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Diane Wasser Speaks at FAE Conference

On May 4, Diane Wasser, Partner-in-Charge of EisnerAmper’s Pension Services Group, spoke before the Foundation for Accounting Education, an affiliate of the New York State Society of CPAs at their 2015 Employee Benefits Conference Ensuring Audit Excellence and the Public Trust.

Her session was titled “Audit Findings – The Next Step.” Diane  began with a high-level discussion on the responsibilities of employee benefit plan auditors, then went on to reference ASC 960, 962 and 965, which “all note that the primary objective of plan financial statements is to provide financial information that is useful in assessing the plan’s present and future ability to pay benefits when due.”

Diane then explored certain findings that commonly arise from effective plan audit procedures and the related audit responses. Areas discussed included participant and employer contributions, participant account activity allocations, eligibility and distributions. Diane stressed that the most important responses to any audit findings include:

Understanding the client’s process;

  • Determining the underlying cause of the errors;
  • Questioning if other participants are impacted;
  • Determining the financial statement impact of the error;
  • Examining any breakdowns in internal controls; and finally
  • Concluding on whether the error is a deficiency, significant deficiency or material weakness and whether it qualifies as an operational defect or a disqualifying event.

Diane further discussed how to recognize auditor responsibility and effective ways to address common audit findings, as well as how to work with clients to improve controls and plan operations to prevent further deficiencies and maintain operational compliance with the terms of the plan.

During the event, Diane was joined by Ian Dingwall from the Department of Labor as well as a variety of other speakers.

 

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