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Employee Benefit Plan Audits: Asking the Right Questions and Avoiding Critical Errors

Understanding Internal Controls, Audit Considerations for the Limited Scope Audits, Ensuring Completion of Population, Reviewing Form 5500, and Addressing Timeliness of Contributions

Note: CLE credit is not offered on this program

Recording of a 110-minute CPE webinar with Q&A

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Conducted on Thursday, July 11, 2019

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This course will provide employee benefits auditors with best practices to prevent most of the severe and costly (but all too common) errors in benefit plan audits. The panel will explain the pitfalls that practitioners often encounter in these audits and outline how to address these issues based on real-world experiences.


Proficiency in auditing benefit plans requires staying on top of the IRS and DOL ever-changing rules and regulations. An employee benefit plan with more than 100 eligible participants must file audited financials along with Form 5500, which the DOL closely audits.

An employee benefit plan audit is more than substantiating financial statements. Auditors must also be prepared to address plan operations, including an assessment of whether the plan is operating according to the plan document, any plan amendments, and all applicable IRS and DOL rules during the period audited.

Our experienced panel of benefit plan auditors will guide attendees on preparing for and getting through audits. The panel will also explain what practitioners can do now to avoid costly mistakes or take action to correct prior plan errors before an audit.

Listen as our panel offers best practices and insights based on real-world experience for avoiding common high risk mistakes associated with benefit plan audits. The panel will also outline approaches to identify and correct plan errors before an audit or after a filing.



  1. Do you understand Internal Controls over the Plans?
    1. Obtaining and Reviewing All Relevant SOC-1 Reports
    2. Addressing User Control Considerations
    3. Understanding Cyber Security related concerns and Plan Sponsor’s Controls to address them
  2. What are the audit considerations for Limited Scope Audits?
    1. Reviewing Certification to ensure Plan Qualifies
    2. Testing Investments not covered by the Certifications
    3. Testing Participant Loans
  3. Is the Population complete?
    1. Ensuring Contribution Population is Complete
    2. Ensuring Distribution and Loan Population is Complete
  4. Have you reviewed Form 5500?
    1. Ensuring Form 5500 consistency with the Financial Statements
    2. Reviewing to Identify potential red flags for the IRS and DOL
  5. What are the Hot Button issues with the DOL and the IRS and how to correct them?
    1. Top 5 DOL and IRS compliance issues
    2. DOL and IRS correction programs
  6. What are best practices for Plan management to prepare for the audit?
    1. SOC-1 Reports and User Control Considerations
    2. Limited Scope Certification
    3. Reconciliations
    4. Form 5500
    5. Timeliness of Contributions


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • Understanding the areas of highest risk in benefit plan audits
  • Identifying and avoiding the most common mistakes in benefit plan audits
  • Implementing solutions to the most common plan or filing mistakes after the fact
  • Pinpointing Form 5500 red flags for the IRS and DOL
  • Addressing Top 5 DOL and IRS Hot Button Issues
  • Best Practices for the Plan Management to prepare for the Audits


Ahsan, Sharjeel
Sharjeel Ahsan, CPA, MBA

Audit Director
McConnell & Jones

Mr. Ahsan has been instrumental in builing and leading the Firm’s Form 5500 preparation practice and has...  |  Read More

Brumfield, Michelle
Michelle Brumfield, CPA

Employee Benefit Plan Audit and Compliance Director
McConnell & Jones

Ms. Brumfield has the unique experience required for managing numerous employee benefit plan audits and consulting with...  |  Read More

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CPE credit is not available on downloads.