Have both: How stay at home moms can keep their careers

Discover how HireAthena gives you a full accounting and HR team for the cost of one employee.

What do startups and stay-at-home parents have in common? As it turns out, a lot. Startups need affordable back office solutions, and many stay-at-home parents want fulfilling careers from home. When they team up, the results are mind-blowing.

Funding Crunch

Venture capital funding in the fourth quarter of 2015 dropped by 30% and another 12% in the first quarter of 2016. For startups, this means they have to become more cash-conscious to survive. Launching a brand new company, after all, isn’t free.

For one, there’s the cost of employees. Back office employees, while essential to a fast-growing startup or any other established business, represent a large portion of the company’s expenses.

A bookkeeper, for instance, costs around $40,000 a year on average across the United States and closer to $50,000 in startup hubs like New York or San Francisco. An accounting manager runs between $60,000 and $70,000, and a licensed CPA can be $80,000 or more. HR managers are another $60,000 a year.

Looking For A Work And Home Life Balance

Kristen Koh Goldstein, a former banker at Goldman Sachs and a startup founder, thinks stay-at-home parents can solve the back office problem for cash-conscious startups.

After moving to the West Coast and becoming a mom, Kristen wanted to find a role that allowed her to continue a career she loved while giving her the flexibility to engage at home. When she couldn’t find a position that gave her the best of both worlds, she set out to create it.

Kristen wasn’t alone. The majority of United States parents feel that having one parent at home is best for the kids. The number of stay-at-home moms rose from its lowest point of 23% in 1999 to 29% in 2012.

A quarter of those stay-at-home moms are college educated. Kristen knew stay-at-home parents were a talent pool that couldn’t be ignored. She gave them the opportunity to be successful in their careers, all between school drop-off and pickup hours.

According to Kristen, “When I realized the technology was finally ready to support a marketplace of remote accounting professionals—with all data in the cloud and video conference for communication—I realized we could tap into a huge labor pool of highly educated and credentialed moms who need flexibility in their life.”

Connecting Stay-At-Home Talent To Companies

Kristen started HireAthena (originally BackOps) in 2010, a company that connects remote financial and HR professionals with business customers nationwide. HireAthena’s remote workers are a mix of stay-at-home parents, millennials, and other workers who want more flexible careers.

Since its founding, HireAthena has raised $10 million in funding from investors such as Ashton Kutcher (note: also an investor in Gigster), Google Ventures, and e.ventures.

For the cost of one bookkeeper, HireAthena offers their customers a bookkeeper, an accounting manager, a licensed CPA, and a full-service HR solution.

HireAthena’s remote workers come in teams of three. The CPA on each team acts as a project manager and coordinates with an accounting manager and a bookkeeper. On day one, new customers meet their CPA who communicates with their team about how to meet the customer’s needs.

The Secret Sauce

When HireAthena doubled revenue year-over-year for four years, Kristen knew they needed to be able to scale their workforce technology to keep up. She set out to find project management software that fit her business model

When none of the available project management solutions worked, she and her team developed what would become HireAthena’s secret sauce: Scalus, workflow software that connects the remote teams.

Scalus provides a platform for communication and task monitoring. It helps the remote teams stay on the same page without having to use a disjointed tools like email and other types of workflow software.

Blazing Fast Setup

Another key ingredient in HireAthena’s success is their “blazing fast setup.” A new customer’s accounting and HR is up and running within 72 hours.

Each customer accesses a dashboard that connects nonproprietary apps like Expensify, Quickbooks, Gusto, and Bill.com (all part of HireAthena’s fees). The dashboard allows HireAthena customers to manage bills, payroll, expenses, and HR in one easy-to-use location.

That blazing fast setup makes it possible for HireAthena customers to have rapid back office operations. Back office tasks can eat up 50 to 60 hours a month of startup founder’s or business owner’s time. But with HireAthena, business owners or founders can manage all those tasks in about an hour a month, allowing them to focus on the creative part of their business instead of the busywork.

Domain Knowledge

The great thing for HireAthena’s customers is that their remote teams are already experts in their domains. Each team works with customers in similar domains and with similar business models. Many of the remote workers also have previous career experience in similar fields.

Monica Brames, a CPA, left the financial and IT industries after becoming a mom. Because of her experience in the tech domain, she now works with SaaS startups.

Plenty of other HireAthena moms like Monica (and dads, millennials, and professionals who simply want a more flexible schedule) bring domain expertise to each of their customers.  

Bringing The Future Of Work Home

Stay-at-home parents and millennials (many of whom are just becoming parents themselves) are the future of work. Connecting them with startups gives them the flexibility to have it all: a career they love and time with the people who matter most.

Whitney Cole

Whitney is perfecting the balance between writing and coaxing giggles out of her daughter. She loves meeting Gigster's clients and sharing their incredible stories. When she's not writing, you can probably find her attempting to train her German Shepherd to fetch her coffee or reading something by Hilary Mantel.