Pension Assurance LLP is an accounting firm dedicated exclusively to performing audits of employee benefit plans pursuant to annual Form 5500 filing requirements. We don’t do taxes, corporate audits, business consulting, or any other services. Instead, we are singularly focused on providing our clients with a high level of expertise in this specialized and increasingly technical area.
One big reason you really want a specialist to audit your retirement plan: Developing expertise and staying up to date is a year-round job.
Retirement plans used to be viewed as “easy audits” and “summer work” for full-service accounting firms. However, over the years they’ve become one of the most sophisticated and technical areas for auditors and accountants. It’s not easy to keep up and, unfortunately, not everyone is.
Auditing retirement plans requires staying up to date with:
– Financial accounting and reporting standards for investments and employee benefit plans
– Generally accepted auditing standards
– Numerous types of investments and investment valuation methodologies
– Department of Labor rules and regulations and ERISA
– Internal Revenue Code sections pertaining to qualified plans
– Actuarial methodologies for estimating benefits obligations
We attend multiple employee benefit conferences annually to stay up-to-date, including the AICPA’s Employee Benefit Conference each May (the most comprehensive employee benefit conference) and the AICPA’s Employee Benefit Plan Accounting, Auditing, and Regulatory Update each December.
Our internal training programs are focused on ensuring that each of our professionals is keeping current and developing the highest levels of competency and proficiency about retirement plans.
Audit quality is of primary importance for sponsors of retirement plans. For more information on why audit quality is so important, see our section on Selecting an Auditor.
In addition to the efforts described above that ensure a high level of expertise for our clients, there are a few things we do to provide audit quality for our clients:
– We typically hire experienced professionals. Approximately three years of public accounting experience is what we consider entry level for our specialty.
– Our entire team, from the least to the most experienced, is composed of professionals who have dedicated themselves to becoming specialists and experts in the audit of retirement plans. This, along with our experience requirement, ensures that our clients are always interfacing with individuals who have the experience and specialized knowledge to effectively audit retirement plans.
– We don’t distract ourselves with anything else. We can’t imagine staying current with retirement plans while also trying to maintain expertise in taxes or auditing non-profit organizations or business management consulting.
Painless (or at least less painful) Audits
While we need to maintain independence and a high level of audit quality, that doesn’t mean that we need to be adversarial or that the audit needs to be difficult.
Many of our clients have praised us for performing “smooth” audits. There’s a simple reason for that: We know what we’re doing.
While many firms rotate a different staff auditor onto retirement plan audit accounts each year, with Pension Assurance you will always have an experienced and dedicated specialist directly involved with and managing your audit.
We’ve worked with all of the major investment providers, recordkeepers, and plan administration firms in the industry and many of the minor ones. Because of that, we know exactly how to get the information we need for the audit and our team knows exactly what to do with the plan audit reports.
Most of the audit work is done in our office. Then, we typically spend a single day at your office for fieldwork to test supporting documents that reside in your on-site files and to do interviews of plan personnel. We also have technology solutions that enable our clients to quickly and securely submit documents to us from any location.
Our goal is to perform a quality audit, but to do so with as minimal disruption to your other worfklows as possible. We achieve this due to our extensive experience and our well-planned, thoughtful, and risk-based audit approach.