There is a reason most companies with a sizable workforce have dedicated payroll staff. It is labor intensive, detail oriented, and can be a nightmare when something goes wrong. Thanks to advances in modern technology, there are many digital resources designed to help make things easier. You have automated time keeping systems, tax calculators, and various other plug and play systems that help save you time and money. The only problem is that those systems don’t always talk to each other. Most of the time you use a combination of spreadsheets to audit one system against another. What if your benefits Third Party Administrator (TPA) could help with at least a few of those payroll pains? Here are 3 common headaches experienced by payroll and how your TPA could help:
Multiple Carrier Transactions
When you work in payroll you have a lot of reports from a lot of different resources. Normally you would receive a report from each carrier: medical, dental, vision, life insurance, accident, etc. Each one of those reports lists each employee and their premiums. You then have to go through each bill or report and cross check your system for each carrier. If something is wrong, you have to contact each carrier separately to address each issue.
If you have TPA that provides you with a centralized benefits platform, then it gets a little easier. An appropriate system would allow your employees to select their benefits, automatically calculate their deductions per pay cycle, and let you manage any additional details all in one place. In this case you get one bill and have only one report to look at to ensure your payroll deductions are accurate. Some TPAs like FBS will even provide you with a dedicated billing coordinator to help make sure you understand your bill and address any issues.
Lots of Discrepancies
Even if you are using a TPA that provides a system similar to THEbenefitsHUB that provides all your benefit needs, you still have a payroll system that actually makes the deductions and pays your employees. What if an employee is terminated in your payroll system and you forget to go into the TPA’s system and terminate their benefits? The TPA doesn’t know that the employee is no longer there, so they continue to bill you for the benefit premiums. This can result in a huge number of discrepancies that build up over time until you go in and terminate the employee in the TPA’s system.
The answer may be a report generated by your TPA. If you provide a backup copy of your payroll file to your TPA through a secure system like an in-house FTP (for HIPPA compliance), they can compare your backup to current elections and simply send you a list of discrepancies that need attention. A proper system can do this in mere minutes and lets you make the corrections needed quickly, saving you time and money. Without this tool, you are forced to manually compare spreadsheets, which can mean your list of discrepancies is larger and takes even more time.
Manual Deduction Adjustments
When you combine the above two issues, you usually end up with a lot of manual adjustments to your benefits bills and reports. If you have multiple bills with errors in multiple systems, you have to make manual adjustments in each carrier system. Likewise, each error gets worse as time goes on, compounding on the problem.
The answer is simple! Take the time each month to make the needed corrections using the discrepancy report your TPA has provided, so these issues do not keep getting worse. This will gradually make your bill more accurate and reduce the number of discrepancies in the next month. This naturally also reduces the number of credits and adjustments.
Clean Reports Make Everyone Happy
Now that you have a clean report, you can submit one clean bill to your accounts payable team for multiple services. They get to write one check (or ACH) to the TPA instead of deciphering the network of carriers and policy reference numbers in your previous system. This makes your financial audits easier, which should make senior management happy as well.
If your TPA is not helping you cure these headaches, then you should talk to one of our benefit consultants to discuss how we can help. FBS uses a proprietary software to reconcile your payroll which makes managing your payroll deductions and discrepancies easier. Our Common Remitter program generates an easy to read discrepancy report for you every month allowing you to make corrections faster. Most importantly, FBS provides a dedicated Billing Coordinator to assist with any billing questions.