Spend Matters 50/50: MBO Partners – A Provider to Watch in 2015

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MBO Partners is a unique work arrangement intermediary that blends services and technology to enable engagements between businesses and high-skilled professional independent workers. MBO summarizes it this way: “We make it easy and safe to engage contract talent. Our contractor-focused solutions minimize exposure to 1099 reclassification and co-employment risks, while reducing costs and improving visibility.” However, MBO Partners does not fit into standard categories and perhaps should be considered as being in a category of its own.

MBO is much more than an independent contractor (IC) management services business, a category in which it is considered to be the largest in the US, based on annual spend. MBO is also viewed as a freelancer management system (FMS). Perhaps a better way to put it is that MBO is effectively a 2-sided platform business that comprehensively provides a broad range of services to both enterprises and independent professionals in order to enable complete, compliant work arrangements.

From MBO’s perspective, value creation starts with serving a very specific and growing population of workers: highly skilled professionals who prefer to work as independents rather than as an employee at a single company. Accordingly, it provides a whole range of services for independent professionals, which, also creates value for the businesses that engage these workers. MBO ensures that independent workers will be correctly classified and paid as independent contractors,as most MBO independents are. And if they are not, MBO will act as employer-of-record and payroller. Independent professionals can engage through MBO under different models ranging from a bundled umbrella set of services to a more limited set of services à la carte. This includes billing and payment only. In short, MBO tries to make it easy for independent professionals to do business with their clients through a unique blend of online and mobile technology and essential services.

As noted above, the services MBO provides to independent professionals also benefit the businesses that enter into work arrangements with those workers. Those businesses get MBO’s assurance that its independent professionals are being compliantly engaged. Businesses also benefit from standardized engagement and billing and payment processes, which MBO will work to ensure are integrated with enterprise vendor management systems (VMS) and accounts payable requirements and processes. In doing all of this, MBO provides complete visibility, including independent worker utilization and cost and rate transparency, into a segment of contingent workforce that typically remains unilluminated.

It is also noteworthy that MBO, differentiating itself from other traditional IC service providers, continues to make large investments in its end-to-end IT platform backbone and is actively pursuing ecosystem-shaping relationships with other innovative players in the contingent workforce space.


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