Employee Benefit Plans

Employee Benefit Plans

At Sisterson, we understand the complexities of employee benefit plans. Our employee benefit plan team provides services for virtually all plan types including, but not limited to, defined contribution retirement plans including profit-sharing, 401(k) and 403(b) plans; defined benefit, money purchase, and multiemployer pension plans; union represented plans; master trusts; multiple-employer plans; and health and welfare plans.

As part of our audit and tax services, we believe that it is important to have a strong understanding of the rules that apply to the creation, maintenance and operation of qualified retirement plans and welfare benefit plans. As such, our expertise extends to ERISA, as well as the accompanying DOL regulations, the Internal Revenue Code, IRS regulations and guidance, and the specific auditing requirements pertaining to employee benefit plans.

Evidence of Sisterson's Commitment to Excellence

In May of 2015, the Office of the Chief Accountant (OCA), Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), completed an assessment of the quality of audit work performed by independent qualified public accountants (IQPAs) with respect to financial statement audits of employee benefit plans covered under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). The assessment revealed that 39% of the 2011 plan year audits (nearly 4 out of 10) contained major deficiencies with respect to one or more relevant GAAS requirements, putting $653 billion and 22.5 million plan participants and beneficiaries at risk. Case targeting of public accounting firms by the DOL has greatly increased as a result of this finding. The DOL recently completed a desk review of our audit workpapers for one of many plans that we audit. The DOL concluded, based on their review,  that "no issues came to their attention that would warrant further action," demonstrating that Sisterson continues to remain ahead of the pack in regard to audit quality.


Sisterson is a member of the AICPA Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center, a firm-based voluntary membership center for firms that audit employee benefit plans. Our auditors are dedicated to meeting the challenges of performing quality audits in this unique and complex area.
Sisterson audits numerous employee benefit plans annually, for businesses and plans of all sizes. Sisterson is a member of the AICPA’s Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center, which ensures that members adhere to best practices in benefit plan audits. Sisterson provides employee benefit plan audits for private companies and for public company plans that do not require an SEC 11-K filing. We prepare limited or full scope audits for single or multiple employer plans.
  • Preparation and review of Form 5500, Form 8955-SSA, and summary annual reports.
  • Preparation and review of Form 1099-R and Form M-1 (i.e., MEWA compliance).
  • Assistance with responses to notices received from the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Labor.
  • Form 5500 compliance reviews for plan sponsors and insurance brokers, including assistance identifying frequently overlooked ERISA welfare benefit plans that require a Form 5500.
  • Assistance in obtaining penalty relief under the Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance (DFVC) Program for late Forms 5500.
  • Assistance with correcting plan qualification errors under the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS).
  • Assistance with healthcare tracking, reporting and compliance under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Assistance with prohibited transactions and related excise tax payments.
  • Internal Revenue Service and Department of Labor examination/ plan audit assistance.
Employee Benefit Plan Consulting Services Include (but are not limited to):
  • HSA, HRA, FSA, cafeteria plan, and other medical plan consulting.
  • Opportunities for deferred compensation and equity plans.
  • Plan mergers, acquisitions, spin-offs.
  • Review of eligibility issues, vesting, and contribution formulas.
  • Safe harbor testing and planning.
  • Distributions and necessary waivers.
  • Required minimum distribution planning.
  • Plan document review, including compliance with necessary amendments and updates.
  • Plan design, including alternatives such as new comparability cross-testing, defined benefit arrangements, Roth 401(k) plans, and age-weighting.
  • Compliance with updated COLA limitations.
  • Roth IRA and other individual retirement planning.
  • Trust accounting, including hard to value assets.
  • Contribution, earnings and forfeiture allocations.
  • Participant accounting and reconciliation.

Employee Benefit Plan Practice

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