Thursday, June 9, 2011

Something to do During the Lazy Hazy Crazy Benefits Days of Summer

In my experience as a consultant, summer tends to be a time for corporate HR departments to regroup. There are lots of vacations. Government filings aren't due yet. It's not quite time to panic to prepare next year's budget. Open enrollment is far enough away that you may not have started your communications process. And, in this economy, most companies aren't doing a whole lot of hiring, so there is not much new employee orientation to do.

So, this is your opportunity to sit back and chill, right?

Well, it could be, but I have another idea. If my war stories are anything like yours, then this will resonate. Assuming all plans and fiscal years are calendar year, you may have these deadlines (among others) on the retirement side coming up:

  • FY 2012 budgets in July or August
  • Forms 5500 by October 15
  • Nondiscrimination testing by the time Form 5500 is filed
Consider this. Most every company has the same deadlines. And, most every company gets their requests in to their consultants at about the same time -- at the last minute. Now, that's fine for you, as you are a really important client (everybody knows they are, though), but think about the other side of it. If your consultant is doing 10 tests at once, helping with 10 budgets at once, and assisting with 50 Forms 5500 at once, here is a likely outcome:
  • They work less efficiently as they are jumping from one assignment to another
  • Staffing is not ideal, and unwittingly, you might be the one who gets the inexperienced person assigned to your account
  • The outcome may not be as you hope, but you don't really leave time to fix it
Kudos to a company whose VP-Finance and Administration called me yesterday. Their qualified plan nondiscrimination testing is due October 15. They want to start next week. Past history tells us that their process is complex, Hopefully, they will pass, but you never know with this particular company. If they do not pass, though, they will have time to evaluate their options and develop the optimal solution, instead of panicking and grabbing any old solution.

It's not just testing, though, it could relate to all of these projects. If you start now, you will have eager consultants. They will jump on the work. They will let you know right away if something is missing, or if there are any complications. Your life, ultimately, will be easier.

You think I am wrong that your consultants will jump on this work? If that's the case, call us; we'll work with you to make your life easier.

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