of the Month: Benefit Plans Plus
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.
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.
of Main Pages
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
B. Anders, PhD, CPA, is a professor of accounting at St.
Bonaventure University, St. Bonaventure, N.Y.