Sean Manning, CPA, CFE is the Founder, Partner, and CEO of Payroll Vault brands, whose divisions include Payroll Vault Franchising LLC, the payroll service franchise business, and Payroll Vault – Littleton, the corporate location and independent payroll services company. He is a Partner and Board Member of A4 Advisors, an accounting, tax, and business advisory firm. He is also a Partner and Board Member of The Mastery Network, a business education information company.
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Thank you so much for giving us your time! Before we begin, could you introduce yourself to our readers and take us through what exactly your company does and what your vision is for its future?
Sean Manning: My name is R. Sean Manning, I am CEO of Payroll Vault. My journey is diverse, it has included restaurant management, real estate, CPA firm owner, payroll company owner, and now CEO of the Payroll Vault brand. People often wonder how the transition was made from restaurant management to CEO, and it was not necessarily planned but looking back it is not surprising to me. I was always looking for opportunity and a good purpose to the work that I do and enjoy the leadership role for Payroll Vault. We are a boutique-style payroll and workforce management company designed for small businesses.
We are a franchise system so one of our goals is to be local and a part of the business community with our local Payroll Vault business owners. That gives us a competitive advantage toward our goal and vision of being a national payroll and workforce management company with the highest level of customer satisfaction for Payroll Vault.
NO child ever says I want to be a CEO/entrepreneur when I grow up. What did you want to be and how did you get where you are today?
Sean Manning: My father started his business as a franchisee when I was young, so I was intrigued pretty early with business ownership after my initial goal of being a world-class and Olympic skier started to fade in the early ’80s. My journey to entrepreneurship included a degree in restaurant and hospitality management before getting directed to professional business services, and now CEO of Payroll Vault.
Tell us something about yourself that others in your organization might be surprised to know.
Sean Manning: My journey to CEO and a leadership role with Payroll Vault — that now includes public speaking — started in the late 90’s and required intense training when I realized I was so shy it was difficult for me to give any sort of presentation to another person, let alone a group of people. It showed me that anything is possible, and I could overcome my biggest fear.
Many readers may wonder how to become an entrepreneur but what is an entrepreneur? How would you define it?
Sean Manning: Entrepreneurship means three things to me. First, the willingness and vision to become a business owner. Second, creating career opportunities for others with your business. And third, maintaining the business and achieving a level that it can be maintained well into the future, even when the owner may not be as involved.
What is the importance of having a supportive and inclusive culture?
Sean Manning: Culture, we also refer to it as our Company Essence, is the voluntary things that we do for others that become memorable and make a difference. My job in relation to culture is to create those memorable experiences for others which then gives them permission to foster our culture to the people they work with or come in contact with. Culture doesn’t just happen; it has to be developed and supported at all levels of a business.
How can a leader be disruptive in the post covid world?
Sean Manning: Covid required all of us to be very reactive and adaptable. Disruptive leaders embrace that challenge and resulting change; they were not overly challenged by the idea and being adaptable. Now these leaders have teams that can react to ideas and opportunities at a more collaborative and responsive level that will strengthen and grow companies to new levels.
If a 5-year-old asked you to describe your job, what would you tell them?
Sean Manning: I help other business owners manage the people who work for them better, and make sure they get paid, so everyone is happy, and the business can be more successful. I suspect that will lead to a lot more fun and interesting questions.
Share with us one of the most difficult decisions you had to make for your company that benefited your employees or customers. What made this decision so difficult and what were the positive impacts?
Sean Manning: Anytime you must change team members, either because they don’t fit your culture or can’t help execute a clear vision, it is hard; but it’s necessary to better serve other team members, your product or service, and your customers or clients. We are committed to offering great career opportunities and we require their commitment to our vision and their participation in setting and meeting our goals. These personnel changes are hard because we care for those that work for us, but if goals are not aligned or skills are not there, a change is probably needed. Ultimately, getting the right people in the right job benefits our employees, our customers, and our long-term success.
Leaders are usually asked about their most useful qualities but let’s change things up a bit. What is your most useless talent?
Sean Manning: I do like to cook for some reason and that skill does not seem to serve any purpose other than keeping my fuel up for the next day and I also support the idea of opening a good bottle of wine a couple times a week.
Or, I can actually paint. Not that I am real good but I have a couple pictures that are pretty good, I think…
Thank you so much for your time but before we finish things off, we do have one more question. If you wrote a book about your life until today, what would the title be?
Sean Manning: “Be Prepared for Opportunity.”
It seems I have had several levels of success throughout my life, having average skills. What has set me on track for my success is that in my experiences, I have found great teachers, coaches, mentors, leaders, and personal family and friends that have given me great advice and support. Because of this, I have been prepared to take advantage of opportunities when they have presented themselves.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Sean Manning for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Sean Manning or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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