If your company sponsored a retirement plan in 2011, don’t be surprised if you receive a letter from the Department of Labor (DOL) this September indicating your plan has been selected as part of an audit quality study.  Don’t panic – this is not an audit of the plan to identify weaknesses or problems with the plan; rather, it is to assess the quality of audits performed by your independent auditor of the plan.

Selecting 400 retirement plans across the nation, the Office of the Chief Accountant (OCA) of the DOL’s Employee Benefit Security Administration will perform a statistical assessment related to the quality of work by independent auditors of ERISA plans to complete their survey. With more than 7,000 CPA firms performing more than 83,000 ERISA audits in the 2011 plan filing year, the odds of your plan being chosen is slim. It is expected that nearly 200 of the audits selected for review will have been performed by CPA firms with minimal ERISA audits. Serving as the auditor of hundreds of ERISA plans, Doeren Mayhew clients’ chances of being selected are meek.

What to Do if Your Plan Gets a Quality Audit

If you are one of the “lucky” plans chosen as part of this survey, you should:

  1. Contact the auditor of the employee benefit plan for the 2011 filing year and let them know your plan has been selected. Forward a copy of the DOL notice to your auditor.
  2. Respond to the inquiry letter within 15 days 3. Contact the DOL with any questions

After this point, your independent auditors will be responsible to provide access to your 2011 audit workpapers to the DOL for review, which will complete the process. The DOL does not anticipate needing to be on site at the plan sponsor’s location for any reason. Remember, this is not a DOL investigation or enforcement effort, so there are no repercussions of this review.

If you’re a Doeren Mayhew client who received a letter stating your employee benefit plan has been selected, contact our auditors in Michigan, Houston or Ft. Lauderdale to assist you through the process.