Back in the day – before the U.S. Interstate system – highway travel consisted of two-lane roads with many stop signs, slow traffic and detours. Scenic, but slow.
Importing and moving data into ACA compliance software solutions is proving to be a somewhat similar experience to pre-interstate travel – slow, but hardly scenic.
Transporting data from payroll systems, time clock systems, substitute placement systems, benefit systems and other places where vital data is stored can be time consuming, frustrating and a little scary because of data sensitivity. Despite modern technology and the plethora of ACA compliance offerings, moving data too often is restricted to Excel spreadsheets, .csv files and manual data entry. So slow.
Understanding Custom Client Data Loaders
There is, contrary to many software vendor stories, a faster way for ACA data to travel unencumbered from data origins to ACA compliance destinations. Thanks to Custom Client Data Loaders (CCDLs), your data collection, monitoring and reporting can pick up speed – and accuracy – exponentially.
What do these CCDLs look like? They are custom application code, stored either within the client’s firewall when restricted local data access is required or in the Cloud when client data is cloud based. Secure application program interface (API) access is used to maintain the highest security levels.
An API is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building intelligent software applications that electronically interact seamlessly and securely while transporting data from one database to another. Therefore, applications (like payroll or benefits and ACA compliance software) can exchange data without manual data preparation.
In other words, when a payroll is executed, the payroll data is automatically transferred to ACA compliant software without creating spreadsheets or files – all in less time, with greater accuracy and while seamlessly and electronically updating the compliance database. Like driving on an interstate highway.
In addition, the CCDL can have intelligence and business rules. When data is extracted from the origin, edit routines can check for errors or illogical data. The CCDL immediately presents these “data issues” to the user for analysis and correction before illogical data is loaded into the compliance data.
It is like magic, but in a defined protocol or method defined by the software developers. Banks use it, major companies use it and so do government agencies such as the IRS. Like a bank, you must have a key to gain access, and you must know the code. Fast, secure and convenient.
Addressing Data Security
Speaking of secure data, ask your ACA compliance vendor if all employee-identifying data elements such as name, employee id, social security number, address, etc. are encrypted within the ACA database. If not, you need a new ACA compliance vendor, considering the frequent occurrence of hacking today. This is a must or you may be liable for your employee’s data being shared across the Internet.
And, be sure to ask NOW if the data upload is secure and encrypted.
How ACA Interstate Highways Work Today
On a given date or schedule, the CCDL automatically picks up payroll data, time clock data, substitute hours, benefit data and securely moves the data from one or multiple points, to the ACA compliance software.
An historical snapshot is taken to record the data for this month, and the application routinely reviews every employee, sends errors or illogical data notes back to you and then assigns an ACA-related status, making your data ready for review.
All is accomplished without you or your team having to do anything. Think of it as an automatic transmission.
Over the course of a year, the CCDL process will save your team hundreds of hours while ensuring total compliance. All the complication is removed and, like driving on interstate highways versus two-lane roads, saves you precious time and frustration.