After 15 years with a large wealth management company, Derrick Jackson decided to set up his own practice and brought on a trusted operations pro, Roxanne Kirk, to help him. The new business launched September, 2020; five months after Roxanne had her first child. Counter-intuitively, in such a high-value consulting business where clients get accustomed to doing things in a certain way, it turned out to be a great time to start a new business, and to support it with a new mom. The pandemic gave Ryleigh Wealth Management a huge silver lining: flexibility.
“It was actually a positive thing for us,” says Roxanne, Ryleigh Wealth Management’s Operations Manager. “We didn’t need to lease office space and pay for rent we didn’t need. And daycare for my infant son, Wesley, in the early months of COVID was not working out: seeing everyone in masks terrified him.” So the option to work from home was perfect for each of them.
“We launched a brand new business as a two-person company. Derrick is a licensed wealth manager, and does all the billable client work. I do everything else to run the business, so building standard operations procedures and systems—right—and right from the start, was critical for me to ensure we have a foundation to support our planned growth,” adds Roxanne.
“Our first priority was to have a payroll system to integrate with Xero for seamless accounting. And we wanted everything to run like a well-oiled machine.”
The company’s accounting firm suggested Gusto, but Roxanne wanted something to grow with them, that was intuitive, accessible from anywhere and would quickly pay for itself. She’d used Zenefits in the past and knew she could count on the technology and on the support team.
Making Change Easier
In Wealth Management, many clients are used to long-established ways to conduct business including in person meetings, hand-signed forms, and working with a proven and trusted counselor. With the exception of the counselor, the rest of the business details required transformation during 2020. Clients quickly got accustomed to e-signatures and Zoom meetings, which eventually gave way to meetings in their homes.
While Derrick navigated that client transformation, Roxanne built out the business infrastructure. All from her home, with an infant who quickly learned to walk and to test all the safety infrastructure she’d created at home. She leaned into Zenefits to centralize all of the company record-keeping in one place, streamlining the process, and ensuring better compliance.
“Before the notorious year of 2020 we worked 100% from the office. We did not even have full access to our email from home. When COVID-19 hit and we had to close down our physical office for the health and safety of our staff and clients we had to re-think all our business operations. I don’t know what we would have done without the mobile app capability Zenefits provided. We initially connected with Zenefits for the payroll, but now that we have employees able to clock in and out on their phones I don’t think we’ll ever go back!
“Zenefits Payroll is integrated with Xero and it saves me so much time. As we add more people, accounting will get more complicated too, so payroll is one less thing I’ll have to worry about.
The simplicity of the Zenefits payroll system gives me confidence and more time to chase after a one-year-old at home. I can’t think of another payroll system that is that easy!
Ryleigh Wealth Management
Zenefits Helped Us Learn What We didn’t Know About Setting Up a Business
“Even though I had experience with Zenefits, this was the first time either of us had set up a business, so we didn’t know what we didn’t know. Having Zenefits as a resource was incredible. We have everything in one place and advisors to go to for starting out the right way.
“For example, as we set up for our first payroll, Zenefits’ team helped us register for EFTPS (Electronic Funds Tax Paying System) which you have to register for before your first pay run to pay taxes online across jurisdictions. An easy Zenefits Help Center link had everything we needed.”
Other examples of how Ryleigh is using Zenefits and planning to grow into it include:
- Handbook Builder: “I was able to use it over the weekend. In 20 minutes I’d built out our first Employee Handbook that would have taken me weeks.”
- Time and Attendance: “It’s great to know we have that functionality in there. When we hire more non-billable team members, we will have an auditable trail of all of those records.”
- Compliance: “It’s easier to start a business by doing it right from the start versus transitioning from spreadsheets. Record keeping all in one place with Zenefits helps us stay compliant.”
- Payroll: “Payroll is incredible. It takes me less than five minutes. The sync with Xero is great, I can pay those bills in two clicks: ‘export’ and ‘ok.’” Other bills take me 5-7 minutes each, manually. Also, consultants wanted to charge us $500 a month for something I can do myself in Zenefits in less than an hour. I love that it’s so intuitive.”
- Performance Management: “As a wealth manager, Derrick is very metrics focused. We keep our business goals and progress in Zenefits along with my goals. We appreciate the graphical views and options to review our progress quarterly.”
- Ah-ha’s: “We selected Zenefits for payroll and its sync to Xero, but I have mini ah-ha’s all the time with new tools, tips and resources like the ClubZen community to help me build mastery, easily.”
“With only two people, we wear a lot of hats. When it comes to HR and Payroll, now it’s just done with Zenefits. Now, we need to plan for business growth so will lean on Zenefits to ensure a single automated source for all of our documentation, policies, onboarding flow…and more that I keep finding as I click around in the system.
“As we bring on new advisors, Zenefits will give them a great first impression of our professionalism, which is invaluable.”
Oh, and Roxanne’s other “hat” as a new mom? She and Wesley have made progress there too. He’s enjoying a new preschool routine and when he’s home, she wraps up a day of work on the patio, singing and playing with him in between doing her payroll reporting. “Zenefits payroll is so easy: it gives me 20-30 minutes back to enjoy more time with my son.”
Roxanne’s story also secured her a Zenefits 2021 Remote Work POPS Star customer award. It’s gratifying for us to learn how our products and services can help level the playing field for small businesses, for their people…and for new parents!