Horizon House Streamlines Complex HR & Payroll Operations with PayNorthwest’s Lumina Workforce Management Suite

View of Horizon House from the ParkHorizon House opened its doors in 1961. This private, non-profit urban retirement village is home to more than 550 senior residents. A safe and dynamic community dedicated to dignified aging, life fulfillment, and service to the broader community, Horizon House provides its residents with a vast array of amenities, including state-of-the-art wellness services, comprehensive healthcare, as well as many social, educational, and cultural programs. Its convenient location in downtown Seattle offers residents easy access to nearby restaurants, theatres, and art galleries.


With some 300 people on staff, Horizon House has to contend with complex human resource (HR) and payroll administration requirements. Since its inception, the company had kept the process in-house by purchasing third-party accounting software, but realized that the functionality of its incumbent system and associated internal processes were no longer meeting the organization’s increasingly complex HR and payroll administration needs, especially when it came to reporting.

“Our internal system made running payroll fairly simple, but getting even the simplest HR report was a challenge,” explains Christine Seymour, Director of Accounting for the senior living facility. “It could take up to 30 minutes to produce a report, with no ability to summarize data. We also have a complicated benefit plan structure with tiered plans. So when staff members changed tiers, it was very hard to manage. We were not able to consolidate employee deductions easily either.”

At Horizon House, HR and Payroll are two separate departments. HR is responsible for setting up new employees and payroll deductions. Payroll is processed by the Accounting Department. The division of data between HR and Accounting created inefficiencies and significant challenges to accurate and ad hoc reporting.

“When the opportunity arose to look at outsourcing an automated HR information system, we jumped on it,” continues Seymour. “We had looked at various outsourced solutions in the past, but didn’t want to go with any of the large providers. We wanted to work with an agile, local company that would be able to quickly respond to the needs of a 24×7 facility like ours.”


The task of finding a suitable outsourced HR and payroll software solution was a tall order – needing to accommodate a lot of users across multiple departments, departmental allocations, shift differentials, a very large general ledger, in-house check printing, and multi-tiered employee benefit plans. The solution also had to offer fast reporting capabilities, easy report customization, and easy data manipulation, so that Horizon House’s HR department could function more independently from Accounting while still working from the same shared single employee record.
“Our new CFO suggested we look at PayNorthwest and their cloud-based Lumina workforce management suite to see if it would be a good fit for us,” says Seymour. “After a couple of demonstrations and careful due diligence, we knew we had found the right partner to solve our HR and payroll administration challenges.” PayNorthwest installed its Lumina HR and Payroll platform in February, within 4 to 5 months of first contact. HR and payroll now run on the same database and a custom interface was created to import our payroll information directly into our accounting package twice a month. One-on-one training was customized for Payroll and HR personnel so that they could get the best out of the system right away.


The HR and payroll staff of Horizon House experienced the first positive results of the new software installation right away, including:

  • The time needed to generate custom reports has decreased by as much as 90%
  • Some 30 department heads can now easily access their respective employee wage information with insightful payroll reports, facilitating the preparation of individual departmental budgets
  • HR and payroll operations have been streamlined, noticeably enhancing staff productivity
  • The management and audit of employee benefit plans and certifications has been greatly simplified
  • Administration time and costs have been significantly reduced
  • Managing employee deductions has been greatly simplified due to the system’s flexible and intelligent data structure.

“Now, we not only do more with less people, we have also spread our accounting knowledge across more staff members,” concludes Seymour. “Adopting PayNorthwest’s Lumina solution was the best business decision we could have made to enhance the efficiency of our HR and payroll functions.”