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How This Company Is Helping Businesses Find Zen in Human Resource Paperwork Zenefits benefits-management software might be a busy entrepreneur's best friend -- but is it a benefits provider's worst nightmare?

By Jason Ankeny Edited by Frances Dodds

This story appears in the October 2015 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

David Fenton
Taming the time suck: Zenefits CEO Parker Conrad.

Human resources, most would say, is a monumental pain in the ass.

The volume of paperwork facing small businesses is staggering: Beyond hiring and firing employees, HR encompasses the benefits that attract and retain staffers, like healthcare packages, investment options, vacation time, transportation subsidies and retirement plans. The field also spans everything from payroll management to regulatory compliance—state and federal tax laws, as well as reforms like the Affordable Care Act, each with its own nuances and complexities.

In the absence of a dedicated HR manager—a luxury many small businesses simply can't afford—all of this falls squarely on the founder's desk. The impact is enormous. According to nonprofit entrepreneurial advisory Score, HR responsibilities devour between 25 and 35 percent of the average small-business owner's time.

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