Benefit Plan Audit

Quality counts. It’s not enough to undergo an employee benefit plan audit (EBP audit)— you must ensure the integrity of the process. Failure to comply with requirements can result in significant penalties to the plan sponsor and substantial fines. The complexity and changing nature of requirements calls for a firm with deep knowledge of the practice. Warren Averett can help you rest easy. We perform audits for more than 300 employee benefit plans each year, ranging from under $1 million to more than $12 billion in assets for both public and privately held companies. Additionally, we are charter members of the AICPA Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center, a voluntary membership to help CPAs meet the challenges of performing quality audits in this unique and complex area.

New standards recently introduced by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) have just made it even more vital to work with an experienced team of advisors to ensure your company remains in compliance. The Department of Labor (DOL), in conjunction with the AICPA, introduced new standards to improve the quality of employee benefit plan audits and enhance the value of the audit reports.

Specifically, these new standards apply to all year-end 2021 audits being conducted in 2021 and beyond. Audit firms may elect to adopt these guidelines early. While the majority of changes apply to auditors, there are significant EBP audit requirement changes that apply to plan administrators.

We understand that successful employee benefit plan audits are critical to establishing credibility for your organization and confidence for your benefit plan’s trustees. Our employee benefit plan audit team is staffed with knowledgeable personnel who are well informed of the current benefit plan auditing standards, as well as Department of Labor and Employee Retirement Income Security Act filing requirements and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations.

Our audit team can provide you with cost-effective audits in a nominal amount of time, while still maintaining the high standards required by regulatory agencies. We are committed to helping our clients with their employee benefit plan audits and providing assurance in confidence and credibility.

Going Through an Employee Benefit Plan Audit

An audit of an employee benefit plan involves the examination of financial statements provided by a third party to the DOL, plan management and plan participants. The primary focus of an employee benefit plan audit is to accurately gauge the ability of the plan to cover current and future benefits and payments.

An employee benefit plan audit can be a complex undertaking. The plan’s financial reporting and the audit environment both provide unique factors that make this process much more complex than a standard audit. The expert audit team at Warren Averett has decades of relevant experience in auditing plans with consideration of unique factors, including:

  • Regulations of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Labor (DOL)
  • Federal and state laws
  • Special reporting and audit requirements
  • Nature of the plan operations

Other ways that Warren Averett’s team can assist your EBP audit process is through connecting you to our professionals who can perform a Form 5500 review. An important tool in ERISA’s disclosure and reporting framework, the Form 5500 provides federal agencies with an annual report that includes information concerning the benefit plans offered by employers, and the finances and operations of these plans.

What We Do

An employee benefit plan audit is an important requirement and step in satisfying your responsibility of an accurate and complete Form 5500. Employee benefit plan audits have unique and complex reporting requirements that are different from financial reporting requirements.

Here are a few examples outlining when our services could benefit your company: 

  • You need employee benefit plan audit services
  • You need help interpreting the recent standards introduced by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
  • You need to assess the consistency of your Form 5500 in conjunction with your plan’s financial statements
  • You need to identify items on your Form 5500 that may be a triggering point for the DOL
  • You need to understand additional conditions for small pension plans established by the DOL in 2021
  • You need a Form 5500 review.

Our Services Overview

With Warren Averett’s extensive experience in Benefit Plan Audits, you can be assured you are meeting the government’s current standards for your benefit plans.

Let us serve as your guide, ensuring you are meeting the government’s complex accounting rules and keeping up with rapidly changing requirements.

Here are the types of benefit plan audits we provide:

  • Defined Contribution Plans
  • Defined Benefit Plans
  • Health and Welfare
  • 401(k) plans
  • 403(b) plans

In addition, Warren Averett can review your Form 5500.

Meet Our Benefit Plan Audit Team

Discover more about our team members’ employee benefit plan audit expertise, insights and how we can help you maintain compliance.

Our Auditors

During an employee benefit plan audit, the auditor may identify practices, procedures and other internal processes that have the potential to cause plan compliance issues or need improvement. To ensure that your company is prepared for your audit, and to avoid potential scrutiny regarding your fiduciary responsibility with respect to internal controls, plan compliance and best practices, it’s wise to select an audit team that has extensive experience auditing plans.

We advise public and private companies and perform plan audits and consulting, informed by a strong ERISA and plan operations background.

Our Employee Benefit Plan Audit practice performs more than 300 audits, and according to the Department of Labor, that places Warren Averett among the top one percent of firms that perform employee benefit plan audits. We are charter members of the AICPA Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center and members of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB).

Learn more about our team’s specialized skills, depth of knowledge and how we help you achieve a successful employee benefit plan audit.

Our Approach

An employee benefit plan audit is a critical step toward achieving successful regulatory compliance. Because every plan is unique, our auditors apply their specific knowledge and experience to perform required duties comprehensively and effectively. We understand the importance of protecting the financial integrity and assets contained in your plan and can provide valuable information to plan administrators.

Our approach is thorough and exacting, leaving no stone unturned. The prominent focus of employee benefit plan audit requirements is on participant-related activity and transactions. As a result, an employee benefit plan auditor will concentrate on the demographic characteristics; payroll data; distribution documents; deferral percentages; claims that were paid concerning health and welfare plans; and plan document requirements.

Equally important are the investments of the plan. Regardless of whether you are conducting a full scope audit or a limited scope audit, the plan’s financial statements must encompass all relevant disclosures required in the reporting framework.

Successful Solutions

Do you know what impact the new American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) Audit Standards will have on your company’s reporting and audit requirement for employee benefit plans?

We know choosing a provider for employee benefit plan audit services is a critical decision. Some of the most important considerations in selecting your auditor include competence, adherence to standards, familiarity with required procedures and DOL guidance.

Warren Averett is here to help. Our team conducts audits for more than 300 employee benefit plans on an annual basis. With experts in auditing standards, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations, and the Department of Labor and Employee Retirement Income Security Act filing requirements, our firm takes the guesswork out of auditor selection. We are members of the AICPA Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center and take pride in our excellent track record of having the DOL find zero deficiencies in our audits.

Contact Us

Questions about how we can help you or your business thrive, or want to learn more about Warren Averett? Get in touch with us today!