The Ohio Society of CPAs is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Labor to improve the quality of audits of employee benefit plans in the Buckeye State.

Scrutiny of employee benefit plan audits has been increasing dramatically due to economic factors and an estimated one-third of failed audit engagements nationwide last year. As a result, the society and the Labor Department are partnering to improve audit quality in Ohio through increased education.

“Frankly, many auditors of employee benefit plans haven’t had adequate access to training in the past,” said Labor Department chief accountant Ian Dingwall, CPA (pictured). “The Ohio Society of CPAs saw this need and responded in a timely manner.”

The first OSCPA Employee Benefit Plan Audits Conference took place April 30 in Columbus. The 380 attendees exceeded the OSCPA’s original projections.

Labor Department accountants joined representatives from the Internal Revenue Service, the American Institute of CPAs and national accounting firms in leading sessions on a variety of audit topics.

The Labor Department has identified Ohio as one of five states that particularly need additional education, because of the unusual nature of many audits performed in the state.

Many auditors in Ohio are auditing large-dollar, multi-employer benefit plans for companies in the auto industry. Auditors in Ohio need to be mindful of how the economy has impacted businesses, and aware of the increased risk of fraud, Dingwall told attendees.

In addition to fraud risk, attendees also learned about steps they can take to avoid deficient audits and solutions to data challenges for 403(b) audits.

The OSCPA has increased educational opportunities for CPAs auditing employee benefit plans, with sessions at major conferences and separate events dedicated solely to the topic. These include an upcoming conference on audits of 401(k) plans on Thursday, June 25, at the Airport Marriot in Cleveland, and Friday, June 26, at the Receptions Fairfield in Fairfield, Ohio.

Another upcoming conference, on current practice issues and solutions in audits of employee benefit plans, will take place Friday, August 28, at Receptions Fairfield. In addition, the second annual Employee Benefit Plan Audits Conference will take place April 27, 2010.

To register for these events, visit the society’s Web site at or call (888) 959-1212.

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