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Whether it’s your first audit or tenth audit, there are steps you can take to save time and reduce stress.

Employer strategies

Save Time on Your Next Employee Benefit Plan Audit

  • Lisa Cushman
  • 5/30/2017

It’s time for your plan to be audited, and you have followed the Department of Labor’s (DOL) guidelines for choosing a quality auditor. But now you may feel anxious and overwhelmed as you get ready. Whether it’s your first audit or you’re a seasoned veteran, there are steps you can take to help cut back on time spent before and during your audit.

Simplify your audit

Anticipating what documents your auditor will request and preparing for questions they may ask about your plan can help you avoid unnecessary stress. This list can help you get started.

  1. Know and be prepared to talk about plan changes, including amendments, change in service providers, change in personnel, plan operational errors and fixes, and DOL or IRS correspondence.
  2. Gather all current plan documents (e.g., adoption agreement, SPD, IRS determination letter, ERISA Fidelity bond coverage, 408(b)2 notice, safe harbor notice, etc.).
  3. Review the IRS plan checklist.
  4. Meet with your plan’s governance group or committee to talk about topics such as plan sponsor responsibilities and fiduciary responsibilities.
  5. Ask your auditor for an audit preparation guide and checklist with dates and timeline.
  6. Reach out to your third-party administrator and let them know when you need your audit package.
  7. Reach out to your custodian (if different from your third party administrator) and let them know when you need the trust statements and asset certification (if applicable).
  8. Send your auditor the plan census as soon as you can.

Connect with your auditor before the audit

Use your auditor as a resource to help you get ready and gather the requested documents. Most importantly, know that your auditor is around to help you through the process, so asking questions and communicating openly and frequently is expected and encouraged. With proper planning, preparation, and communication, you and your auditing team can make the process as efficient as possible.