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ACA Reporting in 2017

ACA 2017

Let the games begin! It's time to do the ACA Reporting. Last year, when we were at the stage of developing the paper report, reviewing the data was so onerous that the HR VP said that we were going to do it differently the next year (meaning 2017). So I kind of took it to mean maybe the company would ask its benefits provider to do the reporting instead.

Nope, I'm going to do it again by Excel for reporting year 2017. I don't mind doing it but it just feels risky to depend on one person to "program" Excel to do the job. Of course, the result is only as robust as the person reviewing the numbers. An official large software program could have bugs unless someone is scrutinizing the results. So for our smaller company, Excel could do the job...I guess.

So far I have set up the mail merge to pull in data from Excel into a Word document for physical mailing. I just used the PDF file from the government and converted the file into Word. Acrobat Reader won't work - you have to use a paid version. From there, I made sure the Word document referenced the Excel file that I will be using, set up the tabs (this is key - tabs really work) marking where the data will fill in, and then insert the fields. Also, the section on the employee's lowest cost for self has to be in text before you can use it in the mail merge. So in Excel, you have to convert those numbers into text. This one took me a long time to figure out last year.

I finally got the data Tuesday or Wednesday. The first thing I did was to make sure that the data made sense, such as the termination dates were after the hire dates and there were only one SSN listed. I found that this year, because of the new payroll system, the data came in differently. There were multiple entries for some people - not many but some.

So the first rule is to look over the data and do some necessary clean ups!

I also did some reading on whether much has changed in the rules. It looks like the reporting for 2016 has not changed much other than new code 1 series codes. So the changes are very minor.

Now I'm in the process of reviewing what my spreadsheet spits out. I start first from the easiest (take out the part time) and then move on to gradually more complicated situations. I review the reporting to make sure that my spreadsheet is still working.

So far my file seems to be working. I think I have looked at about 60 to 70% of the data. This weekend I want to review the rest and have a list of questions for the HR VP.

So I have a busy weekend ahead of me.

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