Think your business can't afford a 401(k)? Think again!

This article is from our friends at Human Interest .

If you’re a small business owner, you probably think providing a 401(k) isn’t a possibility, given your budget. A 2014 Government Accountability Office report found that just 14% of businesses with under 100 workers offered an employer-sponsored retirement plan, even though 68% of businesses that didn’t offer a 401(k) said that it would help attract and retain talent. Employees agree: a 2016 study found that nearly half of employees surveyed rated defined-contribution retirement plans like 401(k)’s “very important” to job satisfaction.

Offering a 401(k) helps your employees, your business, and yourself – and it’s more affordable than ever. We’ll break down six myths about providing 401(k)’s, and make the case for offering this much-valued benefit.

Think your business can't afford a 401(k)?

Myth 1: Small businesses can’t afford 401(k)’s

You may think that 401(k)’s are only financially viable for big businesses. Not so long ago, that might have been true – small businesses were paying disproportionately more for a 401(k). A 2012 GAO study found that companies with under 50 employees paid nearly twice as much for record-keeping and administrative services (0.43% of assets) than did companies with over 500 employees (0.22%). However, recent developments in technology and outsourcing have made 401(k)’s affordable for businesses of all sizes.

Plus, 401(k)’s offer much better tax advantages than simple salary increases or bonuses. You can get tax deductions or credits for setting up the 401(k) plan, maintaining it, and matching employees’ contributions. From the employer and employee perspective, a 401(k) offers better tax treatment  than a salary bump or bonus of the same amount.

Myth 2: There’s too much red tape

Again, even as of a few years ago, the amount of paperwork required to offer a 401(k) might well have been more than a small business could handle. The bookkeeping, accounting, and record-keeping work was daunting, especially for companies without a formal human resources department.

In recent years, though, technology has changed the retirement benefits landscape. For example, enrolling in and managing your 401(k) plan can now be done entirely online, and outsourcing HR benefits administration to a third party drastically reduces the burden on small business owners, who are already wearing plenty of hats as it is.

The manual processes of withdrawing contributions from employees’ paychecks, changing contribution amounts, and fielding employee questions can be taken entirely off of your plate – and many 401(k) providers sync with payroll providers to further reduce friction.

Myth 3: My employees won’t participate anyway

If your employees know the benefits of saving for retirement in general, and the tax advantages of contributing to a 401(k) in particular, they’ll likely show a high participation rate. When a 401(k) is available and easy to sign up for (i.e. no faxing of paperwork required), employees tend to be on board. According to the Department of Labor, around 70% of employees overall participate in their companies’ 401(k) plan; automatic enrollment could up that number to 85%.

If your plan provider educates your employees about the new plan and offers low-friction signup, you’re likely to see great participation rates.

Myth 4: Finding good investments is too time-consuming

The 2013 GAO study found that small business owners thought selecting investment options was too challenging, especially if they employed both older and younger workers. Fear of choosing the wrong investments, or even facing legal challenges, deters many business owners.

However, you can choose a 401(k) provider with a wide selection of investment opportunities that range from aggressive (for younger employees) to conservative (for older ones). Low-cost mutual funds allow you to invest based on industry, location, company size, and risk tolerance while minimizing fees. A good 401(k) provider will provide cost-effective options that appeal to all of your employees – without causing you and your employees unnecessary stress.

Myth 5: I should invest in my business instead

You’ve bet big on your company, and it’s only natural to want to maximize profits to ensure your own comfortable retirement. However, relying solely on your business to fund your retirement is a risky proposition at best: the reality is that 80% of small businesses fail within a year and a half. Even worse, a full 60% of small business owners say they haven’t saved enough for retirement. If your business offers a 401(k), you can make tax-advantaged contributions to your own safety net, setting yourself and your employees up for a financially secure retirement.

Are you considering offering a 401(k)? See how much 401(k)’s actually cost employers and check out Captain401’s low-cost retirement plans.

5 Reasons You Need to Start Using Business Process Automation Now

Process Automation

Laura O’Donnell writes smart content on behalf of the business software experts at TGO Consulting. As an avid writer and learner, she loves to use her skills for engaging others in important topics in creative and effective ways. When she is not working, she loves meeting new people, traveling, and bringing her Pinterest dreams to life. Find her on LinkedIn.

If you’ve never used automated processes to help run your business, you might not even know there’s a problem. All the paper forms and procedures that have served you well before may very well be slowing you down. Of course, documentation is important in running virtually any organization, but waiting for approval and filing requisitions by paper will create inevitable slowdowns, making your work far less efficient than it would otherwise be.

Now, imagine no need for the proper form(s) for every task. Imagine being able to see all the processes that keep your business going, and having instant knowledge of where everything is going well, and where you could definitely speed things up with a little adjustment. If you want everything to run like a well-oiled machine, it’s a good plan to let an actual machine do some of the heavy lifting by automating your business processes.

  1. Improved Communication

    In order for anything to get done, the efforts of everyone involved have to be coordinated. The unautomated process involves a lot of memos, reminders, sticky notes, meetings, and emails. Something is bound to get lost or miscommunicated. Business process automation smooths the process, putting everything everyone needs to know in a single place. If someone has a problem and wants you to know it, you can see it right away in the system dashboard and address it. An automated process creates a unified system. No emails or memos necessary.

  2. Everyone Is Accountable

    A big part of business success is everyone working together. Each person knows what to do and how to do it, so the next person in the line can do their job. Someone’s got to start the work at the right time, someone’s got to approve a step and certify it complete before the next step can be taken. Automation ensures everyone knows where they are in the process, so they can do their jobs with greater efficiency than ever before. Each step will have someone explicitly in charge. You’ll know at a glance who authorized what, who approved what, who rejected what. Once you’ve got your processes automated, you’ll never hear: “But I thought he was going to do that!”

  3. Fewer Errors

    One of the best things about a computer is that it can do monotonous tasks without its mind drifting elsewhere. Once you’ve got the process established, the machine will do it over and over again, flawlessly and tirelessly. A human at the same job, no matter how skilled or dedicated, will make a small mistake from time to time, and these errors can go unseen for a long time, until they accumulate into a major problem. This can cost a great deal in both time and money. In fact, depending upon the nature of the mistakes, it could even cost you customers. Not only will you have fewer (or in some cases, no) errors, but you’ll inevitably save money in the process. And of course, you’ll increase goodwill with the public. Any orders will be fulfilled more swiftly, and any support issues will be flagged and sent to the right person automatically so it can be dealt with as quickly as possible.

  4. Deeper Understanding

    Getting everything running smoothly is just the beginning. There’s always going to be room for improvement, and your new automated business processes can show you just how to do that. Thanks to the new transparency in how your business operates, you’ll be able to see exactly how everything is put together in a concrete way. Once you see that, you’ll be able to see where things can be tuned up a bit or, just as importantly, where you need to leave things alone because they’re working just fine. An automated system saves all the data you’ve accumulated through the time you use it, giving you plenty of information to determine the next steps you should take. Is one process still taking longer than it should? You’ll know, and be able to come up with a way to trim that time a bit.

  5. Superior Organization

    A business generally needs a chain to function. Every function has someone to perform it, and once that’s done, it passes on to the next person and the next task. With automated approvals in place, each step has the proper people assigned to it, so the boss can do her job while everyone else does theirs. There’s never any need for constant consultation or for a manager to be looking over everyone’s shoulder anymore. The chain of command, however it’s structured in your business, will no longer be quite so tangled. Those are only five reasons to automate your business processes, but truthfully, there are many, many more. The best way to learn what they are is to find out for yourself by researching what system will work best for you and your company.

Did You Know?

CenterPoint Payroll features tools to handle the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Reporting. This function within CenterPoint Payroll allows employers to track and report required ACA information for tax filing purposes. The ACA Reporting is included within CenterPoint as a standard feature. Please note that Red Wing Windows Payroll Users who need to handle ACA Reporting are highly encouraged to migrate to CenterPoint Payroll, as ACA Reporting will not be available within Red Wing Windows Payroll. To receive more information about upgrading to CenterPoint Payroll, please call 800-732-9464, or email