How long does a 401k audit take?

June 30, 2020

If the word “audit” makes you cringe, you’re not alone. At their worst, audits can be a major pain. They can sap your time, energy, and resources. When our clients ask us how long a 401k audit will take, they’re usually afraid of the answer.

But there’s good news. If you choose the right accounting firm, your audit can move quickly and efficiently, with minimal inconvenience to you and your team.

Done right, an audit helps reveal solutions, not problems. And it can take just one in-office day…!

How quickly can audits be completed?

A typical audit might look something like this: an accounting team sets up camp in your conference room for an entire week, pulling in members of your staff here and there with questions that need immediate answers. After that, you might have weeks of follow-up that leave you wondering what they even did for a week in your office.

Cassell Plan Audits focuses exclusively on 401k audits, so we’ve got them down to a science.

With years of experience to guide us, we know exactly what to ask for up front. We get as much pre-work done as possible before we ever set foot in your office. Much of this pre-work is virtual and makes use of electronic documentation. 

This allows us to spend just one day on-site, leaving you more time to focus on your most important work.

We can even conduct fully virtual audits

In fact, we are remote work trendsetters. We worked virtually with clients long before COVID-19 made it necessary, because we understood the benefits. 

When time is money, efficiency is everything. 

How else can we make our audits more efficient?

The firm you hire to conduct an audit makes all the difference. Timelines can be long, particularly if you’re working with a firm without much experience in employee benefits plan audits. A large firm that offers many services may not have the expertise necessary to complete a 401k audit as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Typical accountants will often drag their feet on your 401k audit until the last minute. When they finally complete a round, it’s not uncommon for them to come back with more questions than answers, asking for more information that they should have requested early on.

If you opt to use a general firm, it’s not uncommon for an annual 401k audit to take a week or more of in-office time. (Not to mention potential weeks of follow-up.)

To optimize your timeline and your results, make sure you hire a firm that specializes in 401k auditing and compliance. Be on the lookout for these things when you make your choice.

Does a faster audit still yield meaningful results?

Regardless of how you complete your external audit, get a head start on preparation to save time and improve the outcome. If you haven’t participated in a benefits plan audit before, or need a refresher on what’s required, here’s how to prepare for one.

Completing the prework is half of the equation. The audit’s results are the other half. Where some firms will leave you at the end of an audit with a list of problems you never knew you had, we’ll give you solutions instead.

Contact us today for more information and to schedule your virtual appointment with Cassell Plan Audits at 630.886.7669. We’re ready to put our efficiency and expertise to work for you.

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