Overwhelmed by your 401k auditor’s questionnaires? (We hate them too.)

May 15, 2023

building a relationship with your 401k or benefits plan auditor

Plan sponsors and advisors, building a relationship with your 401k or benefits plan auditor is better than any questionnaire. Here’s why.

No matter if you’re a 401(k) plan sponsor or advisor, you know your decisions have a major impact on plan administration and everybody who relies on it.

And that’s just the start… you wear plenty of hats.

Sometimes, the “go-to person” for 401(k) administration is a compensation and benefits professional. Sometimes, it’s the CFO. And 401(k) advisors can have an entire portfolio of plans and clients they work with.

You might have an assistant or even a full staff of your own—odds are high that you still have a to-do list, though, and it feels like there’s never enough time.

Now… how would you feel about having to deal with ANOTHER to-do: a detailed questionnaire on a super-fun topic like your benefits plan audit?

Right. That’s okay. We get it.

An auditor’s life is all about following written procedures. There may be hundreds of plates to keep spinning during an audit. The big idea of a questionnaire is to communicate processes and procedures.

As seasoned 401(k) auditors, we’ve learned something:

401(k) plan leaders don’t have time for another questionnaire.

There IS a better way.


At Cassell Plan Audits, we prefer conversations to questionnaires.

An audit isn’t just an audit. It’s about building a relationship.

When all you get from your auditor is a binder full of questionnaires, it’s impossible to get your questions answered. Our clients tell us they prefer our high-touch, small-firm approach (with big firm experience)—because it’s about putting you first.

Here’s a secret not every auditor wants to admit: questionnaires can be confusing.

Questionnaires are great for a process, but not always good for people. When your auditor takes the time to sit down with you, the conversation you have adapts to your concerns. That leads to the best questions and clearest answers.

It’s more satisfying—and can be even faster than filling out that questionnaire.

An auditor brings you an objective, third-person view—not just because it’s required, but because it’s best for the health of your plan. But whether the auditor’s work supports your peace of mind depends on how they do it.

If you hate questionnaires as much as we do, and would rather spend that time building a relationship with your 401k or benefits plan auditor, let’s talk. Contact us at Cassell Plan Audits today.

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