Member Spotlight: Alcott HR

Alcott HR has helped hundreds of small and medium sized companies grow by providing a comprehensive, flexible HR outsourcing program. They have also been a highly engaged Partnership member since 2013. In this Member Spotlight, we spoke with Tim Finney, who is the Director of Alcott’s WNY office.

Q: What is the biggest benefit of being in the region?
A: Quality of Life! My family loves the seasonal changes and the activities that pair well with it. From running, basketball, fall fishing and skiing, we love WNY ‘s landscape. A close second are the people that live in the region. Friendly, approachable, and civic minded are traits that I would state to define Western New Yorkers.

Q: Tell us something about your company that would surprise people.
A: We helped pioneer the Professional Employer Organization (PEO) industry! Alcott HR, the oldest PEO based in New York and the first PEO to be registered in New York State, has long been an advocate for the highest standards of quality assurance for PEOs. We were one of the nation’s first PEOs to become an Employer Services Assurance Corporation (E.S.A.C.) accredited PEO and as such is backed by over $15 million of financial assurance (sure bond).

Q: What are you most proud of regarding your company?
A: I’m proud of the level of talent that Alcott has hired. I have a high level of confidence promoting Alcott’s HR, payroll, and benefits administration services due to the competent and professional Human Resource staff we have. We have doubled our employee size in the past 4 years going from 17 employees in 2013, to a current 34 employees! All HR professionals carry one or two HR designations in their HR functional area. Our growth is a result of satisfied client and community referrals that allow us to share HR compliance services to small and medium sized companies that want operational efficiency which translates to saving time and money.

Q: What’s new with your company?
A: Recently, Alcott became one of the first PEO’s in the country to become certified by the IRS. This process was voluntary. Our clients that enter into a qualifying relationship with us as a Certified-PEO are not liable for obligations regarding their federal employment and payroll taxes. There was a rigorous application process that we successfully passed, and as a result, shows our financial integrity.

Q: What is the best quality of your company’s employees?
Knowledgeable. The labor laws in this country are constantly changing, both at the state and federal level. Our HR team, along with our in-house legal team, does a wonderful job informing our clients of what they need to know from an employer perspective. In addition, my teammates interface with our clients employees, directly, to make sure we can support them with their needs.

Q: What is the biggest struggle of being a business in the region?
A: Being an employer. Period. Not just here in WNY, but anywhere. Companies wish to focus on mission and revenue generating activities. However, operational and HR related tasks suck up their time and take their focus away from activities that grow their brand. Having the discipline to partner and outsource with vetted, “industry best” organizations is paramount to your success.

Q: What is the biggest benefit of being a Partnership member?
A: Connecting with with others. I am able to share leads and introduce those I know with new contacts. Its a wonderful feeling to be a connector. It creates success for the community I live in. I think we’re all seeing the positive growth and community changes during the last few years. The Partnership is right there at the center of this growth. Working with private, non profit, and community leaders to make sure we’re working together. If you want to get involved, they allow you to participate, and I do.

Q: What is your hope for the future of the Buffalo/Niagara business community?
A: That the communication between the private and public sector continues to be open and that the dialogue is always about advancing to the goal of improving the quality of life for all WNY citizens. It is happening now. However, as leadership positions change over time, we must demand and participate with those new leaders to ensure we don’t get off track.

Q: How do you see the Buffalo Niagara Partnership growing business in the region?
A: Through its programming and to interview its members as to what they want from the Partnership. Its a two way street though. In order to get, you must give. Not just money, but your expertise and effort to make the Partnership a functional, efficient machine that connects, educates and rewards its businesses and leaders.

Q: What is your top future concern for Buffalo’s business community?
A: Helping employers fill vacant positions, especially the skilled trades. As tradespeople retire, and less students attend vocational/trades schools or apprenticeships, our manufacturers struggle to find employees.