Research from Aberdeen Group and Sovos Compliance shows significant business challenges exist as a result of accuracy problems and continuous regulatory changes.
December 5, 2016, Wilmington, Massachusetts — As the U.S. government considers changes to the Affordable Care Act, a new report from the Aberdeen Group shows U.S. businesses spent in excess of $4 billion on labor costs to comply with the statute in 2016. The average business spent 315 hours on ACA compliance efforts, or almost two months of a full-time employee’s job, according to the report, with some pouring as many as 1,000 hours into compliance activities.
The biggest drain on resources was “addressing and fixing reporting errors,” according to the report. Businesses struggled this year to implement processes to efficiently troubleshoot and update reports for accuracy. However, businesses that used technology fared better than those that turned to manual efforts.
“The workload associated with the Affordable Care Act was far beyond what most companies expected,” said Nick Castellina, Vice President and Research Group Director of Business Planning & Execution at the Aberdeen Group. “With businesses struggling to keep up with fast-changing regulations, companies were often overwhelmed by reporting requirements, but we saw a huge difference when businesses applied automation. Top performers were 24 percent more likely to have an automation solution in place.”
While reporting challenges ate up the most time, HR leaders listed mandate changes as their top challenge, something that may get worse as ACA takes a new form under President-elect Trump. Forty percent of businesses stated that the frequency of mandate changes is a top challenge for them in managing ACA compliance. The continual evolution of regulatory mandates makes it increasingly difficult for businesses to track the changes and update their systems accordingly. In 2016, there have been 80 updates related to ACA, according to the regulatory analysis team at Sovos Compliance, a pace of change that is uncomfortable for HR teams to manage internally in addition to their day-to-day responsibilities.
“As we clearly see with ACA compliance, one certainty is that the rules and mandates imposed on employers will continue to evolve,” said Andy Hovancik, CEO at Sovos Compliance. “As these regulations develop, there will continue to be significant business costs related to process change, technology adoption, and potential regulatory fines. With so much unknown, we’re seeing more and more leaders turn to automated software solutions to streamline, provide greater visibility, and control and mitigate risk.”
The research, conducted by the Aberdeen Group and commissioned by Sovos Compliance, a global leader in business-to-government tax, compliance and reporting software, is based on responses from 179 business leaders tasked with managing ACA compliance for their companies.
Click here to download the full report, titled “Your Employees Can’t Afford the Time Required for Affordable Care Act Compliance: Give Them a Lifeline.”
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Sovos Compliance is a global leader in business-to-government tax, compliance and reporting software, enabling businesses to grow globally by reducing the risks and costs associated with compliance in thousands of tax jurisdictions around the world. With a 35-year track record of success in compliance and the broadest library of tax rules and rates in the world, Sovos helps finance, tax and HR professionals in 4,500 companies, including half of the Fortune 500, stay ahead of complex and fast-changing government regulations. The company’s compliance platform integrates with a wide variety of business applications, providing the control and visibility required to manage global tax compliance activities. Based in Boston, Sovos has offices throughout North America, Latin America and Europe. For more information visit www.sovos.com.
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