Pamela Evette brings more than 20 years of financial management, compliance and controller experience and an entrepreneurial spirit to her role as President/CEO of Quality Business Solutions. A trained accountant and former CFO, Evette’s primary expertise is in building Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), firms that provide a service under which an employer can outsource employee management tasks, such as payroll, employee benefits and workers' compensation, recruiting, risk/safety management, and training and development. Under her leadership, QBS has grown exponentially, experienced revenue growth of nearly $300 million over the past three years, making it a $1 billion dollar enterprise. QBS has been honored as one of the best places to work in its home state of South Carolina and as one of the Inc. 5000 fastest growing companies in the United States.
How did you get into the industry?
I have always been someone who loves numbers and my undergraduate degree is in Accounting and Finance. After college, I began my career in public accounting, which led me to taking on the role of Controller within corporations. While working as a controller, I was introduced to the world of payroll and ended up meeting the man who many consider as the founder of the PEO (Professional Employer Organization) industry.
Any emerging industry trends?
In our industry, we are constantly having to navigate the ever-changing regulatory landscape. Our team works diligently to stay current on new rules and regulations to ensure compliance for ourselves and our customers. In particular, in the world of Payroll and HR, the biggest thing on our horizon are the new Department of Labor FLSA regulations surrounding employee classification and overtime pay requirement changes. We have been working closely with many of our clients on prospects to ensure they have the proper systems in place prior to these changes going into effect on Dec 1, 2016.
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
In addition to the U.S. DOL’s new FLSA regulation changes, ACA has been and continues to be a challenge. ACA is a big burden for us to shoulder for our clients. It is incredibly complex and has seen continuous updates since it was first mandated. It’s our job to ensure we fully understand ACA’s complexities so we can take this burden away from our clients.
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?
I started my career in the field of public accounting and shortly thereafter, learned about the PEO (Professional Employer Organization) industry when I was interviewing and hired on as a Controller for a family owned conglomerate in Ohio. After that, I went to work for a software company and worked alongside PEOs as a PEO Controller and then as a PEO Consultant. After many years consulting with PEOs, I started QBS. I saw a huge opportunity to help businesses succeed by utilizing the experience, knowledge and expertise of the QBS leadership in the areas of Payroll, HR and Benefits to create a single access point for outsourcing complex, time-consuming administrative functions to growing businesses.
What's next for the Business in the near future?
At QBS, we are planning to continue to expand our footprint – both regionally and nationally. We are currently in the final stages of attaining our WBE Certification and we hope to utilize this to also expand more into the Woman-Owned business space. In terms of major developments, QBS is continuously looking for ways to innovate and streamline our business to make things easier for all parties. In 2016 we rolled out a new onboarding program and we will continue to bring on new systems that utilize technology in order to benefit our clients.
Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?
At QBS, we are passionate about delivering an exceptional level of customer service. Over the years, we can contribute a significant portion of our growth to positive word of mouth and direct referrals from our clients. We are also a 100% Woman-Owned business and, in the past few years, we have increased our focus and participation in this area. Our President & CEO Pamela Evette has become more involved with WBE (Women’s Business Enterprise) and WPO (Women Presidents Organization) to continue to grow our presence in this space. Beyond this, we are always looking for innovative ways to use technology to improve our efficiency, effectiveness, security and to make things easier for our team members and clients. We have added employee onboarding to our technological capabilities which allows our systems to not only accept information from time and attendance devices, but also to send information to the time clocks to update data electronically. In terms of security, we have undergone a SSAE 16 SOC 1 Type II audit on our systems each of the past six years.
Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)
There was a time when a hurricane hit Alabama and all of our payroll packages for 300 facilities were in a FedEx building that had collapsed. We realized that a great deal of the folks waiting on these paychecks, especially those who had been hardest hit by this storm, were depending on getting their payroll in order to help make ends meet. We knew we had to take immediate action to help. The storm hit on a Friday night, and by Saturday morning, we were in the office. We reprinted the checks, packaged them, and our COO met someone from our client office halfway between Greenville and Alabama to deliver those checks. I don’t know if this was a turning point in our business, but I do know that it was in this instance – and instances similar to these that may not be as significant – where we are able to show our clients how much we value them, their business and their employees.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
At QBS, our clients are truly our number one focus. Unlike many of the larger PEO providers, each of our clients is assigned a dedicated QBS representative that is just a phone call or email away. If a particular client has a question or need, our team members are there to provide a timely, individualized solution. At the same time, if a client needs to contact QBS for any reason, they are able to call directly rather than having to navigate a customer service call center. We take the time to get to know you, your business and your needs. Also, as mentioned above, unlike many of our competitors QBS has a SSAE 16 SOC 1 Type 2 system certification. As a result, we can offer our clients an extremely high level of security as it relates to the processing integrity, confidentiality and privacy of their data.
How do you motivate others?
The culture of QBS is very collaborative and many of our team members have developed strong friendships with each other. We encourage our team members share ideas for improvement and help out other team members whenever possible. We also make it a point to recognize employees for exceptional work – both with public accolades and with year-end bonuses based on performance. We believe that the combination of our culture and recognition creates a strong feeling of pride and ownership among our team members. They want to do well in order to help the entire team be successful.
Career advice to those in your industry?
We would advise anyone working in our field to align themselves with quality vendors from the start. It is extremely important to partner with companies who specialize in the Payroll/PEO industry so these vendors can be sensitive to the challenges we face on a daily basis. Our clients place a great deal of trust in us and we need to ensure we have strong vendors that help us consistently meet, or exceed, our clients’ expectations.
I would also encourage everyone, not just those in the PEO industry, to not be afraid to take risks. While taking risks will sometimes result in failures, avoiding risk entirely eliminates the possibility to achieve significant gains. Instead of getting comfortable when your business is doing well, keep thinking about new and different ways to approach a problem in order to create innovative solutions. It’s important for leaders and managers to actively balance risk and reward.