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Monday, December 11, 2017

The Best Full-Service ACA Compliance Solution for Your Business

business owners using ACAWise as ACA compliance solution

This year is quickly coming to a close, which means that it is time to prepare your businesses Affordable Care Act Forms 1094 and 1095. Choose the best full-service ACA compliance solution for Applicable Large Employers (ALEs) and Third Party Administrators (TPAs). Getting started is easy and with volume-based pricing, you’ll be sure to get the best deal available!

ACAwise, The Best Full-Service ACA Compliance Solution for Your Business
Getting Started

Explore all ACAwise has to offer with a free demo; you’ll get to know one of our knowledgeable product managers and learn how we can help you easily file your 1094 and 1095 forms. One-on-one demos give you the opportunity to ask questions about e-filing and our full-service, volume-based pricing, so you are confident moving forward with the process.

ACAwise Account Setup

Once you have completed your free demo, you are ready to setup your account. You will start by entering your employer(s) necessary information. Whether you are an ALE, TPA, or merely filing yourself, you can complete your ACA e-filing with ACAwise.

E-File Directly to the IRS

ALE choosing ACAWise as their full-service ACA compliance solutionOnce you have entered your employer information upload their/your employee data using any format type. After the upload is complete ACAwise will start generating your ACA Forms 1094 and 1095. Once your forms are completed, review and securely send them to the IRS.

However, if you have already completed the process of completing ACA Forms 1094 and 1095, you can use ACAwise to upload your finished ACA Form 1094 and 1095 PDFs to directly e-file to the IRS. 

Postal Mailing

Before e-filing, you have the option to add postal mail to your ACAwise order. With our postal mailing feature, we will take care of your employee/recipient copies on your behalf. Once the IRS approves your forms, our trained staff members will print and mail your forms the next business day. Your employee/recipient copies will be sent through the US Postal Service form out Headquarters in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Sign-Up Today

If you have any question about getting started or signing up for your free demo, please contact us! We are available by phone (704)954-8420, live chat Monday through Friday, and email at support@acawise.com.



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Monday, December 4, 2017

What You Need to Know About Hiring Seasonal Employees



Seasonal employee working during the holiday season

Business owners and HR professionals can use seasonal and temporary employees to their advantage this holiday season. By hiring short-term employees this holiday season, you can avoid hiring full or part-time staff members which your company may not need year round. Here is what you need to know about hiring seasonal employees.

What You Need to Know About Hiring Seasonal Employees

Labor Laws Apply to Seasonal Employees

It should go without saying that harassment, discrimination, and workplace health and safety laws still apply to short-term staff members. Seasonal employees are also protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act concerning minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor.

Required Benefits For Seasonal Employees

Whether an employee is seasonal, part-time or full-time, you must provide specific benefits required by law. Employers must withhold the appropriate amount of Social Security and Medicare taxes from employee wages. Although unemployment benefits vary depending on the state, typically employers are still obligated for temporary and seasonal employees. However, there are select exceptions because of the nature of the positions and apply to those employed ten weeks or less.

Independent Contractors Vs. Seasonal Employees


Season employee hired by HR on the computer Independent contractors are especially useful during the holiday season. It is important to note that independent contractors are not employed by you, only hired by you. This can be a major benefit to your company; because they are primarily self-employed, you are not required to provide benefit, withhold tax or pay unemployment taxes. While you can not dictate the hour's independent contractors work, you are required to report compensation of $600 or more.

ACA Compliance For Employers

While we can not manage your holiday stress, we can help with your ACA reporting and compliance, which is kind of the same thing! ACAWise is your one-stop destination for all ACA requirements. Our software features real-time monitoring, excel data import, postal mailing, and so much more.

Comment, like, and share this blog with colleagues and fellow business owners this holiday season!

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Thursday, November 30, 2017

5 Common HR Mistakes You Can Avoid

Business and human resources department avoiding an audit by avoiding common HR mistakes

Human resources is a complex and multifaceted position. Mistakes can easily happen, however, some human resource mistakes are more common than others. To help your business run smoothly here are five common HR mistake you can avoid.

5 Common HR Mistakes You Can Avoid

1. Not Keeping Documents and Contracts

One error that results in wasted time and money is missing records and/or contracts from your business’s human resources system. Auditors will commonly find appraisal notes, contracts of employment, disciplinary warnings, employment authorizations, and visas missing within human resources systems. To avoid this mistake, check all records to ensure that all required documents are present.

2. Failing to On-Board New Staff Members

When your business gains a new staff member, it is imperative that you issue an employment contract immediately. Employment contracts are how necessary details are obtained by your employee. Without an agreement, your new employee is not informed of company policy, and this can lead to disputes. The contract is a signed document that lists the terms of the employment relationship. 

3. Not Training Employees

Failing to train your employees properly is a short-sighted and negligent way businesses fail their staff members as well as themselves. Proper training includes everything from initialing harassment guidelines to managerial training. Failing to train your employees will open the door to potential lawsuits for not providing essential training.

4. Not Document Conversations

HR discussing how to avoid common HR mistakes with coworker Often human resource personnel and managers fail to follow the appropriate processes. This includes failing to document important conversations requiring disciplinary action. Businesses are legally obligated to adhere to legislative frameworks. If these are not followed your business is at risk of legal action. Documentation often stops issues from going further, but without the proper document, claims are usually awarded in the employee’s favor.

5. Not Resolving Long-Standing Issues

Probably the biggest mistake human resources or business owner can make is failing to solve long-standing performance issues. The impact of inadequate staff performance is significant in a business and will affect the performance of diligent staff members.

Speak with the individual or group one-on-one and apply sound reasoning along with a solution. If you are unaware of the performance of your staff check your businesses performance review process and be sure to assign regular follow-ups.

Correctly File ACA Reports to Ensure Compliance

In addition to the mistake listed above businesses continue to struggle with ACA compliance. While we can’t help you with your daily HR tasks, we can help you with your ACA reporting and compliance. ACAWise is your one-stop destination for ACA reporting and compliance. Our real-time tracking feature allows you to track employee benefits data to ensure your employees are eligible for coverage and keep your business compliant with ACA regulations.

Please comment, like, and share this blog with colleagues working in human resources and help them avoid these common HR mistakes.


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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

4 Major Ways the GDPR Will Affect American Businesses


In less than six months Europe will undergo the biggest change in data protection rules and regulations ever. The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will be enforced starting May 2018. So how will the GDPR affect American businesses?

What is the GDPR?

This new legislation will ensure that the personal data of EU citizens is protected. This will include how the data is collected, stored, processed and disposed of. 

How Will the GDPR Affect American Businesses?

The GDPR will apply to companies within the EU and all companies worldwide that market goods and services to EU citizens. This new regulation will apply to businesses no matter their size.

Additionally, companies that control or process personal data relating to any EU citizen or monitors EU citizen must also comply with GDPR. Which is why it is imperative for all companies to prepare for the implementation of the GDPR. For certain companies, it will be mandatory to employ a data protection officer or DPRo to oversee compliance.

4 Ways the GDPR Matters to American Companies

1. Consent:
Consent must be made clear, and inactivity does not constitute consent under Article 4. “Consent is defined as “any freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous indication of his or her wishes by which the data subject, either by statement or by a clear affirmative action, signifies agreement to personal data relating to them being processed.”

2. Territorial Reach:
Companies outside of the EU what offer goods and services to EU citizens or monitor behaviors must remain compliant with GDPR rules.

3. Privacy Design:
Companies within the US must prove that they protect the data of EU citizens from sign-up to delivery.

4. Data Protection:
Be sure to fully understand the GDPR before deciding if your business does or does not need to employ a data protection officer.

While you prepare your business for GDPR ACAWise will continue to be your one-stop destination for keeping your business ACA compliant. Please comment, like, and share this informative blog with those who will be affected by GDPR.


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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving is Not a Day But a Frame of Mind

                     

Thanksgiving is Not a Day But a Frame of Mind


Happy Thanksgiving from ACAWise! You might be on your way to spend the day feasting with your friends and family. Before you start chowing down take a moment to say ‘thank you’ to all of those who have helped you along your journey this year. Thanksgiving is not a day but a frame of mind!

Remember to say thank you to your team, staff, and all of those people who work hard year round making your business successful. Show gratitude to your friends and family this holiday season; surprise them by taking extra time off work to spend more quality time together.

Appreciation is recognizing the qualities and/or actions of a person and being grateful for all that they do. Share gratitude to all of the supportive people in your life!

We are thankful for each of you this year! ACAWise would like to say thank you for choosing us for your ACA compliance and reporting needs! We look forward to working together again this year!



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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Encourage Employee Relations and Boost Team Spirit


In the past, HR professionals handled more of the administrative duties, but today most of these functions are performed by computers and technology. Most employers place a greater importance on diplomacy, relationship building, and teamwork. To encourage these things, here are five tips to encourage employee relations and boost team spirit.

Encourage Employee Relations and Boost Team Spirit

Team Player

If your staff lacks team spirit it can lead to conflicts, pull your staffs focus in different directions, and undermine your business's efforts. When you are hiring a new staff member look for those who will work as a team player. Especially look for individuals who acknowledge the value of teamwork and have experience being a contributing team member.

Defining Teamwork

Your staff members may have a different interpretation of what it means to work as a team or being a team player. So explain what teamwork means for your specific company and describe what kind of behavior you are expected from them. This needs to be understood by everyone, and you should remind them frequently.

Reward Teamwork

Encourage employee relations and boost team spirit by giving awards and prizes to those working as a team. Try appraising your team's work and attitudes each month. Explain why the team or individual deserves the award and explain team behavior. This will help to reinforce the value of teamwork.

Staff Members Unite

Assigning teams for a company competition is a great way to build camaraderie among your staff. Include as many people as possible and encourage everyone to participate. Football, fun quizzes, bowling, and softball, are great team building activities to consider.

Find the Bad Egg

There is always that one guy. For those experienced HR professionals they know exactly whom I am talking about. The person that does not work as a team player and is becoming increasingly disruptive and spreads negative vibes. They are dragging the team down, and you must make an effort to identify these elements quickly. Either get them to perform as a team member or move them. If you must do that later do it fast, so they do not spread their negativity and influence your team.

When your team is working and supporting each other, you can achieve greatness, boost profits, and place your company ahead of your competition. It is the holidays so tensions are extra high which is why you must not lose focus and let your team fall apart.

One way to remain focus on your employee is to take advantage of ACAWise and it compliance advantages. We offer an all-inclusive full-service ACA generation and e-filing software. Now instead of worrying about your ACA compliance, you can focus on your team!

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Monday, November 20, 2017

Human Resources Skills You Will Need For The Future

The role of human resources personnel is expanding beyond its traditional focus faster than ever before. To understand the human resources skills you will need for the future you must understand HR’s traditional focus.

Human Resources Skills You Will Need For The Future

Traditional Focus on Human Resources

In the past HR personnel handled more of the transactional administrative duties; today most of these are performed by computers and technology. Administrative skills are still listed in job descriptions as skills employers desire in an HR professional. However, employers currently place a greater importance on commercial awareness, diplomacy, and relationship building.

In the past, human resources were more focused on technical elements such as hiring and firing. Today the role is seen more as a strategic partner in business with significant influence over the growth of the company. They must also have the ability to support and understand relations between colleagues and different departments.

The Future of Human Resources

Technology is continuing to automate so many different aspects of our daily lives, especially in the workplace. In the future, one critical human resources skill will be data collection and analysis. They must master collecting relevant employee data and employing it in the workplace. To create better employee training, find more suitable applicants, retaining employees, and gaining better management insights.

Also as computers progress, it will be increasingly more important for HR personnel to stay tech-savvy and up to date with the latest technology. Thankfully most modern systems are designed explicitly for more user-friendly.

One significant advantage of these software programs is the ease of use and capabilities. ACAWise which offers all-inclusive full-service ACA generation and e-filing. Now instead of worrying about your ACA compliance, you can focus on your team and what is truly important.

Sign-Up Today!


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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

How to Solve Multiple Holiday Request for the Same Date

Probably the most challenging aspects of holiday management at least for HR professionals are employees wanting the same day off. However, this situation can be prevented by having a clear holiday request policy. Learn how to solve multiple holiday request for the same date.

How to Solve Multiple Holiday Request for the Same Date

Holiday Request Policy

To not offend your employees you must be consistent and approach the situation with fairness with a policy and process for communicating requests. Additionally, this method and system must be well known and understood by your staff before the holiday season. However, even with all of this preparation, your managers must be brave enough to turn down holiday requests when the date requested disrupts daily business functionality.


With tax time just around the corner, it is important to monitor your employee's’ working hours despite the holiday season. Use ACAWise to track hours, project penalty estimations, forecasts insights, employee state and easily generate ACA reports.

Negotiate Peace

Even with clear holiday policies and the confidence to refuse unreasonable requests you are not out of the woods yet. You will find employees up in arms against each other in personal disputes especially as the days get closer to Christmas.


To help encourage camaraderie among your employees, you will want to spend some time working on employee relations and company culture. Team building exercises are a great way to help employees understand each other, especially those who are very different from themselves.


While you are working to negotiate peace between your employee it is important to remain compliant with federal ACA regulations. ACAWise uses state-of-the-art flexible data capture to interpret your ACA information. Find your employee's eligibility and affordability quickly and save yourself time and money.

Keep Everyone in the Loop

Avoid holiday disputes by keeping everyone involved and in the loop. Confusion and misinformation can happen when requests were declined unfairly, or manager disagrees on the approval of another manager. One way to avoid this kind of disputes is by assigning a holiday approver that is first submitted to a manager the department before receiving final approval.


Tread carefully, because this suggestion can turn ugly rather quickly. If holiday requests are not passed along and immediately addressed they can be missed place or worst causing miserable employers.

It is a Wonderful Time of the Year

Just being honest this time of year can be a significant thorn in an HR professional's side. However, when you prepare in advance and keep everyone informed it can be made a little more comfortable. Try using these helpful tips and suggestions to avoid disruption within your workforce.


ACAWise is your one-stop destination for keeping up with hours in order to determine your employee's eligibility for benefits. It is important to not lose focus during the holiday season because year-end reporting is right around the corner. Please comment, like, and share this informative blog with those who understand the pain of HR holiday management.


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Monday, November 13, 2017

How to Handle Employee Holiday Requests in Style

Human resources tries to manage holiday requests

Let’s be honest managing holiday requests can be a thorn in HR’s side. However, with a little preparation, you will be rewarded with happier employees and fewer disruptions to your team. Learn how to handle employee holiday requests in style before it is too late.

How to Handle Employee Holiday Requests in Style

Communicating Annual Leave

One of the most common problems with annual leave is finding out how many days your employees are entitled to. This luckily is easy enough. If an employee is salary or works full time, they are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks paid leave.

However, this is not the biggest issue with annual leave. HR will find in many cases that their employees feel their annual leave is unfair.

Some of these reasons may include:


Tips and Advice for HR Entitlements:

1. Attractive Holiday Plans
Company-wise your entitlement plans need to be attractive to your employees. For a bare minimum the company must comply with laws and regulations but by offering extras will go a long way with the happiness of your employees. Consider offering public or bank holidays as extras instead of including them with employee entitlements.

2. Fair Treatment of All
Another way to avoid disgruntled employees is to award entitlement fairly. Everyone should be treated the same, and there should be no favoritism involved when it comes to annual leave. Granting additional benefits to a select group of employees will only lead to disruptions within your team.

Consider increasing entitlement across the board as an alternative that will encourage loyalty among your employees.

3. Increase Understanding
This point can not be stressed enough. Make sure your holiday pay and entitlement program is clearly understood by all of your employees and easily accessed. The worst thing you can do is appear to be hiding something.

The holiday season can be hectic for everyone especially those in human resources, but when you prepare you can keep your employees focused and productive. Try using this helpful tips and suggestions to help avoid any disruptions within your workforce. Please comment, like, and share this informative blog for those who understand the pains of HR holiday management.




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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Your October ACA Update

Stay ACA compliant with ACAwise
Despite recent attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, it remains intact. Currently, you are still required to e-file by the March 31st deadline, so it’s a great time to go ahead and prepare to file now.

However, as tax season approaches new changes to the regulations could take place any day, so please keep checking back for ACA updates. For example, the IRS recently announced that they will reject e-filed tax returns to fail to mention ACA information. Also, paper filed forms that neglect to mention ACA info will be delayed.

To have your return accepted on time taxpayers will have to disclose whether they had coverage, an exemption, or if they will make a shared responsibility payment. The shared responsibility payment is actually the penalty for not offering health coverage as an ALE (Applicable Large Employer) or for not offering health coverage that meets the minimum ACA requirements.

In order to meet the minimum requirements, your health plan must be designed to pay at least 60% of the total cost of medical services for a standard population. It must also offer benefits that include substantial coverage for physician and inpatient hospital services.
 

E-Filing With ACAwise


We understand that ACA reporting is relatively new and can be confusing, but that’s why we’re here to make it easy. Stick with us, because we are the market leading, IRS authorized full-service ACA e-file provider.

By full-service we mean that we do all of the complicated tasks for you and even offer year-round support. Our built-in analysis and reporting helps you determine eligibility and affordability to ensure that your ACA data is compliant all year.
 
ACAwise offers year-round ACA support
We will also automatically generate code and reports based on your year-round ACA compliance tracking to make sure that your ACA e-filing process is quick and simple. With ACAwise, you can bulk upload information for all of your employees at once and use our print center to have us print and mail copies of your forms to any of your recipients.


Best of all, our amazing, US-based support team is here to help. We will answer all of your questions, and even give you a full demo to show you exactly everything ACAwise can do. Give us a call Monday - Friday from 9 AM to 6 PM EST at 704.954.8420. You can also reach us via live chat and take advantage of our 24/7 email support at support@ACAwise.com.
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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Big Data's Powerful Applications in HR


Big data, along with its three key features of volume, velocity, and variety, is considered the foundation of modern analytical systems. As of 2013, 91% of America’s top executives have been planning big data initiatives. And finance and marketing industries have already acknowledged (and leveraged) the power of machine learning algorithms to identify profitable stocks and customize catering to clients.

As far as HR purposes go, Google (a data-driven company) has developed a model that can predict promotions with 90% accuracy. Other managers, however, have not been able to use the big data/HR equation because people aren’t ready to hand over control to the computer.

So just how is big data affecting HR and how will it in the future? Let’s explore that!

Big Data for HR
If HR teams were to use a statistical model based on big data, that would mean “replacing presumptions with validation, hunches with data, and intuition with success ratio.” Talent scouts often face a significant challenge when structuring large quantities of different data that needs to be evaluated against a unitary scorecard. Big data offers a solution to that by employing methods specially designed for variety.

Potential Benefits
Taking it a few steps further, big data could provide some serious benefits in the HR sector. These benefits include
  • Decreasing the cost of bad hires
    • -Big data can help cut down on bad hires.
    • -Wrongfully chosen employees can cost much more than just their salary and benefits:
      • -Recruitment costs
      • -Training expenditures
      • -Productivity loss
      • -Negative client reviews
    • -A primary challenge of HR analytics is using big data to predict a match between candidate skills and personal beliefs against company needs and values.
  • Increasing retention rates
    • -Big data algorithms nominate individuals by studying employees’ online activity, profile updates, employment history, job performance, and payroll data
    • -Employees that are red-flagged by the algorithm could be given a raise, a more challenging role, or more training in order to prevent resignations
    • -Companies that already do this, including Xerox, Walmart, and Credit Suisse, have seen retention increase as much as 20% with these algorithms.
  • Performance prediction
    • -When you’re hiring, big data HR analytics models can help you find the best candidate profiles based on the job’s requirements and existing top performers.
    • -They do this by using existing records of successful candidates to create high performer profiles which you can use as to create a targeted head-hunting tool to send personalized messages to the right talent.
    • -Predictions are necessary to evaluate future job openings, promotions, and even layoffs, and aligning models to your business strategy can help you use big data to save time and money on recruitment.
  • Improving benefits packages
    • -Using big data similar to insurance companies, employers can gather health related data of their staff and candidates to create more attractive and useful packages.
    • -Keep in mind that you should be transparent about collecting such data, stating your final goals, to avoid legal issues related to discrimination practices.

Legal and Ethical Issues
Although there aren’t any legal statements against using big data for HR analyses and evaluations, ethical concerns are still a factor to consider. Privacy is an important concern and many people are afraid that the numbers could work against them and even encourage discrimination.

Of course, stereotyping and unfair treatment of an individual outlier based on the general performance of a group is not acceptable in the business sector and is an unsolved problem that could result from using big data with HR. That’s why it’s important to keep in mind that algorithms do not have intuition and are unable to assess undocumented progress, which is where HR representatives come in.

Just make sure to keep everything as transparent as possible and continue to work within employer/employee laws and guidelines when utilizing big data for HR purposes.



So what do you think? Will you begin using big data to improve your HR department and the reliability and productivity of your employees? Do you use it already? We’d love to hear all about it - just leave us a comment below!

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Monday, August 28, 2017

Why Cloud-Based HR is Set to Make Rapid Gains


Folks, we’re experiencing a trend shift in the way Human Resources are handled. The cross from traditional on-premise HR software to cloud-based alternatives is happening in droves and the Information Services Group (ISG) has the market research to confirm it.

The Switch to Cloud-Based
ISG’s study is based on data collected from over 200 “senior leaders” in the HR management, business operations, and IT fields. Each respondent represented a large company with at least 1000 employees. Because companies of this size tend to play a role in industry trends, researchers were able to gain insight of where the market is headed, especially in terms of new technologies and other wide-reaching changes.

What they found was that HR automation services are the big ticket items on the agenda.

Crunching the Numbers
According to their study, ISG learned that 12% of their participants represent companies that handle HR activities exclusively in the cloud. An additional 10% rely on a combination of on- and off- premise software. Based on information provided about the participants’ technology roadmaps and growth projection, ISG believes this will double to 44% of firms using at least one cloud-based system in 2018 and should reach 54% by 2020.

And we could even see a bigger growth given that the tally increases to more than 75% of organizations when we include those that use internally-developed HR systems hosted on cloud infrastructure and other off-premise deployment models. In other words: cloud-based is on the fast track to becoming the norm for HR departments.

Why Cloud-Based Works Better
During the study, representatives provided answers for what they hope to achieve by switching to the cloud, which provided some insight into the increase in its use. 41% of respondents listed cutting costs among their top priority when switching to cloud-based. 30% of respondents utilize cloud-based as a way to make HR staff less dependent on the IT department and to provide a better experience for employees overall. And just over 25% of respondents cited “access to ongoing innovation” as a benefit of cloud-based programs.



To read ISG’s full report, click here. And to learn more about ACAwise, a cloud-based program that helps you with everything health care benefits- and Affordable Care Act compliance-related, sign up for a free demo here!

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

The 3 Best Practices in HR Analytics


Strategic use of the statistics you gather from Human Resources (HR) analytics can make a powerful difference in the success of your business. That’s why forward-thinking businesses have embraced data analysis in the interest of business performance and, ipso facto, higher profit margins.

So what are the three most important practices you should be doing with your HR analytics? We’ll tell ya!

Gathering Data
Believe it or not, companies used to not collect all that much in-depth data on their employees and hardly any on their consumers. If they did collect employee data, it tended to focus on the past - the employee’s history with the company, number of days absent, compliance and retention.

Today, companies collect much more data and not just on their current employees. Data is regularly analyzed on brand image, potential recruits, customer reach and retention, demographics, and hiring patterns. The more data you gather, the more you’re able to interpret. For example, one report found only 30% of the US workforce is actively engaged at work. That’s a pretty low percentage all things considered, right? Not exactly: if you factor in an internal data analysis that revealed 82% of the time candidates are placed in the wrong position, that low percentage of engaged workers makes more sense. And if we get proactive with this information, business owners and HR personnel can work to ensure the right people are in the optimal positions.

Knowing Your Consumers and Your Team
Unilever VP of HR for UK & Ireland Placid Jover said it best:
“It’s key to realize that today we compete based on insight. It doesn’t matter whether it’s soup and soap, fizzy drink or cars, success is based on knowing your consumers, users or shoppers and their habits, and then being able to quickly mobilize your organization to embrace and action the insight.”
There really is no substitute for having a thorough grasp of your employees and your consumers. For the employee side, when you have a team you can rely on to intuitively spring into action, you’re far less likely to lose out to your competition or find yourself and your company at the center of a public relations or legal debacle.

As far as your consumers go, if you can predict what they want before they do, you put yourself on the cutting edge in providing them with the solution they need.

Building a Better Business Strategy
Using HR analytics and data analysis when approaching your business plan can lead to new and innovative approaches to your strategy. In the case of sportswear giant, Adidas, analysis of HR analytics caused an increase in employee engagement levels and revamped how management, communication, and other departments work together. Three driving core pillars - data, metrics, and the employee experience - were able to provide them with insight into “employee behavior, skill-sets, and talent.” Combining a business strategy with a people strategy helped work toward the betterment of the company as a whole.



One way you can gain more insight into your HR analytics is with ACAwise! While our main focus is Affordable Care Act compliance, the employee information you enter to complete ACA e-filing can offer key insights into the healthcare plans you offer as well as employee needs, attendance, and enrollment. Schedule a free demo today to learn more about the analytics reports you can generate through ACAwise as well as how it benefits HR professionals as a whole!


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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Have You Heard About DC's New Paid Family Leave?


Earlier this year, Washington D.C.’s Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016 came into effect (on April 7, to be exact). Under this act, employees are entitled to 90% of their regular pay while taking covered leave. The money is to come from employer contributions equal to .62% of employees’ wages.

Eligible Individuals
Under the new paid leave act, eligible individuals can request paid leave following certain qualifying events, subject to a one-week waiting period during which time no benefits are payable. Those who qualify as eligible individuals are
  • -Those who have been “covered employees” during some or all of the 52-week period prior to the qualifying event
  • -Self-employed individuals who have opted into the paid leave program who also spent at least 50% of their work time in D.C. during some or all of the 52-week period prior to the qualifying event.

Employee Entitlements
The new paid leave act provides “eligible individuals” up to eight weeks of paid leave each year. This time may be taken intermittently and it may include any combination of
  • 1. Up to eight weeks of parental leave
    • -This must be taken within one year of the birth of a child, the placement of an adopted or foster child, or the assumption of legal guardianship of a child
  • 2. Up to six weeks of family leave
    • -This must be taken within one year of the diagnosis or occurrence of a family member’s serious health condition
  • 3. Up to two weeks of personal medical leave
    • -This must be taken within one year of the diagnosis or occurrence of the employee’s serious health condition
Under the act, “serious health conditions” include physical or mental illnesses, injuries, or impairments that require inpatient care, continuing health care-related treatment, or supervision at home.

Recommendations for Employers
It’s been recommended that D.C. area employers should continue to monitor developments related to the act over the coming months and years. While the act and its regulations were enacted this year, employees will not be able to claim benefits under the act until July 1, 2020. Employers should also review their leave policies to ensure compliance with new regulations as they’re published.


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Thursday, August 17, 2017

9 Easy Ways Your Small Business Can Save Money


When you own a small business, the phrase “a penny saved is a penny earned” takes on a whole new meaning. That’s your bread-and-butter, after all, and why it’s important to save on everything you can. So here are nine easy ways you can save even more to put right back into your small business’s growth!

1. Ask for a Discount
Tons of large retailers offer small business discounts, although they may not advertise it. That’s why it never hurts to ask! This approach typically works better on larger items, like home office equipment. But you never know: you may even get a few cents off Post-It notes if you ask.

2. Check Out Executive Suites
If your growing small business is still home-based, it may be time to look into getting some office space. Executive suites and shared office spaces can help you to improve your business’s prestige as well as offer more services. Some spaces even come with receptionist services, private mailboxes, and part time office hours so do your research!

3. Chill on the Meetings
It can be tempting to have long meetings with your staff to discuss the direction and growth of your small business, but there are better ways for everyone to spend their time. Try to evaluate the true cost of your meetings because where you can save time, you can save money.

4. In the Beginning, Make Outsourcing a Priority
If you’re just starting out, employees may seem helpful but they can be costly. To keep your budget in order while you’re growing, look to outsource workers you may need. Independent contractors can get the job done without the salary, office space, and benefits costs you’d need to provide employees.

5. Join an Association
Business and trade associations offer more than just networking through membership. By joining an association, you could save quite a bit on business-related expenses like insurance, car rentals, and phone services.

6. Keep Track of Petty Cash Down to the Penny
It should go without saying, but you need to keep a record of all your business-related expenses. Petty cash drawers should be accounted for just as carefully as your checking accounts.

7. Showcase Your Expertise
This tip may cost a little time but can save you a lot of money on marketing: look for opportunities to attract the attention of your target market by showcasing your expertise. You can do this by teaching a class, writing an article, or addressing your community directly.

8. Skip the Delivery Fee
You can save a few extra bucks on pizza by picking it up instead of getting it delivered and the same goes for certain office supplies. Look into being your own delivery driver for orders of reams of paper and other smaller bulk office supplies to help cut costs.

9. Utilize The Cloud
Instead of allocating part of your budget toward hardware that may be outdated before you even make it through your first year, look into cloud-based tools for accounting, project management, marketing automation, customer relationships, and more.

And speaking of cloud-based software: as a small business owner, you face specific requirements for Affordable Care Act compliance. ACAwise is a cloud-based software that can help you keep track of these requirements all year long! Schedule a free demo today to learn more about keeping your business compliant with the ACA!

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Do New Laws Enacted to Ban Salary Inquiries Affect You?


Did you know that a growing number of states are enacting laws that address pay equity by prohibiting employers from asking job applicants how much they earned in previous jobs? Delaware and Oregon are the most recent states to enact measures, but first: a brief history!

Recent Laws & Bans
The basic idea behind salary history laws is that pay inequality can follow employees from job to job. If a worker experiences pay discrimination over the course of his or her career, disclosing past salary details could put them at a disadvantage when negotiating subsequent salaries or compensation packages. This has the potential to reduce a person’s earning power across his or her entire career.

Enter laws enacting bans on salary history inquiries. Massachusetts, New York City, Philadelphia, and Puerto Rico have already passed restrictions like this. San Francisco is set to pass similar measures after approval from the city’s Board of Supervisors June 27.

Delaware
The Delaware measure, known as House Bill 1, was signed by Governor John Carney (D) on June 14 this year. Essentially, House Bill 1
  • -bars employers from seeking pay histories of applicants before they’ve made employment offers,
  • -prohibits salary-based job applicant screening where prior compensation must satisfy certain minimum or maximum criteria, and
  • -allows the confirmation of salary history information after an employment offer has been made and compensation terms have been spelled out.
Delaware’s law will take effect this coming December.

Oregon
The Oregon measure, House Bill 2005, signed June 1 by Governor Kate Brown (D) enacts similar restrictions as Delaware’s House Bill 1. The Oregon law, however, goes further:
  • 1. It expands existing equal pay provisions to prohibit pay discrimination based on race, color, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, marital or veteran status, disability, and age in addition to gender-based bias.
  • 2. It allows pay disparities to be permitted if they exist because of seniority or merit systems, earnings tied to quantity or quality, workplace locations, travel, education, training, experience, or any combination of these factors.
  • 3. It allows employers to avoid compensatory and punitive damages if they’ve conducted an audit and taken steps to eliminate current pay inequalities.
Oregon’s law takes effect in September, however, employers can’t be sued for violating these pay history provisions until January 1, 2019. They also won’t face penalties in the form of compensatory or punitive damages until 2024.

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Schedule a FREE Demo Today for Better ACA Compliance


Are you curious about ACAwise? Always wondered how it worked but wasn’t sure if it was for you? Well guess what: you can request a free demo with one of our expert support team members to get all of your questions answered!

How to Request a Demo
To request your very own free demo, just go to our homepage, www.ACAwise.com.

Next, find this Request DEMO link in the upper right-hand corner of your screen:


And you'll come to the demo request screen! Then, all you need to do is fill out the following information:


For business type, you’ll choose between Applicable Large Employer (ALE) or Third Party Administrator, but other than that everything here should be pretty straightforward. Once you fill everything out and hit “Send,” you’ll get an automated email from us that we received your request (check your Spam folder if you don’t see it at first).

Then - usually the same day - you’ll hear from one of our friendly support team members to confirm your demo request. They’ll also send you a bit more information about logging into the demo when the time comes!

What You’ll Cover
In your demo, you’ll learn all the basics of starting and maintaining your ACAwise account. Your ACAwise representative will ask a few questions about your company to figure out how you’ll be using the program in order to create the perfect, personalized account for you.

You’ll then go through a user-friendly, standard walkthrough of an ACAwise account. Our support team member will explain how to use your dashboard, including how to upload information, what reports you can generate, and how to interpret your compliance data. We’ll also answer any questions you have before, during, or after your demo.


If you’ve been on the fence about whether or not to sign up with ACAwise, scheduling a demo is the perfect way to learn more about us. And all it’ll cost is about 30 minutes of your time! Click here to schedule your free demo now!



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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

5 Tips for Getting Payroll Right Every Time


A recent American Payroll Association survey - “Getting Paid in America” - revealed that 92% of American employees are confident in the accuracy of their paychecks each pay period. But are you as confident in your payroll process?

It’s no secret that mistakes in payroll, even innocuous ones, can lead to complicated issues that end up being costly. Ensuring consistent, accurate pay is one of the most essential components to building employee trust and loyalty.

So here are five tips to make sure your payroll process is always efficient:

Accurately Document New Staff
Be sure you’re starting everything off on the right foot. There’s a lot of data to document when a new employee comes on board and compiling it all accurately is vital. Make sure you’ve got a reliable checks and balance system in place when adding new employees to make the onboarding process simpler.

Constantly Audit Your Process
When you’re running a business, the only constant thing is change. This applies to your payroll process as well. As your company grows and you expand your workforce, it’s important to constantly audit how you do payroll. What worked for 5 employees won’t necessarily work for 20. Auditing your payroll process helps you know everything’s working and also allows you to verify employee data, generate accurate reports, and update employee benefits.

Keep Track of Time & Attendance
Whether you’re paying employees by salary or on an hourly basis, it’s important to collect accurate time and attendance of all your employees. It’s perhaps more important now than ever as this past December the Department of Labor made changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act regarding overtime pay. Now, anyone making less than $47,477 annually is required to receive time and a half pay for overtime. So be sure to clock those hours!

Stay Up-to-Date on Payroll Laws
It’s important to keep in mind that not only do payroll tax laws vary from state to state, but they’re also changed and updated fairly regularly. Avoid unnecessary noncompliance fees by staying informed of the latest payroll rules and regulations as they apply to your industry.

Utilize ACAwise!
While not strictly a payroll software, ACAwise can help you immensely in staying compliant with your payroll policies, especially with regards to the Affordable Care Act rules and regulations. Year-round tracking and accurate, real-time reports that you can access right from your account help give you an extra advantage when it comes to payroll and ACA compliance.

You can learn more about ACAwise by scheduling a free demo with one of our expert support team members. Or feel free to contact us anytime with questions you may have by phone, live chat, or email!

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Thursday, August 3, 2017

3 Ways HR Professionals Can Benefit from ACAwise



As a human resources professional, you’ve had to deal with a unique set of record-keeping and IRS reporting challenges since the passing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). That’s why we designed ACAwise with people like you in mind! Here are three of the main ways ACAwise helps make ACA compliance simple and convenient for you!

Cross Walk Feature for Easy Coding
In order to complete Forms 1095-C for your ACA return, you’re required to enter in specific codes on lines 14 and 16. These codes provide the IRS with more information about the individual listed on that 1095-C Form, like their employment status and the health care offer and coverage provided to them.

ACAwise comes with a Cross Walk feature that allows our program to interpret your employee data as you have it and automatically generate the codes you need to complete Form 1095-C. With this feature, you won’t have to interpret IRS regulations or codes so your ACA reporting gets done faster.

Full-Service Compliance Reporting
A fair amount of confusion surrounding the ACA stems from having to learn the new rules and regulations in order to stay compliant with the IRS. With ACAwise, you don’t have to worry about that! That’s because we stay up-to-date on all the IRS’s business rules for ACA compliance to help ensure your information is in line with IRS and ACA policy.

From your Dashboard, you can even generate reports for the most recent interpretation of your data and whether you need to make any adjustments to remain ACA compliant.

Simplified, Streamlined E-filing
Since ACAwise securely tracks your data all year to ensure ACA compliance, it’s perfectly set up to handle your ACA return e-filing each year. As you probably know, you’re required to complete either a Form 1095-B or 1095-C for each person/employee to whom you offered health insurance coverage throughout the year. ACAwise does this for you: it automatically generates the forms for your return for you to review. You can then e-file the return directly with the IRS and even have us mail your recipient copies for you as well.

Of course, the best way to find out all the ways you and your business can benefit from ACAwise is to schedule a free demo with a member of our support team! They’re also available to answer any questions you have about the program in English or Spanish by phone (704-954-8420), live chat, and email at support@ACAwise.com.

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Miss the Second Quarter Form 941 Deadline? Here's What to Do



July 31, 2017, was the deadline to have 941 Forms reporting second quarter information sent to the IRS. The quarterly business tax form reports the federal income tax, social security tax, and Medicare tax employers are required to withhold from employee wages. It’s also used to calculate and transmit the employer’s portion of Medicare and social security tax. And if you missed the deadline to file it yesterday, you’ve got some work to do!

First: Know What You’re Up Against
The penalties for filing Form 941 and any associated taxes late are no joke, but they’re unfortunately unavoidable at this point. But no need to wallow: just take this as a learning opportunity to file on time next time! Here are the penalties you’ll need to watch out for:
  • -Failure to file on time penalty: 5% of the total tax amount due
    • -Plus an additional 5% each month the return is late, up to 5 months
  • -Late payment penalty: .5% of the unpaid tax amount, charged each month following the payment due date
    • -Increases to 1% of the tax amount after 10 days, following a notice from the IRS
    • -Caps at 25% of the total tax due
  • -Late deposit penalty: 
    • -1-5 days late: 2% of the unpaid tax
    • -6-15 days late: 5% of the unpaid tax
    • -16+ days late: 10% of the unpaid tax
    • -After IRS notification: 15% of the unpaid tax, to be paid immediately

Second: E-file & Pay Any Taxes Owed ASAP
As you can see, your penalties will only get worse the longer you wait to file and pay, so it’s important to get that done as soon as possible. Luckily, you can quickly and easily e-file Form 941 - even after the deadline - with ACAwise’s sister product, ExpressTaxFilings! Built by the same people who’ve brought you the ACA compliance and e-filing you trust, ExpressTaxFilings breaks down Form 941 into an interview-style format, helping you get it done faster and with fewer errors.You can even make any tax payments you need while you’re completing your e-filing!

Optional: Apply for a Signature PIN for Faster E-filing
Something you can do to help get your 941 Form e-filing done faster next time is use an Online Signature PIN to e-sign your quarterly return. Instead of having to fill out Form 8453-EMP, all you’ll have to do is enter the IRS-issued 10-digit PIN and e-file your return. It usually takes about 40 days for the entire PIN process to be complete, but you can apply for one as easily as you e-file over at ExpressTaxFilings! Go ahead and apply for one today so you’ll have it in time for the 3rd quarter deadline in October.



So if you haven’t filed your second quarter 941 Form, head on over to ExpressTaxFilings NOW to get it done! They’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have over there and even help you get started. Just give them a call at (704) 684-4751 or send them a live chat or email to support@ExpressTaxFilings.com!

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Health Care Showdown: What's Next for Obamacare


Well, guys, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t get the votes for a straight repeal of the Affordable Care Act again. So it looks like you’re stuck with us for at least a little while longer!

Wait...What Happened?
If you’ve been following along with us and/or have not been living under a rock this summer, you may remember that the Senate has been working to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Most recently, Senate Republicans have been focusing on repealing the ACA without a complete replacement act in place, known as a “skinny repeal.” Yesterday, however, the repeal-only measure for Obamacare was rejected.

A Timeline of This Week’s Events
Tuesday, July 25-
  • -The Senate voted 51-50 to begin debating the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The tie-breaking vote to proceed with a repeal debate was cast by Vice President Pence.
  • -Some senators brought the House repeal bill to the floor to debate it further. For now, that is the bill senators are trying to reshape.
  • -Other senators, including majority leader Senator Mitch McConnell (KY-R), brought to the floor the most complete version of their plan to repeal and replace the ACA.
  • -Because this measure had not been assessed by the Congressional Budget Office, it needed 60 votes to pass, but only received 43.

Wednesday, July 26-
  • -After some debate, the Senate rejected the “clean repeal” bill presented by Senate Republicans to repeal major parts of the ACA without replacement, voting 45-55.
  • -Debating will continue for no more than 20 hours (due to special budget rules) as Senate Republicans try to push through a repeal bill a majority can agree on.
  • -Democrat minority leader, Chuck Schumer (NY-D), announced after the 20-hour debate moves to a vote-a-rama, Democrats will not offer any amendments unless McConnell has revealed the final bill he wants the Senate to consider.

Thursday, July 27-
  • -The 20 hour limit on the bill’s debate is expected to be exhausted.
  • Following that, the Senate will move into a vote-a-rama, which is a marathon series of votes on amendments presented. It’s expected the vote-a-rama will begin late in the day today (Thursday) and could last throughout the night.

So What’s Next?
We’ll keep a close eye on the Senate debate and be sure to keep you up-to-date on any major health care changes! According to the “New York Times,” it seems increasingly likely that Senate Republicans will try to pass a “slimmed-down bill that would repeal only a small number of the existing health law’s provisions” in an effort to keep the option of repeal alive. If successful, it’s likely they’ll try to negotiate a broader compromise bill with the House of Representatives.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

7 Most Frequently Asked Questions About ACA Compliance



Not to brag, but we at ACAwise are some of the best at what we do - and what we do is make Affordable Care Act compliance and e-filing simple for you! Because of that, we get lots of calls daily with questions about ACAwise, ACA compliance, ACA e-filing, and more. And to help those who may not be able to call in, we’ve compiled a list of our seven most frequently asked questions about ACAwise and ACA compliance:

How Does Compliance with ACAwise Work?
First things first: the basics! When you create your ACAwise account, you’ll have the option to go for just e-filing or to include year-round ACA compliance monitoring and tracking. If you opt for our compliance features, all you’ll need to do is enter your employee and insurance plan information and ACAwise takes care of the rest! The program monitors your data throughout the year to make sure you’re making the right offers of coverage to the right people to stay compliant with the Affordable Care Act.

From the Dashboard of your account, you can view the status of each employee/recipient, as well as various compliance reports to make sure everything’s on track!

Does ACAwise Handle Family & Medical Leave (FMLA)?
Yes. When we built ACAwise, we incorporated all of the IRS’s business rules for ACA compliance and we make sure to keep everything up-to-date with any changes. This ensures every health insurance situation is accounted for in your ACAwise account.

What About COBRA Covered Employees?

Yes. When inputting your employees to your ACAwise account, you’ll have the option to indicate that the employee is covered by COBRA continuation coverage.

And the Rule of Parity?
As the Rule of Parity is part of the IRS’s business rules for ACA compliance, we’ve included it in ACAwise as well. Applicable Large Employers (ALEs) may indicate an employee is eligible for the Rule of Parity if that employee worked for fewer than 13 weeks (26 weeks for educational organizations) prior to their termination. They can also use this rule to treat re-hired employees as new employees if their break in service was longer than their initial period of service.

Does ACAwise Account for Plans for Tobacco Users?
Yes. Since it’s required to have separate insurance plans for tobacco users, we’ve built ACAwise so that these plans are displayed for each employee who uses tobacco.

Does ACAwise Validate a Break of Service for Educational & Non-Educational Institutions?
Yes. ACAwise allows you to validate breaks in service for educational and non-educational institutions alike. Since ACAwise also accounts for the Rule of Parity, the specific circumstances you enter regarding each employee’s break in service will determine if they’re classified as a re-hire or new hire when they return.

How Can I Get Started with ACAwise?
Just head on over to our Sign Up page! You can also give us a call or schedule a free demo to learn more about creating and using your ACAwise account.

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