Professional bookkeeping services like ours can work wonders for a small business. HR services and consulting firm Human Elements is one of those companies—we’re proud to count them among our clientele. Human Elements provides a wide range of technology-based human resources management services and consulting. Owner Sam Tannios relates the company’s mission to help small businesses excel, what makes them stand out, and how MSBP is helping the organization better manage its money.

Tell us about your business—the services and products you provide, and the organizations you serve.

We provide an automated HR solution designed for businesses with 50 employees or less. Services include HR technology and everything that encompasses, such as payroll; HRIS; electronic onboarding; benefits enrollment and management; and performance, document and time management. Human Elements offers its expertise and guidance to help companies use it, understand their workforce, and maximize their return on their investment in their employees. I love being a small business owner, and I want other owners to love it, too. We help those companies do what they do best, by doing what we do best.

What common missteps do most small businesses make with HR management?

Most small businesses don’t think of hiring people and what that process really looks like. They say their employees are their most important asset, but it’s a buzzword. If you were going to buy a car, you’d want to know how you’re going to store it, pay for it, insure it, and determine other things going into owning that vehicle. Small business owners don’t spend the time or the effort to do the same for the most important asset in their organization, and they don’t pay attention to it until it’s a problem.

What sets your small business apart from other outfits providing similar products and services?

Our goal is to be a resource, a way to help the organization to grow itself, and get out of its own way if necessary. A lot of other organizations are really just there to provide administration—our focus is on the entire organization, and how do we get your organization from being just another widget maker in the marketplace, to being THE widget maker.

What were some of your biggest obstacles in getting your company off the ground?

Small businesses get sold a lot of things that are supposedly great solutions, but those vendors treat every business the same way. I wanted to create something customizable enough to be able to meet the existing demands of small businesses, to grow with them and support them through that growth. It took us a long time to find a software partner that understood our goals and shared our same vision. It also took time for the marketplace to catch up.

What was your financial situation before connecting with MSBP’s professional bookkeeping services?

I ran my finances quite embarrassingly, just based on watching my checking account. I would scramble at the end of the year to make everything work, and then do all my tax planning, etc. the following year, file my taxes on extension in September, and finally finish off my personal finances in October. MSBP has been able to help straighten out the books so I understand what’s coming in, where it’s been coming in from, and what it meant to my bottom line. Second was to understand where the money ebbs and flows, whereas before I was guessing. Understanding how all of that works and why, and also grasp the philosophy of my organization, helped me understand where my money was going, and how to use it more appropriately. I needed to make strategic and important decisions.

There were areas where I would spend money haphazardly on certain categories. Now, I’m less likely to spoil a client that’s worth $1200 a year by taking them to a $50 lunch. I still value that relationship, so I might take them to a coffee, bring them a dozen donuts, or send them a tchotchke every year. I need to say, “Is this client and this relationship worth this kind of investment?” With Daliah’s help, I’ve been able to better understand that and think strategically.

What convinced you to engage MSBP’s services?

I don’t like talking about finance. I would rather be dragged across a cheese grater naked than go through my finances. Daliah really meets me where I am. She’ll help me strategize, listen to what I’m trying to say, and where I want the business to be. She does a really good job of helping me understand, and of accommodating my fruit-fly attention span. She doesn’t speak to me in accountant talk—she speaks to me in my language.

In what ways has MSBP helped change your small business for the better?

Sam Tanios, Human Elements

In addition to getting my books done on time, this is the second year in a row I’ve had all of my accounts done and to my accountant before the tax deadline. This is the first time I’ve been ahead of schedule. That alone is a tremendous burden off my shoulders.

What are your business’s short- and long-term goals?

Over the next three years, our expansion goal should put our revenue at four times where we are now. Because of Daliah, I have a better understanding when I’m making my future plans of what kinds of revenues I can expect, how to price things out appropriately, how to get the most money out of every client, and how to make sure I’m not giving away things I shouldn’t. Because of a change in the service line for me, it makes very small clients significantly more profitable, both from above the line and below the line.

What would you say to a small business professional about MSBP’s professional bookkeeping services?

Daliah is not a bookkeeper. If you want somebody to just enter numbers for you, then she isn’t the person for you. If you want somebody that can understand why the numbers aren’t going where they’re supposed to, strategize with you why that’s happening, figure how to counteract and adjust for it, account for it, find ways to budget, and have a controller in for a fraction of what hiring a controller would cost, that’s her biggest value. I’d describe her as a storyteller—she tells the story of your business, using information and numbers. That story is the story of your organization. Numbers don’t lie. If you want a truthful, honest story of your organization and how it runs, she’s the one that can help you tell it.

Keep watching for additional spotlights on MSBP’s clients in the coming weeks (check out the Fox River Spa & Salon profile if you missed it). If you’d like to join them, reach out to Daliah@MySmallBusinessPro and we’ll tell you all about our professional bookkeeping services.