General Inquiries

401(k) Audit Pricing

  • 1.  401(k) Audit Pricing

    Posted 11-09-2018 08:54
    Would love to get some comparison pricing to what your have paid for your 401(k) audit.  We just surpassed the 100 participants last year, so our 2017 plan required an audit.  After seeing the process for the first time, the billing seems high to me.  Thank you for sharing.

    Brian Burns
    Founding Partner
    Cutting Edge Countertops, Inc.
    Perrysburg OH
    (419) 873-9500

  • 2.  RE: 401(k) Audit Pricing

    Posted 11-10-2018 09:12

    We paid $4,200 for our 2017 audit.  We have over 200 people with account balances.


    Robert McManus

    Chief Financial Officer

    Direct: 404.965.9349 

    Main: 404.361.5154 | Fax: 404.965.9355

    PO Box 45717 | Atlanta, GA 30320






  • 3.  RE: 401(k) Audit Pricing

    Posted 11-12-2018 07:58
    We pay right at 4 grand for our audit and we have around 150 accounts.

    Ledna Jackson
    Chief Internal Operations Officer
    Del-AIr Mechanical Contractors Inc.
    Kodak TN
    (865) 525-4119

  • 4.  RE: 401(k) Audit Pricing

    Posted 11-10-2018 14:35
    Hi Brian,

    We are 401(k) plan fiduciary advisors so have an opportunity to evaluate these cost frequently. $7500-$10000 is a good range for our clients with around 100 employees.

  • 5.  RE: 401(k) Audit Pricing

    Posted 11-11-2018 08:20
    Edited by Mark Breaux 11-11-2018 08:25

    I would agree with Jeffrey Bennett.  At 150 employees, you will be close to 10,000 for an audit.  This will greatly depend on the size of audit firm performing the work, too.  If you have a smaller, boutique firm, it will be less.  But if you have a mid size, regional firm doing the work, you will be close to 10k.


    Mark Breaux

    Chief Financial Officer

    CAMP Construction Services

    346-320-0107 – Direct

    713-413-2267 - Office

    713-444-0005 - Cell




  • 6.  RE: 401(k) Audit Pricing

    Posted 11-12-2018 04:26
    If you are a member of the AGC you may want to check into your chapter benefits options.  We are a member of the AGC Southwest 401K plan and it allows pricing for both employee and employer at a much lower rate than a stand alone plan as well as removes the trustees from within your organization, no 5500 reporting by your firm and no audit for your firm and still allows for the plan to be structured for your firm.

    Laura Chalfant CCIFP, CMA
    i.e.Smart Systems, LLC
    Houston TX
    (832) 724-8175

  • 7.  RE: 401(k) Audit Pricing

    Posted 11-12-2018 10:04


    There are several factors beyond the participant count to consider in regards to considering the expected audit fees for your Plan. Some of them are as follows:

    1. Is the Plan trustee / custodian able to certify the investments and investment activity? A certification allows the auditors to perform a limited scope audit where investments are subject to very limited testing. Whereas if your Plan investments cannot be certified, more extensive auditing procedures must be applied to the investments in the Plan, and this will cause the fees to be more.

    2. What kind of investments does the Plan hold? If it's all mutual funds, those are easier to evaluate and disclose, but more complicated investments like certain pooled separate accounts, common collective trusts, and certain even more unconventional investments have more time that go into evaluating and disclosing those.

    3. Does your Plan have a simple employer match formula, or is there more than one kind of match (i.e. additional discretionary profit sharing contributions made in addition to employer match)?

    4. Given that it's your Plan's first year for an audit, there will be additional procedures in the first year to get comfortable with prior years' activity and the opening balances. Additionally, the auditors will have to gain their initial understanding of the processes and internal controls that govern the operation of the Plan. So your first year fees could the 20% - 25% more than your ongoing fees, though some firms may be willing to not charge that time, as an offer of goodwill - an investment in the relationship.

    5. One of the largest factors is going to come down to the market that you're in. Your Plan audit is likely to take about 70 - 80 hours on an ongoing basis (this is assuming a couple large things - that the audit is a limited scope audit and that you will need the auditor to draft the Plan's financial statements for you), and in the first year, that could be 90 - 100 hours. So the billing rates that you're dealing with in your geographic area are going to be very key.

    Without knowing some more very specific information, given that it looks like you're in the Toledo, OH metro area, you can probably find good quality firms whose average blended rates (i.e. the blend of the staff, manager, partners involved) are $125 - $150 per hr. Without knowing the exact rates in your area, a ball park of $7,500 - $10,000 sounds reasonable for the ongoing fees - the key would be how much of the additional first year audit costs you would have to pay.

    I'd offer a caution of trying to find the lowest bidder - especially an extremely low bid (like some saying they're having their audits done for $4,000). The Department of Labor is on a bit of a quest against CPA firms who are doing inferior work and those Plan Sponsors seeking to engage those firms. They are auditing more Plans and they are finding deficiencies in many of these Plans that are audited by unqualified or inexperienced firms that "dabble" in employee benefit plan audits. You should look for a firm that both audits employee benefit plans as one of their core services that they offer and a firm that is a member of the AICPA's Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center. These firms have higher quality control and continuing education requirements regarding auditing employee benefit plans and are going to be of better service to you. You may ask why it matters, but if you have certain errors in the operation of your plan, the tax-exempt status of the Plan can be jeopardized. A low quality audit is going to give you a false sense of security potentially. I've seen this too many times.

    I wish you the best in your search.

    Chris Schwenk, CPA, CCA
    Harding, Shymanski & Company, P.S.C.
    Evansville, IN 47708
    Tel: 812-491-1341 | Fax: 812-492-6341

  • 8.  RE: 401(k) Audit Pricing

    Posted 11-12-2018 10:11
    At 100 employees, it should be in the range of $7,500 to $10,000 (depending on the size of firm performing the audit).

    Anything below that price, I won't be surprised if it's a deficient audit.

    Zee Malik CCIFP, CPA
    Audit Director
    Katz, Sapper & Miller, LLP
    Indianapolis IN
    (317) 452-1040

  • 9.  RE: 401(k) Audit Pricing

    Posted 11-12-2018 14:21
    Thanks to all those who responded here and directly to share your valuable input!

    Brian Burns
    Founding Partner
    Cutting Edge Countertops, Inc.
    Perrysburg OH
    (419) 873-9500

  • 10.  RE: 401(k) Audit Pricing

    Posted 11-12-2018 15:35
    ​We are close to 800 employees with accounts and our fee last year ran about $8,500.  We use the same CPA firm that does our financial audit.

    Ron Heemstra
    Sioux Center IA
    (712) 722-1662