A survey says human resources and finance departments have a way to go in working together, whether it’s on benefits cost, compliance issues, or liability.
That’s according to the survey “Employee Benefits Barometer: SMB Perspectives and Priorities in an Era of Disruption” from Hub International Ltd. HRDive reports that although 78 percent of finance respondents consider HR a strategic partner, 97 percent of finance executives still have “significant concerns” about benefits costs.
In addition, with this being the first year that employers face data reporting and IRS audits as part of the Affordable Care Act, only 58 percent of survey respondents put ACA compliance as their top priority — despite the fact that experts are warning that small and middle market employers could have a tough time getting through those reporting and audit requirements.
In fact, ACA compliance finished in third place, coming in behind employee wellness and productivity improvements (83 percent) and cost management (76 percent) as the top three concerns.
Seventy-eight percent of finance respondents consider HR a strategic partner, but that doesn’t eliminate their worries about HR’s actions — or lack thereof. At the top of the finance people’s lists are the potential for HR missteps with executive liability (93 percent) and ACA audits (88 percent).
When it comes to money, it’s not just the cost of benefits that worries finance executives; 33 percent said they expect HR to go over budget (32 percent), mismanage ACA reporting (34 percent) and pay IRS audit penalties (35 percent).
And there’s disagreement, too, over who’s responsible if the IRS decides to audit an organization’s ACA reporting. While 60 percent of respondents say that’s primarily an HR issue, 54 percent say it’s primarily a finance issue. Because organizations have to be able to defend and manage the decisions they made and reported on, that could lead to potential audit implications of ACA reporting if HR and finance can’t agree on who’s responsible for what.