One of the questions you may have as a business owner or plan trustee is, “Am I protected if my plan gets audited?” We are lucky enough to work with many clients who must go through an audit each year because their employee count exceeds 100. Even though this is a planned administrative function, you would be surprised at how many areas for improvement are found and how many processes are left undocumented or in need of adjustment. Why? There are a lot of moving pieces, providers, rules, and regulations that can be hard to understand and follow. It is our belief, everyone needs to be audit ready, not just plans where it is an expected function.
As fiduciary specialist plan advisors to our clients, we can help. Yes, it is true you can delegate specific responsibilities for your plan to prudent experts - but that does not always take care of those documented internal processes that help safeguard the controls you have in place to ensure consistent, compliant behavior. We have also found in the world of pandemics, if a business needs to pivot and someone who used to be responsible for employee benefits is now either no longer at the company or wearing numerous hats, it is easy to trip. The good news is, we have solutions.
The first, an often-underutilized benefit, is our digital Fiduciary Vault. This is available to all clients and allows us to upload service provider agreements, plan documents, regulatory notices, bonds, meeting minutes and more. Access is available through www.retirementwellnessgroup.com and we even have specialists who will train you on the navigation.
As much as the Vault is a wonderful resource, we also recognize, internal processes like how to run payroll, how to approve loans and distributions, standard operating procedures for rollovers, making corrections, notice dissemination, fund change processes, census and annual questionnaire updates, 5500 reviews, employee termination and many other standard practices often go undocumented. This is another area where Retirement Wellness Group can add value. We work collaboratively with you and your service providers to formalize what we call a Plan Sponsor Guide - an immeasurable benefit for training and reference purposes and, trust us, something an auditor will love to see.
Contact the team for more information about the Fiduciary Vault and our Plan Sponsor Guide and remember, our job is not only to be the helpers but to always put your needs and the needs of your participants and their beneficiaries first.