This may be the first year your 401(k) plan requires an audit, and as the plan sponsor you are probably wondering what you can expect from the team of auditors who show up at your office. As a CPA firm that audits more than 25 employee benefit plans each year, we have to be very organized in our approach to the audit. There are three phases to a typical audit – planning, on-site information gathering, and the review. Unlike other firms, Piercy Bowler Taylor & Kern (PBTK) has a dedicated team that always works on the employee benefit plans year after year, resulting in consistent service for our clients. Everyone on our audit team has at least three years of experience and it consists of a Shareholder, Manager, Senior Associates and an Associate.
The full team, led by the Shareholder, participates in the planning process prior to the audit – preparing the required schedules, requested documents, and a timeline. Team assignments are also given at this time. For example, one person on the PBTK team reviews all of the SAS 70 reports, which creates an efficiency of scale on all of the plans audited by the firm. Audits are done more timely when each team member has a specialty.
On Site Team
Typically, auditors spend one or two days at your office during the audit. A Manager, Senior Associate and an Associate visit the client and perform participant testing and review employee benefit plan records, including contributions. The data they collect is taken back to the team to review.
The Shareholder is key to the review phase. While the rest of the team has prepared the audit documents, the Shareholder has the experience to finalize and sign-off on the audit. The Shareholder in our firm is Kelly Parker – he leads the employee benefit audit team, and is always available to answer clients’ questions, though he is most involved in the planning and review phases of the audit.
It takes this complete team of auditors, following the planned steps, to complete a high-quality, thorough audit of any employee benefit plan.