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November 21, 2019 | Human Resources | Posted by Ascentis Thought Leadership

What’s on your year-end HR checklist?

As 2019 draws to a close, your business is both looking back at the happenings of the past year and looking forward to the challenges you’re likely to face in 2020. Before you shift your focus fully onto the future, it’s always a good idea to take stock of any goals or projects you aim to fulfill before the year’s end.  

With that in mind, Ascentis has assembled a comprehensive year-end checklist for human resources professionals. Keeping track of all the ins and outs of your HCM operations. Ensuring you’ve tied up all of your loose ends requires more space than we can devote in a single blog post, so be sure to download the full checklist. In the meantime, here are some key criteria to be aware of. 

Reporting and compliance 

Reporting relevant data to the proper sources is a major aspect of HCM operations at every time of year. Still, the end of the year is an excellent opportunity to take stock of any work your company may have to do to stay compliant with governmental regulations. Your reporting requirements will vary depending on your company’s size and industry, but most fall under these categories: 
  • Healthcare information

    The Affordable Care Act requires employers to supply a broad range of information, including lists of new hires, retirees, owners, directors, partners, union members, dependents, and anyone else enrolled in your company’s plan. Your state may also require its own evidence of ACA compliance. The ACA requires that employee health plans pass an affordability test, among other requirements.

Healthcare reporting doesn’t end with the ACA either. For instance, insurance carriers require open enrollment data for your employees, and 1095-C forms must be sent to any current or former employees who have enrolled in COBRA coverage. Fortunately, most of these required tasks can be automated with a quality HRIS.

  • Financial information

    A number of human resources functions fall under the IRS umbrella, and of course, require diligent reporting. That includes tracking and auditing all reportable fringe benefits, submitting System and Organization Controls (SOC) 1 reports for any service providers you work with, and providing evidence of employer share responsibility for large employers. Most employees should also receive a Total Compensation Statement at the end of the year explaining their employers’ contributions toward their personal benefits. 

  • Equal employment information

    Many companies are required to submit evidence of compliance with Equal Employment Opportunity regulations, including information on employees’ race, sex, and job class data.  

Audits and reviews 

A year-end checklist isn’t just a rundown of all the things you need to do in a given year. It’s also a helpful assessment of how you do those things, and how you can improve those processes for the future. Here are some important areas to focus on as you assess your operations. 
  • Jobs and hiring

    The end of the year is an ideal time to review your hiring, recruiting, onboarding, and training processes, and to start deciding on the tools and software you’ll need to improve them in the coming year. It’s also an excellent chance to review job titles and job descriptions for your existing employees to assess whether roles have changed over the past year or need to change in future. This can also help you to avoid misclassifying workers as employees or contractors, an important consideration for IRS purposes. 

  • Benefits and compensation 

    Performing an annual salary survey is a great opportunity to assess your levels of compensation and decide what adjustments should be made in the coming year. It’s also a useful time to assess your current policies for paid time-off and whether your systems need to be adjusted to stay compliant with your own policy. This can also be a chance to audit your benefits, including those for retirement or termination and make sure that those events are being reported correctly. Again, a quality HCM system should be able  

Updating and verifying data 

Your employees generate a whole lot of information over the course of a year, and much of it is valuable for your year-end checklist. By verifying that employee data is up to date (including that of deceased and terminated employees), all your employees’ social security and Medicare tax information is correct, and all independent contractors are properly classified, you can help to ensure a smoother transition into the coming year. 

Adjusting to changes and prepping for the future 

Things change over the course of a working year, and keeping up with the changes that matter isn’t always a simple task. Likewise, making plans for the coming year requires some strong foresight and a keen awareness of your current situation. 
  • Changing regulations

    As 2019 comes to a close, for instance, employers may be well advised to read up on the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which has been stuck in committee since April. The tax credit will expire at the end of December without further congressional action, so it may be time to make plans around it. Likewise, rules and levels for Health Savings Accounts are slated to change in 2020. Your HR team needs to be aware of the necessary adaptations. 

  • Changes in the office

    There are also some easy-to-overlook, but nevertheless, important updates to be made around the office. As laws and regulations change, required postings of state and federal labor law should be updated. On the payroll side, this is the time to start reviewing your year-end calendar to make sure that all company holidays are taken into account when processing and distributing checks. Also, be sure updated versions of your employee handbook and all required annual notices, such as Employee Retirement Income Security Act information, are properly distributed to employees. 

  • Preparing for next year 

    While you can never know exactly what the future will hold, it’s always best to go into a new year with a clear vision of what’s expected of your company. There are several key pieces of legislation to keep an eye on in 2020, including changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act, updates to W-4 forms, and a swath of minimum wage changes across the country.  

  • Assessing your HCM solutions

    Finally, a year-end audit is a perfect time to take stock of your current HR system and identify what is and isn’t working. If you’re still trying to keep on top of all the things we’ve mentioned using an outdated or manual system, it’s time to upgrade to an automated, customizable solution like Ascentis. Take some time to explore our full Year-End HR Checklist, and then drop us a line. We’re ready and eager to help your company improve operations for 2020 and beyond. 

Year-End HR Checklist 2019

With more than 35 years of experience in providing Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, Ascentis thought leaders have become a respected source for insights, tips, and innovations in the Human Capital Management (HCM) space.