- This year marks the first that employers face data reporting and IRS audits as part of the Affordable Care Act, and many experts warned that for small and middle market employers, meeting those demands would be difficult. Yet, according to a recent survey, only 58% of respondents ranked ACA compliance as their top priority.
- The survey of 400 senior level HR and Finance executives, Employee Benefits Barometer: SMB Perspectives and Priorities in an Era of Disruption from Hub International Limited (HUB), found ACA compliance rated number three, trailing employee wellness and productivity improvements (83%) and cost management (76%) as the top three concerns.
- In surveying executives from employers with 50 to 1,000 employees, HUB's goal was to understand the priorities and challenges facing today’s employee benefits decision makers. The survey also found that finance executives report negative views of the HR department's work, a sure sign that the relationship needs help.
According to the survey, HR and finance collaboration also needs some strengthening. For example, while 78% of finance respondents consider HR a strategic partner, 97% of finance executives still have "significant concerns" with benefits costs. The finance folks also are concerned about HR missteps with executive liability (93%) and ACA audits (88%). Finally, 33% of finance executives expect HR to go over budget (32%), mismanage ACA reporting (34%), and pay IRS audit penalties (35%). If the data is accurate, HR executives need to make a stronger effort to change some minds.
Regarding the ACA, 64% said that ACA compliance would cause them to struggle to stay in business. They have good reason to worry, according to one expert. That means HR leaders from small and medium companies need to pay closer attention to ACA issues — and they could do so to the benefit of their relationship with financial leaders.