The Quality of Employee Benefit Plan Audits

By: William T. Bauder, CPA, CGMA and Mark A. Welp, CPA, CFE, MAcc

As you may or may not have heard, audit quality is a big topic these days, especially around the area of employee benefit plans.  In May, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a report titled Assessing the Quality of Employee Benefit Plan Audits.  In this report, the DOL explains how they sampled 400 employee benefit plans for the 2011 plan year, of those 400 audits the DOL reviewed, they found that 39% of the audits contained major deficiencies with respect to one or more Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS) requirements.  Additionally, the report shows a clear link between the number of plan audits an accounting firm performs, and the error rate within those audits. These numbers paint a pretty clear picture for you:

# Plans Deficient Audits
1-2 75.8%
3-5 68.4%
6-24 67.4%
25-99 41.5%
100-749 12.0%
750+ 12.0%




As the DOL continues to emphasize the importance of both audit quality, as well as fiduciary duty, it is important that you are selecting qualified firms with qualified individuals to perform the audit of your retirement plan.

Here at Holbrook & Manter, Inc., we perform dozens of employee benefit plan audits annually, but more importantly, we take quality seriously.  We have partners, managers, and staff all with years of experience in employee benefit plan auditing including audits of Defined Contribution plans, Defined Benefit plans, 401(k), 403(b), ESOP and KSOP plans.  As a firm, we are also a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center (EBPAQC).  By being a member of this select group, we are obligated to obtain additional Continuing Professional Education (CPE) specific to employee benefit plans.  This ensures we are continually on the forefront of changes in regulation and compliance.  As an added benefit of our membership in the AICPA EBPAQC, we also have access to breaking news and additional resources and training.

For more information about Employee Benefit Plan Audits, contact Holbrook & Manter today. William and Mark would be pleased to assist you.