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Date / Time / Location

Tuesday, May 21, 2019
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Registration: 7:30 AM

Pines Manor2085 State Highway 27
Edison, NJ 08817

CPE Credits

  • 7.00 CPE Credits in AA
  • 1.00 CPE Credits in SK

Package Pricing

In-Person Registration
  • $239.00 - Member
  • $339.00 - Non Member
Webcast: Attend this conference virtually.
  • $239.00 - Member
  • $339.00 - Non Member
Changing peer review requirements, economic forces, and emerging technologies are constantly impacting how employee benefit plans are being audited. Attend this annual conference to update yourself in areas from industry experts. New this year: Blockchain, peer review deficiencies and assessing plan health.

Designed For

Event sponsor
CPAs involved in the auditing of employee benefit and pension plans.


  • Have your questions answered by the U.S. Department of Labor
  • Learn about emerging technologies
  • How to assess plan health


7:30-7:45 a.m.
Registration and Continental Breakfast

7:45-8:00 a.m.
Opening Remarks
Donna A. Nevolo, CPA and Michael M. Kulick, CPA – WithumSmith+Brown PC

8:00-8:50 a.m.
Accounting & Auditing Update
Robert W. Reilly, CPA, Denise L. Finney, CPA, Brenda G. DeSaro, CPA – EisnerAmper LLP
Attendees will obtain knowledge of key accounting and auditing considerations affecting 2018 employee benefit plan audits. This session will include discussions of existing guidance with practical insight on implementing new and proposed accounting standards for employee benefit plan financial statements.

8:50-9:40 a.m.
EBP Legal Update
Steven J. Friedman, J.D., LL.M – Littler Mendelson PC
Employee Benefit Plans are constantly affected by changing laws and regulations. This year's legal update will focus on:
  • Fiduciary and benefit committee operations
  • Plan administration issues
  • Litigation Update - why these plans got into trouble?
9:40-9:55 a.m.

9:55-10:45 a.m.
Risk Assessment and Peer Review Deficiencies
Elizabeth B. Harper, CPA and Jamie Polak, CPA – Sobel & Co. LLC
Take a dive into the risk assessment standards and how they impact the design of a plan audit. Learn about the most common peer review findings related to Plan Audits and hear about the four most common risk assessment violations with practical ways to ensure compliance in these areas.

10:45-12:00 p.m.
U.S. Department of Labor Update
Michael E. Auerbach, CPA – U.S. Department of Labor
Hear a first-hand account of compliance issues the DOL is currently facing and the steps they are taking to ensure adequate oversight of employee benefit plans. This will include:
  • Audit Quality issues and how to avoid the most common pitfalls
  • How the Auditor universe has changed over the past five years
  • Reporting compliance issues auditors should be aware of
12:00-12:50 p.m.

12:50-1:40 p.m.
Blockchain Technology
Christopher M. DeMayo, CPA, MBA – WithumSmith+Brown PC
The inception and evolution of Bitcoin (aka “Crypto Currency”) and the Blockchain (a vehicle for crypto-currency transactions) has been one of the most interesting and controversial financial and technological developments in recent history, yet many business professionals and their advisors have a limited understanding of this trend and its implications. Explore the history of Bitcoin, how it works, when and why it is used and how it might impact clients. Explore the applications of Blockchain technology on the profession and connect the dots of what this trend means for the future.

1:40-2:55 p.m.
Audit Considerations for Mergers, Terminations, and Initial Plan Audit
Jennifer Rhea, CPA – Baker Tilly
Join us for a discussion on:
  • Key distinctions between mergers and terminations
  • Application of liquidation basis of accounting
  • Initial Plan Audit procedures
2:55-3:10 p.m.

3:10-4:00 p.m.
Fee Benchmarking and Assessing Plan Health
Michael H. Gouldin, AIF, CRPC, Daniel M. McCarthy, AIF CRPC, Loretta A. Besson, AIF, ARPC - Gouldin & McCarthy LLC
Determining the success of plan health can be measured by several factors. Which metrics are best to use?
  • Fee Benchmarking. It’s not just a matter of what provider is the cheapest.
  • What are you paying?
  • What are you getting?
  • Is it reasonable?
  • How can you tell?
  • Course Level

    Pre-Registration Closed

    Online pre-registration for this event is now closed.

    Michael Auerbach

    Michael E. Auerbach, CPA
    Chief Accountant, Division of Accounting Services
    US Department of Labor

    As the Chief Accountant, Employee Benefits Security Administration, Mr. Auerbach is responsible for managing the resources of the Office of the Chief Accountant and implementing various comprehensive, nationwide enforcement programs relating to certain provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). He also provides ERISA related accounting and auditing technical expertise within the Employee Benefits Security Administration and is the liaison with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and other professional organizations. Mr. Auerbach provides executive oversight and leadership for EBSA’s fiduciary oversight program for the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). The TSP is the largest defined contribution plan in the world, with assets of in excess of $500 billion and 5.0 million participants.

    Mr. Auerbach is a certified public accountant and earned his B.S. in accounting, from the University of Maryland.

    Loretta Besson

    Loretta A. Besson
    Senior Retirement Plan Specialist
    Gouldin & McCarthy LLC

    Loretta joined the firm in 2017 as a Senior Retirement Plan Specialist. Loretta has over two decades of experience in the financial services industry having worked on both the record keeping and third-party administration side of the business. She also has extensive experience as both a plan design consultant and a participant educator.

    Loretta holds a bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College with a major in communications and Marketing. She lives in Scotch Plains, NJ with her husband and two children.

    Christopher DeMayo

    Christopher M. DeMayo, CPA

    Chris is a partner at Withum and serves as the firm’s Practice leader for the Technology and Emerging Growth Services Group. With over 15 years of experience, he has dedicated his time to servicing this industry and tech community and has had the privilege of working and building relationships with some of the most well-known and successful technology and emerging growth companies in the space. In addition to servicing his clients, his responsibilities include representing the firm in the marketplace, developing marketplace strategies, leading the growth and success of the firm’s technology and emerging growth practice.

    Beyond accounting, he has developed a deeply focused skill set within the sector as a strategic advisor and consultant. With an emphasis on M&A and auditing, he often consults with clients on accounting for complex capital structure, interpretation of revenue recognition standards, capitalized software, acquisition accounting, exit planning, and software selection/implementation among others.

    His expertise spans a variety of industry verticals within the technology and emerging growth community including but not limited to Ad-Tech, E-Commerce, Ed-Tech, Digital Media, Social Media, AR/VR, AI and Crypto based companies.

    Brenda DeSaro

    Brenda G. DeSaro, CPA
    Senior Manager
    EisnerAmper LLP

    Brenda DeSaro is a Senior Manager in the firm’s Pension Services Group. She has over 15 years of experience, handling the related pension plan audit and consulting requirements for a broad client base. She efficiently and accurately manages all types of pension plan audits.

    Brenda has served both public and private clients in a wide variety of industries with both defined benefit and defined contribution plans, including 401(k)s, 403(b)s, 11-Ks, ESOPs and welfare benefit plans. She consults with clients and is responsible for supervision and review of staff and work product, including detailed testing. Brenda is involved in the maintenance of the firm’s master engagement templates as well as design and delivery of annual firm-wide continuing professional education in the employee benefit plan audit area.

    Throughout the year, Brenda attends seminars to keep abreast of unique ERISA, DOL and AICPA employee benefit plan issues. She has presented to various professional groups on employee benefit plan topics. She is also very active in teaching and planning continuing professional education courses.

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    Denise Finney

    Denise L. Finney, CPA
    EisnerAmper LLP

    Denise Finney is a Director in the Pension Services Group, who specializes inassisting clients with their annual employee benefit plan audit requirements. With over 15 years of public accounting experience,shehas served both public and private clients in a wide variety of industries with both defined benefit and defined contribution plans, including pension, 401(k), profit sharing, 11-K, 403(b), ESOP and health and welfare benefit plans.

    Denise assists plan sponsors with their fiduciary responsibilities and effectively manages the audit process of plan sponsors with both single and multiple plans. She is involved in the design and delivery of firm’s annual continuing professional education and maintenance of the firm’s master engagement templates for the employee benefit plan audit area.

    Denise consults with engagement teams firm-wide on employee benefit plan related topics, including plan mergers and terminations, plan investment arrangements, and fiduciary violations such as delinquent participant contributions and participant loan repayments. She is also involved in the firm’s Professional Practice Group specifically related to employee benefit plan audits.

    Denise has presented to various professional groups and actively writes articles on employee benefit plan topics.Sheattends seminars to keep abreast of unique ERISA, DOL, IRS,PBGC, PCAOBand AICPA employee benefit plan issues.

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    Steven Friedman

    Steven J. Friedman, J.D., LL.M.
    Littler Mendelson, P.C.

    Steven J. Friedman advises employers on a variety of aspects of employee benefits law including:
    • The structuring and implementation of qualified and non-qualified retirement plans
    • Welfare and fringe benefits programs
    • Early retirement programs
    • Severance plans
    He also has extensive experience counseling employers on Employee Retirement Income Security Act and tax compliance issues related to employee benefits plans, dealing with the governmental agencies that regulate such plans and construing employee benefits laws, such as the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act. Additionally, Mr. Friedman advises clients on the manner in which employee benefit plans may be terminiated, modified or restructured and has proficiency in plan conversion issues.

    Mr. Friedman has broad experience dealing with the legal, financial and administrative issues arising under executive compensation arrangements, including:
    • Deferred compensation
    • Supplemental executive retirement arrangements
    • Stock-related compensation
    • Stock appreciation rights
    • Phantom stock plans
    • Stock option plans
    He also analyzes issues related to section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code. His expertise extends to employee benefits issues in connection with corporate transactions. A regular commentator to governmental agencies on pending legislation, he has also appeared on television and has been quoted in many national legal and business publications on employee benefits topics.

    Prior to joining Littler Mendelson, Mr. Friedman spent nearly 10 years as benefits counsel for a major multinational electronics and entertainment company. He also worked as an adjunct professor at Baruch College where he taught a tax course on employee benefits in 2008. He earned his J.D. from Boston University and LL.M. from New York University School of Law.

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    Michael Gouldin

    Michael H. Gouldin, AIF, CRPC
    Gouldin & McCarthy LLC

    Mike founded Gouldin & McCarthy LLC (formerly Gouldin Financial Group) in 1999 after spending several years in the business with another small independent firm. Mike is the CEO of the firm and the head of personal planning. He is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the business but spends most of his time with personal planning clients and as a member of our investment committee.

    Mike holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History from Colgate University and a master’s degree in Public Administration from Seton Hall University. He is married and lives with his wife and three children in Bernardsville, NJ.

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    Elizabeth Harper

    Elizabeth B. Harper, CPA
    Member of the Firm

    Elizabeth Harper (Liz), Member of the Firm, joined SobelCo in the fall of 2009 to assume the role of Quality Control Senior Manager. In 2014 she was promoted to Director with responsibility for reviewing all of the financial statements and service organization control (SOC) reports issued by the firm along with client correspondences ensuring that the highest quality standards are met and that the reports are in accordance with the established authoritative standards. Liz is dedicated to ensuring that the firm complies with its internal quality standards. This includes involvement with the engagement teams during all phases of the work, personnel training and development, and monitoring of engagement quality. Liz is also responsible for client service of SOC, employment benefit plan (EBP) engagements and other audits.

    In 2016 Liz was given the additional role as Director of the Employee Benefit Plan Audit Group and in 2017 was elected as a Member of the Firm. Liz brings insights gained based on her previous experiences at a "Big Four" firm and a local CPA firm to all of the roles she plays at SobelCo.

    While at a local firm, Liz had a wide variety of responsibilities across a range of industries, which she draws on daily at SobelCo. From her years at KPMG, Liz is able to leverage the knowledge she gained managing financial and internal control audits, quarterly reviews and agreed upon procedures, with well-known clients ranging from Philips Lighting to Ricoh Corporation. This global exposure adds value to the current SobelCo regional environment and it will be a critical component of future growth as the firm continues to expand, serving national and international clients in the coming years. By combining her perspectives from private industry and public accounting, she can provide meaningful solutions to SobelCo's clients.

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    Daniel McCarthy

    Daniel M. McCarthy, AIF, CRPC
    Gouldin & McCarthy LLC

    Dan has been with the firm since 2001 and is the head of our corporate planning division. Prior to 2001, he spent nearly a decade in the financial services industry working in the banking sector for firms like Investors Bank & Trust where he managed over 80 separate community banks with combined assets in excess of $6 billion.

    Dan holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Colgate University. He is married and lives with his wife and two children in Basking Ridge, NJ.

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    Jamie Polak

    Jamie Polak, CPA

    Jamie Polak, CPA, began her career at SobelCo in September 2012, after completing a one-year internship that began in May 2011. Jamie’s career began after she graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting in 2012 and earned a Master’s in Accountancy in 2013. She is both a member of the American Institute of CPAs as well as the New Jersey Society of CPAs.
    Currently, Jamie is a Manager in the accounting and auditing department and in that role she devotes a significant amount of her time on audits of employee benefit plans and financial services clients, concentrating mostly on audits of brokers and dealers. She is responsible for monitoring and reviewing engagements, delivering excellent client service, and staff development.
    Jamie is committed to ensuring the firm complies with their quality control standards by assisting in the technical review for the firm’s compilation and review engagements. She sits on the firm’s accounting and auditing committee and joined the quality control team in January 2019.

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    Robert Reilly

    Robert W. Reilly, CPA
    EisnerAmper LLP

    Robert Reilly is a Director in EisnerAmper's Audit and Assurance Services Practice. He has over 20 years of auditing and accounting experience in both the private and public sectors. He is a member of the firm’s Pension Services, Technology, and Manufacturing and Distribution Groups.

    Mr. Reilly provides auditing and consulting services to clients in a wide range of industries. Working with companies in the technology, manufacturing and distribution industries, he has a strong understanding of the issues important to these companies. He also works extensively with employee benefit plans, including defined contribution, defined benefit, and health & welfare plans. He designs and delivers in-house training and speaks and writes on a variety of topics important to his clients and the sectors they operate in.

    Prior to joining EisnerAmper, Mr. Reilly was an Audit and Accounting Manager at a regional accounting firm in New York City, and an Audit Manager at a Big Four accounting firm.

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    Jennifer Rhea

    Jennifer L. Rhea, CPA
    Senior Manager
    Baker Tilly

    Jenn is an audit senior manager who has been a member of the Baker Tilly team since 2000. Her main area of expertise is employee benefit plans, including defined contribution (including 403(b) plans), defined benefit, employee stock ownership and health and welfare audits. Jenn is also a member of the Industry Centers of Excellence – Technical Committee for employee benefit plans, which works closely with the practice leader and assists in the development of the firm’s annual training and best practices and is one of the firm’s professional practice liaisons for employee benefit plans. She is considered a technical resource for the employee benefit plan practice group.

    Jenn was also a recipient of the 2009 40 under 40: Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants Members to Watch, as well as named by the YWCA of North Central Pennsylvania in 2013 as a Woman of Excellence.

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