BTerrell Group Blog

Buffer Gives Away Everything and Reveals What's Really Important in the Process

Posted by Brian Terrell on Fri, Aug 26, 2016

Early last year, I stumbled across a blog article on SaaS pricing authored by Leo Widrich, the Chief Operating Officer of Buffer. Buffer provides social media automation by helping companies large and small schedule and measure social content publishing. In the case of Twitter, Buffer allows a social media poster to spend a short amount of time creating enough tweets to publish over a longer period of time. Posting consistently Buffer_Gives_Away_Everything.jpgaccording to a schedule but at different times during the day makes sense as it can expand the audience and build engagement. Buffer makes this possible with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media platforms. And, Buffer offers pricing plans for individuals so that the tool is not just for business.

Leo's article, published December 16, 2014, offers an interesting glimpse into the books of a SaaS startup. From this and other articles on Buffer's blog site, I gather that the company started operations in early 2011. To the date of the article, they'd grown to over $441,000 per month in recurring revenue, 184,000 monthly active users, and 30 employees. [The most recent monthly financial report I found online, providing more current information, is dated July 2016.] In addition to the company's open book policy on financial performance through their company blog, they have a Transparency Dashboard providing up to the minute details on key performance indicators so observers can do their own fact checking at any time. Take a look at this dashboard - it includes an amazing minute by minute feed revealing changes in the subscriber database - incredible!

What risk does Buffer assume by disclosing everything online - from their chart of accounts to their source code? They must think this transparency represents no real and present danger to their business model or intellectual property. I suspect they know that human beings comprise the real value in any knowledge business. The most important ingredient in Buffer's secret sauce isn't the software code but rather the folks using that IP as a tool to execute against the company's strategy. This makes sense to me, as I've noticed in our own business that even when we describe to our clients exactly how to do something, they still hire us to do the work. Decision makers just want to know a professional has the knowledge to get the job done so they can let them do it. After all, they want to spend their time serving existing customers and winning new ones - just like the rest of us. 

Knowledge represents the inventory in all service companies, and these companies don't own the means of producing that inventory. So, managing human capital means everything. We need to be good team players by creating a rewarding, purposeful, and flexible culture. We need happy places to work, and we never need to test the patience of our people by making life difficult with brutal HR processes and outdated technology! That's why BTerrell built Workforce Go! to integrate Ameriflex Workforce and Intacct. In a world where it's not easy to manage workforce culture, we want to provide Intacct client companies with every possible advantage in service and technology. Buffer provides not only an excellent example of a company that's "been there, done that," but also a pretty good online playbook.

By BTerrell Group, Texas- based Intacct Partner

Tags: Workforce Go!

A Study in Unintended Consequences - ACA Results in Shorter Employee Workweeks

Posted by Brian Terrell on Mon, May 18, 2015

The construction industry seems to be booming in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, so I was surprised to recently hear of a young man in Dallas having trouble finding a job working 40 hours per week in that industry. As I considered the situation, I realized that many companies may be lowering the number of hours available to employees, and this could be an unintended consequence of Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements taking effect in January 2015.

UNINTENDED_CONSEQUENCES

The ACA requires employers to provide coverage or pay a penalty based on the number of employees working 30 or more hours per week. The Employer Shared Responsibility provision of this statute defines a full-time employee as an individual employed on average at least 30 hours of service per week, and this provision applies only to employers with 100 full-time employees starting in 2015 (50 full-time employees starting in 2016).

As a result, many companies across various industries are changing scheduling activities. According to Fox Business, Mercer, a human resources consulting company, conducted a survey that concluded that 12% of all U.S. employers reported plans to reduce workers’ hours as a direct result of the ACA. Fox Business also reported that in a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 41% of 603 small business owners said they have delayed hiring because of the federal healthcare law. One in five had already cut hours when the survey results were published. A report from the UC Berkeley Labor Center shows which workers are most at risk of reduced work hours under the ACA.

Constuctionbusinessowner.com suggests seven steps to prepare for ACA regulations including tracking employee work hours and determining who you must cover, but I suggest leaving the details to the experts to help avoid penalties. Luckily for Intacct users, AmeriFlex Workforce (integrated with Intacct through WorkforceGo!) helps make ACA compliance monitoring easy by simplifying processes around ACA compliance, providing accurate visibility into average hours worked by full-time and part-time employees (including the look-back and stability periods), and automating benefits eligibility notification and open enrollment.

Contact us for more information about AmeriFlex Workforce and how it can help simplify ACA compliance for your company.

Tags: Affordable Care Act, ACA, AmeriFlex, Workforce Go!, ACA compliance,

Buffer Gives Away Everything and Reveals What's Really Important in the Process

Posted by Brian Terrell on Fri, Feb 27, 2015

Recently, I stumbled across a blog article on SaaS pricing authored by Leo Widrich, the Chief Marketing Officer of Buffer. Buffer provides social media automation by helping companies large and small schedule and measure social content publishing. In the case of Twitter, Buffer allows a social media poster to spend a short amount of time creating enough tweets to publish over a longer period of time. Posting consistently according to a schedule but at different times during the day makes sense as it can expand the audience and build engagement. Buffer makes this possible with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media platforms. And, Buffer offers pricing plans for individuals so that the tool is not just for business.


 2-27image1

 

Leo's article, published December 16, 2014, offers an interesting glimpse into the books of a SaaS startup. From this and other articles on Buffer's blog site, I gather that the company started operations in early 2011. Since then, they've grown to over $441,000 per month in recurring revenue, 184,000 monthly active users, and 30 employees. In addition to the company's open book policy on financial performance through their company blog, they have a Transparency Dashboard providing up to the minute details on key performance indicators so observers can do their own fact checking at any time.

What risk does Buffer assume by disclosing everything online - from their chart of accounts to their source code? They must think this transparency represents no real and present danger to their business model or intellectual property. I suspect they know that human beings comprise the real value in any knowledge business. The most important ingredient in Buffer's secret sauce isn't the software code but rather the folks using that IP as a tool to execute against the company's strategy. This makes sense to me, as I've noticed in our own business that even when we describe to our clients exactly how to do something, they still hire us to do the work. Decision makers just want to know a professional has the knowledge to get the job done so they can let them do it. After all, they want to spend their time serving existing customers and winning new ones - just like the rest of us. 

Knowledge represents the inventory in all service companies, and these companies don't own the means of producing that inventory. So, managing human capital means everything. We need to be good team players by creating a rewarding, purposeful, and flexible culture. We need happy places to work, and we never need to test the patience of our people by making life difficult with brutal HR processes and outdated technology! That's why we built Workforce Go! to integrate AmeriFlex Workforce and Intacct. In a world where it's not easy to manage workforce culture, we want to provide our client companies with every possible advantage in service and technology. Buffer provides not only an excellent example of a company that's "been there, done that," but also a pretty good online playbook.

To learn more about contributing to a happy workplace by enabling your workforce to self serve and automate human resource functions using Intacct and AmeriFlex Workforce, contact us.

Tags: business process, Workforce Go!

An Overview of Third Party Payer Arrangements

Posted by Brian Terrell on Wed, Jan 28, 2015

Outsourcing payroll processing, payroll tax remitting, and related tax duties to a third party can be a great idea for many companies; however, I encourage our Workforce Go! clients to stay on top of the rules related to third party payer arrangements set by the IRS in section 16 of Circular E, whether they choose to outsource the responsibility or not. To reinforce the importance, I am summarizing the main points for you in this blog post.

Third_Party_Payer_Arrangements

First, even though a third party is tasked to make deposits and payments on your behalf, you, as the employer, may be liable for taxes, penalties, and interest due.

Second, the IRS strongly recommends the employer’s address remain the address of record for any correspondence. Having correspondence sent directly to the third party payer sounds like a good idea to streamline the process, but it can also limit your ability to be informed about tax matters related to your business.

Finally, the IRS lists four common third party payers in this year’s Circular E. I recommend knowing and following IRS guidelines on whom to contract to perform payroll and related tax duties. The descriptions and liability vary among the four so I listed them here, along with a few notes on each one.

Payroll service provider (PSP):
A PSP helps administer payroll and payroll related duties on your behalf, using your EIN. Make sure the PSP uses EFTPS to make federal deposits so you can confirm the payments are made

Reporting agent:
A reporting agent is a type of PSP who may electronically sign and file forms using the employer's EIN. Employers must use Form 8655 to authorize a reporting agent to perform these functions on your behalf.

Agent with approved Form 2678:
An agent with an approved Form 2678 is authorized to perform certain functions using its own EIN. When using this agent, you and the agent are jointly liable for employment taxes and related tax duties for which the agent is authorized to perform

Payer designated under section 3504:
In some cases, the IRS may designate a third party payer on your behalf to perform certain employer duties. This payer performs tax duties under a service agreement using its own EIN. When using this designated payer, you and the payer are jointly liable for the employment taxes and related duties for which the third party payer is designated. Such payers include employee leasing companies and professional employer organizations.

Fortunately, our Workforce Go! partner, AmeriFlex Business Solutions is a trusted PSP and reporting agent with, in some cases, an approved Form 2678. However, Workforce Go! customers are not limited to outsourced payroll. With AmeriFlex Workforce Management Solution, users can either process payroll in house or outsource the responsibility, which, in my opinion, is the best of both worlds!

I encourage employers to read through the guidelines laid out by the IRS in this year’s Circular E to weigh the options, and contact us to learn more about Workforce Go! and AmeriFlex Workforce.

Tags: 1099, Workforce Go!, third party payer arrangements,