AICPA releases audit software for employee benefit plans
The American Institute of CPAs, CPA.com and tech partner CaseWare have released OnPoint EBP, a cloud audit solution for employee benefit plans.
The institute has been working on a larger project of transforming audit technology, and the new product fits into this plan.
Like all OnPoint products, OnPoint EBP is built on the CaseWare Cloud platform. The methodology, engagement management, analytics, advanced client collaboration tools and guidance on the platform have all been developed by the AICPA.
“The tools many auditors rely on today for employee benefit plan audits are inefficient, requiring manual data entry, redundant processes and outdated, on-premise technology,” said Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com, the business and technology arm of the AICPA, in statement. “We’ve seen how modern, cloud-based solutions have transformed client accounting services, and OnPoint EBP brings many of the same elements of efficiency and quality to limited-scope EBP audits.”
Input from firms was the “most valuable source of feedback” when OnPoint EBP went through a pilot phase.
“When we first rolled out the pilot phase, we didn’t provide implementation training,” explained Joe Zamboni, senior manager of accounting and financial reporting tools and methodology at the AICPA. “We wanted to provide some high-level training on how to get around the product, but wanted to see how intuitive it was to users. Could they find their way around an engagement? Most, if not all, felt it was intuitive enough that they were able to complete their engagements without significant additional training.”
According to data from the Institute, there are close to 84,000 employee benefit plan audits conducted in the United States each year, almost 70 percent of which are limited-scope audits. Of the 5,000 CPA firms that perform EBP audits, a little more than half do four or fewer engagements each year.
Employee benefit plan features can vary widely. OnPoint EBP features a Plan Profile, a scoping tool to identify specific features and nuances of the plan under audit. Other features include:
- A guided approach to risk identification and assessment;
- Integrated diagnostics to indicate when an auditor’s response warrants additional consideration, or when someone chooses a non-standard path;
- Automated drafting of financial statements and note disclosures as a permissible nonattest service; and
- Integrated collaboration with the client and engagement team.
OnPoint EBP is commercially available to all firms through CPA.com and may be used for ERISA limited scope audits both currently and after the adoption of SAS 136, Forming an Opinion and Reporting on Financial Statements of Employee Benefit Plans Subject to ERISA.
For more information, visit cpa.com/onpoint-ebp.