In my previous article “Preparing for a 401(k) Audit. Yes, they really do exist,” we confirmed that the word “audit” already tends to send chills down the spine and upset the stomach. But if that wasn't bad enough, an auditor will more than likely also schedule an on-site visit to help gather data directly from the Plan contact for the audit. Here are some additional tips that can help you ensure a smooth on-site visit.
1. 5500 Extension
The initial deadline to file Form 5500 is the last day of the seventh month after the plan year ends. Usually, your record keeper will file an extension on your behalf, but you should ask for a copy of the extension, which is Form 5558. This is always good to keep on file in case the auditor asks for it.
2. Initiate Scheduling the Auditor Visit
Rather than passively waiting, initiate contact first by reaching out to the auditor to see when they can come on-site. This way, you know when to expect them and the scheduling is not done at the last minute, catching you off guard. In addition, the sooner you have the visit scheduled, the more time you will have to prepare for the audit, including gathering any documentation needed.
3. Designated Desk for Auditor(s)
You may have more than one auditor on-site so it is a good idea to set aside a designated area where they can work. It is most beneficial to designate a work area that is close to the Plan contact so they can assist the auditors with their questions in a timely manner.
4. Internet Access
Your auditor may have a hot spot they use for internet access, but that is not always the case. You will want to ensure they have a way to access the internet so they can work more efficiently.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to ask your Record Keeper for Help
Give your record keeper a heads up on when your auditor will be on-site so they can be prepared to help answer questions as well. By keeping your them in the loop of an audit visit, you can help ensure they set aside time for the auditor on those days.
6. Auditor Website Access
Your record keeper can give your auditor website access to your Plan so they can look up the information they need on their own. This is a great way to help limit the questions an auditor could have for the Plan contact.
If you have questions about an audit or would like to speak with one of our Wealth Advisors about your 401(k) Plan, click here to meet our team and schedule an appointment.