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Health Care Reform: The Questions Just Got More Complicated

Health-care-file“What will health reform mean to my small business clients?” That was one of the hot topics identified at the recent AICPA Private Companies Practice Section Executive Committee meeting, and it’s a question that I and my colleagues on the PCPS team have been hearing from CPAs across the country. In addition, in the 2013 PCPS CPA Firm Top Issues Survey, “the effect on firms of new federal and state regulations (i.e., increasing complexity, costs to comply)” was one of the top five issues for sole practitioners, possibly due to increased concerns and client inquiries about implementing provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  PCPS uses the Top Issues Survey results to inform members about the challenges being faced by other firms and to monitor and respond to member needs.

If you and your small firm clients thought that health care reform was challenging, things only got more complicated in early July, when the Treasury announced that enactment of some provisions of the health care law would be delayed. That includes the employer mandate, which requires employers with 50 or more full-time workers either to provide health care coverage or to pay a penalty. Those employers now have an additional year, until 2015, to comply with the law.

Despite this postponement, this is the perfect time for CPAs to take a proactive approach. Small business owners have long been concerned about the cost and complexity of the new law’s requirements, and this delay does not change that. As their trusted business advisor, you can step up to answer their questions about the law itself and the latest developments, and provide advice on what it all means to them. The postponement has given small businesses some breathing room, and you can help them make the most of it.

To help you do that, the AICPA and PCPS have created a wide range of resources that you can use to educate yourself and your staff and inform and update your clients. Turn to the PCPS Health Care Reform Toolkit to work your way through this action agenda: 

  • Make a plan. Use the toolkit’s strategy checklist to chart the steps you need to take and find resources that can help you with each one.
  • Open a conversation. Send the toolkit’s customizable brochures to small business and individual clients. Let them know your firm can help them address any related concerns and urge them to contact you.
  • Spread the word. Give presentations using the toolkit’s PowerPoint presentations designed for small or large business clients or individuals. That will help position your firm as a knowledgeable resource with your clients, prospective clients and key referral sources.
  • Keep up to speed. Check the AICPA Health Care Reform Resources Center regularly for articles and updates as new developments occur. There may be further surprises in store on the road to health care reform, so use this site to learn what’s new and what it might mean for you and your clients.

What other issues are on the minds of CPAs in firms like your own? The 2013 PCPS CPA Firm Top Issues Survey has the answers. The results are categorized by firm size so you can easily drill down to find the information you need. The survey commentary provides in-depth analysis on current and emerging trends affecting the entire profession and each firm size segment. 

Mark Koziel, CPA, CGMA, Vice President, Firm Services & Global Alliances, American Institute of CPAs.

Health Care File image via ShutterStock

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