At one of North America’s largest manufacturing companies, filing Form 5500 on time with the Department of Labor is a given. Compliance is essential, of course, so nothing is left to chance―including working with an audit team that shares that perspective.
A number of characteristics contribute to the company’s efficient and timely benefit plan audits and filings:
- Experience: The ability to identify and then prioritize issues is a crucial element for an efficiently run audit process. Experience teaches discernment about whether an issue is a compliance finding and allows the team to act accordingly.
- Planning: Proactive planning does not increase the hours spent on the audit; rather, it ensures the client has enough time to resolve issues, spends less time on administrative issues and still files on time.
- Communication: Clear, regular communication between the client and the audit team is of paramount importance. The goal is to mitigate the chance for any surprises.
With this client’s multiple benefit plans and several thousand active employees, a template approach is not appropriate or sufficient. Acquisitions that made up a significant part of this client’s growth strategy resulted in the need for a customized approach to testing new participant populations as well as a good understanding of the reporting and filing complexities involved with plan terminations, mergers and divestitures.