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401(k) and 403(b) Audit Checklist

November 01, 2016

It is important to prepare for your annual retirement plan audit to ensure a smooth audit and Form 5500 filing.  Not sure if your plan is required to have an audit?  Check out our articles on audit requirements and how to select a qualified plan auditor here

The checklist below is designed as a summary of the items that will typically be reviewed as part of the annual audit of your defined contribution plan (401(k), 403(b) and profit sharing plans).  It is not meant to be all-inclusive, but covers the common items requested during an audit of a defined contribution plan.

Fiduciary Records:

  • Minutes of meetings of the plan committee, investment committee or other similar committee
  • Annual (or more frequent) review of the plan with the plan’s investment advisor
  • Plan documents, including any amendments made to the plan
  • Summary plan description, including any summaries of material modifications
  • Service agreements with third party service providers, including any amendments to the agreements
  • Investment contracts with insurance companies, if applicable
  • Fiduciary insurance documents
  • IRS determination letter
  • Supporting documents for any corrections made to the plan during the year

Year-End Records:

  • Contributions reconciliation between recordkeeper reports and payroll
  • If applicable, matching and profit sharing contribution reconciliation to trustee reports
  • Recordkeeper and Asset Custodian Service Auditors’ Reports (SSAE 16), as applicable
  • Participant valuation summary report, reconciled to trustee reports, if separate
  • Distribution reports, including 1099 summary
  • Participant loan reports, including deemed distributed loan records
  • Year-end payroll report
  • Draft Form 5500
  • Contribution records showing timeliness of remittance of participant deferrals
  • Nondiscrimination testing reports

Participant Records*:

  • Enrollment forms
  • Deferral change forms
  • Wage rate/salary approval
  • Distribution request forms
  • Rollover request forms
  • Participant loan application, promissory note and payment schedule

*Depending on the services provided by the recordkeeper, you may have different records available in paper format vs electronic format accessible through a plan sponsor website with the recordkeeper

Don’t forget to provide your plan auditor with access to the plan sponsor website through your recordkeeper.  The auditor should be set up with their own login information – remember, do not share your personal login credentials! 

How BlumShapiro Can Help

Currently serving approximately 280 plans, BlumShapiro has vast experience in understanding the intricacies of your plan and translating that knowledge into an effective audit. Our more than 100 professionals are trained in auditing benefit plans, and experienced in financial reporting, compliance, operations and fiduciary responsibilities. Learn more about our benefit plan audit services >>


Advisors | Auditors | Consultants | CPAs - Blum Shapiro is one of the premier public accounting firms in the northeast and a Top 100 CPA Firm in the U.S. Our professionals serve businesses, individuals and organizations in Boston (MA), Hartford (CT), Cranston (RI), Shelton (CT) ,Quincy (MA) and Newton (MA) with audit, tax and business consulting services. Our firm has developed practice areas in automotive, construction, education, government, healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, nonprofit organizations and professional service firms. New Haven CT, Fairfield CT, Norwalk CT, Waterbury CT.