Considering a TPA? Here’s What to Look For in a Provider

How to choose a TPAThe owner of any business that offers a retirement plan understands there’s a great deal of work associated with proper administration of the plan. Rather than trying to manage the plan internally, many businesses turn to a third-party administrator (or TPA). The number one job of a TPA is to ensure the accuracy and continued compliance of your retirement plan. The U.S. Department of Labor regulations can be confusing and mandatory compliance testing can quickly become complicated. If not performed correctly, lack of proper compliance could cost the plan a great deal of money in penalties. A TPA’s role is to review plan documents and confirm the plan is following and meeting those critical required government compliance standards. Perhaps most importantly, the right TPA in place can remove these concerns from the business owner or manager and offer the reassurance of ongoing compliance.

Considering a TPA?  

If your business is considering bringing on a TPA, be sure you clearly understand your needs before selecting a service provider. Making the right choice will save your business potential headaches down the road. In this article we’ll offer three helpful suggestions for finding the right TPA for your unique business needs.

Choose someone who understands your industry. Each industry is different, from industrywide regulations to practices very specific to your business. You will benefit from working with a TPA who understands your area of specialization.

GJM Benefit Plan Services Specialist Molly Wolf agrees that industry knowledge is invaluable. She services benefit plans across many industries, including healthcare.

“I happen to do quite a bit of work for healthcare entities: physician practices, dental practices and other health facilities. The more work you do in a specialized industry,” she says, “the more knowledge you gain, and clearer understanding you have of industry specific compliance standards. That knowledge has served me very well as I service my healthcare clients.”

Make sure you work well together. Communication is everything. Think of your TPA as a member of your extended team and keep the communication lines open. Regulations can change. Your needs can change. Be sure you’re on the same page. If you’re communicating with your TPA and not seeing the type of responsiveness you need, it may be time to consider another provider. Consider establishing a point person within your business to work directly with your TPA. Typically, that will be your Human Resources Director.

Understand the value of experience. Your TPA should have solid experience and knowledge. Make sure the provider is familiar with the different types of retirement plans, clearly understands product offerings and can help you select the best benefit plan for your needs and the needs of your employees. The ideal TPA is also engaged with continuing education to stay abreast of changes in compliance requirements.

Our Expertise

Retirement Plan Services at GJM include:

  • Benefit plan audits
  • Retirement consulting
  • Preparation and filing of related retirement tax forms
  • Retirement Plan Third Party Administration (TPA)
    • Required compliance testing
    • Preparation of plan documents, restatement, and amendments
    • Reconciliation of each individual participant account
    • Preparation of annual and quarterly notices

GJM’s benefit plan administration specialist team works with businesses with varying needs. Here’s just some of what you can expect:

  • Lower administrative burden
  • Ability to make recommendations and provide practical solutions
  • Assistance with plan corrections
  • Intimate knowledge of your plan and business
  • Ability to work with your current providers including advisors/brokers, investment companies, record-keepers, and payroll services
  • New plan start-up
  • Assist with determining participant eligibility
  • Compliance testing
  • Employer contribution projections
  • Annual and quarterly notices
  • Processing and reconciliation of participant loans
  • Processing of distributions
  • Preparation of Form 1099-R and 945
  • Vesting
  • Preparation and filing of Form 5500 and Form 8955-SSA

If you think your business could benefit from GJM’s specialized Benefit Plan Administration Services, reach out to your GJM team to start the discussion.

Molly Wolf Gilmore Jasion MahlerMolly Wolf is an accounting services manager with over 15 years of experience specializing in employee benefit plans. The first 9 years of her career were spent as a dedicated employee benefit plan auditor. Her expertise also includes consulting for third-party plan administration and benefit plan design, compliance testing, payroll integration and reconciliation. Since joining Gilmore Jasion Mahler in September of 2019, Molly has continued to provide third-party administration services, prepares related tax forms, consults on plan design, and prepares plan documents. She is a graduate of Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor of Science in business administration with accounting specialization.

Established in 1996, Gilmore Jasion Mahler, LTD (GJM) is the largest public accounting firm in Northwest Ohio, with offices in Maumee and Findlay. Locally owned, GJM offers cloud-based accounting and provides comprehensive services including assurance, business advisory, tax, risk advisory, healthcare management and outsourced accounting. The firm’s professionals specialize in industries including construction & real estate, healthcare, manufacturing & distribution and utilities.

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