Last year, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) sent letters to Employee Benefit Plan Administrators informing them of the importance of hiring a qualified and experienced CPA firm. As the Plan Administrator, the DOL letter urged you to exercise care in selecting a CPA firm that possesses the requisite knowledge of plan audit requirements and expertise to perform the audit in accordance with professional auditing standards, and to consider the following factors in ascertaining the qualifications of a CPA firm to perform your plan’s audit:

    • The number of employee benefit plans the CPA audits each year, including the types of plans
    • The extent of specific annual training the CPA received in auditing plans
    • The status of the CPA’s license with the applicable state board of accountancy
    • Whether the CPA has been the subject of any prior DOL findings or referrals or has been referred to the state board of accountancy or AICPA for investigation
    • The result of the CPA’s most recent employee benefit plan peer review and whether such review includes negative findings

In light of the DOL’s focus on quality employee benefit plan audits, the AICPA developed a rigorous certification process to ensure effective knowledge is possessed by CPAs performing these audits. We wanted to let you know that HMV has a team that has obtained the Advanced Defined Contribution Plans Audit certification.  Possessing this certificate demonstrates our commitment to performing the highest quality audits for this specialized area of practice and providing the best possible insight for our clients.

It is important to note that we recognize the sensitive nature of employee benefit plans and the unique challenges they offer. We want to ensure that our clients are complying with the DOL and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”) requirements. HMV has an extensive employee benefit plan practice with dedicated professionals servicing these plans. Several of our CPAs work solely on employee benefit plan audits during the months of April through October and currently serve approximately 50 clients in complying with the annual audit requirement.

Each year, HMV makes the investment to send a group of auditors to the AICPA national employee benefit plan conference and complies with all CPE requirements from the Louisiana State Board of Accountancy.   HMV is also a member of the AICPA Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center, which shows our commitment to providing higher standards of audit quality in our policies, procedures and training related to the performance of benefit plan audits.

Our firm undergoes timely peer reviews and has consistently passed with no deficiencies.

Having worked on employee benefit plan audits for over 30 years, HMV has a streamlined process and tenured professionals ready to work with you in the upcoming year. To learn more about Employee Benefit Plan Audits, call Walker Coburn at (318) 429-2109 or email For more information on the services available to you by Heard, McElroy & Vestal, LLC, call our Shreveport office at (318) 429-1525,  our Monroe office at (318) 388-3108 or visit

Author: Walker Coburn, Partner