Employee Benefit Plans: The 411

Valuable Information on 401ks, Pensions, ESOPs, Form 5500 Preparation + More


It is that time of year again – the leaves are changing (at least they are outside of Phoenix), the nights are cooler, and your benefit plan auditors are starting to look a little harried. It is the week of October 15th, which is the deadline for submitting your audited financial statements and Form 5500, if you are required to have a plan audit. We’re having fun commiserating with the tax folk who are working on the extended tax returns that are also due October 15th.

Allow us to take a moment and make a few suggestions for how to make next year’s audit even smother:

1. Keep your employee files updated and organized. We are required to look at lots of different backup and much of it comes from an individual employees file – things like their I-9, or proof of termination. Having everything filed appropriately means you can find what is needed quicker.

2. Ask your auditor if they need copies or can just look at the original. Save the planet and some time by not making copies if they aren’t necessary.

3. Send your census as early as possible – the sooner we get the census the sooner we can make our selections and give you more time to pull what we need.

4. Talk to your TPA (in February or as early as possible) – ask them when they anticipate having the auditor packet ready and then let your auditor know so you can both schedule appropriately.

5. Talk to your auditor – after the 15th give them a call and have a discussion about how you both can do things differently next year to make the audit as painless as possible. We would love the feedback and the opportunity to improve the process for you.

Happy Fall!

Katie Thomas, CPA