Recent News

Many Employers Face New Reporting Requirements under ACA in 2015

Plante Moran
February 23, 2015

As the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) continue to phase in, many employers will need to create or modify systems and processes to collect the information that they must report to the federal government. A new rule that went into effect on January 1, 2015, requires many businesses to gather information about the group health coverage that they offer their employees and report that information to their employees and to the IRS. The year-end reports (new IRS Forms 1095-B and 1094-C) will include specific information about employees covered in each month of the year, so employers need to begin collecting the data as soon as possible. 

Who Must File?

The new reporting rules apply to:

Businesses with fewer than 50 full-time employees are exempt for the most part, although there’s a slightly different reporting requirement for any of those businesses that self-insure.

What Information Is Reported?

Employers that must file are required to report the following information about each employee to the IRS:

What Are Key Dates for the First Year of the New Rules?

Affected businesses should be aware of the following key dates:

Remember that employers must issue these forms annually starting in 2016, but the information that will be reported must be tracked starting January 1, 2015. Employers will have to certify coverage availability and employee elections for each month, not just one end-of-year total like a W-2 or 1099. Finally, the filing deadlines for these forms are hard deadlines. Extensions are not available.

What Steps Should You Take Now?

Every employer subject to these requirements should have a plan in place to gather and report the required information in a timely fashion. For employers trying to comply with the new rules, here are a few steps to get started:

We hope that this information provides a useful guide to verify that your business has the necessary processes in place to comply with the new rules. If you have any questions, contact your tax advisor soon. Employers are already required to be collecting this information, and any delays could make it harder to comply with the rules.

Plante Moran is one of the nation’s largest certified public accounting and business advisory firms. Reprinted with permission from


Succession Planning and Risk Mitigation: Do You Know Who Your Future Leaders Are?

Steve Gravenkemper
February 16, 2015

Risk mitigation—it is the phrase which calls organizations to action. Increasingly, financial institutions are recognizing that facilitating seamless leadership transitions for key positions is a critical factor in sustaining the success of their organizations. Proactive succession planning efforts reduce the risk of hiring and promotion mistakes, loss of institutional knowledge, and the negative impact of turnover in key roles.

Successful transitions (at the CEO or any level of the organization) result from being intentional and proactive in identifying and developing talent to supply your organization with leaders to effectively navigate through a dynamic and turbulent time period in the banking industry. So how can financial institutions better prepare for succession, create an effective plan, and mitigate the risks?
Below are four steps to effectively mitigate some of the risks with succession planning.

1. Start early.

Too often succession planning is addressed only when change is imminent or in response to an unexpected crisis or staff departure. These situations create more risk because pressure intensifies to make an immediate decision—often considering only the best available candidates who may not be the best choices for key open positions.

Starting early not only allows for better planning, but allows for talent development to take place at a more realistic and achievable pace (for example, skill building, transitioning client relationships, developing leadership competencies, etc.). Perhaps the best candidates are already employed by your financial institution. Developing candidates from within your organization provides the dual benefit of promoting leaders familiar with your organization’s culture and values as well as providing professional growth opportunities for your top talent.

2. Succession planning is a continuous process.

Best-in-class organizations recognize that succession planning is a process, not a one-time event. In most cases the hiring of a new CEO means a replacement plan was in place—which is very different from, and what most people painfully mistake for, a succession plan. In reality succession planning is an important and ongoing process for the organization. Some of the critical steps include:

The sponsorship of senior leaders is a key success factor. Succession planning efforts are most effective when the process is embraced as a key strategic initiative for the whole organization, not solely an “HR initiative.”

3. Assess candidates for key positions.

It is helpful to objectively evaluate the “fit” of candidates for open positions. This includes an assessment of their strengths and professional development areas. Use behavioral-based structured interview questions when interviewing candidates. These explore how candidates have handled key situations in their past by emphasizing behaviors that are directly relevant to being successful in the open position. Frequently, interviewers place too much emphasis on subjective factors, relying heavily on their “gut feeling” (for example, a firm hand shake, direct eye contact, shared interests with candidates, etc.).

Reaching out to a third-party assessor provides a way to obtain an objective assessment of a candidate’s strengths and professional development areas. The third party (for example, Plante Moran) could assess the individual’s interests, cognitive abilities, and personality profile. With this information, a frank and honest discussion may take place about a candidate’s strengths, development areas, and overall fit for the position and organization.

4. Develop internal talent.

Assessment results may suggest the internal candidate is not ready now, yet provide specific recommendations for developing key skills that better prepare that candidate for future opportunities. Suggestions might include: formal training programs, internal mentoring, executive coaching, job rotations, additional stretch assignments, and a variety of other developmental opportunities. Consequently, the mantra to “start early” can ensure that organizations develop a talent pipeline that is prepared to fill future leadership roles when needed. Conducting annual reviews of top talent in the organization, sometimes referred to as a “talent roundtable,” enables the senior leadership to monitor progress and make suggestions as needed.

Succession planning is an important strategic business initiative for all organizations. By (1) starting early, (2) embracing succession planning as a process, not a one-time event, (3) objectively assessing candidates for key positions, and (4) developing talent, you can ensure that your organization has effective leaders prepared to fill key roles to meet the business challenges of today and tomorrow.

Steve Gravenkemper specializes in talent and organizational development for Plante Moran, a leading certified public accounting and business advisory firm. Contact him at 248-223-3699 or

Help Yourself by Serving Others

Matt Tenney
February 11, 2015

Helping others can transform both your personal and professional life, says leadership expert/author Matt Tenney.

Tenney’s personal shift toward helping others took him from prisoner to monk, and changed his life.

“The more I focused on how to serve others, the happier I became and the more success I had,” says Tenney, who explains his transformation in the book “Serve to Be Great: Leadership Lessons from a Prison, a Monastery, and a Boardroom.”

That approach works not only in your personal life but in business, too, according to Tenney.

“Servant leadership” has paid dividends for many credit unions because it intertwines with the movement’s cooperative principles.

The reason: Fostering a rewarding work environment leads to better performance, products, and member service.

According to Tenney, servant leadership entails:

“If business leaders make serving and caring for the people on their teams and the communities around them a higher priority than quarterly profits or other numbers, they will have better success over the long term,” Tenney says.

Via Credit Union Front Line Newsletter

Avoiding Death by Drama: How to Ease Workplace Tension

Joe Bertotto
February 9, 2015

All of us have experienced it – the shared glances following a staff member’s comments, the curt responses to someone’s suggestion and the escalating email wars about seemingly trivial topics. Sometimes, co-workers behave more like squabbling rivals than colleagues working toward a common goal. There can be a lack of trust, with each employee focusing more on personal goals and projects than what’s best for the company. This is bad news, because a negative work environment creates drama. Dealing with that drama ruins the whole team’s productivity and negatively affects your credit union’s bottom line with resources spent dealing with conflict and hurt feelings.

Not All Sweetness and Light

Disagreement is a given in the workplace. When employees engage in open, respectful communication, people can disagree but still share ideas and feel validated.

But complaining or gossiping can cause drama that is harmful to everyone on the team. This takes an emotional toll, distracting others and wasting time. It hurts the organization and can increase tension while avoiding the real issue. When people feel their performance is continually under attack or others on the team don’t value their opinions, they often try to keep a “low profile.” In effect, they check out. The result is that the organization loses the benefit of employees’ experience and knowledge – and their commitment. Even worse, groups can divide into an “us-and-them” mentality, with participants focusing on their own goals instead of the company’s. In its 2013 State of the American Workplace survey, Gallup estimated that disengaged employees cost the United States between $450 billion to $550 billion a year.

Causes of Drama

Workplace drama can be caused by a myriad of issues but generally stem from only a few causes:

These are among the most destructive workplace activities, which can divide team members and create factions.

The Antidote

Instead of wasting valuable resources responding to workplace drama, eliminate it.

Here’s a simple formula:  Clear Values + Effective Leadership + Freedom to Be Yourself = Zero Drama.

Develop group values. Ask group members to determine the values they wish to establish. For example:

Use specific language like “we’re all responsible for meeting members’ needs” instead of “we promote teamwork.” Hold periodic meetings to discuss how company values are being practiced and make any needed adjustments.

Lead effectively. Managers should avoid participating in drama or appearing to take sides. Studies show 76 percent of a work environment is the responsibility of the team leader. Once group values are established and shared, coach violators to change their behavior. If management isn’t seen as supporting the values, team members become cynical and regard the process as “lip service.”

Make strengths productive. Appreciate that everyone has unique strengths. By recognizing and helping to develop individual talents, you can energize each person while driving increased performance.

Don’t Allow Drama

Workplace drama wastes time, energy and productivity. Drama is often caused by disengaged employees, and Gallup’s survey reveals that 52 percent of American workers fall in this category. According to Gallup, these are the employees who “are more likely to negatively influence their coworkers, miss workdays and drive customers away.”

By confronting issues in a positive, productive manner, your credit union can experience less drama, a healthier work environment and a stronger bottom line.

Joe Bertotto is chief culture officer for MY CU Services, LLC, a leading provider of electronic payment and technology solutions for credit unions and wholly-owned CUSO of Mid-Atlantic Corporate Federal Credit Union. Reach him at (888) 985-7280 or


Following CUNA's request, NCUA to live-stream board meetings

February 9, 2015

NCUA announced this week that its future open board meetings (as of February 19) will be available via a live-stream for anyone interested in observing the deliberations. This is a move that CUNA has long-advocated for in order to bring more transparency to NCUA's work. Anyone interested should register online here. A guide for watching agency board meetings online is available at this link.

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