How to Choose a 401k Audit Firm for Your Company

May 26, 2020

How to Choose a 401k Audit Firm for Your Company

Auditing your company’s 401k plan can be a disruptive and lengthy process, taking up precious time and human resources. If handled badly, it can end up costing your organization thousands more than it should, not to mention the additional stress it puts on the team members responsible for overseeing the audit. 

Choosing the right 401k plan auditing firm for your company is vital if you want to save time, money and make the experience as pain-free as possible. Plans consisting of more than 100 participants will typically require an audit. 

Here are the most important factors to consider/questions to ask when interviewing your potential auditing firm:

  • How long have you been performing benefit plan audits? What’s your track record?

This is a measure of their credibility and trustworthiness. Ask these questions and read their customer reviews. Cassell Plan Audits has been a leader in this industry for seven years – and our team has 50+ years’ combined experience.

We take due diligence very seriously so that things are done correctly and the process is smoother. We have your best interests at heart; it’s just how we do things around here.

  • Tell me about your process. How do you perform the audit?

What you’re looking for are firms that consider saving YOU time a priority. Do they leverage automation and technology, so that you experience minimal disruptions to your daily working routine? Do they have a comprehensive pre-audit process, reducing the amount of time they’re in your office and/or in your hair?

For example, we perform a lot of the preliminary work ahead of time, letting you know early what’s required, so you have plenty of time to find the relevant documents and information. No nasty surprises.

Our streamlined approach is based on decades of experience and a willingness to partner with technology, which allows us to provide you with an audit experience that is both efficient and affordable.

  • Can you work virtually?

Again, this is about how easy the firm makes it for YOU–and of course, in the current corona ‘verse, this criteria is of paramount importance.

Much of the preparation work can take place ahead of time, via email. We were working virtually before it was cool, offering it as an option when our clients prefer it. We regularly work with out-of-state clients. 

  • Do you specialize in 401k audits?

Hint: If you’re considering a general accounting firm or CPA to perform your audit, you already know the answer to this. They don’t specialize. 

When choosing a firm to do their 401k plan audit, many companies just go with their regular accounting firm, but  this could be a mistake. There are plenty of accounting firms that do a great job, however be cautious: some accounting firms will “throw in” this service, but they aren’t specialists, so can’t be as experienced with the ins and outs of this niche, or how to avoid costly mistakes.

(Benefit plan audits are all we do, so we can offer the best service and expert guidance.)

  • Pay attention to how they’re speaking to you.

As you interview your potential benefit plan auditor, notice: Do they talk down to you? Or use complex industry jargon you don’t understand, then respond impatiently when you ask about it?

This is one of our pet peeves. Client care & clear communication are our number one priorities, second to providing you with an excellent audit experience. 

JoAnn Cassell founded this company because she wanted to raise the standards of plan audits and saw how much stress and pain this process brought to many companies. She and her team are known to their clients as “the friendly auditors.” 

We will never talk down to you or use complex jargon. In fact we make it our mission to translate tax law into “human-speak” so you’ll always understand the process and know what to expect. 

Cassell Plan Audits specializes in employee benefits plan audits and can assist plan sponsors throughout all fifty states with their audit needs. 

We provide our clients with exemplary service at an affordable price, saving you time, reducing the cost of compliance and eliminating headaches that less experienced companies don’t know how to avoid.

If your last plan audit seemed to go on for months, or the request lists from your auditor continued weeks after the initial visit, we invite you to contact us today. Call us at 630.886.7669.

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