You may have received an email from the DOL office of Chief Accountant recently alerting you to the importance of obtaining a quality audit from a qualified and experienced CPA firm.
The DOL letter explains that selecting a qualified CPA who has the expertise to perform an audit in accordance with professional auditing standards is a critical responsibility in safeguarding the plan’s assets and ensuring compliance with ERISA’s reporting and fiduciary requirements. The DOL letter states that employee benefit plan audits have unique audit and reporting requirements and are different from other financial audits, and that substandard audit work can be costly to plan administrators and sponsors. The DOL letter also refers to the recent DOL audit quality study which found deficiencies in employee benefit plan audits (DOL study found at www.dol.gov/ebsa). The DOL letter recommends exercising care in selecting a CPA who possess the requisite knowledge of plan audit requirements and expertise to perform the audit with professional auditing standards.
Rest assured that Shannon & Associates is dedicated to providing quality employee benefit plan audits. In this highly important niche practice area for our firm, we have an experienced team dedicated to serving benefit plans. On a combined basis, our partners and staff have in excess of 50 years working on employee benefit plans of all types. Our firm has received 9 consecutive unqualified peer review reports, the most recent in 2015. We are members of the AICPA Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center, demonstrating our commitment to quality audits. As members of this specialized group, we have committed to maintaining a quality audit practice including adhering to certain higher level requirements for training/education, performing internal inspections and including a selection of employee benefit plan audits in our peer review process. Our personnel devoted to serving employee benefit plans receive CPE specifically related to employee benefit plans, such as attending the AICPA National Conference annually, where we hear directly from the head of the DOL and others about important industry matters.
Please contact us if you have any questions on the letter. We welcome an open dialogue all year-long with our clients, prospective clients, and our employee benefit plan networking partners.
—Julie Courtney, CPA, Partner