I think you’ll agree with me when I say: 401(k) administration SUCKS.

It’s tedious. It’s complex. And it’s easy to mess up. And every time you make a mistake, even if it’s just a tiny one, it can add a lot of frustration and hassle during your year-end compliance work.

So in the spirit of saving you time, saving you from hassle, and making 2019 the most satisfying, fulling year of your job yet, we put together this guide. We’ll walk you through 5 401(k) administration tips used by top companies to save time and keep their 401(k)s compliant – without wanting to pull their hair out.

Ready to get started? Let’s jump right in!

Tip #1 – Be Quick with Your Census

One of the most important deadlines at the start of 2019 has to do with the annual nondiscrimination testing that must be run for 2018. If your plan fails either its ACP or ADP testing, you have to make corrective distributions or QNECs by March 15th. If you don’t, the IRS requires you to file Form 5330 and pay them an excise tax of 10%. Though March 15th may seem like a ways away, things with 401(k) administration can oftentimes take a lot longer than you expect.

So our advice to you? Put together your year-end census file ASAP. Since your TPA needs it to run the testing, getting your census together early in January gives you plenty of time to fix any issues and get your nondiscrimination testing squared away.

Tip #2 – Get Your Documents in Order

With the due date for Form 5500 coming up (July 31st if your plan is on the calendar year), you’ll want to get through the dreaded 401(k) audit ASAP. And one of the most frustrating parts of the audit is all the time you have to spend digging up the documents the auditor needs.

So our advice to you? Gather most of the documents the auditor will need and store them in one easy-to-reach place. That way, at the beginning of the audit, you can give them everything they’ll need. And then you get to dust off your hands and move on to more important (or, dare I hope, FUN…) things.

Tip #3 – Find a Good Auditor

When it comes to getting 401(k) audits from CPA firms, you really do get what you pay for. According to a study by the DoL, 39% of 401(k) audits contained major deficiencies which would lead to a rejection of Form 5500, putting 22.5 million participants and $653 billion at risk.

The DoL found a huge correlation between the number of audit failures,and the CPA’s level of 401(k) audit experience, so it’s paramount that you choose a CPA who specializes in 401(k) audits. Failing to do so could cost you big.

Tip #4 – Integrate Your Payroll & Recordkeeper ASAP

Let’s face it. Making 2019’s 401(k) audit quick and easy really comes down to not making any mistakes. Unless you have a team of robots and cyborgs doing your admin work, that’s just not going to happen.

That’s why recommend automating your 401(k) with an integration between your payroll and recordkeeping systems. A good, complete, 360 degree payroll integration saves you time by completely handling deferrals, contributions and loans. Best of all? It virtually eliminates the possibility of mistakes, which means you get to breeze through your audit at the end of the year.

Tip #5 – Make Your Plan’s Administration Someone Else’s Problem

Sometimes, the easiest way to solve a problem is to just push it on someone else. When it comes to 401(k) administration, that’d be a 3(16) fiduciary.

With a 3(16) fiduciary, nearly ALL of the tedious 401(k) administration work is taken off your plate. The best part? 3(16) fiduciaries sign Form 5500, which means they take legal responsibility for making sure your plan administration is done correctly. If the DoL comes knocking, they’re first in line. So offload the work AND liability of plan administration. Trust us, it’s easier that way.

Conclusion

And there you have it! 5 401(k) administration tips that’ll make 2019 your easiest year yet. If you’d rather not deal with 401(k) administration, give us a call! We’ve built an all-in-one 401(k) compliance & administration solution that takes the responsibility for plan administration almost completely off your plate. Check it out!