Press Releases

81% of Small Business Owners Handle HR Matters Internally – Spending People-Hours and Making Errors

Small Business Confidence Survey shows almost 30% of business owners concerned about managing HR issues

SAN LEANDRO, Calif. – September 29, 2014 – TriNet (NYSE: TNET), a leading cloud-based provider of HR services, today announced results of its Small Business Confidence Survey. The survey explores the opinions of U.S. small business owners with respect to issues such as their outlook on the state of their companies and on federal and state legislation. According to the survey, conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of TriNet, 81%[1] of respondents reported that they, as business owners, primarily handle core HR functions at their company. Only 2%[2] rely on outsourced HR consultants and firms.

In connection with the fact that only 2% of business owners outsource HR matters, the survey also found that:

  • 23%[3] of business owners lost staff to a competitor because they couldn’t match their benefits and/or compensation. Similarly, 22%[4] were not able to hire quality talent because they couldn’t match their competitors’ benefits and/or compensation.
  • About a third (34%)[5] of small business owners reported payroll errors, including: late disbursement of checks/direct deposit (13%)[6]; faulty record keeping (12%)[7]; withholding an incorrect amount for taxes (8%)[8]; overpayment of employees (8%)[9]; underpayment of employees (5%)[10].
  • 15%[11] of respondents said their company lost money because of inadequately tracking expenses, while the same percentage reported their staff had expensed items they shouldn’t have.
  • Subsequently, 30%[12] agreed that they are nervous about managing HR issues for their business.

A large percentage of small business owners are processing payroll themselves meaning they are still spending their own -people hours. According to the 2014 Small Business Taxation Survey[13] from The National Small Business Association (NSBA), some entrepreneurs spend the equivalent of 3 weeks a year dealing with payroll taxes. Eleven percent of those surveyed spend over 10 hours every month working on payroll taxes, while 43% spend between 3 and 10 hours a month. Additionally, when payroll mistakes occur, business owners might have an issue with the IRS and be forced to seek financial or legal restitution.

Supporting Quotes

Burton Goldfield, President and CEO, TriNet

“HR regulations are changing much more rapidly than they did in the past. This means it’s harder to stay on top of the latest rules and easier to make mistakes that can cost a company financially and legally. Even when business owners have dedicated internal HR staff, it can be hard for them to take care of the day-to-day needs of employees while also keeping on top of the latest regulations. That’s why it’s our goal to help business owners manage HR matters, so their time can be freed to focus on building their businesses.”

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This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Horn Group and their client TriNet between January 20-30, 2014 among 206 U.S. owners of small businesses with 10-49 employees. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Michelle Sieling at or 415-905-4013.

About TriNet

TriNet (NYSE: TNET) is a leading provider of a comprehensive human resources solution for small to medium-sized businesses, or SMBs. We enhance business productivity by enabling our clients to outsource their human resources, or HR, function to one strategic partner and allowing them to focus on operating and growing their core businesses. Our HR solution includes services such as payroll processing, human capital consulting, employment law compliance and employee benefits, including health insurance, retirement plans and workers compensation insurance. Our services are delivered by our expert team of HR professionals and enabled by our proprietary, cloud-based technology platform, which allows our clients and their employees to efficiently conduct their HR transactions anytime and anywhere. For more information, please visit

Media Contacts:

Jock Breitwieser                             Michelle Sieling

TriNet                                                    Horn Group     

(510) 875-7250                                      (415) 905-4013

TriNet, Ambitions Realized and the TriNet logo are registered trademarks of TriNet. All other trademarks, service marks, registered trademarks, or registered service marks are the property of their respective owners. 

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