August 27, 2012. Offering a retirement plan can be one of the most challenging, yet rewarding, decisions an employer can make. The employees participating in the plan, their beneficiaries, and you (the employer) benefit when a retirement plan is in place. Administering a plan and managing its assets, however, require certain actions and involve specific responsibilities.
To meet their responsibilities as plan sponsors, you need to understand some basic rules, specifically the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). ERISA sets standards of conduct for those who manage an employee benefit plan and its assets (called fiduciaries).
Employee Benefit Plans – Your Responsibilities
One of your responsibilities as the plan administrator is obtaining a quality plan audit. Generally, Federal law requires employee benefit plans, with 100 or more participants to have an audit as part of their obligation to file an annual return/report (Form 5500 Series). Independent audits of employee benefit plan financial statements are an important accountability mechanism. If your employee benefit plan is required to have an audit, it is the plan administrator’s duty to hire an independent qualified public accountant, to ensure that the plan has obtained a quality audit in accordance with Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) requirements.
Selecting an Auditor for an Employee Benefit Plan
In selecting an auditor for your plan you need to insure that they are certified public accountants (CPA), are independent of the plans, have no financial interest in the plan or plan sponsor and they have experienced at auditing employee benefit plans.
Safe Harbor CPAs and G&J Seiberlich – Two Firms, Partnering for our Client’s Success
Safe Harbor CPAs, located in San Francisco, partners with G&J Seiberlich, located in Napa, California, to bring the talents and expertise of two firms to better serve clients needing employee benefit plan audits. Working together, our two firms understand the complexity of performing employee benefit plan audits and have a dedicated team of auditors who possess the specialized knowledge and experience to help ensure compliance with the appropriate standards and regulations.
As a member of the American Institute of CPAs Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center, we are committed to adhering to the highest quality standards by voluntarily agreeing to the Center’s membership requirements:
- Designating a partner responsible for our Employee Benefit Plan Audit practice
- Establishing quality control programs
- Performing annual internal inspection procedures
- Peer review report findings publicly available
Our team of Employee Benefit Plan Audit specialists stays current in this highly technical practice area by:
- Attending various continuing education programs including the annual AICPA National Conference on Employee Benefit Plans and other relevant seminars
- Reviewing monthly publications from:
- International Foundation for Employee Benefit Plans
Our Employee Benefit Plan Audit Services include:
- Pension and 401(k) plans, subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), under the regulatory authority of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)
- Consulting services related to employee benefit plans
We have developed relationships with a number of important associations and organizations to help in the development and delivery of our employee benefit plan audit service.
Safe Harbor LLP and G & J Seiberlich & Co LLP CPAs specializes in accounting and tax services for individuals and businesses throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and greater California. Safe Harbor LLP and G & J Seiberlich & Co LLP CPAs help both individuals and businesses with tax preparation, IRS audit defense, and audited financial statements. The firms pride themselves in friendly yet professional service and utilizes state-of-the-art Internet technology to provide quality customer service.
Please contact us to discuss your retirement, employee benefit, and/or 401K audit needs.