Posts Tagged ‘Business Planning’

Don’t Let These Common Retirement Plan Mistakes Hurt Your Business

Monday, March 28th, 2016
Administrative Mistakes | Retirement Plan Sponsors | Ohio CPA Firm

Even data entry gurus aren’t immune to making mistakes and, as many of us are already aware, it only takes a minor slip up to cause major havoc – especially where your plan contribution records are concerned. Read on to discover some common administrative mistakes retirement plan sponsors should know about and how to avoid them moving forward.

When it comes to saving for retirement, your employees trust you to help them get their finances in order. Don’t undermine their trust by making mistakes that could have been easily avoided. Instead, take a proactive approach to the administrative responsibilities you are expected to manage. Keep reading to discover three areas retirement plan auditors are checking for mistakes and what you can do to avoid future issues.


Pay close attention to your plan’s eligibility requirements. The enrollment dates for some employees can get confusing. Consider the following example.

According to your plan document, in order for an employee to enroll in your company’s retirement plan, they must be at least 21-years-old and have had worked for you for at least six consecutive months. Once they have met these requirements, they can enroll during the plan’s entry dates, which fall on the first day of each quarter.

Considering this scenario, on what day will you be able to enroll “John” into your company’s retirement plan if:

  • He was hired March 17, 2016
  • His birthday is Oct. 25, 1995

While it’s true that John will meet the 6-month employment requirement on Sept. 17, he’s unable to meet the age requirement. When he turns 21 on Oct. 25, he will still have to wait until the first day of the next quarter – Jan. 1, 2017.

If an employee misses the opportunity to participate as a result of an error made by the plan sponsor, the employer is required to correct the mistake by making a corrective contribution.

This common mistake can easily be avoided as long as your business has solid processes in place to determine the appropriate for all new employees who are choosing to enter into the plan.


Even data entry gurus aren’t immune to making mistakes and, as many of us are already aware, it only takes a minor slipup to cause major havoc – especially where your plan contribution records are concerned.

When you manually enter your employee’s retirement plan contributions, you become vulnerable to data entry errors. It’s not uncommon for a wrong keystroke to lead to deposits being made into the wrong employee’s account, for example.

Fortunately, this mistake is easily avoidable if you take steps toward automation. Ask your payroll company if they can create a file that can be easily uploaded to your retirement plan’s record keeper in an automated format and save yourself any future data entry headaches.


It’s very important to be clear about what your plan document considers to be compensation. For example, if your plan document makes a point to reference “W-2 compensation,” you are required to withhold retirement plan funds from all regular wages, bonuses, commission, overtime, etc. This means, that if you pass out performance bonuses and neglect to withhold their 401(k) contribution, your document has failed and your business is opened to unpleasant consequences.

Fortunately, it’s not too late. Your plan document most likely offers the flexibility to make a separate plan election on bonuses. If your employee does decide to elect a portion of their bonus to the plan, ask them to document the election request for your records as well as their own.

Mistakes happen, but you can minimize the chance of making some pretty major mistakes simply by adopting a more proactive management style. The tips above will certainly help you get started. But for even more, email Rea & Associates today.

By Steve Renner, QKA (New Philadelphia office)

Get more retirement plan advice for your business. Check out these articles:

How Your Plan Design Can Help Improve Your Retirement Plan Participation

13 Fees That Can Kill Your Retirement Plans

Retirement Plan Participants Are Content To Watch Their Savings Simmer

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What Are 6 Things You Can Do To Improve The Health Of Your Business in 2014?

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Are you out of breath from the impact the economy had on your business during the last several years? Is it time to develop some New Year’s resolutions that will make a difference in your business? Adopting a new diet, jumping on the treadmill or committing to run a half marathon are common items on the “personal” resolution menu. However, is it time to add energy and resources to your resolutions in order to improve the health of your business?  (more…)

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Why Is A Relationship With Your Banker Important To Your Business?

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

You have a bank. But do you have a relationship with your bank? A relationship with your bank is important to the success of your business. A banker can be a great source of information and a valuable part of your team. Too often it seems that the banker is only contacted when money is tight or there is an immediate need for cash flow. A business then spends several weeks obtaining information for the banker and attempting to communicate the importance of the current need. If the business had an on-going relationship with the bank, then this process is much easier to handle for the banker and the business.  (more…)

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How Can A Business Plan Prepare You for Your Future In the Oil & Gas Industry?

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

As a business owner in the oil and gas industry, you may have a substantial and noble strategic vision for your company. You may even be thinking that the list of possibilities for what your company can become is endless. But wait… how do you reach your business goals and get to where you want to be?  (more…)

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How Do You Prepare to Sell Your Business?

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Do you plan to sell your business someday? Although you may not think of your business as a traditional retirement plan, it may be the largest asset you have to “cash in” upon retirement. There are many issues to consider when thinking about selling your business.

Timing of Business Sales

One of the first things a potential buyer is going to ask for is historical financial statements. If your most recent financial statements show healthy profits, you are more likely to be able to justify a larger selling price than trying to sell your business after several less profitable years.

Current developments in your industry may also impact the timing of when you want to sell your business. Do you anticipate new government regulations that could impact your business? Or is there a trend of consolidations in your industry? If so, this may increase the value of your business.


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Do You Need a Business Prenup?

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

About 25 percent of businesses fail within the first year, according to Small Business Trends.  Only 44 percent survive for four years.  What if your business doesn’t make it?

If you don’t have a buy-sell agreement, things could get hairy. Or if you developed one in haste and never update it, the buy-out probably won’t be fair to all parties. The hassles from litigation that result from faulty buy-sell agreements could last for years and negatively impact your business. (more…)

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How do you create a succession plan?

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

One measure of great business leaders is that their businesses continue to thrive once they leave their positions.  Visionary leaders captain the ship today while making plans for someone else to take the helm tomorrow.  Proactive succession planning allows businesses to continue their smooth sailing long after the captain abandons ship. (more…)

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