Compliance is a hot topic right now, with news stories coming out every day about companies in trouble for everything from regulatory missteps to downright illegal business activity. In fact, TriNet recently commissioned a survey of 1,000 small business owners and discovered that a whopping 73 percent of them find it easier to raise their revenue by five percent than to keep their business fully compliant with government regulations.
On the other hand, the result of non-compliance – from cutting corners, negligence or simple ignorance of the laws governing your business – can result in hefty fines or even the loss of your company.
Whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, compliance can be a confusing and daunting topic. Unfortunately, it is also a topic that touches on almost every aspect of your business. As lawyers and lawmakers are busy piling regulations on your business, it can seem that there may be no light in this fog of laws and requirements. How are you supposed to focus on your business when your days are spent constantly maintaining compliance?
Fortunately, TriNet works with thousands of companies every day to help them maintain compliance, specifically by managing their employer-related risk. Here are three tips for navigating the regulatory environment around your business – without losing focus of your core business.
1) Identify the compliance items outside your area of expertise
Every business, from the ice cream shop on the corner to a hedge fund dealing with billions of dollars, has compliance issues central to their business. There are compliance issues from the moment you open your business and more that come along as soon as you hire your first employee. From how and when you pay your employees to where your business name is registered to the requirements on your website, compliance demands are everywhere.
To make you even more uneasy, these regulations are constantly changing and increasing in complexity. For example, the Affordable Care Act has introduced and refined compliance issues that touch not just medical benefit availability but employer responsibilities, tax reporting, benefit plan design, the way insurance can be sold and more.
2) Find trusted partners
The repercussions of compliance missteps can be disastrous. You need to find external partners you can rely on. The key here is to make sure they have a reputation for being trustworthy and aren’t cutting corners. Find partners who are certified and licensed in their core business and who are held accountable to peer groups through trade organizations and communities. Professional employer organizations, such as TriNet, for instance, not only have state and federal registration requirements but also are accredited and assured through the Employer Services Assurance Corporation.
Just as you are the expert in your core business, there are many other businesses that focus on keeping companies like yours compliant. Attorneys, accountants and vendors can provide the expertise and experience in those areas where you need it. TriNet, for instance, has over 25 years of experience in learning and meeting compliance needs related to such human resources services as payroll and employee benefits. Utilizing vendors who know the business of compliance can free you to focus on your core business while giving you the peace of mind of knowing your business is not at risk for non-compliance.
You should also carefully review the proposed service agreements with your future business partners. Make sure you understand how the risk for non-compliance is allocated and that your partner stands behind the promises they are making. A good attorney should be one of your trusted partners and can help in making sure you perform your due diligence when vetting vendors.
3) Never stop paying attention
Finally, your responsibility doesn’t end with finding a trusted partner to help you maintain compliance. Regularly check in and challenge them on how they are continuing to develop, educate themselves, and evolve to meet new requirements and regulations. A good expert should be able to not only meet their own compliance requirements but also educate and inform those businesses that depend on them.
This communication is for informational purposes only; it is not legal, tax or accounting advice; and is not an offer to sell, buy or procure insurance. This post may contain hyperlinks to websites operated by parties other than TriNet. Such hyperlinks are provided for reference only. TriNet does not control such web sites and is not responsible for their content. Inclusion of such hyperlinks on TriNet.com does not necessarily imply any endorsement of the material on such websites or association with their operators.
 The TriNet Presidential Elections Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 1,001 U.S. small business owners with 100 employees or fewer, between October 21 and October 29, 2015, using an email invitation and an online survey.