May 23, 2023
8:55 – 9:00 a.m. – Welcome and Opening Remarks
Amy Pitter, Massachusetts Society of CPAs
9:00 – 9:45 a.m. – Department of Labor (DOL) Update
Marcus Aron, CPA, CGMA, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)
In this session we’ll discuss current happenings at the EBSA’s Office of the Chief Accountant, including why plan administrators are receiving correspondence from the Office, reporting deficiencies and tips on how to help your clients be compliant with ERISA and AU-C 703, audit quality and the common deficiencies that continue to plague benefit plan audits, what you can do to help make sure your audits are satisfactory and more.
9:55 – 10:55 a.m. – Accounting and Auditing Update
Jake Parente, PwC LLP
Megan Brooks, PwC LLP
In this session, we’ll discuss SAS 136, Forming an Opinion and Reporting on Financial Statements of Employee Benefit Plans Subject to ERISA, which was effective for audits for periods ending on or after December 15, 2021, and the best practices/lessons learned from the implementation in year one. We’ll also discuss other newly effective accounting and auditing standards, as well as what is on the horizon from a standards setting perspective and common issues identified in recent plan audits.
11:10 a.m. – 12:10 p.m. – The Impact of Emerging Technologies on the Audit Industry
Kelly Mann, CPA, AuditMiner
Big data, data analytics, artificial intelligence and block chain technologies will transform how auditing is performed. In this session, we’ll discuss the impact of emerging technologies on the audit industry, with a focus on employee benefit plans (EBPs), how to prepare for this shift in accounting and strategies for enhancing your team.
12:20 – 1:00 p.m. – Audit Quality Control Center Update
Susan Hicks, CPA, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA)
In this session we’ll provide an update on AICPA activities that are relevant to employee benefit plan (EBP) auditors, including recent advocacy efforts, EBPAQC resources and tools available to members, other AICPA EBP resources, AICPA audit quality initiatives, such as peer review and professional ethics activities and more.
1:00 – Closing Remarks
Amy Pitter, Massachusetts Society of CPAs
May 24, 2023
8:55 – 9:00 a.m. – Opening Remarks
Amy Pitter, Massachusetts Society of CPAs
9:00 – 9:50 a.m. – Legal and Regulatory Update
David Guadagnoli, Sullivan & Worcester LLP
Amy Sheridan, Sullivan & Worcester LLP
The tsunami of new laws, regulations and guidance flows unabated in 2023. Our panelists will provide a review of looming (and not so looming) SECURE 2.0 Act changes, as well as guidance from the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Labor on topics ranging from filing requirements to plan corrections. This session is designed to keep you (and to help you keep your clients) up to date.
10:00 – 10:50 a.m. – Audit and Financial Reporting Issues for Employee Benefit Plans
Jason Eddy, Grant Thornton LLP
Corey Kohnle, Grant Thornton LLP
In this session, we’ll discuss unique audit issues for employee benefit plans, such as plan mergers, acquisitions, terminations and spinoffs. We’ll also discuss other financial reporting issues to be on the lookout for that are common to employee benefit plans.
11:00 a.m. – 11:50 p.m. – Fiduciary Litigation: What We Can Learn from Recent Cases
Brandon Long, McAfee & Taft
In this session, we’ll cover new case law on topics including target date fund litigation, the Boeing fiduciary case, revenue sharing litigation and more.
12:00 – 12:50 p.m. – Common Operational Errors and the Impact on Financial Statements and Communications
Gwen Mazzola, CPA, HoganTaylor LLP
In this session, we’ll discuss common operational errors in qualified retirement plans, the corrective action of those errors, the impact on plan financial statements and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Labor (DOL) correction programs from the perspective of an employee benefit plan (EBP) auditor and an ERISA attorney.
12:50 – 12:50 p.m. – Closing Remarks
Amy Pitter, Massachusetts Society of CPAs
Marcus Aron, CPA, CGMA
Marcus Aron, CPA, CGMA, is the acting chief of the division of accounting services for the Employee Benefits Security Administration (ESBA). With over 30 years of experience working with audits of ERISA-covered plans, he is responsible for the day-to-day implementation of EBSA’s CPA Firm Inspection Program, providing technical assistance to plan filers and plan professionals, and providing ERISA-related accounting and auditing expertise within EBSA.
Megan Brooks is an assurance director at PwC LLP in the asset and wealth management practice, serving clients relating to employee benefit plans, registered investment companies, collective investment products, hedge funds and other financial services companies. Additionally, she is a designated employee benefit plan specialist within the PwC LLP employee benefit plan audit practice. Brooks also spent two years in the PwC LLP Sydney, Australia office with a client base including an ASX-listed investment manager, a global investment manager, registered investment products and superannuation funds.
Jason Eddy, CPA
Practice Leader, National Employee Benefit Plan Practice, Grant Thornton LLP
Jason Eddy, CPA, is the practice leader for Grant Thornton LLP’s National Employee Benefit Plan Practice, where he is responsible for providing services to complex employee benefit plan engagements across the U.S. He has extensive experience in dealing with reporting and disclosure issues related to benefit plans and serves as a technical resource for his firm on employee benefit plan auditing, accounting and reporting issues. Eddy has over 20 years of experience leading large employee benefit plan engagement teams and also performing both peer reviews and internal inspections for other employee benefit plan engagements.
David Guadagnoli is a tax partner in the Boston office of Sullivan & Worcester LLP. Guadagnoli specializes in employee benefits and represents employers, individuals and advisors on a wide variety of employee benefit issues. He is well versed in all aspects of retirement plans, including nondiscrimination testing issues, plan recordkeeping and conversion issues, fee analysis and fiduciary issues, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Labor (DOL) audits and the use of self-correction and agency-approved correction programs. Guadagnoli is a regular speaker and commentator at seminars and conferences.
Susan Hicks, CPA
Susan Hicks, CPA, is a senior manager with the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA) Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center (EBPAQC). In her role, she supports the EBPAQC executive committee, coordinates activities and develops webcasts, tools and resources for member firms. She also liaises with the Department of Labor (DOL) and standard setters on issues affecting employee benefit plan audits and works closely with AICPA peer review, professional ethics and other association teams on employee benefit plan related issues. Hicks serves on the annual AICPA Employee Benefit Plans Conference Committee and prior to joining the AICPA, she served as controller at the Westfield Conference Center and was an audit manager at Touche Ross & Co.
Corey Kohnle is a director in the New England Employee Benefit Plan Practice with over eight years of public accounting experience. Kohnle’s responsibilities on engagements have included the supervision and review of work performed by senior associates and junior staff; leading communications between the audit team, firm specialists and clients; reviewing financial statements for conformity with U.S. GAAP and identifying control deficiencies, as well as preparing recommendations for improvement to management. Corey’s auditing experience includes investments, contributions, benefit payments, claims, post-retirement benefit obligations, asset transfers, plan mergers, plan spin offs, annuity buyouts and ERISA compliance. He has led and performed financial statement audits for various industries, with a variety of employee benefit plans, including full scope audits and ERISA Section 103(a)(3)(C) audits of 401(k), 403(b), defined benefit plans and health and welfare plans as well as 11k audits.
Brandon Long is an AV preeminent-rated employee benefits attorney who serves as the leader of the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Group at McAfee & Taft in Oklahoma City. Representing regional and national clients, including large publicly traded corporations and governmental entities, clients seek Long’s advice for practical, creative solutions to complex problems, as well as his ability to make highly technical concepts understandable to executives, employees and other lawyers. In addition, his achievements have earned him inclusion in the Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Oklahoma Super Lawyer and the Best Lawyers in America (employee benefits/ERISA law). Long was also selected by Best Lawyers as the “Oklahoma City Employee Benefits (ERISA) Lawyer of the Year” for 2021, an honor only given to a single lawyer in each legal specialty in each market.
Kelly Mann, CPA, MBA
Kelly Mann, CPA, MBA, is the CEO and co-founder of AuditMiner, a B2B online software as a service (SaaS) program. Since its release in 2021, AuditMiner continues to streamline the employee benefit plan audit for CPA firms across the country. Mann is also a breast cancer survivor and a mom of three children.
Gwen Mazzola, CPA
Gwen Mazzola, CPA, is an assurance partner at HoganTaylor LLP with over 20 years of experience in public accounting. She presents at national and regional conferences on a variety of topics related to employee benefit plans. Mazzola is a member of the planning committee for the annual American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) National Conference of Employee Benefit Plans and the executive committee for the AICPA’s Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center, has served as a board member for the Southwest Benefits Association and the Employee Benefits Institute.
Jake Parente is an assurance senior manager in the Asset and Wealth Management Practice at PwC LLP’s Boston office. A designated employee benefit plan specialist within PwC’s Employee Benefit Plan Audit Practice, he serves clients relating to employee benefit plans, registered investment companies, collective investment products and other financial services companies. In addition, Parente has served many employee benefit plan clients, including 11-k and non-11-k, full scope and limited scope audits and defined contribution and defined benefit plans, in a variety of industries, including asset management, higher education, insurance, biotechnology and computer technology.
Amy Pitter is president and CEO of the Massachusetts Society of CPAs (MassCPAs) where she is dedicated to serving the Society’s 11,500 members in public accounting, industry and business, government and education. Since joining MassCPAs in 2015, Pitter has advocated for increased diversity in the accounting industry and has developed new initiatives to make progress in this area, including launching programs for high school students in gateway cities, helping firms address diversity and inclusion challenges and sponsoring scholarships for low-income students to study accounting. In 2019, Pitter signed the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion Pledge, the largest CEO-driven business commitment for promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace and has since developed a series of programs designed to help firms deepen their knowledge and grow their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts. Before joining the Society, Pitter was the former commissioner for the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR). She was named to Accounting Today’s Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting in 2020, and for several years she has also been named one of the Most Powerful Women in Accounting by CPA Practice Advisor. Pitter has been featured in several news outlets, including Accounting Today, Boston Business Journal, Commonwealth Magazine, Associations Now, WBUR and The Boston Globe.
Amy Sheridan is a partner in the tax department of Sullivan & Worcester LLP’s Boston office. She concentrates her practice in the employee benefits and executive compensation area and is experienced in addressing documentation and compliance issues for welfare plans (including federal health care reform and HIPAA privacy and security requirements), qualified retirement plans and individual retirement accounts. Additionally, Sheridan designs and reviews nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements, including for compliance with Internal Revenue Code Sections 409A and 457A.
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