ASC Newsletter

In this issue #20-02

 ASC’s Cycle 3 Plan Docs – It’s Not Too Late To Enroll with Us!
 Automate Your Plan Valuation & Testing Tasks
 “Plan Document Statuses” – Important Changes
 Meet ASC’s New Team Member: Andrea Gelhar, ERPA, QPA!


ASC’s Cycle 3 Plan Docs – It’s Not Too Late To Enroll with Us!

The Cycle 3 defined contribution restatement period for pre-approved plans opened August 1, 2020. Employers using pre-approved defined contribution plan documents must restate their plans by July 31, 2022. The two-year window for requesting a determination letter (using Form 5307) for a “modified” pre-approved plan opened August 1, 2020 and ends July 31, 2022. The IRS has issued most of the Cycle 3 opinion letters for pre-approved plan document providers. Please register for our Cycle 3 ASC Defined Contribution Documents and DGEM Webcast on October 20th to learn more about newly-approved ASC Cycle 3 pre-approved defined contribution plans and the DGEM system.

ASC has been diligently working on the DGEM programming of the final IRS-approved Cycle 3 defined contribution plan documents. Despite the IRS having required new revisions late in the review process for all pre-approved plans, we were far along on programming the Cycle 3 documents, including the basic plan documents, adoption agreements, plan checklists, plan summaries, and summary plan descriptions, and many of our Cycle 3 plans are now available on the DGEM system. Related ancillary forms and notices will be available over the coming weeks.

Your opinion letters are now available in DGEM! Opinion letters may be accessed by clicking on the “Upload Custom Docs/Cover Letters/IRS Letters/E-Sign Text” link at the bottom of any DGEM page. Storing in DGEM provides users the ability to include applicable opinion letters in the document packages you send to your clients from DGEM.

To help you prepare for Cycle 3 pre-approved DC plans, ASC is offering two free webcasts related to its Cycle 3 pre-approved defined contribution plans:

Cycle 3 Restatements & Nonamender Plans – FREE
Cycle 3 Restatements on DGEM – FREE

If you currently use ASCi Plan Documents, 5500 Forms or CATTS you can add or sign-up for additional Cycle 3 documents by using the online process here. No other steps are needed. If you are not yet using ASC Plan Documents, complete our Cycle 3 Enrollment Forms via our convenient and quick online process, and an ASC representative will then contact you.

As always, we look forward to assisting you as you work through the Cycle 3 defined contribution restatement process. Please contact us with any questions or document needs at

Automate Your Plan Valuation & Testing Tasks

Imagine the time you’d save if you could automate even half your plans or half your tasks! Well, many ASC users are doing just that and even automating much more.

Many users are familiar with the wizards that can be used to manage the plan database in batch (e.g. roll forward, copy, delete), to produce year-end census request files, and to perform all the compliance tests for a single plan in one run.

Additionally, users have contracted us to write small custom wizards to do such things as standardize plan spec coding, export employee data across multiple plans, and calculate plan participation rates.

Taking scripting many steps further, many ASC offices have automated nearly all of their annual plan valuation and testing tasks for a large group of their plans.

In addition to saving time, wizards also provide for the standardization of your processes, highlighting the tasks being performed that are outside the norm. With this time savings on “normal” plans, your consultants can focus on the challenging plans or clients.

Feedback from ASC clients who have implemented wizards in their office also note they now have more time to deliver value-added services (e.g., evaluate the effectiveness of a plan), suggest alternate plan designs/features). Wizards can also be written to perform different tasks based on plan features (e.g. Safe Harbor plans). Plans may be pulled out of the wizard for a user to perform a specific task (e.g. complex new comp allocation), and then placed back in the rotation to complete testing and reporting. Another benefit is that these wizards typically run unattended until completion, allowing the user to perform other tasks when they are running. In addition, wizards can be set up to run at night or on the weekend when workstations and the server would otherwise be sitting idle.

Here is an example of how a wizard can be used to automate valuation tasks in stages:

Stage 1: Data Validation – Census data is validated via the employee data checks, then Eligibility is calculated, followed by match and safe harbor true-ups. If no data errors are found, the plan continues processing. Profit Sharing allocations may also be performed at this stage if they need advance verification.

Stage 2: Allocations and Testing – Once data is validated, calculations are run, testing is performed, and reports are produced for review. Reports can include valuation reports, employee statements, compliance testing, and even custom reports that your office or ASC may have written with Reporter.

Stage 3: Wrap up – Once reports are approved, the wizard can pick up the plan for wrap up work if needed. This often includes exports of data to be fed back to internal systems, or for further analysis by a consultant (e.g. HCE, Key, and ownership data; deferral and participation rates; testing results

If you’d like to discuss the possibilities, contact our Sales team: or (800) 950-2082 x1.

“Plan Document Statuses” – Important Changes

ASC’s DGEM Plan Documents – Important Changes Coming with “Plan Document Statuses” and its effect on Integration with other ASC Products

Since its inception, ASC’s DGEM Plan Document system has included fields that identify a “Client” Status and a “Plan Document” Status. Used as filters throughout the system to find a plan and list and Export document provisions, DGEM system functionality and integration have expanded and therefore magnified the importance of Plan Document Status as an instrumental field for this execution. As a result, it is imperative that all users properly update the Plan Document Status as they complete their work. New batch processing functionality will be released in November for Plan Documents, which will flow through to our CATTS CRMW and Gemini web portal. In addition, the existing Plan Documents to ASCval integration will filter on Plan Document Status effective January 1, 2021. For our PensionPal CRMW users, the Plan Document integration is already Plan Document Status dependent.

The Cycle 3 Restatement is a great opportunity to start seeing the benefit of this practice in your office by allowing you to work more efficiently in the Plan Documents process and in your other ASC products. Keeping Plan Document Statuses up to date and accurate allows seamless integration. Continue reading to learn how to locate and code Plan Document Statuses in the system, and understand how the Plan Document Status impacts other features and products. We also invite you to view our webcast “Creating and Managing Cycle 3 Restatements” covering these topics.

Plan Document Status is used to identify the state of an individual plan through the drafting and signature process. The Modify Document Status page hosts the dropdown menu where the Plan Document Status gets updated.

We now offer two ways to get to the Modify Document Status page:

  1. Pressing the new button found on every DGEM AA checklist.

  2. Users may also access the Modify Document Status from the Manage Documents page drop down list

  3. The status history, including the date, is logged, and may be viewed on this same page.

Chapter 3 in the DGEM User Guide covers this in more detail. To help with your status maintenance, the Plan Document Status may also be set in batch using the utility outlined in Appendix B .

The DGEM system also holds the Client Status, for the Client/Plan Sponsor entity. Coded in the Edit Client screen, it is also used as a filter in the system.

Plan Document Status impacts other products and features as follows:

  • Plan Documents Process – In addition to the existing Plan Document Status usage with filters and reporting, in new Batch functionality will be added to the system to process up to 1,000 plans at once. This will include the ability to:
    • Batch View Doc AA’s (AA, SPD, Plan Summary)
    • Batch View Doc on MEP/PEP/PEO plans including the LOMs.
    A Plan Document Status of Final, Executed, or Esigned is required to be included in the Batch Processing functionality in the system.
  • Plan Documents to Valuation system Integration – From the Valuation System, a user may choose to pull the Plan provisions from the document and compare those to the case Plan Specs. For new plans to the Valuation system, all of the compared provisions may be saved to the case. For continuing plans on the system, the user may identify differences from an amendment during the plan year and save those. The Effective Date of the document, as well as the Plan Document Status, will be used as filters to confirm the document is valid for the existing plan year.
  • Plan Documents to CATTS CRMW (workflow) Integration – Plan Document information flows to our CRM Workflow, allowing users to create Projects to track such efforts as the Cycle 3 Restatements. Plan Document Status may be used in the creation and task tracking of these projects. While Plan information is integrated to CATTS regardless of Plan Document status, the Plan Document related batch processing functionality coming in November will not be available until the Plan Document Status is set to Final, Executed, or Esigned. Batch creation includes Adoption Agreement packages (AA, SPD, Plan Summary). In CATTS additional documents may also be included for delivery (BPD, Approval Letters, Resolutions and Trust Agreements).
  • The CATTS Plan Information Panel will also reflect the Plan Document Status in orange if it is not Final, Executed, or Esigned.
  • CATTS to Gemini Web Portal Integration – Again, Plan the Document related batch processing coming in November will not available for files to be posted to the web portal unless the Plan Document Status is set to Final, Executed, or Esigned status.
  • Plan Documents to PensionPal CRMW and Portal Integration – Plan Document Information also flows through to our PensionPal premise-based CRM system. The provisions will integrate when the Plan Document Status is set to Final, Executed, Esigned or Transferred.

Simplify your work life by using these system features! Use the Plan Document Status not only to help with the document preparation itself, but also to properly track the plan document’s progress while simultaneously integrating data with your valuation system and communicating with your Plan Sponsors. Please reach out to your ASC Support team if you have any questions!

Meet ASC’s New Team Member: Andrea Gelhar, ERPA, QPA!

Andrea Gelhar, ERPA, QPA was hired as a Plan Document Support Specialist on March 23rd, 2020. We are happy that she has joined the Plan Document Team at ASC!

Tell us a little about yourself:

My husband of 15 years, Mike and I live in a southern suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota, with our 6 year old daughter, Lorelei and our 9 year old yellow lab, “Davis Bacon”. Contrary to popular belief, I have never seen “Gilmore Girls”; our daughter’s name is from a region on the Rhein River in Germany (Loreley Rock). We visited that area on one of our best trips ever (happy 5th anniversary)! Our dog’s name is a result of both of us working in the payroll industry as well as being Korn fans (Jonathan Davis is the front man) and dogs just liking bacon.

I have lived in the Mid-west for most of my life with a short 7 year stint in the Arizona desert. I double majored in Business Communication and Business Administration at the University of Wisconsonsin, River Falls. After graduating, I worked in payroll processing and dabbled in yellow page marketing. I got my start in the retirement industry when my boss at the last payroll company I worked for decided to branch out into 401(k) Administration, Documents and Distribution. He asked his employees if anyone was interested in spearheading that department and I was the only one who threw their name in the hat! Luckily, we used ASC and I worked together with Bob Long and Tom Lusby. Then, I focused on document drafting at my next position where I continued using the DGEM system.

When did you start working at ASC?

BenefitsLink posted an ad for my current ASC position that described all the skills, duties, and tasks I excelled at. I couldn’t pass it up and was excited to apply. When I got the job, I was thrilled. I began working on March 23rd when the world started to shut down but legislation was picking up (hello CARES Act!). I describe my position to my parents as working with the “celebrities” of the industry.

What was your first impression of ASC?

On the first day of work, I received a lot of welcoming and heartwarming emails. Even though we all work remotely, meeting the team felt like a traditional first day in an office environment. I am also very impressed at the breadth of knowledge and helpfulness of my co-workers. It is amazing how ASC is able to handle so many different projects all at the same time.

What exactly do you do for ASC?

As a Plan Document Support Specialist, I answer support questions regarding documents, help update document forms, and am involved with Cycle 3 testing. When I started, the CARES Act was passed, and I hit the ground running with assisting in the creation of the Operational Checklist and Coronavirus-Related Distribution and Loan forms. I enjoy designing and improving documents to make them user-friendly.

In this role, I also have several weekly Zoom meetings which aid in collaborating with the Document, Sales, and Support Teams.

What skills and abilities do you have that enable you to succeed?

Boasting is not my strong suit, but I do have a good eye for detail, solid organizational skills, and I have been working in the industry for over a dozen years. It helps that I’m customer-focused with a can-do attitude. I also have a knack for breaking down procedures and making systems better.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

What spare time? Lol! I am very “Lorelei” focused. She takes tennis and swim lessons, and we’re looking to add more hobbies. My husband and I enjoy spending quality time with her. We just upgraded our camper this spring since all of our other trips were cancelled (thanks, COVID). It has been wonderful checking out different parts of Minnesota and South Dakota (we’re keeping our traveling spirits happy!). Cycling, hiking and geocaching as a family has been very rewarding. Additionally, I like to run, paddleboard, and just about anything outside. I also like to dabble in photography.

I love to volunteer in the community. I am the PTC (Parent, Teachers, Children) Board Secretary at Lorelei’s school as well as volunteer on the River Valley YMCA Advisory Board. This past summer, I participated in an all-women Habitat for Humanity build event in St. Paul.

Wow! You have a lot of interests, Andrea! How do you like your job so far?

I actually love it! I was surprised that I picked up my role so fast; that I was able to make contributions so quickly. I enjoy helping people. Being familiar with ASC and having worked in DGEM at my previous employment assists me greatly. My co-workers are so encouraging and nice. Although we work virtually, there is a sense of camaraderie that I love.

You started working at ASC during the COVID-19 Crisis. How have you managed that?

I have learned that it is ok to stay home. We were previously an on-the-go family, but we’ve found fun and many projects that we can do as a family – (I had the cleanest windows on the block when I first started!) We’ve learned how to be happy with what we have and how there is really no need to constantly go out to eat. I am surprised and thankful that we are managing so well. I’m very fortunate to have landed a great job during a pandemic.

Andrea, you seem like a fun, well-balanced individual. We are so happy that you have joined the ASC team!