Important Considerations When Choosing a Benefit Plan Auditor

ASK THESE QUESTIONS TO GAUGE EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE

Choosing a qualified benefit plan auditor can be a challenging process, particularly for the uninitiated. Selecting an inexperienced auditor or one with a less than stellar track record can have lasting ramifications on your plan. There are several factors to consider when evaluating potential auditors:  

  • The firm’s experience with auditing benefit plans. To perform an audit in accordance with the standards, tests need to be performed that are unique to benefit plans. The firm you select should be committed to the training of its staff, not just in audit skills, but in understanding how benefit plans operate and the regulatory requirements to which plans are subject.   The firm should audit more than just a few plans a year in order to provide you with the most efficient and effective audit. Teaching an audit team how an employee benefit plan works can be very frustrating for you, the plan sponsor.
  • The firm’s willingness to commit to a consistent audit team. One of the biggest complaints plan sponsors have is that they see new auditors every year. Ask about practices in assigning staff to engagements and their record of staff continuity.
  • The depth of the firm’s expertise. Issues arise during audits, especially in the first year. Make sure the firm you choose will help you through the issues, and not just refer you to legal counsel or tell you to figure out how to fix the problems. Also, be sure there are more than one or two individuals in the firm who have benefit plan experience.   Turnover is high in public accounting and you want to be sure that if one person leaves, the expertise is still at the firm to handle your account.

To learn more about Aronson’s Employee Benefit Plan Services Group, please contact partner Kate Petrillo at 301.231.6200 or by email via kpetrillo@aronsonllc.com.