Learning How to Link Your Benefit Enrollment and Management Programs
Small-business owners have discovered that there are valuable services available through outsourced payroll, benefits and management bureaus. These highly focused specialty firms offer small-business owners many of the sophisticated services large companies offer in-house. The big difference is they can be easily accessed on an outsourced basis at greatly reduced cost and on an as-needed basis.
For example, a firm may work with management to empower everyone within a client organization — employers, employees and their families — to simplify the complex world of consumer-directed benefits. An outside firm can make benefits programs easier to understand so everyone within an organization can take advantage of pretax savings and concentrate on what matters most to them. The result is that heads of small companies are finding these and similar outsourced services invaluable. In your role, you need to access programs that can scale quickly and effectively as you grow, giving you best-of-breed programs.
Consider your approach
You want to offer a comprehensive but affordable package of benefits at your company, and to keep the price in your range, you may want to keep all offerings under one roof. Consider, for example, spending-account management programs, such as health and dependent care flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts, and health reimbursement arrangements. Your employees also may want commuter benefits, such as transit and parking programs.
You can approach this by working with a company that enables employees and their families to save money by using pretax dollars to pay for their health care and commuter expenses. Employers financially benefit from outsourced programs through reduced payroll taxes, even after factoring in fees. Under FSA, HSA and commuter programs, employee participants contribute funds from their pretax income to pay for qualified out-of-pocket health care expenses that are not fully covered by insurance, such as co-pays, deductibles and over-the-counter medical products, or for commuting costs.
Not only does it result in tighter, higher-functioning organizations, but it also yields fatter bottom lines. The key is coordination among all benefits, in rolling out and managing a diverse array of offerings.
For example, you need to investigate not only what services you can obtain from a benefits provider, but also how you can access them. Can you as a manager and your employees get access to the information you need through an online service, rather than have to get paper reports that involve a lot of work and organization? What if you have a staff that travels a lot: Can employees access information from a smartphone while in a hotel room in another city? And are these services all web-based or is it necessary to load software? These are all considerations you need to take into account.
Established outsourced firms pride themselves on delivering quality services by experienced and talented professionals within their respective fields. It's easy to see why small-company heads are finding such services invaluable. The decision to test them is a no-brainer.
If you haven't checked out the plethora of outsourced payroll, benefits and retirement services, give us a call. We can help you find and coordinate the services you need and explain how we can deliver them to your staff.
Our firm provides the information in this e-newsletter for general guidance only, and does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, investment advice, or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal, or other competent advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation. The information is provided "as is," with no assurance or guarantee of completeness, accuracy, or timeliness of the information, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose.
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