Employee Plan Documents: Interpreting Key Provisions for Retirement Plan Audits

Eligibility, Vesting, Safe Harbor Clauses, Compensation, Participant Allocations, Allowable Distributions

A live 110-minute CPE video webinar with interactive Q&A

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Tuesday, January 17, 2023

1:00pm-2:50pm EST, 10:00am-11:50am PST

Early Registration Discount Deadline, Friday, December 23, 2022

or call 1-800-926-7926

This webinar will focus on auditors’ understanding provisions in employee plan documents that are critical for a proper basis to form an understanding and properly test provisions. Our panel of astute retirement plan advisers will identify and interpret standard clauses found in EBP documents for auditors of 401(k) and other retirement plans.


The employee benefit plan document describes the selected plan provisions of a retirement plan and guide the plan sponsor on how to administer the employer's benefit plan. ERISA requires the document to be a written instrument. This document is key to proper identification of provisions and administration of company retirement plans. Provisions documented include a plan’s eligibility requirements, including employee classes, waiting periods, and hours of service rules that are used as a basis for employees eligible to participate in the plan.

Legislation constantly evolves and changes, which could cause necessary updates to the plan document. Other changes implemented by the plan administrator need to be properly updated in the plan document. Additionally, the IRS requires preapproved defined contribution retirement plans to be restated every six years. EBP auditors must ensure that the company's plan document is up to date. The plan administrator must ensure that the plan is in compliance with all legislative requirements, plan implemented changes, mandatory restatements. The auditor will be able to properly audit the plan by understanding the legislation, provisions implemented, and documented. An EBP auditor must ensure that he or she understands all of these requirements properly to ensure that the audit is properly planned and performed.

Listen as our panel of employee benefit plan experts examines key provisions in plan documents for accounting professionals and auditors.



  1. The employee benefit plan document
  2. Key provisions, including:
    1. Eligibility
    2. Compensation
    3. Vesting
    4. Safe harbor nondiscrimination requirements
    5. Participant allocations
    6. Allowable distributions
    7. Employer contributions, including discretionary matching, safe harbors, and profit-sharing
    8. Withdrawals and distribution requirements
  3. Other key provisions
  4. Legislative requirements


The panel will cover these and other critical issues:

  • Identifying common vesting language in EBP documents
  • Determining legislative requirements
  • Recognizing standard definitions of compensation and how to apply these when testing compliance
  • Interpreting discretionary match formulas and safe harbor provisions in plan documents


Ciminera, Christopher
Christopher Ciminera, CPA, QKA

Principal, Accounting & Auditing
Belfint Lyons & Shuman

Mr. Ciminera is a member of the firm’s Employee Benefit Plan niche in the accounting and auditing services...  |  Read More

Additional faculty
to be announced.
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