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Compensation & Benefits Planning

No two companies are alike, and neither are their benefit plans. You deserve a provider that understands the importance of unique planning in an industry full of generalized, one-size-fits-all plans.

Why Us

The rapidly changing area of compensation and benefits offers business owners, CFOs and human resources professionals an incredible opportunity to deliver critical employee benefits information in a way that maximizes resources and time—creating a positive impact on your organization. At Armanino, we strive to help you take advantage of that opportunity while minimizing your company’s risk exposure. You’ll benefit from:

Open Communication
Complete client satisfaction is the cornerstone of our practice, which is why we listen to our clients and keep the lines of communication open.

Certified Expertise
Our certified pension consultants (CPCs) Gary Wyatt and Melissa Morgan offer clients added expertise in the areas of retirement and employee benefits consulting. The CPC credential is provided by the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries, which is part of the American Retirement Association.  If you’re only looking for support with plan administration, we also have qualified pension administrators (QPAs) and qualified 401(k) administrators (QKAs) available to assist employers, actuaries and plan consultants with the recordkeeping, nondiscrimination testing and administrative aspects of 401(k) and related contribution plans.

Integrated Solutions Supported by Technology
Many business owners spend little or no time developing an integrated compensation and benefits strategy that aligns with their short- and long-term business goals. Armanino’s compensation and benefits experts can help you strike a balance by looking at the issues that matter most to your business, including attracting top talent, employee retention and overall tax savings. Our team also remains up-to-date on the latest compensation and benefit planning hardware and software, to ensure that you receive the most efficient service possible.


Our compensation and benefits planning experts provide business owners with a full range of compensation, benefits and pension consulting services. Supported by state-of-the-art technology and extensive experience, our team is certified and equipped with the knowledge needed to ensure that your retirement plan is always stable. Our services also include:

  • Executive Compensation Strategies: Executive performance is a key factor in determining the success of your business. By aligning executive compensation with key financial drivers relating to your company’s performance, we can help you keep your top management team focused.
  • Plan Design and Documentation: The ability to develop a cost-effective retirement program that is also responsive to the needs of your employees requires a degree of creativity that exceeds the standard solutions of the past. Our experienced staff can provide model documentation for various types of plans, including defined contribution, defined benefit, individual retirement accounts and simplified employee pension plans.
  • Retirement Plan Administration: Appropriate and precise adherence to complicated federal pension plan laws is absolutely necessary in order for plan sponsors to meet all their obligations as plan administrators. We can advise you or your staff in this area.
  • Compliance Testing and Governmental Filings: We are qualified to provide compliance testing services as well as prepare the required governmental filings on behalf of our clients. We can also prepare participant summary annual reports and offer support in the event of a benefit plan audit by the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Labor or other federal agency.
  • Participant Distributions and Plan Loans: We can support the time-consuming task of managing distributions, including calculating vested benefits, providing required notices, and preparing form 1099-R, form 945 and state withholding forms. For participant loans, our experts will handle loan requests, plan sponsor approval, required disclosures, amortization schedules, notes, security agreements and automatic loan default notifications.


Company Seeks Advice on Dealing With an Outdated Valuation & Avoiding Tax Penalties

We look at the importance of working with a tax advisor who is immersed in the compensation and benefits landscape.

What to Do If Your Employees Want to Exercise Options Between 409A Valuations

When employees exercise stock options between valuations, underreporting income from the exercise to the IRS can set off a cascade of tax consequence. See how your company can minimize that risk.

280G Golden Parachute Payment Rules Case Study

The Golden Parachute rules of Section 280G may affect key employees following a change of control. See how a consultation can help reduce or eliminate 280G's impact.
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On August 3, 2017, the Financial Accounting Standards Board released an exposure draft that will clarify and improve the scope and accounting guidance for contrib ...

Using Employee Plans Compliance Resolution to Fix Plan Errors

In this article, we examine how the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System can be used to correct retirement plan qualification failures and help avoid plan disqualification.

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In the last few years, cyberattacks have put many of the country’s leading institutions at risk. The largest breaches have affected hundreds of thousands of ...

Should You Consider a Safe Harbor 401(k)?

By adopting a safe harbor 401(k) plan design, employers can avoid nondiscrimination testing and potentially allow larger plan contributions by highly compensated employees.

What Happens to the 401(k) Plan When You Sell Your Business?

A look at different scenarios the 401(k) plan can be affected based on how the business is sold.

Time for the "C Suite" to become Involved

A perfect storm is brewing that may demand scrutiny of employee benefits operations from a higher level of management.

Common Triggers of Unrelated Business Taxable Income (UBTI)

We review some of the common causes that may create Unrelated Business Taxable Income (UBTI).

Outsourcing to a Certified Professional Employer Organization (CPEO)

A comparison between Professional Employer Organization (PEO) and Certified Professional Employer Organization.

To Audit or Not to Audit

As an employee benefit plan auditor, I field frequent inquiries from consultants and companies seeking information about the audit requirements for benefit plans. Most conversations go like.

Outsourcing: Differences in Extent and Method

Most businesses outsource to one extent or another. You hire a bookkeeping service rather than hiring an in-house bookkeeping staff.

Keys to Avoiding Compensation Errors

A plan’s definition of “compensation” is important for many different aspects of plan administration — using the proper definition of employee compensation can prevent plan operational failures. This document is an ov ...

Determining 401(k) Plan Eligibility Requirements

A look at factors 401(k) plan sponsors may want to consider when setting eligibility requirements for plan participation.

Handling QDROs for Your Retirement Plan

A qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) states how retirement plan benefits are to be divided between spouses to satisfy family support or marital property obligations in a divorce situation. This article is a sum ...

Worker Reclassification and SEPs

This is a follow-up to that article regarding the difference between simplified employee pension (SEP) plans and qualified plans [retirement plans described in Code section 401(a)].

Avoiding the "Cross-Hairs"

A look at common issues that could trigger an employee retirement plan audit.

Three Things to Remember About SEPs

Simplified employee pension (SEP) plans are a great retirement savings (and tax deferral) tool for some taxpayers. There are some rules, however, and there are three areas where companies often make mistakes.

Nondiscrimination: Hurdle or Tool?

We review the concept of nondiscrimination in qualified retirement plans.

The Fiduciary Role: Tibble v. Edison

We review the impact of the Supreme Court decision in Tibble v. Edison on the role of the fiduciary duty of prudence and the ERISA statute of limitations.

Should Your Plan Offer In-Plan Roth Rollovers?

We address the impact of in-plan Roth conversion issues on both the plan sponsor and the plan participant.

Post-Severance Compensation Revisited

We review what post-severance compensation is eligible for a benefit plan's contributions.

Managing the Use of Plan Loans

We examine some of the administrative issues with providing plan loans and offer suggestions for discouraging employees from borrowing unnecessarily.

Review Plan-Related Insurance Protection

An annual review of fidelity bonding and fiduciary liability insurance policies can help plan sponsors ensure they have adequate coverage.

Why Use a TPA?

Employers who lack in-house tax/ERISA personnel devoted to oversight of their retirement plan should consider using a third-party administrator (TPA).

Challenges Facing 403b Plans

The implementation of the 403b audit requirement placed a new focus on compliance, requiring all ERISA–covered plans with 100 or more eligible participants at the beginning of the plan year which file a for ...