Should You Be Auditing Employee Benefit Plans?

By:
Adam S. Lilling, CPA, CFA
Published Date:
Apr 28, 2015

employee1Accountants who specialize in tax and general accounting services are often asked by their clients to perform audits of employee benefit plans (EBP), such as 401(k) and health and welfare plans. But if you don’t routinely conduct EBP audits, you may not be aware of their unique characteristics, such as testing demographic data, hardship withdrawals and remitting employee contributions on a timely basis.

The Department of Labor (DOL) has found that firms that perform only a few EBP audits are more likely to conduct deficient audits. As a result, it has focused its attention on accountants who perform these audits, but do not specialize in them.

At the NYSSCPA’s Employee Benefits Conference on May 4, experts in this field, including Ian Dingwall (at right), the DOL’s chief accountant, will address these and other issues. Registration is now open for this conference (it costs $285 for the webcast and $335 to attend in person). The NYSSCPA will also be making recorded sessions available after the event on its website.

If you’re a practitioner who conducts employee benefit plan audits, please be aware that your CPA license may be at risk if the DOL deems your audit deficient. EBP audits are complex engagements and require specific education and training to ensure a quality audit. If a client requests that you conduct an EBP audit and you do not have experience in this service, you should refrain from conducting this type of work or seek the proper expertise.

Please take the time to arm yourself with the proper resources to prepare yourself for both peer review and DOL inspections.

 Adam S. Lilling, CPA, CFA is the vice chair of the NYSSCPA’s Employee Benefits Committee.  

Photo courtesy of NASBA

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