While finding an auditor with the appropriate technical skills is relatively easy, finding one whom you trust, who has experience and who will provide ongoing value to your organization after the audit is over is more difficult. Not all auditors are created equal. So then, what does a quality auditor look like? The right professional will be:
- Experienced – Experience is the factor that most influences an audit. Too many companies encounter auditors who don’t fully understand crucial benefit plan provisions, compliance requirements and complexities. The Department of Labor (DOL) has found that auditors who have devoted a significant portion of their time to benefit plans produce better audit results. In their 2015 Audit Quality Study, the DOL observed the following deficiency rates, broken down by the number of plans audited annually by firms:
- Team oriented – The right auditor doesn’t just come in to find the flaws. They will bring in a team of experienced professionals who are regularly involved in benefit plan audits and are connected to the benefit plan community. Audit firms with third-party administration capabilities are available to help you assess the effectiveness of your plan design, discuss retirement plan design strategies, correct identified administrative issues and complete required testing or tax filings. The right team can also provide support during IRS or DOL examination.
- Involved – A plan audit won’t take 12 months, but the right auditor will stay involved year-round. Your plan is complex, and the right advisors will provide ongoing counsel to reduce risk, maintain compliance and offer solutions.
For more tips on finding – and hiring – the right auditor for your benefit plan, download our Buyer’s Guide.