Professional Accounting Blog

    Accounting For Your Prosperity

    Cash Balance Plans, Are They Right For You?

    Posted by Michelle Buckley on Jun 20, 2019 10:10:00 AM

    Topics: Benefit Plan Advising & Auditing

    A cash balance plan is a qualified employee benefit plan which allows participants to accumulate retirement funds through company contributions and interest credits. A cash balance plan provides for a company contribution either in the form of a flat dollar amount or a percentage of pay and for a guaranteed interest component.

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    Examples of Internal Control Communications for Employee Benefit Plans

    Posted by Carlo Berlingieri on May 23, 2019 8:00:00 AM

    Topics: Benefit Plan Advising & Auditing

    Internal controls are essential to maintain the trust of employees in regard to their benefit plans. However, implementing strong control systems is a complex undertaking. The Department of Labor (DOL) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are just two government agencies keeping track of internal controls on employee benefit plans.

    The DOL and the IRS have offered indications that they are more favorably inclined towards plans which have clear sets of internal controls governing them. This has been supported by presentations given at professional conferences and DOL courses. Employee benefit plans examination processes are usually faster and more efficient when a clear set of internal controls are already in place.

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    Why Should I Care About ESOPs?

    Posted by Michelle Buckley on May 16, 2019 8:00:00 AM

    Topics: Benefit Plan Advising & Auditing

    An ESOP is an employee stock ownership plan that is essentially a retirement plan which helps employees obtain ownership in the company. But why should you care? Well, ESOPs can be great options if you are a privately-held business owner considering succession planning. You have a few options available to you: 

    Family Business Succession Planning

    If you are a family-owned business, you might have your family already in place to take over the company. In this case, ESOPs are generally not the right fit. 

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    Benefit Plan Compliance Alert 2019: Are You Ready?

    Posted by Brian Dunfee on Feb 25, 2019 9:50:25 AM

    Topics: Benefit Plan Advising & Auditing

    Inherent in any successful benefits strategy is awareness and action regarding the regulatory environment surrounding your employer-sponsored plans.  Below, we have compiled a few reminders of upcoming regulatory deadlines:

    All deadlines below assume a calendar plan year-end:             

    First Quarter 2019 (and beyond):  Helpful Hints to Navigate

    February 14: The Department of Labor’s regulations on fee disclosure include a requirement to issue certain disclosures to participants/beneficiaries by 45 days after each quarter-end for participant-directed DC plans.

        o This disclosure is required for all participants with an                    account balance as of the end of the quarter.

        o It is likely that your TPA handles this quarterly disclosure for you.  However, this is a good opportunity to                 monitor the process in place at your TPA to ensure that these disclosures are being mailed out to participants         in a timely manner.

    Note: The DOL is continuing their scrutiny of compliance with these regulations and your fiduciary responsibility does not stop at assigning this task to your TPA, so be sure to maintain due diligence with this process! 

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    Changes on the Horizon for Employee Benefit Plan Limited Scope Audits

    Posted by Michelle Buckley on Dec 7, 2018 2:29:24 PM

    Topics: Benefit Plan Advising & Auditing

    The Auditing Standards Board (ASB) has voted to issue a change to the reporting and performance requirements in regards to limited scope audits for Employee Benefit Plans.

    The limited scope audit will be referred to as an ERISA Section 103(a)(3)(C) audits. The new standard will also require new procedures surrounding engagement acceptance, audit risk assessment and response, communications to those charged with governance along with other considerations.

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    Cybersecurity: Employee Benefit Plan Edition

    Posted by Brian Dunfee on May 22, 2018 8:44:00 AM

    Topics: Accounting & Auditing, Benefit Plan Advising & Auditing

    The threat of cybersecurity is nothing new these days.  However, the threat continues to promulgate itself into more and more aspects of our daily life.  From GPS systems to automobile computer systems to social media platforms, cybersecurity threats are continuing to evolve and will continue to inflict harm on the unprepared.  And, employee benefit plans are no exception.

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    DOL Audit Risk: Missing Participants in Defined Benefit Plans

    Posted by Brian Dunfee on Feb 15, 2018 9:16:00 AM

    Topics: Accounting & Auditing, Benefit Plan Advising & Auditing

    The challenge of locating missing participants for benefits due to them under a qualified retirement plan is nothing new.  However, an apparent new focus by auditors with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) regarding vested benefits under a defined benefit pension plan (DB) is making this challenge especially onerous and, potentially, costly.

    The DOL has recently begun seeking out for audit inquiry those plans that have filed Form 5500s indicating large numbers of terminated vested participants.  The data included on the census file may be focused on demographic and historical payroll data in order to provide for accurate benefit payment calculations.  However, as time goes on, those components of the census may not change but mailing addresses can become obsolete very quickly after termination of employment and as time progresses beyond that date.

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    IRS and DOL Audits: Are You At Risk?

    Posted by Brian Dunfee on Jun 20, 2017 9:33:39 AM

    Topics: Benefit Plan Advising & Auditing

    The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) recently held their annual Employee Benefit Plans Conference. The conference provided information on current initiatives of the IRS and the DOL, as well as common findings noted based on their respective examinations and reviews of qualified plans. 

    In recent years, the IRS and DOL have indicated a focus on risk-based examinations and reviews, including identifying areas in plan operations where controls could be improved. As a result of these, they noted the following areas of focus:

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    7 Best Practices Every Retirement Plan Committee Member Should Follow

    Posted by Michelle Buckley on Apr 26, 2017 11:03:11 AM

    Topics: Benefit Plan Advising & Auditing

    Many plan sponsors create oversight committees for their qualified retirement plans. These committees are frequently called “investment committees,” “administrative committees,” or, simply, “retirement plan committees.” The duties of these committees are significant, and will typically include:

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    How to Prevent Retirement Plan Fraud

    Posted by Michelle Buckley on Feb 10, 2017 8:32:00 AM

    Topics: Benefit Plan Advising & Auditing

    The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently released the results of their Fraud Project, which was completed by the Employee Plans Compliance Unit (EPCU). Their project was based on Form 5500’s that were filed and had indicated an actual Fraud Loss. Based on their reviews, the IRS determined two of the main contributing factors to fraud were weak internal controls and risky investments. 

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