How to Save Time on Your Next 401k Plan Audit—Especially if This Year’s Didn’t Go as Planned

October 5, 2020

Employee benefits plan audits can be a huge pain. They’re also necessary. This means you have a choice: do you want an efficient, painless audit—or a time-consuming and expensive one?

It pays in more ways than one to make your audits as efficient as possible. If that sounds like an impossible dream, somewhere between “great-tasting breakroom coffee” and “inbox zero,” you’re in luck.

You can make the whole process easier and save your team time, even if 2020’s audit process took longer than you’d hoped. Here’s how.

Do 401k audits take a long time to complete?

Depending on the accounting firm you choose, a 401k audit can take a week of in-office time, plus weeks of follow-up afterward. 

If your 2020 audit took weeks, know that it doesn’t have to be that way. You can shave days or even weeks off that timeline with just two simple steps:

  1. Prepare, prepare, prepare
  2. Choose your auditor wisely

Prepare, prepare, prepare

Good preparation is key to ensuring that your audit goes as quickly as possible. A good auditor will request specific plan documentation up front, so collect as much relevant plan documentation as you can, as early as you can. Especially if that documentation is coming from a third party.

Here are just a few of the things you’ll need:

  • Trust statements to your internal records
  • Signed and up-to-date plan records
  • Your written investment policy
  • Fidelity bond
  • SOC 1 reports

If your plan uses any third party service organizations, consider granting your auditor access in advance. This can help things run more smoothly.

If this is your first benefits plan audit, or you want a more in-depth overview of what’s required, here’s how to prepare.

Choose your auditor wisely

The right auditor will save you time, but the wrong one will cost you.

General accounting firms often serve as a jack-of-all-trades, which can slow them down when it comes to a very specialized audit like a 401k plan audit. If you’re still bringing in an auditor who takes over your conference room for a week, and comes back to you with more problems than solutions, it may be time for a change.

Here are some questions to ask when you’re making your choice.

Cassell Plan Audits works with you to complete as much advance pre-work as possible, so that our audits take just 1 in-office day. We can also conduct fully virtual audits.

Contact us today at 630.886.7669 for more information and to schedule your virtual appointment. We’ll save you time so you can get back to what’s most important.

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