4 Startups Revolutionizing Small Business HR Plus One To Watch for Accounting

small business HR

Is your small business still manually onboarding employees? Are you concerned about maintaining compliance with new benefits laws, like ObamaCare, or how to effectively credit 401(k) contributions? As a solopreneur myself, I know how frustrating and time-consuming it can be to sort through stacks of employee and contractor paperwork.

Put an end to the madness with an automated small business HR solution so you can spend your time running your business — not worrying about all the administrative paperwork. From Zenefits in Silicon Valley to Smart Pension LTD in London, here are the top startups that are shaking up small business HR and benefits compliance on both sides of the pond.

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This hot startup recently expanded from simply offering automated payroll services to providing comprehensive HR benefits and compliance solutions that “just work” for small businesses. JustWorks manages compliance with all local, state and federal regulations, including payroll tax filing, 1099 filings, state and federal unemployment insurance, and worker’s compensation insurance. JustWorks also offers employment practice liability insurance and, for businesses with more than 50 employees, ACA compliance.


Despite coming under fire recently for a host of alleged poor business practices, Zenefits has still made a major impact on the world of HR and benefits compliance. Launched in early 2013, Zenefits brings together payroll, health insurance administration and compliance under a single umbrella — effectively automating all the time-consuming work that goes into managing employees from a single online dashboard. Zenefits may have become a victim of its own success, however.

Zenefits allegedly had software in place to help employees cheat on California’s online broker license courses and the New York Times recently labeled Zenefits “the defining scandal of the latest tech boom.” Despite the recent negative press, Zenefits succeeded in disrupting traditional HR, and the business is already preparing for its second act.

Smart Pension

Across the pond, British companies are shaking up the benefits compliance world, too. One to watch is Smart Pension, which streamlines auto-enrollment in various pension programs. Will Wynne, the company’s managing director, spent over a year researching, building and then testing the auto-enrollment platform.Compared with the old clunky and expensive service providers and other legacy systems that are still paper-based, Smart Pension Ltd. will be a breath of fresh air for any benefits coordinator. Smart Pension Ltd offers completely free auto-enrollment in workplace pensions. Plus, the company’s workforce assessment tool works alongside any payroll provider, eliminating the pain and cost of time-consuming pension administration.

Small Business Deals


This HR/benefits startup is based in New York City and provides an all-in-one payroll, benefits and talent management solution. Namely manages withholdings, timesheets, W-2s and more, keeping all HR data centralized and secure. While Namely lacks the robust compliance features available with Zenefits and JustWorks, users are particularly enthusiastic about Namely’s interface. Some even liken the interface to a “social media-esque” experience that makes users want to engage with it. That’s a pretty big bonus for HR staff that would otherwise be pouring over spreadsheets and manually managing data entry!


Yes, technically CountUp is an “accountant match-making service” and not an HR/compliance platform, but it’s certainly worth including on the list of startups that are shaking up the small business HR world. CountUp is a service that links small businesses with accountants on an as-needed basis. Even if you use a service like Wave, Freshbooks or Xero, you may still need an accountant to pop in and provide a little assistance come tax time? CountUp to the rescue! The platform is entirely free to use. Simply explain your accounting needs and CountUp will match you with the correct accountant specializing in your type of small business from its curated network of independent professionals. You can auto-assign accounting tasks as they come up without ever needing to visit an accountant. CountUp also allows business owners to send photos of documents to a CPA to review on the go for real-time feedback.

Bottom Line

Compliance is a tedious but necessary task that someone has to do. There’s just no reason that someone needs to be you! Consider shifting your burden of compliance onto one of these small business HR companies and put an end to sorting through new hire reports, COBRA management, pension enrollment, and other paperwork madness.

Human Resources Photo via Shutterstock

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Brian Hughes Brian is a seasoned digital marketing expert who loves to write about subjects that help small businesses grow their brands and increase their rankings online. He accomplishes this through his agency Integrity Marketing & Consulting, which he founded in 2011.

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