The firm you hire to perform your EBP audit is important because you, the plan administrator, are the one responsible for the audit. You, not the firm you select, are liable for reporting accurate information to the DOL. Make sure that you get the audit you need by asking a few questions:
1. What is the firm’s specific experience with EBP audits?
ERISA audits are complex and the regulations change from year to year. Select an auditor who has extensive current experience to ensure that your plan is in compliance with current rulings.
2. Does the firm belong to the Employee Benefit Plan Quality Audit Center?
Members of the AICPA’s EBP Quality Audit Center voluntarily submit to a stringent list of criteria for performing EBP audits. Participation in this organization generally means that a firm is committed to Employee Benefit Plan Audits as a business niche instead of off-season fill-in work.
3. Who will work on the business?
Even if the firm has strong credentials, ask about the specific auditor’s experience and level of seniority.
4. How can I get the best value for my audit?
To ensure a quality audit, you want a comprehensive review of your plan. And, the answer to this question may largely depend on who is performing the audit. Look for answers to this question to include reducing the amount of time (which means money), by being prepared in advance. A good auditor will give you a checklist of items needed prior to arriving in your office. You can also get a good value by making sure that staff is available when needed to assist in a timely completion of the audit.
In addition to the audit, a good auditor can help with suggestions to ensure that you’ll meet your fiduciary responsibilities going forward. Please comment if you have additional suggestions.