Service Organization Controls and User Controls

Post By Sarah Phillips

Outsourcing services has become a popular way for Organizations to cut costs and to focus on their core strengths. However, a lack of control and knowledge over the behind-the-scenes processes are seen as major cons of outsourcing. How can an Organization be sure the service provider has good practices in place? Just because services are being outsourced doesn’t mean information can’t be obtained about how the service organization operates and how they keep an Organization’s assets […]

Internal Controls – Reporting

Post By Tony Cafferelli

Internal controls over financial reporting is vital to preventing and detecting material misstatements. In order to achieve reasonable assurance that your Plan’s financial reporting objectives are being met, you must first ensure that your internal controls are working effectively. To ensure effective internal controls over financial reporting, a few things must first be considered: The audit committee, trustees, and management must set the appropriate environment or tone at the top with respect to oversight and ethical […]

Informative IFEBP Podcast Released

We recently listened to an informative and entertaining podcast, Talking Benefits Episode 3: It’s Complicated, released on March 8, 2017 by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP). Their benefits experts provided updates on current regulatory matters, including Department of Labor nominations, the Fiduciary Rule status and the latest MPRA and PBGC petition outcomes. Most interesting is the discussion and summary of the new American Health Care Plan Act provisions. The presenters concisely describe what’s new and what’s […]

Next in Our Internal Control Series – Authorization

Post By Kaitlin Cardozo

‘Internal controls in the authorization of reporting and processing transactions’ can at first glance seem like an exceedingly dry topic. What exactly does this mean? Why is it important to my company or organization?

That phrase and understanding its implications is actually incredibly important in any organization – whether it’s a multimillion, multinational enterprise, or a small not-for-profit with a handful of employees. In layman’s terms, the phrase means that: 1) all transactions that occur, and the […]

Segregation of Duties: The Key to Proper Controls and Minimizing Fraud


Post By Alyssa Sproat

Segregation of duties (SOD) is an essential part of the effectiveness of internal controls for any business. This integral separation ensures that key processes are performed by more than one person to prevent fraud or financial misstatement. While technology continues to become more sophisticated, the time is now to implement controls that segregate key functions within processes such as cash disbursements, investments, payroll, and many other areas.

The first step to implementing effective SOD is to truly understand […]

Partnership Audit Changes Will Impact Pass-Through Investors Starting In 2018

Post By Richard Ruvelson

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, (“the BBA”), which was enacted into law on November 2, 2015, repeals the current rules, enacted by Congress in 1982, governing partnership audits and replaces them with a new centralized partnership (includes LLCs taxed as partnerships) audit regime that, in general, assesses and collects tax, interest and penalties at the partnership level. This change can turn pass-through investments into income tax taxpaying entities. Under Temporary Regulations, issued in August of 2016, if […]

Entity-Level Controls; Information Systems

Post By Doug Falatko

In any internal control environment at any entity, there is one common factor that affects all members of the organization- information technology (IT). Information technology is the element that has the broadest impact on its users and is one of the least understood and least likely to be discussed. While this element of the internal control environment may seem like something to defer to the IT experts of the world, information technology is something that should be […]

Combating Fraud With Internal Controls – Where Do I Start?

Post By Khal Taib
“It can never happen to us!” is a too common thought that passes through the minds of managers across the globe spanning countless industries. The concept of fraud is not a sexy subject for those in management. No one ever believes that what happened in the well-publicized fraud schemes, could happen to them or their respective organization. And yet, an entity with weak control activities can find itself swirling in fraud and finding themselves in the […]

States May Delay Refunds to Help Prevent Taxpayer Identity Theft


Post By William Thomas

DC posted a short note about potential delays is processing refunds to their new blog. The purpose is to “safeguard tax dollars and combat identity theft.” Taxpayer identity theft is rampant across the country and an issue many jurisdictions face – both the IRS and states across the union. While many taxpayers do not wish for their refunds to be delayed, these jurisdictions are taking measures to ensure the refunds are issued to the correct taxpayer, which takes […]

Is Your Plan Still Paying Benefits to Deceased Pensioners?

Post By Zack Podrasky

One of the most important aspects of pension payments is the timely ceasing of benefits when a participant dies. The state of Illinois found this out the hard way. Between 2010 and 2014, some of the largest pension funds in Illinois incorrectly paid approximately 400,000 deceased pensioners over $3.5 million in benefits. Although some funds were eventually recovered, Plans should have policies and procedures in place to avoid this difficult and costly situation. This is why […]