Case Studies

Legal - Poyner Spruill

Unicorn HRO Holds Court with Poyner Spruill


One of the top law firms in North Carolina with 25 attorneys named among The Best Lawyers in America® for 2012, Poyner Spruill knows a thing or two about professional excellence.

Poyner Spruill provides a comprehensive range of business and litigation legal services for clients throughout the Southeast.  One of the largest firms in North Carolina, Poyner Spruill has approximately 225 employees with offices in Charlotte, Raleigh, Rocky Mount, Southern Pines, and Wilmington.

Managing payroll, human resources (HR) processes, benefits, and 401(k) administration for 225 employees across 5 locations can be challenging for many HR departments, especially when there are only 3 full-time employees running it. In order to optimize resources, Director of Human Resources, Nina Long and her team needed to leverage a flexible technology solution to help them consolidate and automate their daily business processes.

“After switching between two large payroll providers in little over 18 months, we quickly realized that what we needed was a solution that was completely integrated. With our previous provider, there were issues associated with every payroll for 401(k) administration, which required additional time to reconcile accounts. My team and I decided that we could not bear another year-end on the current system,” said Long.

While HR is often tasked with many tactical duties such as time and attendance and vacation benefits, it is also responsible for looking at ways to continuously improve upon processes within the organization. By leveraging technology, Poyner Spruill had hoped to streamline many of its HR processes and roll out employee self-service functionality for further automation; however their experience with past providers left them discouraged.

Third Time’s A Charm

“We made the decision to go with the big names in the past and not only were we displeased with the solutions but customer service was lacking as well,” added Long.

For Long and her team, this was the last time they would have to experience another switch and implementation. Poyner Spruill selected Unicorn HRO’s iCON, a fully integrated human resource, payroll and benefits administration software solution. With iCON, Poyner Spruill was able to centralize all of its payroll information, HR processes, time and attendance processes as well as enable employee self-service through its web-based solution.

The advantage of true integration is the ability to do more with less and Poyner Spruill has been able to realize this with iCON. “Not only have we been impressed with iCON, the level of service we receive from the team at Unicorn HRO has been tremendous. We had a very short timeframe for implementation in order to run all of our year-end processes with iCON and the Unicorn HRO team was fabulous. They understood our needs and were flexible with our requests,” added Long.

One of the most pressing concerns for Poyner Spruill was the administration and remittance of 401(k) data to their banking partner. With previous providers, issues arose with every payroll processed, however the team at Unicorn HRO was able to create and customize the necessary file for acceptance by the banking partner. Now the data is seamlessly remitted with 100% accuracy.

Additionally, there was a need for an integrated time and attendance solution, something that was not implemented with the previous provider. iCON offers time and attendance functionality integrated into its HRIS/Payroll solution. “The manual processes associated with time sheets and tracking paid time off were huge drains on the department. With iCON, we have experienced a dramatic change in the ability to automate those processes and have been able to go paperless from a payroll and time sheet perspective,” said Long.

Another dramatic change for the employees at Poyner Spruill has been employee self-service. With a single sign-on ID, employees can access their pay stubs, K-1 and W-2 forms as well as time sheets and make changes to life events, benefits and 401(k) contributions. As a law firm, many of the employees receive K-1 forms for tax purposes instead of W-2’s. Unicorn HRO, having had experience with K-1 forms and law firms in the past, was able to meet the special requirements associated.

Partner for Success

“We chose to work with Unicorn HRO because of the intuitiveness and flexibility of the iCON solution and have had great success. However, what has impressed us the most has been the people. I cannot imagine working with better people than the Unicorn HRO team,” stated Long.

For Poyner Spruill it was important that Unicorn HRO was a smaller and more intimate company than previous vendors. “Not only was the solution flexible but so were the people. Our implementation specialist was extremely accessible and knowledgeable when it came to the product and I can confidently say that Unicorn HRO delivered exactly what they said they would,” added Long.

Poyner Spruill has been leveraging Unicorn HRO for over a year and has been able to increase the productivity of their HR department through streamlining the manual processes and automation. Looking ahead, Nina Long and her team are planning to roll out online open enrollment for benefits administration with iCON.