CHELMSFORD, Mass., Sept. 16, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Many employers are struggling to meet new IRS reporting requirements mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). A recent survey of 480 U.S. employers by global accounting firm PwC found that only 10 percent said they have a solution in place to compile the necessary data and file the required forms with the IRS early next year.
The Marbridge Foundation, an Austin, Texas-based non-profit residential community for adults with a wide range of cognitive challenges, is one organization bucking the trend (learn more about Marbridge at www.marbridge.org) by utilizing self-service data preparation from Datawatch Corporation (NASDAQ:DWCH). As a result, Marbridge is saving many thousands of dollars and man-hours in manual data entry costs while greatly reducing its risk exposure to government penalties.
New ACA rules mandate that employers like Marbridge with 50 or more full-time employees must report whether they offered “minimum essential coverage” to their full-time employees and dependents. And if coverage was offered, what the employee’s share of the lowest cost monthly premium for self-only coverage was. Marbridge’s challenge stemmed from its payroll system, which wasn’t equipped to meet these requirements without an expensive upgrade, nor support its need to report on historical payroll information from 2013, 2014 and 2015. In addition, Marbridge is currently in the process of converting to a new HR/payroll service provider that also required some of this data, without which, Marbridge would have to maintain the legacy system for research and reporting.
“To ensure compliance, we needed to be able to analyze the number of hours each of our 300+ employees worked to determine if they met the 30-hour eligibility requirement for full-time status, and we had to meet a look-back provision for which we needed to report on years 2014-2015 as well. That meant we needed to look at historical as well as current payroll data - but our payroll system only allowed us to access that payroll information in PDF format,” said David Erps, Marbridge’s vice president of finance.
As a non-profit community adhering to smart and efficient stewardship of its dollars, Marbridge knew hiring a temp agency to manually key in all the payroll data was not ideal. But that option was rife with complications, costs and risk due to inevitable human errors. Each employee report filed late or containing errors was subject to a penalty ranging from $100 - $250. “I’m estimating our exposure at up to $40,000 in penalties,” Erps said.
Using Datawatch with a customized template to extract the necessary IRS-required information, Erps’ team was able to extract and clean both current and historical payroll information locked in the PDF files quickly and automatically. “Datawatch has been incredibly successful for us. I conservatively estimate that we have saved 2,000 to 3,500 man-hours so far. And we saved additional money by not having to upgrade our software and hire extra temporary staff,” Erps said.
Datawatch is unique in its ability to automatically extract and prepare data locked in a wide range of report formats including PDF, XML, HTML, text, spool and ASCII files, enabling organizations like Marbridge to pull in virtually any kind of structured and unstructured data from things like payroll records, invoices, sales reports, balance sheets and customer lists with speed, efficiency and accuracy.
Because virtually any data set will contain some errors, confidence in the resulting data was also critical to Erps. As a former accountant, he’s inherently risk averse to government audits. The automated data preparation capabilities of Datawatch include more than 80 pre-built functions designed specifically to clean and transform incomplete, inaccurate data into an accurate, analysis-ready form with a few clicks.
With the ACA reporting requirements now under control, Erps sees new opportunities for incorporating Datawatch across multiple data preparation needs within his organization’s HR and financial processes. He plans to use Datawatch to scan in all employees’ historical W2 forms and link it to their HR files so that they can have one central repository for all payroll information. With the organization adopting a new 401K program, he also sees Datawatch aiding that transition as well.
“Datawatch has saved us so much time and money it’s hard to even quantify. And besides all the monetary savings, it has given us the ability to create one place to go for all the answers. So the next time someone in the organizations asks for all the payroll information for the past 2 years, we can instantly give them what they need,” he said.
About Datawatch Corporation
Datawatch Corporation (NASDAQ:DWCH) provides the only Managed Analytics Platform that brings together self-service data preparation with visual data discovery. Its software bridges the gap between the ease that business user’s demand and the automation and governance needed by IT. Users can quickly discover key factors that improve their business by transforming data from multi-structured sources, as well as real-time streaming data, into visually rich analytic applications. Organizations of every size, worldwide use Datawatch products, including 93 of the Fortune 100. Datawatch is headquartered in Chelmsford, Massachusetts with offices in New York, London, Frankfurt, Stockholm, Singapore, Melbourne and Manila, and with partners and customers in more than 100 countries worldwide. Learn more at www.datawatch.com.
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