Small and mid-size companies often face issues with passing I-9 audits since they involve a big volume of paperwork. A small error made when filling out an I-9 form could result in a substantial fine. Meanwhile, serious form issues could cost a company up to $20,130. For a business with many employees, these fines can add up.
While the administrative inspection process is always preceded by a Notice of Inspection (NOI), the time a company has to prepare for the audit is often short. Stauffer Pipe Services had only three days to present all the necessary forms.
A fast-approaching inspection could have put the company at risk of a serious fine since reviewing I-9 forms can be time-consuming and complicated. A smart solution was to outsource the process to an HR service provider, Questco.
The Complexity of I-9 Form Filling Process
By itself, an I-9 form isn't long or tough to fill out. However, it contains a big volume of information, which must be 100% accurate. Otherwise, a company could face unexpected fines. Ideally, I-9 forms should be automatically filled out every time a company hires a foreign employee. Unfortunately, the staff doesn't always have time to get the job done.
Even when companies fill out I-9 forms diligently, they sometimes forget to maintain them. Since small businesses aren't required to send any documents to the government unless there is an audit, they tend to allow I-9 forms to become outdated or inaccurate. Without a large HR department, it's hard to keep track of all the requirements.
Small businesses that struggle to support an in-house HR department often leave the form-filling for later and end up forgetting about them until they get an NOI. If proper work hasn't been done to keep records in order, by the time the NOI arrives, it may be too late.
Stauffer Pipe Services already had a relationship with an HR partner — Questco. That's why all they had to do after getting an NOI is give them a call. As it turned out, all the work has been done already.
Getting Ready for the I-9 Audit
The key to passing an I-9 Audit seamlessly is keeping records in top shape:
- Filling out all forms as soon as a new employee is hired.
- Keeping records intact for three years after the date of hire even if the employee is no longer working for the company.
- Updating records in a timely manner.
By the time an audit arrives, a three-day notice is more than enough to review the documents and present them to the inspectors.
Before providing the necessary paperwork, an HR department or an HR partner conducts an internal audit to uncover errors that inspectors could find during its inspection.
For large companies, checking each form can be time-consuming, so the team can review a random set of forms to make sure they are in order. For Stauffer Pipe Services, Questco already had all the necessary documents in top shape.
The company has an entire department dedicated to compliance as well as a qualified team of certified HR professionals, who:
- Review each new employee's I-9 and other compliance documents.
- Use a single database to monitor and update such things as work authorization expirations, renewals, etc.
- Notify the client about things like upcoming expirations, protracted status, and updates on regulations involving automatic extensions.
When Stauffer Pipe Services notified Questco about the upcoming audit, the team members conducted a thorough review of the documents. All the necessary forms and records were in order long before the inspection date.
Benefits of Outsourcing Compliance Work to an Outsourced HR Partner
When it comes to employee documentation, it can be a challenge to stay on top of the compliance issues. Unless your company has a large HR department, files and forms tend to slip through the cracks. By the time an audit comes up, it could be tough to get everything in order.
By outsourcing compliance work to an HR partner, you can enjoy the following benefits:
- Access to a team of specialists who have time to handle large volumes of documents.
- Extra time to focus on your core tasks instead of juggling compliance paperwork.
- Staying up to date with all compliance regulations
- Keeping all your documents in impeccable order.
When working with Questco, you can also use the convenient option of uploading and saving I-9 documents onto Questco's own system. Within the system, it's easy to track all the necessary forms and keep them up to date.
Stauffer Pipe Services is a successful small business, which doesn't have the resources to support a large HR department. By collaborating with Questco, they ensure 100% compliance with all HR-related regulations while getting access to beneficial PEO services.
If you'd like to learn more about working with Questco, please contact us at any convenient time.