By Amber Mabe
Owning and operating a small business can be an exciting adventure. Not only is it part of the American Dream at large, but it is a personal dream for people from all walks of life. However, running a business can sometimes be time consuming and overwhelming. When it comes to something like payroll, Jane and Mark Sunter, founders of ChoicePay HCM, believe that business owners should be able to rely on someone who will make the process easy and efficient.
Mark and Jane say it was either sheer luck or divine intervention that brought them to Kernersville from Florida 28 years ago. “We called a realtor in the Greensboro/Winston Salem area to start looking for a place to live,” says Mark. “That person just happened to work out of the Kernersville office. Got off the plane and drove to her office and that was it. That changed our life.” Although leaving family and friends was difficult, Mark and Jane knew they wanted a better life for their growing family. “By moving to Kernersville, we made our decision to make family and fun first,” he says. “All together, or not at all.”
What started as a natural offshoot of Mark’s CPA practice which has served business owners in the Triad faithfully over the last two decades in a way that only a local business can. “We’ve always been a family-owned business,” says Jane, “really customer-oriented and customer-driven.” This allows ChoicePay to relate to their clients in a personal, tangible way. For years, Mark and Jane have worked together like a well-oiled machine, making ChoicePay a name synonymous with reliability and small-town values. But with time comes change, and as ChoicePay began to expand service to multiple states and their clients’ businesses continued to grow and flourish, Mark and Jane knew that it was time for them to grow as well.
Mark and Jane’s son, Austin, joined the team after graduating from college at UNCG. Austin brought with him a wealth of technical knowledge and a desire to help ChoicePay expand their capabilities. By partnering with Ultimate Kronos Group (UKG), ChoicePay gained access to a powerful new system that allows them to manage their clients’ payroll, time and attendance, and human resources. “We wanted to branch into being able to offer our clients all of these different things under one roof,” says Austin, “and with this new system the speed and efficiency has been notched up times ten. It is completely cloud based, so our clients can run it from anywhere.” These changes moved ChoicePay into its next generation, adding Human Capital Management (HCM) to the name. “When we have a client and they begin to grow, we’re able to grow with them,” Mark says. Becoming integrated with their clients’ businesses and helping them become even more successful continues to be ChoicePay’s motivation to stay at the top of their game in both technology and service. “People use this term lightly, but we really are partnering with those businesses to help them achieve their goals,” says Mark.
Being on the cutting edge of technology does not mean ChoicePay will lose its small-town feeling, however. Austin says what sets them apart from larger corporations is the ability to work with clients on a personal, one-on-one basis. “Anybody you call here at ChoicePay will be the one that is doing your payroll, or the person that you signed up with,” he says. ChoicePay does not outsource their calls. “Our support is done here, our implementation is done here, our processing is done here. Everything is done within the small group of people in our office. It’s a tight knit relationship.” Unlike national payroll services that can seem unreachable or impersonal, ChoicePay’s local mindset allows them to be involved and accessible whenever a need arises. The additional benefit of Mark’s CPA expertise gives clients access to financial consultation concerning tax issues, legislation, or other legal matters, saving business owners time and added stress.
Covid-19 has changed the landscape on how businesses operate. ChoicePay allows them to adapt to these changes and to be flexible. Companies have moved from all employees working together in one location to having employees and owners located anywhere. This means that employee information comes in from many different sources, and then that information must be made available to employees and employers anytime and anywhere. This is something that ChoicePay prides themselves on being able to provide for their customers.
The Sunter family also believes in investing in the next generation of Kernersville residents. Austin volunteered as a volleyball coach at the local YMCA for many years as well as coaching multiple sports at East Forsyth High School. He also coaches at a local homeschool organization along with coaching volleyball at Salem College and Champion Volleyball Club. Austin says he loves the opportunity to give good things back to the local community. ChoicePay has a long history of supporting the local community, as they believe strongly in supporting the community that supports them. ChoicePay is involved in events of the YMCA, Chamber of Commerce, various local churches, the Shepherd’s Center, and Rotary events. One of their favorite community events is the Bright Beginnings, hosted by the Kernersville YMCA, which provides kids across the Triad with backpacks filled with back-to-school necessities.
The decision 25 years ago to work together as a family was one that Mark and Jane are happy they made. Both of their children have worked in the business at some point in time, but they have never missed a dance practice, AAU practice, school practice, or game. “Our values are family. I would say we treat all our clients like family. The values of family are respect, trust, teaching, caring, and being there. And that is what we do,” says Mark. “We have run our business the same way and will continue to have that same mindset in the future. Your family is first, then have fun. We enjoy what we do, and it shows. It’s not work if you’re having fun. Unlike other professional offices, we pride ourselves in being friendly and caring.”
“We invite people to call us and see the difference.” For more information, visit ChoicePayHCM.com or call 336-992-0125.