As I enter the time of year to evaluate employee benefits and as the NEW owner of an existing business that currently doesn’t offer health insurance, the expense will be most likely considerably more. I get this. I want the best employees, I want productive employees, and I want to show the world – MY VALUES.

VALUES – is this an overused term? No. The concept of transparency in business is laughable. My view of transparency – while it may be an unrealistic promise for equal pay – Individuals in the same “level” of an organization should be at approximately the same pay. There may be a 5% variance – but I want to go to my staff and say – anyone in Role X will make within 5% of $x. This amount needs to be re-evaluated each year for cost of living and other factors. If there are “performance” monies involved – those should be in a separate pot of money from a base salary – based on individual/company goals. The company should not be handing out bonuses if the business as a whole had a crappy year.

I’m not an HR person – as a woman, a former employee, a business owner, and as a human being – I believe in being fair and honest. I am considering the current time off policy. Some big business have gone to “unlimited” time off for employees or executives. Hmmmm….this sounds like a HUGE guilt trip waiting to happen. Most businesses now have PTO and no sick time/vacation/holiday pay.

Is there an in-between? Could you offer (assuming FT staff) 30 days of sick time – encourage the use of sick time for self and dependents – kids or parents (entering the age of caring for elderly relatives)? Could we say – 7 floating holidays (or personal days) – NOT spell out Christmas, Memorial Day, etc… be an INCLUSIVE employer – by NOT spelling out each holiday – that allows staff to work on a holiday that may not be important to them – and take a day off that IS important to them. How about vacation time? In a small business – if my staff NEVER take vacations – I may never know if there is fraud or misuse of company assets. I am a strong believer in MANDATORY vacations – a minimum of 1 week with someone else covering their duties for that week. I also am not a fan of “carry-over” of vacation time – and would rather just give it all up front. Fair, honest, and loyal employees wouldn’t take advantage of that. If they take it all – they have nothing rest for the rest of the year except sick/floating holiday/personal days.

What I’m getting to here – is that as a small business (and I serve the health care industry), I believe health coverage is a RIGHT. So I’m willing to pay for my employees to have that RIGHT. I believe to stay health in mind and body sick time and vacation is RIGHT. I believe religious freedoms are a RIGHT – and why should I say my office is closed on Christmas when I may have employees who do not hold my beliefs?

I want my VALUES to be reflected in the benefits I offer to my employees. To attract top notch prospects in a small business – I want my benefits so show that I am willing to put my money where my mouth is…and in then end – THAT is where I will show the world that small business benefits will show that small business CAN compete with big business. FinanSynergy will continue to serve as the CFO function for small health care professionals – and WILL be a role model to those we serve. Medical Billing Services will continue to provide top notch billing services to its clients and will be able to recruit premium talent because our VALUES, my VALUES show commitment to clients, employees, and prospects.

Katie Fergus, CPA, Owner and President of FinanSynergy and Medical Billing Services