Posts by Darlene Finzer, CPA, QKA, CSA, Director of Benefit Plan Audit Services:
Your time is precious and you want to use it effectively. The last thing you want to face is multiple requests from auditors that make you feel like you’re running around without purpose. It doesn’t have to be this way. A little preparation on your end will help the process run smoother and give you fewer headaches. Read the rest of this entry “
Every fall, just as we can expect the leaves to change colors and the weather to turn colder and a little dreary, we can also anticipate changes we will see coming in the following year with respect to employee benefit plans. Read the rest of this entry “
The Department of Labor (DOL) has focused on the timely remittance of employee contributions to retirement plans for a few years. And recently, they stepped up efforts during agency-conducted audits, making this a key area of detailed review. The timeliness of your remittances will be under the microscope, and not only the frequency, but also the consistency. Read the rest of this entry “
The past few weeks have been full of high visibility news stories ranging from the tragic Boston Marathon bombing to the devastating plant explosion in West, Texas. Amidst these stories and others, there was one important story you may have missed that could affect you and your retirement in a very significant way. President Obama recently unveiled his 2014 budget proposal that resulted in varied opinions over the retirement-related provisions that could greatly impact the retirement industry. Read the rest of this entry “
How to Prepare For Changes to Your Retirement Plan
While the basics of double entry accounting haven’t changed in hundreds of years, the devil, as they say, is in the details. And, when it comes to accounting, the details are always changing. A new accounting standard update has been announced – and it could have a big impact on your pension plan’s 2012 audit.
For the last decade, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) have been working toward accounting convergence; bringing U.S. accounting standards into harmony with international requirements. Through the Accounting Standard Updates (ASUs), FASB has been nudging U.S. standards closer to their international counterparts. Think of it as the accounting equivalent of finally getting America to convert to the metric measuring system. It’ll be great once we’re all on the same page, but the process of getting there… well, it’s a little complicated.
Every year, we receive questions regarding whether a filing requirement exists for a client’s welfare benefit plan. Clients want to ensure that their plans remain ERISA compliant without taking on the burden of any unnecessary paperwork. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about employee welfare benefit plans. Read the rest of this entry “
In the midst of the publicity surrounding the new ERISA fee disclosures requirements, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that other recently enacted legislation may impact your retirement plan. Changes to IRS regulations may require plan’s to adopt amendments before the end of the year. Read the rest of this entry “
When it comes to following the ERISA requirement of fidelity bonding, the devil, as they say is in the details.
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) requires that fidelity bonding be obtained to cover each person who “handles” plan assets. The general rule is the bond amount be ten percent (minimum of $1,000) of plan assets as of the beginning of the plan year, not to exceed $500,000, or one million dollars if the plan holds employer securities.
While this requirement seems relatively straightforward, we find plan sponsors are sometimes unclear about their fidelity bond responsibilities when we are performing benefit plan audits. Following are some of the commonly asked questions. Read the rest of this entry “
You may have heard the retirement terminology “three-legged stool” used to describe the three most common sources of retirement income: Social Security, employer sponsored retirement plan and personal savings. Many factors affect the strength of each “leg,” so you must continually evaluate what changes you need to make to keep the stool strong and upright. Read the rest of this entry “
It’s Your Turn to Disclose Fees to Participants
Did you suffer from sticker shock when you received the recent fee disclosures from your service providers? If so, you weren’t the only plan fiduciary to be surprised, even though it’s your job to know the ins and outs of your pension plan.
Now, by August 30, you have to disclose that fee information to your plan participants. How do you think they will react? It is possible they aren’t going to like the news. Worse yet, they may be confused as to why they are suddenly paying new fees when the reality is they have always paid them. Being upfront about plan costs, and plan benefits, can help you make it through this new disclosure requirement. Read the rest of this entry “