Michael Trabold

Director, Compliance Risk, Paychex

Five Key Regulatory Issues Small Businesses are Facing in 2018

From passed to proposed and everywhere in between, there are many regulatory changes and legislative reforms set to move forward in the year ahead. It can be challenging for anybody, financial advisors and compliance experts included, to keep up with where things stand, but small business owners are often understandably overwhelmed by the ever-changing regulations with which they must comply to avoid costly penalties.

Here are five hot regulatory issues your small business clients are facing in 2018:

#1 Tax Reform. The speed with which the GOP passed the first major tax overhaul in decades left businesses with little time to assess what this legislation means for them in 2018. In January, the IRS released Notice 1036, instructing employers how to appropriately withhold wages from their employees’ paychecks. The new tables reflect the increase in the standard deduction, repeal of personal exemptions, and changes in tax rates and brackets. Employers have until February 15, 2018 to implement new withholding guidance. From a business perspective, small business owners can also begin 2018 tax planning, knowing that the corporate tax rate will be streamlined to a flat 21 percent. Some small businesses will likely be interested in changing how they are structured to take advantage of tax reform’s measures to further reduce the tax burden for pass-through entities. However, pass-through entities utilizing the individual tax code will need to pay close attention to associated personal tax changes, including: rate cuts, some removed deductions (including personal exemptions and the deduction for state and local income tax), and increased standard deduction. Congress added a deduction of business income for pass-through companies of up to 20 percent, but there are complex requirements and guardrails for the application of this deduction.

#2 State Reaction to Federal Tax Reform. Those states that conform to federal standards will need to assess and react to any changes caused by the federal overhaul. Many states, especially those with higher taxes, are also scrambling to come up with laws to lessen the impact of federal changes on state taxpayers, particularly as it relates to tax and revenue impacts. Along the same lines, each jurisdiction will need to assess the impact of decoupling or following the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) on their budgets and their constituents, which may lead to withholding changes. The full impact of tax reform is still evolving, and your small business clients will rely on you to help them comply with new federal, state, and local tax codes.

#3 The Affordable Care Act (ACA). For tax year 2017, businesses that are defined as an applicable large employer (ALE), under the Employer Shared Responsibility (ESR) provision of the ACA, must provide a detailed reporting of healthcare coverage. Unlike the previous two years, there is no transition relief in 2017 for how employers offer coverage.  However, the IRS extended good faith effort relief for reporting incomplete or inaccurate returns for 2017 tax year. Good-faith transition relief does not apply to entities that do not file their returns on time. The IRS also extended the furnishing deadline for the form 1095-C to March 2, 2018, but it did not extend filing deadlines with the IRS. Additionally, in late 2017, the IRS began sending out the first notices of proposed employer shared responsibility payments for 2015 filing, letter 226-J. Employers have an opportunity to respond to this notice correcting any incorrect information, but these responses can be lengthy and complex;  some employers will need to research these notices, correct any errors in previous filing, and communicate with the IRS while also preparing for current year obligations – a huge undertaking that will undoubtedly require your help and guidance. Further, with the long-term future of the ACA unclear, some states are expected to begin proposing their own changes to health care policy, a development which could be impactful to employers in those states.

#4 Paid Leave Laws. Over 40 different states and local jurisdictions have passed paid sick leave laws applicable to private employers. And while there are fewer paid family leave laws on the books, 2018 has brought the nation’s most comprehensive paid family leave to New York State. However, a recent proposal in Congress, the Workflex in the 21st Century Act, would pre-empt the many paid leave laws at the state and local level, as well as any others expected to be introduced.

#5 Employee Verification. The 2017 changes to the Form I-9 (the Employment Eligibility Verification Form) and supporting guidance were minor compared to previous revisions, but employers will still need to ensure use of the correct form and delivery of the separate instruction pages to all new employees on their first day of employment. While documentation audits and worksite inspections seemed to level off in 2017, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has warned that it will quadruple the number of worksite inspections in the coming year, consistent with President Trump’s pre-election platform and post-election agenda regarding immigration reform.

These are just a few of the hot regulatory issues that are top-of-mind for small business owners today, and you’ve undoubtedly been hearing from your small business clients already with questions and clarifications galore. With a knowledge of these and other business regulations, you can help your small business clients understand their role in remaining compliant and avoiding costly penalties, which in turn will help their business grow.

Mike Trabold is director of compliance risk for Paychex, Inc. Paychex is a leading provider of human capital management solutions for small- to medium-sized businesses.

Frank Fiorille

VP of Risk, Compli- ance, & Data Analytics, Paychex

Attracting, Retaining, and Developing Millennial Employees at your Firm

In 2016, Millennials became the largest generational group in the American workforce. As with every generation, their experience in the workforce and what they want out of their jobs is unique and will continue to evolve as they grow in their careers. For firms looking to attract Millennial talent, it’s important to understand current Millennial workforce trends. A new report by Paychex takes a deep dive into Millennial wages, geographic distribution, and industry preferences, analyzing their current status, growth rates, and what this all means for businesses trying to attract, retain, and grow talent in this increasingly important employee group.

Here is a snapshot of Millennials in the workforce, and, more specifically, in the Professional and Business Services industry, today:

  • On average, Millennials make $21.80 hour ($5.79/hour less than the all-generation average), but Millennial wages are growing at a rate nearly double that of all generations (5.8 percent compared to 3.0 percent, respectively).
  • Females employees make up 45.3 percent of the Millennial full-time employee population, compared to 54.7 percent for males.
  • There is a higher percentage of full-time Millennial female employees in the Professional Business Services industry than full-time Millennial male employees, 39.7 percent and 38.6 percent, respectively.
  • Aside from the Leisure and Hospitality industry, Professional and Business Services has the highest percentage of full-time Millennial employees (39.1 percent), 1.1 percent greater than the percentage of full-time Millennial employees nationally.
  • Millennials in Professional and Business Services have the highest hourly earnings among industries ($26.05/hour), but have the lowest annual growth in wages, 5.3 percent.

Those facts can keep your firm competitive when it comes to potential salary requirements for Millennial candidates, but once you start the recruitment process, there are a few additional factors to consider. First, be proactive and effective in your recruitment effort. Millennials don’t like to drag out their job decisions. When conducting the interview, really listen to what the Millennial applicant is looking for in a workplace. While you don’t need to change your entire business model to adapt to Millennial employees, there are perks – flexible work hours, work from home/telecommuting options, casual dress days, etc. – that can make the difference to Millennial candidates in choosing a firm and remaining content and engaged there.

Once the employee is hired, offer meaningful work opportunities and foster connections. Millennials seek to be effective and impactful in their roles. As the job allows, let them work on projects that they are passionate about that also impact results. Along the same lines, provide Millennials with opportunities for development, whether a special project, exposure to other departments, or classes/training outside of the workplace. Ask them early on about their career aspirations, develop a plan to help them get there, and regularly monitor progress toward those milestones.

Each generation brings unique energy, ideas, and expectations to the workforce. A lack of understanding of the factors impacting a generational employee group can cause you to lose out on talented candidates.

Paul Davidson

Director of Product Manage- ment at Paychex, Inc

Debunking Common 401(k) Myths for Your Small Business Clients

As retirement readiness becomes a growing concern for today’s workforce, retirement plans, including 401(k)s, are an increasingly important offering when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent. In a recent survey by Paychex, small business owners reported minimizing turnover as the most important reason (23%) for offering retirement benefits, followed closely by the individual need for the benefit (20%). Yet many small businesses do not offer 401(k) plans to their employees or themselves.

There are several common myths around retirement plans, but as an accountant, you can help your clients understand their value and how they can build upon business success. Here’s the truth about eight common misconceptions that prevent small businesses from creating retirement plans:

Myth #1: Offering a 401(k) plan is too expensive.
Fact #1: The tax benefits from retirement plans help offset the cost. Tax incentives for new plans can be as high as $500 a year for three years – that’s $1,500. Furthermore, business owners can deduct 401(k) expenses and contributions, such as administrative fees, employer matching or profit sharing, on business taxes.

Myth #2: My company is too small to offer a 401(k) plan.
Fact #2: Retirement plans exist for all business sizes, including sole proprietorships – in fact, the majority of the 77,000 retirement plans that Paychex manages belong to small businesses. Business owners can start small with a plan that can grow with the business.

Myth #3: Employees can’t afford a 401(k) plan.
Fact #3: It doesn’t take much to get started. Say an employee spends $1.64 per day on a small cup of coffee, amounting to $18,000 over 30 years. That same $1.64 per day in 401(k) contributions can amount to $60,644 over 30 years. That’s the magic of compounding interest!

Myth #4: Employees aren’t interested in a 401(k).
Fact #4: According to the Federal Reserve Board’s Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households, nearly one-third of Americans have no retirement savings, but a study by MetLife found that 64 percent of employees said that a retirement plan is critical or very important. Employees are interested in solutions to help secure their families’ future and their own.

Myth #5: An IRA is enough.
Fact #5: A 401(k) plan has many advantages compared to a SIMPLE IRA. The maximum annual salary deferral is higher for 401(k) plans than that of a SIMPLE IRA and the 401(k) plan catch-up contribution over the age of 50 is double that of a SIMPLE IRA. 401(k) plans also feature profit sharing, loan availabilities, and Roth option opportunities that SIMPLE IRAs do not.

Myth #6: Matching is required.
Fact #6: Matching is not required with a 401(k) plan as it is with a SIMPLE IRA; however, the employer has the option to add matching at any time. Not only does matching help maximize the employer’s personal contributions, matching contributions are generally tax deductible

Myth #7: If “My business is my nest egg” or “I don’t plan to retire” then I don’t need a 401(k).
Fact #7: You can’t predict the future, but you can plan for it. Expecting the best and planning for the worst is the safest option, as the economy, consumer demand, health, and family needs can change at any time.

Myth #8: 401(k)s are complicated to set up, choose, and maintain.
Fact #8: Partnering with a reputable provider eases your administrative burden and can provide investment help.

Paychex ranks as the largest recordkeeper by total number of defined contribution plans, according to a recent survey by PLANSPONSOR magazine, a national publication dedicated to the pension and retirement industry. Serving 77,000 plans, Paychex has earned this honor for seven consecutive years. Paychex helps with plan design and onboarding, integrating payroll and retirement systems into the plan to ease administration; it also offers fiduciary service in partnership with Mesirow Financial, GuidedChoice, LPL Financial, and Wilshire Associates, as well as custodial and trustee services, such as plan administration, regulations, and participant best interests information.

Client-accountant discussions around employer-sponsored retirement benefits and the misconceptions above can provide a natural extension to valuable conversations around the business owner’s financial plan, offering yet another opportunity to enhance your role as trusted advisor, particularly as ongoing legislative uncertainties related to benefit offering regulations have made planning for the future more necessary than ever.

Paul Davidson is director of product management at Paychex, a leading provider of integrated human capital management solutions for payroll, HR, retirement, and insurance services.

Tom Hammond

VP of Corporate Strategy & Product Manage- ment, Paychex

From Data Entry to Data Insights, Technology is Key to HR Strategy

Since the beginning of time, technological innovations have tended to be met with some skepticism. Today, with so much technology at our fingertips, both at home and at work, it’s natural to wonder which solutions are worth the investment. HR technology solutions, when thoughtfully selected with business needs and goals in mind, can improve efficiency, providing the extra time and insightful data needed for the strategic decision making that can transform an HR leader’s role. In fact, the first annual Paychex Pulse of HR Survey found that 75 percent of HR leaders at small and mid-sized companies (50-500 employees) feel HR technology has enabled them to secure a seat at the leadership table.

For HR leaders and their teams, technology solutions can drive efficiency and free-up valuable time currently being spent on administrative tasks or data entry. But on a more strategic level, technology can provide an objective and comprehensive view of the workforce, allowing HR leaders to see and suggest more informed, purposeful actions to executive leadership. Speaking of the workforce, in addition to helping HR leaders become more efficient and strategically engaged, technology also keeps employees engaged with mobile solutions and self-service HR capabilities. These solutions are particularly appealing to Millennials, who’ve come to consider integrated technology a given when they enter the workforce.

While the benefits of technology – including informative data analytics, improved efficiency, and recruitment advantages – are tempting, all technology is not created equal. Solutions that do not effectively meet business needs can burn both time and money. In fact, 44 percent of survey respondents are using several separate systems with some integration as opposed to a single integrated suite. That means they’re spending valuable time rekeying data into multiple systems; 30 percent say they spend as many as 15-29 hours per month.

The purchase of technology solutions should stem from an understanding of how these systems will help the company save time, save money, and ultimately contribute to achieving overall business goals. Your guidance in understanding your small business client’s needs and financial processes can help ensure that they don’t miss the technology boat or jump onboard with the wrong solution. Done right, technology can become a selling point for small and mid-sized businesses looking to attract and retain enterprise-caliber talent. It can also help HR leaders effectively evaluate ways to better manage people and save money, which is a win for HR leaders, a win for the C-suite, and a win for you as a well-integrated solution can provide the accurate information you need for taxes and other financial processes down the line.

Frank Fiorille

VP of Risk, Compli- ance, & Data Analytics, Paychex

Small Business Owners Increasingly Cautious About Employment Growth

After the election of President Trump in 2016, countless surveys reported increasing small business optimism. Post-election research conducted by Paychex showed similar results. Slightly more than half of respondents (small business owners) felt confident to highly confident in their ability to grow under the Trump Administration and 37 percent expressed moderate confidence. But has that optimism translated to small business employment growth?

To gauge trends in small business employment growth and wages, the monthly Paychex | IHS Small Business Employment Watch tracks small business jobs growth and wage trends on a national, regional, state, metro and industry scale. The report serves as an indicator for the state of small business, and, as small businesses represent nearly 95 percent of all U.S. employers, the economy overall.

In May, data from the Small Business Employment Watch revealed that the Small Business Jobs Index declined for the third consecutive month. After a strong start to the year, the index declined to 100.34, the lowest rate of small business employment growth the country has seen since late 2015, a rate 0.25 percent slower than the pace of small business jobs growth in May 2016. After a steady increase in hiring over the three months immediately following the election (December 2016, January 2017 and February 2017), it seems that small business owners have shifted to a wait-and-see approach.

While many of the policies President Trump proposed during his campaign have small business owners feeling hopeful, there is still a great deal of uncertainty around which policies will ultimately come to pass, including healthcare, tax, and immigration reform, to name a few. As such, small business owners must make business decisions, such as whether or not to add employees, based on uncertain economic and regulatory issues, seemingly leaving many to forego hiring until they have a better idea of what’s to come.

In addition to the uncertainty around regulatory and compliance requirements, small business owners are also keeping a watchful eye on the changing nature of work and the workforce. For example, the past couple years have seen a rise in the number of part-time and freelance workers as part of the “gig” economy, a trend which we’re seeing mirrored among our client base.

We’re in a period when macro-economic trends and policy-related issues are having a greater impact than ever on how small business owners make a variety of business decisions. By keeping an eye on these national trends and topics, in combination with an audit and assessment of a small business’s financial situation, CPAs can help their clients make informed decisions to drive the long-term business growth and success.

Michael Trabold

Director, Compliance Risk, Paychex

Small Business Regulation Under the Trump Administration

One thing that’s certain in today’s political climate is almost nothing is certain. While we can never know for sure which proposed policies will make the final legislative cut, there are several anticipated regulatory actions that accountants and their small business clients should keep an eye on in the coming months.

Healthcare remains a prominent issue on Capitol Hill, in the media and in the minds of all citizens. So far, since President Trump took office, we’ve seen the first failed attempt to repeal and replace the ACA, with the original AHCA, but currently legislators are working to pass a revised version of the AHCA through the Senate. While total bipartisan cooperation remains unlikely, there appears to be agreement across the board on certain aspects of healthcare, including the expanded use of HSAs and FSAs. A definitive direction on healthcare is likely some time away, until then, the ACA remains the law of the land and its regulations, including offering adequate and affordable health insurance coverage, reporting, and return filing, still apply to Applicable Large Employers (ALEs).

Several aspects of employment law are also on the Trump Administration’s regulatory table. Immigration policy reform was a major campaign promise for President Trump and though no legislation has been passed yet, small business owners should be aware how they can remain compliant in the face of potential mandatory e-verification and increased workplace audits. The Final Overtime Rule is also in flux after being delayed late last year. While many employers are already making anticipatory changes, it remains unclear what the final income threshold will be if the rule is implemented. In the meantime, state and local governments have taken it upon themselves to start passing their own minimum wage increases and paid time off (PTO) policies. President Trump has also spoken in favor of a higher federal minimum wage and federal PTO regulations, so small business owners should keep these potential changes in mind.

An awareness of the importance of retirement savings and an aging American population has brought retirement to the forefront of the regulatory discussion as well. While federal policy on retirement issues has been minimal so far, many states are starting to mandate workplace retirement programs. This gives small business owners the choice to offer their own 401(k) and retirement benefits or allow their employees to utilize the established state-run programs for retirement planning. Small business owners who choose to offer their own retirement plans can use these benefits as a recruitment advantage, but also must remain cognizant of potential changes to the fiduciary rule, which may impact the nature of investment advice and plan administration.

An important consideration when analyzing potential regulation is cause and effect both economically and with regards to additional resulting regulations. For example, many small business owners are eagerly anticipating tax reforms that may bring down their rates, but legislators first have to consider what impact lower taxes may have on the economy and potential sources for additional money, which may spur yet another new policy. Additionally, often regulations made at a federal level cause state and local governments to look at how this policy impacts their funding and make policy adjustments accordingly.

One thing is for certain, the regulatory environment is changing – quickly. To keep up-to-date on the latest, visit Paychex WORX.

Mike Trabold is director of compliance risk for Paychex, Inc. Paychex is a leading provider of human capital management solutions for small- to medium-sized businesses.

Michael Trabold

Director, Compliance Risk, Paychex

Affordable Care Act Regulatory Reminders

Earlier this year, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) was introduced with mixed reviews. As Congress took the bill through its first steps in the legislative journey, many business owners and individuals wondered what the legislation would mean for them, until the impending vote in the U.S. House of Representatives was abruptly halted and the bill was pulled due to a lack of the necessary votes to pass.

While the GOP may begin to work on an alternate proposal to repeal and replace the ACA and all legislators are being encouraged to work together to improve the potential replacement legislation, House Speaker Paul Ryan has stated the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will remain the law of the land for the foreseeable future.

That said, it is important that Applicable Large Employers (ALEs) understand their regulatory obligations under the ACA. Here are a few ACA requirements to keep in mind moving forward:

  • ALEs (generally defined as companies with 50 or more full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees) must offer adequate and affordable health insurance coverage to full-time employees and their dependents. If even one full-time employee receives a premium tax credit to purchase coverage through a marketplace, the company risks being charged a penalty.
  • ALEs must continue to file and furnish timely and accurate annual information returns relating to the health insurance that the employer offers to its full-time employees.
  • Employers filing 250 or more Forms W-2 must report the cost of certain employer-sponsored health benefits on the forms.
  • Employers are required to provide written notice to all employees about health coverage options, including information about the existence of a health insurance marketplace and a description of services provided by the marketplace.

Health care policy will undoubtedly remain a hot topic in the months and potentially years to come, but until a replacement bill is passed, the requirements of the ACA still apply. Paychex will be there to keep you informed of regulations that impact you, your firm, and your clients along the way.

Mike Trabold is director of compliance risk for Paychex, Inc. Paychex is a leading provider of human capital management solutions for small- to medium-sized businesses.

Andy Childs

VP of Marketing, Paychex

Paychex Provides Tax Season Tools and Resources

When you become an accountant, you add a fifth season to your year. Nestled between winter and spring is tax season, a busy and often stressful time when accounting professionals need all the resources they can get to stay on top of critical payroll, tax, and HR issues that could impact their clients.

Paychex knows that acting as clients’ most trusted advisors during tax season and year-round can come with immense pressure; that’s why we’re offering a helping hand in the form of easily accessible, informative tools and resources built specifically for CPAs’ unique needs.

Here’s a rundown of helpful tax season resources from Paychex:

  • For an accountant, the right knowledge can make all the difference in increasing productivity levels and building client relationships. Powered by CCH and provided by Paychex, the online Accountant Knowledge Center features federal and state tax resources, payroll and HR news, free online CPE courses, CCH tax briefings, 150+ financial calculators, the Master Tax Guide, and more.
  • The nature of tax regulations is that they change every year. The robust 2017 Online U.S. Master Tax Guide, published by CCH and accessible through the Paychex Accountant Knowledge Center, reflects federal taxation changes that affect 2016 returns, provides answers to tax-related questions and explains the new rules established by court decisions and the IRS.
  • Part of being a client’s most trusted advisor is having all the necessary information at your fingertips. Paychex Tax Facts provides access to federal and state-specific payroll and retirement rate information, allowing accountants to customize a client-facing version with their firm name.
  • The 2017 Federal Tax Key Facts and Figures includes everyday reference information, such as tax rates and deduction information, that accountants will find valuable not only during tax season, but all year long.
  • With client permission, the Paychex Report Library provides accountants a single source for more than 160 easily generatable and exportable reports, including employee earnings records, W-2s, federal and state tax returns, and more.
  • Again, with client permission, accountants can access payroll, retirement, and benefits data any time, from anywhere with the Paychex Flex® Mobile App for smartphones and tablets. The app allows accountants to view their Paychex data, customize report favorites, and easily view and toggle between multiple clients.

For more information on the resources Paychex can provide you and your firm visit www.paychex.com/accounting-professionals.

Andy Childs is the vice president of Marketing at Paychex, a leading provider of human capital management solutions for payroll, HR, retirement, and insurance services.

Michael Trabold

Director, Compliance Risk, Paychex

Five Tax Tips for Small Business Owners to Consider as the New Year Approaches

The end of the year is a busy time for everyone, small business owners in particular. There’s the fun of holiday events and time with family and friends, as well as the pressure to end the year strong and plan for the year to come. Now’s also the time for small business owners – and their accountants – to think about taking steps to potentially lower the taxes they owe this year and make sure they’re prepared for new tax issues that will roll out in the coming months.

It’s easy to get a little perplexed by the ever-changing rules, requirements, and deadlines of business taxes, but here is a list of tax considerations, compiled by Paychex, for small business owners to think about as they approach the New Year:

  1. Affordable Care Act. For tax year 2016, business owners who are defined as an applicable large employer (ALE), under the Employer Shared Responsibility Provision (ESR) of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), must include a detailed reporting of healthcare coverage. However, the due date for furnishing the 1095-C has been extended from January 31, 2017 to March 2, 2017. The deadline for filing the forms with the IRS remains March 31, 2017 for electronic submissions. Also, reporting entities that can show they made a good faith effort to comply with the reporting requirements – both for furnishing statements to individuals and filing statements and returns with the IRS – may be eligible for good faith transition relief from section 6721 and 6722 penalties to the 2016 information reporting requirements under sections 6055 and 6056.
  2. Accelerated W-2 Form Filing. There is a new federal law that accelerates the W-2 filing deadline for employers to January 31, 2017. Be sure to pay close attention to the W-2 filing deadline in your state as many states across the U.S. have also accelerated the filing of W-2 information to January 31, 2017. Accelerating the W-2 filing at both the federal and state levels will make it easier to detect and prevent refund fraud.
  3. Accelerated Depreciation. Don’t forget that the Section 179 deduction is still set at a limit of $500,000 as a result of the PATH Act that was signed into law on December 18, 2015. As long as equipment and software are financed and in place by midnight on December 31, 2016, they are eligible to receive the Section 179 deduction. Also, bonus depreciation is extended through tax year 2019, so small businesses will be able to depreciate 50 percent of the cost of equipment acquired and put into service during 2016 and 2017.
  4. 401(k) Tax Credit. Small businesses that start a new 401(k) plan between now and December 31, 2016 can claim a federal tax credit for the first three years of the plan to offset plan startup costs. Eligible startup costs include those necessary to set up and administer the plan, as well as those to educate employees about the plan. A percentage of contributions made by the employer are also tax deductible.
  5. Deferral of Income. Consider if deferring income into 2017 makes sense for your small business. Doing so may allow you to take advantage of reductions in tax rates the next administration is looking to enact.

No one can say with certainty what the New Year or the new administration will bring, but these five tax tips should give small business owners a sense of the steps they need to take and things they need to consider as 2017 gets underway.

Mike Trabold is the director of compliance risk at Paychex, Inc., a leading provider of integrated human capital management solutions for payroll, HR, retirement, and insurance services.

Martin Mucci

President and CEO, Paychex, Inc

The Election's Impact on Small Business Owners

During a presidential election year, there’s always debate surrounding the question of whether or not the uncertainty of the election has an impact on job and wage growth. It’s also always interesting and informative to learn which issues are most on the minds of business owners during the critical months leading up to the election of a new president. To answer these and other questions relative to the upcoming election, Paychex recently surveyed over 300 small business owners nationwide.

When it comes to plans to hire and/or raise wages, the size of the business emerged as the key determining factor in that decision-making process. Of companies with 20-99 employees, less than half said it’s affecting decisions to add staff (42%) and increase wages (48%). The numbers decline further for companies with fewer than 19 employees, with only 14% claiming the election is impacting their hiring decisions and just 9% reporting it’s affecting their decision to increase wages. While these numbers are telling of the overall environment, it’s also important to consider the fact that the smallest of companies may not have the resources to hire or increase wages regardless of the election outcome.

The narrative is a bit different for larger businesses (100-500 employees), however, as nearly three-quarters of those employers said the election is impacting their decision to add staff (74%) and increase wages (71%).

Providing additional perspective, the July Paychex | IHS Small Business Jobs Index showed at 100.68, the growth rate of the national index is consistent with the 2016 average and 0.04 percent higher than it was in July 2015, therefore further proving the election has had little impact on job growth for small businesses thus far.

The issue that is overwhelmingly top of mind for small business owners is the economy. More than half of those surveyed (52%) reported that it’s their top election-year concern. What’s interesting, though, is that no other issue comes close to the economy as important to small business owners this presidential election season: healthcare reform (10%), tax reform (9%), jobs and employment (6%), and immigration (6%).

While it’s understandable that business owners might be thinking in broader economic terms this election season, it’s also very important for them not to lose sight of more specific issues – such as regulation and compliance – that are likely to impact their day-to-day business operations.

Rounding out the responses, minimum wage was listed as the most important issue by just 5% of small business owners, trade by 2% and the new overtime rule by 1%. While these are issues that may have a real impact on small businesses in the coming months, it’s definitely possible that respondents are not completely aware of the changes or their impact on their business and employees at this time.

The bottom line is that while the broader economy is regarded by the majority of respondents as much more important than any specific factors that contribute to it, business owners and their trusted advisors should educate themselves in the months leading up to November. No matter what side of the aisle you may be, both candidates stand firmly in their beliefs one way or another on many specific issues that will greatly impact Main Street over the next four years.

Martin Mucci is president and CEO of Paychex, Inc. Paychex is a leading provider of integrated solutions for payroll, HR, retirement, and insurance services. This contribution originally appeared on AccountingToday.com.

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