Counting the Benefits of Outsourcing Human Resource Needs

Article excerpt

A business owner could easily spend 25 percent of his or her time just handling employee-related paperwork, according to a Small Business Administration study. If finding that kind of time is difficult for the owner of an established company, it's really tough on entrepreneurs just starting out.

Owners of startup companies need all the time they can get just to establish their business. This is especially true for the owners of startup biotechnology companies, since they are likely still researching and developing their products.

While time is precious, the legal considerations and the impact on work force quality make human resources a subject that is not to be taken lightly. The solution for many business owners with more tasks than time has been to outsource human resources services to a professional employer organization, or PEO.

Dale Hageman is president and CEO of Accord Human Resources, an Oklahoma City-based PEO. Hageman also serves as president-elect of the Oklahoma Venture Forum, a nonprofit organization designed to support and entrepreneurs in the state.

Accord is making a concerted effort to market their services to biotechnology startup companies, said Hageman. We have a commitment as a company to the biotech community and to their growth, because we think it's a great economic development (tool) for Oklahoma City, said Hageman. If Oklahoma City is more prosperous, then we're all more prosperous.

Formerly the chief financial officer for commercial real estate firm Price Edwards & Co., Hageman founded Accord 12 years ago. Today, Accord serves more than 700 clients in 48 states, managing human resources services for more than 11,000 employees. Revenues for 2002 exceeded $350 million.

The Oklahoma Venture Forum, or OVF, holds monthly meetings in downtown Oklahoma City where investors, entrepreneurs and others come together. Hageman joined OVF about five years ago.

I got invited by a couple of the current board members - one attorney and one banker, said Hageman regarding how he got involved in the OVF. They wanted representation from small business on the board, and a growth company.

They knew we were already working with a lot of small companies and startup companies and helping them, and that's part of what (OVF is) about, Hageman continued. We had some connections and some insights, maybe, that would be a little bit different. And we were a growth company ourselves, so we'd been experiencing some of these things on our own.

Hageman become more involved in the network of companies and state agencies that works to support technology-based startups. The Oklahoma Technology Commercialization Center, under contract with the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement for Science and Technology, works to connect entrepreneurs with the people who can help them succeed.

Several biotech startup companies in Oklahoma are located within the Presbyterian Health Foundation's Research Park in Oklahoma City, which works in partnership with several federal, state and local agencies. A number of other foundations and public-private partnerships exist for the purpose of helping entrepreneurs succeed in their efforts to bring more highly skilled, highly paid jobs to Oklahoma. The organizations involved in the process often refer entrepreneurs to companies and agencies that can help them, such as Accord.

Though Accord's typical client has between 10 and 200 employees, the company still takes on biotech startups that sometime only have a handful of employees. We feel these are going to be the future great companies in Oklahoma and the U.S., so we provide them with the same services as the big companies, said Hageman.

Current Accord biotech clients include Anodyne Technologies, ARL Bio Pharma, Commercial Technology Group, DNA Solutions, Ekips Technologies, Intergentics and Zymetx.

Dealing with benefits and tax administration can be very distracting, said Hageman. …