August 21, 2009 / Law Alert

DOL Scrutinizes ERISA Plan Audits

The DOL has recently instituted a work paper review program aimed at identifying deficient audit work with respect to ERISA-covered employee benefit plan audits. When reviewing the work papers, the DOL will determine whether the audit was performed in compliance with generally accepted auditing standards (GAAS). In addition, the DOL examines the staffing on the audit engagements and the experience of the auditors who perform the audit. To avoid stiff penalties for deficient audit work ($1,100 per day, capped at $50,000), employers that sponsor ERISA-covered plans subject to the audit requirement (i.e. plans with 100 or more participants) should make auditor selection a high priority and ensure that prospective auditors meet certain specified criteria.