert in your industry. That’s why you became an entrepreneur. But, you don’t know anything about corporate structure, tax filings, loans, HR or the thousands of other minutiae you deal with every day. 

At Fargo INC, we want to help businesses grow. That’s why we found 10 business owners and executives and asked them for their toughest business questions. We then paired them up with an expert in that industry. Here are your questions answered. 

Financial Expert
Paul Highness
Managing Partner of Pro Resources in Fargo

Business Executive
Courtney Quist
Operations Director of CHARISM

How do we use a PEO (Professional Employer Organization) to our employees’ advantage? 

There is an assumption by most that when a business partners with a PEO, it is to the benefit of an employer by increasing profitability, maximizing employee productivity and reducing labor costs. In reality, at least 60 percent of the benefit from a PEO relationship belongs to the employees. Yes, a PEO assumes much of the employment liability by keeping regulations and compliance off the shoulders of a business owner— not to mention, a great benefits package helps them attract top talent and retain employees they already have —but this is also where the employees receive the bigger reward. 

Some of the advantages to the employee are access to: 

• Online HRIS (Human Resources Information System) The HRIS allows the employees to have 24/7 mobile access to view their pay stubs, work schedule, employee handbook, benefits, PTO balances and requests for time off. 

• National discount program, which offers employees savings on restaurants, shopping, travel, hotel packages and more. 

• Culture of wellness through a Wellness Specialist offering cash rewards to employees who complete specific challenges. 

• Safety awareness and safety training that is brought right to their doorstep or through online education offerings, which help ensure employees are more informed and have a safer work environment. 

If an employee gets hurt on the job, they will have a Safety Specialist working with them through the process, treatment and their return to work. 

• Management training that equips supervisors with proper answers to employee questions by following employment best practices. 

• A confidential EAP counselor for those dealing with financial, family, alcohol, drug, gambling or other addictive issues. 

• Human Resources experts who are there to answer an employee’s questions regarding their employment. This gives the employee an opportunity to discuss concerns, where before they might have felt as though they did not have someone to turn to. They also have access to Human Resources Specialists to discuss questions about their PTO balance or their paycheck. 

• Higher quality benefits at a reduced price for employers and employees. This is one advantage that a PEO can offer because it shops for large groups of employees. Specialists are there to answer questions they may have about the different benefit offerings and how to enroll in those programs. 

It’s not a surprise that many employers are not good at these things — it’s not part of their core business. The ever-changing Human Resources complexities make it a major time consumer for business leaders and produce zero revenue to the company’s bottom line. Using a PEO helps reduce an employer’s liability while bringing technology, benefits, HR, safety and wellness to their employees at a level that most employers can’t duplicate. 

What are some strategies to streamline paperwork and documentation management (employee applications, state and federal tax filings, benefits enrollment forms, etc)? 

PEOs use an online system that organizes all of the required pre-hire paperwork electronically in one location without having paper files and excel spreadsheets. The HRIS (HR Information Systems) track PTO, performance reviews, disciplinary actions, I-9’s, W-4’s, employee applications, demographics, birthdays and anniversaries, positions and job descriptions. HRIS’s also eliminate all of the informational materials and paper applications associated with benefits enrollment, most systems have a benefits wizard allowing the employee to have access to plan information or enroll electronically. A PEO files all of the state and federal employee related tax filings and workers comp payments and audits, which greatly reduces timely paperwork and much of the liability. Using a PEO’s HRIS is very valuable to employers but now imagine having a team of experts to manage the compliance and advise.

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