Is Your Accountant Qualified To Perform Your Employee Benefit Plan Audit?

by: Smith and Howard

November 20, 2015

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If your business has filed a Form 5500 with the audit of the employee benefit plan attached, you have or will receive an email or letter from the Chief Accountant of the U. S. Department of Labor (DOL). This letter discusses the importance of selecting a qualified accounting firm to perform your employee benefit plan audit.

Smith and Howard’s employee benefit plan (EBP) audit practice is of the highest quality in the nation and our clients can rest assured that the qualities laid out by the DOL in its letter are met or exceeded by Smith and Howard. Specifically:

Department of Labor Recommendations


Smith and Howard

The number of employee benefit plans the CPA audits each year, including the types of plans;

We audit over 100 plans each year* consisting of 401(k) and 403(b), health and welfare and pension plans for both public and private companies.

The extent of specific annual training the CPA received in auditing plans;

Our EBP staff is trained with local and national resources. Three full days are dedicated to training specifically on EBP matters in addition to other accounting training provided annually.

The status of the CPA’s license with the applicable state board of accountancy;

The CPA licenses of each Smith and Howard professional are current and without issue.

Whether the CPA has been the subject of any prior DOL findings or referrals, or has been referred to a state board of accountancy or the American Institute of CPA’s for investigation; and

Smith and Howard has not been the subject of any DOL findings or referrals, nor has the firm been referred to the state board of accountancy or the AICPA for investigation.

Whether or not  your CPA’s employee benefit plan audit work has recently been reviewed by another CPA (this is called a “Peer Review”) and, if so whether such review resulted in negative findings;

Our audit practice – including employee benefit plan audits – are reviewed every three years by a peer firm. Every peer review of Smith and Howard has resulted in the highest attainable opinion by the peer firm  (“Unqualified”) and recorded with the AICPA

Other: We are a member of the AICPA Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center, a firm-based voluntary membership center for firms that audit employee benefit plans. The Center was established to promote the quality of employee benefit plan audits.


The November 18 letter is part of a general campaign by the DOL to address audit failures of benefit plans around the nation and is not specific to Smith and Howard. If you have any questions or concerns, please call Sean Spitzer or Lori Wagnon at 404-874-6244.

*Note firms that audit 1-2 plans have a 75% failure rate, whereas firms that audit over 100 plans have a minimal failure rate. Smith and Howard has not been involved with any audit failures with the DOL.

How can we help?

If you have any questions and would like to connect with a team member please call 404-874-6244 or contact an advisor below.