By Allison M. Henry, CPA, CGMA, Vice President – Professional and Technical Standards
A study will be conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Employee Benefit Security Administration (EBSA) Office of the Chief Accountant (OCA) to assess the quality of audit work with respect to financial statement audits of employee benefit plans covered under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) for the 2020 Form 5500 filing year. (This includes calendar year 2020 filings filed on extension by Oct. 15, 2021.) The DOL has performed an audit quality assessment previously (the 2011 plan filing year) in which it reviewed 400 audits.
The OCA expects to make sample selections and begin corresponding with plan administrators and independent qualified public accountant (IQPA) firms later this year. If selected, the IQPA firm will be asked to provide a full set of workpapers supporting the audit, including workpapers kept in related files. Auditors are reminded to be sure that they adequately document the auditing procedures applied, evidence obtained, and conclusions reached by the auditor in the engagement.
Here are a few resources that will be helpful for understanding best practices and common deficiencies in ERISA employee benefit plan audits:
Allison Henry will be hosting a webcast on Oct. 1 at 12:30 p.m. to discuss this vital issue. Please join Allison to learn more about this critical audit quality assessment.
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