Big business, big problems: 3 ways to ensure you’re compliance-ready

Compliance is never easy. Whether your business is small or large, the process takes time, careful consideration, and exceptional organization. Whether you’re working with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), EEO-1 reporting, or some other requirement specific to your industry, compliance can complicate your life. 

And larger organizations—those with a few hundred employees or more—face larger compliance problems than their smaller counterparts. Issues such as publicity, boards of directors, and control group status could influence the organization’s approach to compliance as well as documentation and reporting requirements.

Here are three ways compliance is tougher for large businesses and how the best ones stay on track.

Categories can get complicated

Regulations and compliance only fall to “applicable” employers—those who fall under a certain provision of law. In the case of the ACA, an applicable large employer has 50 or more full time equivalent employees and is subject to the employer shared responsibility tax. An additional challenge larger employers face, however, is the greater possibility of falling into the category of “control group”—an employer with multiple businesses under one umbrella that all count toward your overall compliance and status as an applicable large employer.

It can be hard to figure out if you are a control group—it’s a judgment best left to your attorney or CPA who’s most familiar with the law. But if you qualify as one, you will have a number of separate EINs, as well as possible employee crossover, which can make for more paperwork and confusion when you go to file.

If your business has grown, make sure you have someone responsible for checking off each compliance requirement and keep an eye on any changes that may be on the horizon—especially when it comes to health care compliance.

Without proper technology, data gets messy

Larger organizations have more data to sift through, so it’s crucial to keep it neat and orderly. You likely have greater employee turnover during any given month, more variation within employee hours, and more options for health care offers than smaller businesses. Keeping it all straight—and ready for reporting—can be confusing enough for a small business, but for a large one, it turns into an unreliable swamp of data, almost impossible to navigate.

Investing in top-of-the-line payroll and data tools isn’t an option anymore. While it may technically be possible to track all of the required information on Excel spreadsheets, it’s much more efficient, accurate, and safer to use payroll technology and intelligent solutions, such as SyncStream, to manage these large amounts of data.

Additionally, making sure that all your data is in one place, and different branches of your business all have the appropriate level of access, can be extremely helpful—especially if you’re working in a control group. Consistency can play a huge role in avoiding mistakes and making sure the right forms go out to the right people. It makes employee self-reporting easier to track, and minimizes the chances of sending out duplicate forms, such as 1095-Cs, to those employees that work multiple locations.  

Lack of accuracy can have business backlash

Many large businesses undergo scrutiny on a larger scale than small businesses. The board of directors is usually watching compliance, and if you’re publicly traded, you can bet investors are as well. Not to mention the message you send to employees and potential employees.

For example, publicly traded hospitals that fail ACA compliance may look like they aren’t capable of following health care requirements such as HIPAA, have that publicly reported, and lose business as a result. Companies that can’t complete their EEO-1 requirements properly (which will be used to track wage disparities between genders and races) may look like they are hiding discriminatory practices—and potentially tarnish their reputation (and stock price).

With so much at stake, you want to make sure that your filing and reporting is legitimate, auditable, and carefully assembled. Using a solution to ensure your reporting is up to scratch—and completely auditable, should you need it—can help immensely in the long run.

Reporting is a big deal for big businesses

It’s always important to keep your data in order, even when compliance regulations—such as the ACA—seem to be headed to the chopping block. As a large business, there’s little wiggle room for mistakes, even early in the game. The 2016 ACA reporting year may be over, but 2017 is already on its way. It’s tempting to slack off in the face of recent attempts to repeal the law, but Congress has already hit one stumbling block, and it’s unclear if lawmakers will be able to find a repeal measure by next year’s reporting season.

In the meantime, make sure to take all the available precautions—such as reliable payroll technology, intelligent solutions, and frequent data updates—to ensure you meet whatever compliance requirements come your way.