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November 19, 2013

CFO/Controller Conference Reveals Memphis Businesses Are Keeping A Close Eye On Healthcare Reform

The Memphis office held their bi-annual CFO/Controller Conference November 13th at the University of Memphis Fogelman Center.

One hundred financial leaders in the Mid-South attended the half-day event where they gained insight into the current challenges in the industry including the ever-changing issue of healthcare reform. The first of four presentations given by PeopleCap Principals, Howard Cleveland and Andy Nix, spotlighted the importance of having a people strategy both in the process of hiring and in the management of current employees. Their long-term picture of employee engagement outweighing any benefits a company may offer served as a launching pad for Steve Dunavant and David Gearhardt's topic of the current financial environment of which CFOs are having to navigate.

The Affordable Care Act, though continuously changing, is putting an added burden on both CFO and HR professionals in the area of employee health benefits. Perhaps the most frustrating is the absence of much control over the impeding requirements.

Jenny Kiesewetter, Founding Member at Kiesewetter Law Firm PLLC, recognizes the shift of risk management from the collective "House Money, House Rules" way of thinking to placing more responsibility on the employee. The transfer of risk leaves many individuals with the choice to leverage private exchanges within the marketplace. Kieswetter clearly recognized this "industry trend" during her presentation on "The Future of Employer-Provided Healthcare."

The conference came full-circle with the final Q & A portion presented by a selected panel of CFO and HR professionals in the Memphis area. A common theme throughout this session was the growing partnership between the financial and human resources department at companies across the Mid-South. The panel represented some of the most well-respected companies and professionals in the local community: Perkins & Marie Callender's, nexAir, Bryce Corporation and Fred's. Though healthcare plans and benefits varied across the stage of businesses, all agreed that they are keeping a close eye on the healthcare reform and its effects on their employees.

Marcia Vargas, Sr. Vice President of Human Resources at Fred's, said it best, "We can no longer rely on benefits as the lever for employee satisfaction and recruitment. We are going to have to identify other ways to create employee engagement."

Healthcare is certainly changing the way employees view their employer. If our conference has any one takeaway, it is that Memphis businesses deeply care for their employees and their health.

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