These primers are non-authoritative practice tools developed by the AICPA Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center to assist member firms in preparing staff for the employee benefit plan audits they perform. We have assembled general and background information on various topics, along with information about the relevant auditing and accounting standards, in an easy-to-understand format. These primers also provide information about additional sources that may be consulted in researching these topics.
This this primer to provides general information about 403(b) plans, including a description of the nature and characteristics of such plans, a discussion of related regulations, and information about other helpful resources.
Alternative Investments in Employee Benefit Plans
This primer provides information about alternative investments held by employee benefit plans, including a discussion of their unique characteristics, ways to identify them, valuation methods, reports commonly used to support the valuations, and references to the relevant accounting and auditing literature.
Cash Balance Plans
This document provides information about the nature and characteristics of cash balance plans, references to the relevant accounting and auditing professional literature, and information about other helpful resources.
Employee Benefit Plans – Parties in Interest and Prohibited Transactions
This document provides general information about employee benefit plan parties in interest and prohibited transactions under ERISA.
Employee Stock Ownership Plans
This primer provides a general understanding of employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), and includes topics on ESOP attributes and types of ESOPs, operations and recordkeeping, leveraged ESOPs, tax benefits and related compliance requirements, prohibited transactions exemptions, valuation of employer securities and accounting and auditing resources.
Health and Welfare Employee Benefit Plans
This primer provides a general understanding of health and welfare employee benefit plans, and includes a general overview of health and welfare plans; discusses defining the plan, unique aspects of health and welfare plan contributions, funding of benefits, key roles and responsibilities, the annual health care process, unique aspects of health and welfare plan benefit obligations, benefits administration, when an independent audit is required, and applicable laws and regulations; and provides references to additional resources.
Insurance Company Products Offered to Employee Benefit Plans
This primer provides an overview of various types of products offered by insurance companies and discusses trusteeship and custodianship; identifying the various products; allocated vs. unallocated contracts; reporting; and references to the relevant accounting and auditing professional literature.
Limited Scope Audits
This document provides information about the statutory and regulatory basis for the limited scope audit exemption, proper certifications from qualified institutions, the plan administrator's responsibilities, the limited scope audit in the current environment, and the effect of the limited scope audit exemption on the scope of the independent auditor's testing and reporting.
Master Trusts in Employee Benefit Plans
This primer provides a general understanding of master trusts used in employee benefit plans. Included in this primer are discussions of the definition of a master trust, the meaning of common control, master trust types and structures, the difference between an undivided interest and a divided interest, and valuation of assets held by participating plans.
Multiemployer Employee Benefit Plans
This primer provides a general overview of multiemployer plans and includes discussions of applicable laws and regulations, plan structure and operations, funding, unique aspects of multiemployer plan assets and obligations, parties in interest and prohibited transactions, and plan expenses, and provides references to additional resources.
Plan Investments in Bank Collective Investment Funds
This documents includes discussions of the unique characteristics and structure of CIFs, how they are regulated, valuation methods, fees commonly charged and methods for determining them, disclosures made to plan sponsors, and references to the relevant accounting and auditing professional literature.
Plan Sponsor Subsidies Under the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003
This document provides information about the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 and how it might be relevant to the plans you audit. It includes information about the nature of the drug subsidies provided for in the Act, what plans may be eligible for the subsidy, and the benefits provided.
Stable Value Funds and Investment Contracts—An Overview
This document provides information about the nature and characteristics of stable value investments, the risks associated with such investments, and references to the relevant accounting and auditing standards.
Tax and Compliance Issues for 401(k) Plans
This primer provides a general understanding of the tax and compliance requirements for 401(k) plans subject to the reporting requirements of ERISA, including the tax advantages of plan qualification; IRC plan qualification requirements; plan design and IRS determination, opinion, and advisory letters; non-discrimination and other operating tests; safe harbor plans; plan document failures and operational errors; IRS correction programs; unrelated business income tax considerations; and additional IRS and AICPA resources.