When it comes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there’s one thing everyone can agree on: it’s complicated. But helping clients navigate the health law isn’t, thanks to some ACA-specific tweaks in Thomson Reuters software.
“We want to facilitate as much as possible, not only to educate our users but to assist them in communicating a complex issue to their clients,” says Jordan Kleinsmith, product manager, tax. “We want to help firms articulate more clearly the aspects of the law that ultimately impact their clients.”
Accountants are a trusted resource, which makes them a natural go-to on the ACA, says Louie Calvin, product manager, Accounting CS.
“Most businesses are engaged in what they do best, which isn’t keeping track of all the new rules and regulations under the ACA,” Calvin explains. “We’re hearing from CPAs that they get tons of questions surrounding the ACA.”
In addition to specific functionality that helps tax and accounting firms with the nuts and bolts of ACA compliance (see callout below), the upgraded tools give firms an avenue for boosting consulting revenues.
“Whether they’re working with an individual taxpayer or a small business taxpayer, accountants can help their clients look for a more optimal outcome,” Kleinsmith says. “It’s an opportunity to showcase the value accountants provide, by illustrating all the different ways they’re looking out for their clients.”
For example, accountants can use ToolBox CS to help individual taxpayers compare the penalty for not having health insurance with the cost of buying coverage. They can also provide those clients with a worksheet that details all the information they need to buy insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Accounting CS features worksheets small businesses can use to identify how many full-time employees they have, which determines whether they need to provide health insurance. Accountants can use that same tool to help businesses make informed hiring decisions.
“Accountants can communicate how those hiring decisions would impact their bottom line if they continue to hire and grow, and helps businesses predict future costs,” Calvin says.
Speaking of the future: Thomson Reuters will continue enhancing its software to make ACA compliance even easier for firms and their clients. One long-term goal is to streamline the process of data collection from insurance providers to eliminate the need to manually populate certain form fields.
“We understand that navigating the ACA is a new and daunting task for accountants,” Calvin says, “so we’re definitely not stopping where we are.”