An Assessment

In May 2015, the Department of Labor (DOL) published its study on the quality of benefit plan audits performed by CPAs.  The study revealed that nearly 40% of the audits contained major deficiencies related to audit standard requirements which would lead to rejection of a Form 5500 filing. 

Reasons for the high failure rate include:

  • Inadequate training and lack of technical expertise related to employee benefit plan (EBP) audits
  • Lack of audit experience – EBP or otherwise
  • Checklist mentality/complacency
  • Inadequate documentation
  • Failure of auditors to perform necessary work

Client Risk

The following are risks that plan sponsors must address when selecting their plan auditor:

  • Fiduciary risk for lack of prudence in selecting a qualified CPA firm
  • Potential rejection of Form 5500 filling due to deficient audit work
  • Potential assessment of civil monetary penalties

Fiduciary Responsibility

Fiduciary responsibility.  Two words that come with incredible duty.  You offer benefit plans to help recruit and retain the top employees your company needs.  With that, these valued employees put tremendous faith in you - they trust that plan assets are present and will be available when needed.  While the day-to-day operations of your plan are handled by others internally or by a third party, the ultimate responsibility falls to you as a plan sponsor.  As do the penalties and repercussions for non-compliance.  Selecting a qualified CPA who has the expertise to perform an audit in accordance with professional auditing standards is a critical responsibility in safeguarding your plan’s assets and ensuring your compliance with ERISA’s reporting and fiduciary requirements.  You owe it to your plan participants and yourself to select experienced auditors who understand the intricacies of the accounting and administration of these plans. 

Compliance is complex and imperative.  It’s your responsibility to hire a competent, independent auditor.  Most deficient audit reports stem from auditors who failed to test areas that are unique to benefit plans, so experience with benefit plans makes a difference.  This is the true value a dedicated benefits plan auditor provides.

Our Fix

We specialize in EBP audits and consulting services.  That’s all we do.

Michelle and Valerie each have over 20 years of experience and have extensive expertise in all types of EBP audits.  Michelle and Valerie annually attend the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) National Conference on Employee Benefit Plans.  In addition, the firm is an active member of the AICPA Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center (EBPAQC) which includes participating in various webinars and interactive forums related to EBPs.  Involvement with the EBPAQC demonstrates commitment to EBP audit quality by voluntarily agreeing to all membership requirements such as training and quality control programs and performing annual EBP audit internal inspections. 

With our extensive experience and specialization in EBP audits we don’t just get it done, we get it done right and we get it done efficiently.