Website of the Month: Benefit Plans Plus

By Susan B. Anders

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SEPTEMBER 2007 - The Benefit Plans Plus website, www.bpp401k.com, offers a variety of materials focusing on 401(k) plans, as well as comparisons of 401(k)s with other retirement vehicles. Benefit Plans Plus is a third-party administrator and provider of customized retirement plans. Benefit Plans Plus also represents an example of good website design for service firms and a good approach to making resources available to clients and the general public.

The home and main pages are organized in a consistent format. The main navigation tool, the left-hand vertical menu bar, includes the main features of Plan Design, Compliance Management, Fiduciary Services, Individual 401k, and Additional Resources. Directly below the menu is a keyword search feature, as well as four other features: Individual 401(k) Tools, 401(k) Calculator, Fiduciary Toolkit, and Newsletter Archives. Another menu box includes hyperlinks to the most recent newsletter and a summary of pension plan limits for 2001 to 2007. A horizontal index with links to the homepage, Newsletter, Contact, Site Search, Site Map, and About Us appears at the top of the home and main pages. The company’s address and phone numbers appear at the bottom of each page.

Most of the resources on the website, other than newsletter articles and calculators, appear in HTML format, and some are also available as PDF documents. Links to contact the company appear throughout the website. The site provides background information on its services and personnel in several locations.

A handy summary of pension plan limits for 2001 to 2007 can be accessed via the Latest News link and the Additional Resources feature. The listing covers 401(k) rules, as well as 403(b)s, SIMPLE plans, SEP plans, and the Social Security wage base. A 401(k) calculator is available through a variety of links. The Individual 401(k) Tools feature and the Individual 401k main page offer a calculator that compares SIMPLE, SEP, and Solo Business Owner 401(k) plans.

Overview of Main Pages

The Plan Design main page offers links to subsidiary pages for design process, plan administration, sample plan designs, and testimonials. The subsidiary pages for compliance management include corrections assistance, vendor RFP assistance, litigation support, and vendor fee analysis. Corrections assistance includes links to the IRS and U.S. Department of Labor webpages on programs for audit closing agreements, voluntary corrections, self-corrections, voluntary fiduciary corrections, and delinquent filer voluntary corrections.

Fiduciary Services contains the webpages for custom fiduciary charter, fiduciary review, fiduciary structuring, fiduciary training, and fiduciary toolkit. The Individual 401k main page connects to information on the Solo Business Owner 401k, also available in PDF format.

Newsletter

The BPP401k.com newsletter can be accessed via links on the home and main pages, as well as Additional Resources. The newsletter presents a short bulleted list highlighting some of the items in the current weekly issue and links to the complete current issue and archives. Each weekly issue is presented as an index with brief summaries of the articles, which open in separate windows.

The newsletter articles are gleaned from a variety of websites and research organizations, such as CNNMoney.com, Deloitte’s “Washington Bulletin,” and the Social Science Research Network. Recent articles include “Solo 401(k) Plans—Great Benefit for the Sole Proprietor” from AccountingWeb, “Half-Baked Investment Concepts for Retirees” from Still River Retirement Planning Software, and a summary chart of Roth IRA distribution and rollover rules from Treasury Regulations sections 1.402A and 1.408A, presented by McKay Hochman Co.

Additional Resources

The Additional Resources section provides the largest collection of materials of interest to CPAs. The main menu offers advisor resources, business partners, company profiles, employee resources, employer resources, financial calculators, and “in the news.” The subsidiary pages present hyperlinked materials.

Advisor resources include articles in the areas of 401(k) basics, investment fundamentals, news topics, and referral partners. The 401(k) basics articles include “What is a 401(k) Plan?,” “Benchmark Your 401(k) Plan,” plus the table of pension plan limits, among several other items. Investment Fundamentals offers a discussion on “Investment Education or Investment Advice: Which Are You Providing?” and a sample of investment policy statements. Employee resource materials are organized under 401(k) basics and resources, financial planning tips, and investment fundamentals. Specific articles include “Tax Issues When You Inherit a 401(k),” “Top Ten Ways to Prepare for Retirement,” and an extensive glossary of financial terms. The financial calculators section offers an extensive listing of calculators that are too numerous to describe. Calculators are available in the areas of tax, debit and credit cards, automobiles, personal finance, mortgage, investment, retirement, savings, business, and loans.


Susan B. Anders, PhD, CPA, is a professor of accounting at St. Bonaventure University, St. Bonaventure, N.Y.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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