Each year, our representatives and HR experts meet with thousands of business owners all over the United States to learn more about their unique business needs and help them decide if outsourcing their HR is a good choice for them.
With over 700 PEO firms to choose from, picking the right firm may appear to be VERY time consuming and virtually impossible. Because there are so many, folks often ask us, “Who are some of the other Professional Employer Organizations and competitors do you have in the area?"
What Makes a Great PEO in the First Place?
Before randomly assembling this list, we have composed a list of the qualifications that we believe all great PEOs possess. Great PEOs should be:
1. Certified by the IRS (CPEO). This one item instantly narrows the choices down from 700 to 30 (at the time of this writing). The Small Business Efficiency Act (SBEA) passed in late 2014 to give PEO firms the ability to certify themselves with the IRS. This certification asserts that the CPEO has paid their federal taxes (FICA, FUTA) on time and that they have a positive net worth. The IRS has seen their audited financial statements and can attest to that fact
2. Accredited by Employer Services Assurance Corporation (ESAC). This rigorous accreditation assures clients and client employees not only that federal taxes have been paid (such as with CPEOs), but also that their state taxes, insurance premiums, retirement savings, and all other mandatory items have been paid. Members are subject to quarterly audits by CPA firms that attest to their credit worthiness. With the ESAC criteria, the list has shrunk to less than half, from 30 down to 14.
3. Mid-Sized. Out of those 14, four are large and the remaining 10 are mid-sized PEO firms. To get a general idea of what large-size, mid-size, and small PEO firm can provide, think of them as colleges and universities. With a large university, you will get a big campus and staff, including a stadium and gymnasium, televised sports teams, a marching band, a large Greek organization, national recognition, etc. While you have access to many different opportunities, your experience as a client can leave you feeling like “just a number,” especially when it comes to the personal touch of the services provided to you and personal attention from PEO staff. At the other extreme, a small PEO firm has the equivalent to an "independent study" college atmosphere. This setting would include lots of one-on-one time with the PEO firm owner.
The "Goldilocks" solution is the mid-size PEO. They have the proverbial technology and many of the features of the larger PEOs. You get the personalized attention such as with the smaller PEOs, but with much richer, more knowledgeable employees that can provide higher quality advice, benefits plans, and protection. Many large and mid-size PEO staff members are certified in their field of expertise such as HR, payroll, safety, or technology, and many have in-house counsel on which to rely for employment law advice. Finally, mid and larger-size PEO senior leadership teams are comprised of experts from the multitude of areas of business that PEOs interface with, such as banking, insurance, finance, sales, or technology.
PEOs That Meet this Criteria
So what does it all mean? Since our ultimate goal is to make business owners as informed as possible in their decision-making, we have compiled a list of four mid-sized PEOs that are both certified with the IRS and ESAC accredited:
1. AccessPoint: With eleven offices throughout Michigan, AccessPoint offers all of the PEO basics including human resources management, payroll, compliance and a specialty in risk management solutions. AccessPoint ranks in the top five staffing service companies for the greater Detroit area.
2. LyonsHR: LyonsHR's locations are mostly found in Alabama, with a few other offices scattered throughout Tennessee, North Carolina, Mississippi and Georgia. Like AccessPoint, they also offer staffing solutions in addition to PEO services.
3. Syndeo: Syndeo is a Kansas-based, independently owned human resources company. The Syndeo family of companies is made up of Syndeo Outsourcing — a full-service human resources outsourcing (HRO) provider, Syndeo Payroll Solutions — a full-service payroll services provider, and Syndeo Staffing — a full-service recruiting and staffing services provider.
4. Aureon: With offices in Kansas City and a corporate office in West Des Moines, Iowa, Aureon is the tech leader of Midwest PEOs. Aureon offers IT and communications solutions in addition to PEO and staffing services.
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