Take Care of the Plan that Takes Care of Your People

If your employee benefit plan covers 100 employees or more, you know that annual plan audits are required under ERISA. But did you know that choosing the right auditor makes a huge difference in both the quality of your experience and the value of your audit? The stakes are too high to take risks with this important process.

You need benefit plan auditors who deliver excellence and recommendations, not merely competence and a report. Your audit team should consist of qualified professionals who possess the specialized skills and knowledge that match your plan, provide you with timely information and respond quickly to your needs.


“PBMares does an excellent job of planning, coordinating and executing our Employee Benefit Plan audits. All this results in a calm, smooth, and effective process from start to finish. PBMares assisted us with a number of technical issues as we went through the process of consolidating seven different plans down to three. Their experience with the reporting and disclosure requirements was invaluable in preparing for and completing this process.”
Rob Peebles, Vice President and Controller, UNIVERSAL CORPORATION

“PBMares is the best accounting firm I have worked with in my 27 years at ASI.”


“PBMares does an excellent job for a new client. Given the circumstances and coming in new, they have been great! It has been a learning experience as this is brand new for our company and more will be learned as we go.”

Valued Client

PBMares’ dedicated assurance team is composed of some of the most-respected thought leaders in the industry.

We bring you the experienced professionals your plan needs to provide technical expertise and a unique understanding of the reporting standards, including ERISA and DOL regulations. Nothing delivers more peace of mind than knowing you’re getting the highest quality audit available in today’s extremely regulated, financially dynamic environment.

We audit more than 100 benefit plans with participants ranging from 120 to more than 10,000. Plans have more than $2 billion in assets, combined. Although performing benefit plan audits is a niche unto itself, our expertise in the following industries gives us an advantage: not-for-profit, manufacturing & distribution, hospitality, construction & real estate, government contracting and professional services. When we understand the nuances of an industry, we can anticipate and plan for nuances in payroll, plan operations, plan structures and more.

Our complete employee benefit plan services include:

Audit & Assurance

It’s estimated that less than 20 percent of U.S. workers currently participate in a traditional defined benefit plan. More employers are freezing and terminating their defined benefit plans in favor of employee-led retirement savings accounts. Yet, for the employers who still maintain active defined benefit plans, the need for qualified auditors remains. Whether your goal is to continue offering annuity benefits or terminate your defined benefit plan and migrate to a defined contribution model, PBMares can assist with:

  • Pension equity plan audits
  • Pension plan terminations
  • Health and welfare plan audits (DB or DC)
  • Vesting review
  • Asset valuations
  • Investment allocation
  • Limited scope audits (DB or DC)

Defined contribution benefit plans are among the most common across all industries. Our employee benefit plan audit team works hard to minimize risk and increase audit efficiency for our clients. Our team is familiar with the changing and complex reporting requirements with the DOL, ERISA and the IRS, and our goal is to ensure clients’ benefit plans are operating efficiently and correctly. When DOL fines can start at more than $1,000 per day for non-compliance, you want an auditor on your side who’s a seasoned, dedicated benefit plan expert. PBMares performs more than 70 defined contribution plan audits each year, such as:

  • 401(k)
  • Thrift or savings plans
  • 403(b)
  • Profit-sharing plans
  • Money purchase plans
  • Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP)
  • Health and welfare plans (DC or DB)
  • Limited scope audits (DC or DB)

Whether your benefit plan is newly established, recently passed the participant threshold or you’re changing plan auditors, there are special considerations for initial plan audits. It’s crucial not to overlook reporting and compliance for initial audits. Unlike some auditors who perform plan audits remotely, PBMares always conducts field work on-site. That means you get to meet and interact with your auditors in person, which improves communication and efficiency. Plus, our team will help your staff understand how to administer your company’s benefit plan and establish streamlined procedures from the beginning. Let our team help you with:

  • Opening balance review
  • Risk assessment procedures
  • Plan disclosures
  • Communicating with previous auditor
  • Review of prior work papers
  • Audit planning, including the nature, timing, and extent of procedures
  • Internal control review

Master trusts are valuable investment tools for large employers or a group of employers. They are becoming more common now that more defined contribution plans are utilizing master trusts. PBMares knows the intricacies of master trusts and multi-employer plans, like updated disclosure reporting, allocating interest and dividends, and custodial requirements. Contact us to help with:

  • Disclosure requirements
  • Investment allocation
  • Certifications

As your company changes, it’s common for benefit plans to merge, freeze, terminate or change service providers. When transitions in your benefit plans occur, you want a seasoned auditor by your side to ensure uninterrupted operations and proper reporting. For example, did you know that if a plan is established or terminated in the last quarter of a year, it is permissible to defer to the next year? Contact our employee benefit plan audit team for consultation on:

  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Spin-offs
  • Partial terminations
  • Stub period audits
  • Short plan year audits

Even when a traditional benefit plan audit is unnecessary or is already being performed, you may have a need for stand-alone consulting services to enhance, correct or start benefit plan controls and procedures. Our employee benefit plan consulting team works with clients on a range of specialty services, such as:

  • Eligibility testing
  • Definition of compensation
  • Enrollment procedures
  • Timing of deposits
  • Plan document operations
  • TPA reporting
  • Prohibited transactions
  • DOL and IRS examinations

With a plan to design the right program for your company, we can help you address more complex issues including specialty assets, several custodial locations for assets and annual evaluations of your plan design. PBMares professionals are knowledgeable about all types of employee benefit plans, and can provide the advice and guidance you need from formation to dissolution. Read more.


When your benefit plan needs to integrate seamlessly with your income tax return, PBMares can perform the related tax filings for you. When your plan audit is paired with our tax services, you can be sure that important compliance requirements and changes to your plan are automatically incorporated into your tax filing. In our role as your company’s employee benefit plan auditors, we provide:

  • Form 5500 filing
  • Form 5530 filing
  • Form 990 filing
  • Schedule A attachments
  • 11-K filing for SEC-registered companies