Accounting Standards Group Issues Guidance for Those Conducting ERISA Retirement Plan Audits

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has issued a document entitled Forming an Opinion and Reporting on Financial Statements of Employee Benefit Plans Subject to ERISA. The guidance is intended to assist those who conduct audits of financial statements that are part of ERISA-governed retirement plan reporting on Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan.

An independent financial statement audit requirement applies to an ERISA-governed retirement plan of an employer with 100 or more eligible employees, whether they are contributing to the plan, or not.

The guidance contained in this document is to be implemented for audits of ERISA plan financial statements for periods ending on or after December 15, 2020. The document “addresses the auditor’s responsibility to form an opinion and report on the audit of financial statements of employee benefit plans subject to … ERISA.”  It notes further that the guidance “addresses the significant public interest associated with audits of employee benefit plans subject to ERISA, and was undertaken in consultation with the U.S. Department of Labor.”