Annual Administration Projects

Annual Administration Projects are a special Project type within PensionPro, and are provided with additional features to simplify the process of collecting and managing the necessary data. Most notably, these Projects begin with Data Collection, where Plan Sponsors can be directed to PlanSponsorLink in order to provide the information necessary to assist in the yearly filing of 5500 tax forms. Once collected, this data can be easily managed within PensionPro.


Tier Availability: Business

Security Rights Required: Add/Edit Projects


Note: Some items may not be available in all tiers.


Article Contents






Prior to beginning a Project utilizing Annual Data Collection, it is a good idea to review the firm's PlanSponsorLink and Data Collection preferences. Refer to the article PlanSponsorLink Preferences for more information.


In particular, ensure that the preferences in the following views are set as desired:


  • General > Annual Data Collection
  • Web Steps > Annual Administration


Additionally, it may also be beneficial to review the fields that will be collected on the employee census for each Plan Type. Refer to the article Collection Fields for Census Data.



Project Templates


Once the preferences have been properly established, a Project Template will need to be created for the Annual Administration Project. A good Project Template can be reused across multiple Plans on a recurring basis. Most Annual Administration Project Templates will have Data Collection enabled and be launched at an annual frequency.


Project Templates can also be created in Microsoft Excel, then imported into PensionPro. A small selection of sample Annual Administration Templates in Excel workbook format can be found in the sidebar on the right-hand side of this page (or at the bottom of this page on mobile devices).


When using these Excel templates, note that the Project Manager field, as well as each Task's Role Assigned field, must be updated prior to import. Additional Task Groupings, Tasks, and Task Items should be added to match the firm's specific workflow.


For more information, refer to the article Project Templates.



Launching the Project


Once the Annual Administration Project is ready to be started, it can be launched per the instructions found in the article Launching & Managing Projects. The following sections discuss functionality relevant to launching Projects of this type.



Rolling Data Forward to a New Plan Year


If an Annual Administration Project was performed for the prior Plan year, much of the information supplied in the prior year's Data Collection step can be carried over into the following Plan year. This allows it to be edited—as opposed to re-adding the data annually—and helps prevent clerical errors.


Data that can be rolled forward includes:

  • Addresses and phone numbers
  • Company information
  • Principals, family, and other businesses owned
  • Employee data
    • Employees with a Date of Separation will not roll forward unless a Date of Rehire is also present.


Upon launching the Project, ensure that the Period Start Date is set as one day following the Period End Date of the prior year's Project. For example, if last year's Period End Date was 12/31, the current year's Period Start Date should be 1/1. If this is not properly established, the warning "No prior year data was found to roll forward" will display; if the Project is launched regardless, the data will not carry over.



Plan Cycles and Employer Data


Launching an Annual Administration Project with Data Collection will also create and link the corresponding Plan Cycle and Employer Data records for that Plan year. Updating any date for either the Project, Plan Cycle, or Employer Data will also update the same date in the remaining two locations.


This functionality is dependent on Data Collection; if the Annual Administration Project is launched without a Data Collection element, corresponding Plan Cycle and Employer Data records will not be created. These records can still be created manually, if necessary, but the records will not be linked, and updates must be made manually as well.



Blast Email for Census Requests


The first step of any Annual Administration Project is Data Collection, and that data must come from the Plan Sponsor(s). While the communication method used to request the yearly census data is ultimately up to the TPA or firm, PensionPro recommends utilizing its Blast Email feature. Blast Email allows for the creation of email templates to be reused for both Data Collection requests and reminders; it also simplifies Contact management, and stores a record of the email Interaction so that there is no more uncertainty over whether a reminder was sent or not.


Sending an Annual Administration Blast Email will automatically complete the first Task of the Data Collection Task Grouping.


For more information, refer to the article Blast Email for Data Collection.



PlanSponsorLink for Data Collection


The Data Collection activity is the process by which the required census data is entered into PensionPro. Similarly to census requests, there is no one singular method to accomplish this step; the TPA can even input the data directly into PensionPro manually, if preferred. However, directing Plan Sponsors to—where they can add and manage the data themselves—is the most convenient method. Any changes made to data within PlanSponsorLink will immediately update for that Project within PensionPro. For more information, refer to the article Annual Data Collection on PlanSponsorLink.



Data Collection on the Project Tab


Whether or not Data Collection was performed via PlanSponsorLink, yearly census data can always be accessed and managed through the relevant views on the Project tab. This section provides details on all the views found under the Data Collection grouping within the Views Panel of the Project tab. For details about any other view, or for information on the Project tab itself, refer to the article The Project Tab.


The views within the Data Collection grouping on the Project tab—such as Company, Principals, and 5500—match the steps that are performed by Plan Sponsors using PlanSponsorLink, and the data contained in these categories is the same across the two applications.


Because Annual Administration Projects are performed on an annual basis, and the census data is rolled forward at Project launch, it is highly possible that some data remains unchanged from year to year. Additionally, Plan Sponsors can leave notes within PlanSponsorLink as they complete Data Collection. To notify the TPA of any updates, PensionPro displays an Alertalert.png icon next to each view in the Views Panel if the Plan Sponsor changed the data or left a note during that step. If data was changed during a step, Changed on PlanSponsorLink will appear in red text above the relevant grid. If a note was left for a step, it can be accessed by opening the corresponding view and selecting View Notecommunication.png to the top-right of the grid.


Data Collection views for Annual Administration Projects can be locked or unlocked in PlanSponsorLink by selecting Moremore_options.pngLock/Unlock. This action can be used to control which steps do or do not need to be completed by a Plan Sponsor.


Locking a step:

  • Overrides its corresponding Task
  • Causes the step to appear completed in PlanSponsorLink


Unlocking a step:

  • Removes any completed state from its corresponding Task
  • Removes any completed state from the Final Approval step
  • Causes the unlocked step and the Final Approval step to appear incomplete in PlanSponsorLink
  • Reopens the Project, if necessary


Warning: PensionPro does not send notifications to the Plan Sponsor if a Data Collection step is unlocked; the appropriate individual should be contacted manually. Additionally, the Plan Sponsor will need to re-confirm the Data Collection submission on the Final Approval step.


A number of the Data Collection views are comprised of the entries submitted for that step by the Plan Sponsor. In these views, new entries can be added by selecting Addadd.png to the top-right of the grid; hovering over an existing entry will display Editedit.png and Deletedelete.png on the right-hand side.


The following subsections detail each Data Collection view for Annual Administration.


Note: During the process of managing Project information, many input fields populate their dropdown options by pulling in List Values. More information can be found in the article List Values.





The Request view displays the date that the Data Collection request was sent to Plan Sponsors.


Selecting Editedit.png from this view allows the entire Project to quickly be marked for deletion. The Moremore_options.png menu provides a Download Report option to download everything submitted for Data Collection in Excel workbook format.


Request is the only step that does not display on PlanSponsorLink.





The General view contains any addresses and phone numbers provided for the Company. This information is displayed in two grids, with Addadd.png and Moremore_options.png icons for each.


  • The following Address fields are required: Address, Address Type
  • The following Address field is a List Value located under Core > General: Address Type
  • The following Number fields are required: Number, Type
  • The following Number field is a List Value located under Core > General: Type


Selecting Send Emailmail.png will display a popup window, allowing the user to manually send a Data Collection Request email to a designated contact for the Plan. This can be used as a simpler—albeit less flexible—alternative to Blast Email. The default email subject and body, as well as the Contact Role that will receive the email, can be changed within Maintenance > Preferences > PensionPro, in the GeneralAnnual Data Collection view.





The Company view contains Company details such as the EIN, Entity Type, and NAIC Business Code for the current Plan year. This information can be edited by selecting Editedit.png to the top-right of the grid.


  • The following fields are required: Month End, Year End (representing the Fiscal Year End)
  • The following fields are List Values located under Core > Client\Employer: Entity, Payroll Frequency


PensionPro retains separate Company records for each Plan year.





The Principals view contains information related to Company officers and ownership, including name, title, and percentage of the Company owned.


  • The following fields are required: Name, Title, Percent Owner
  • The following field is a List Value located under Core > Client\Employer: Title





The Family view contains information about the family members of Company principals, including name and relationship.


  • The following fields are required: Name, Relationship, Related To
  • The following field is a List Value located under Core > Client\Employer: Relationship





The Business view contains information about any additional owned businesses, including name, address, and EIN.


  • The following fields are required: Legal Name, Entity Type, Qualified Plan Sponsored
  • The following field is a List Value located under Core > Client\Employer: Entity Type


Double-click a Business entry to drill down to a listing of that Business's Owners.





The Contacts view populates with all Contacts listed as Plan Contact Roles for the Plan associated with the Project. Contacts cannot be directly edited from this view; however, double-clicking an entry within the grid will open the Contact in a new Contact tab.


A Plan Sponsor viewing this step on PlanSponsorLink will see the following information for each Plan Contact:

  • Contact Name
  • Company
  • Email Address
  • Address
  • Number
  • Plan Role(s)
  • Website Right(s) for the Plan 


Plan Sponsors cannot make changes to this information directly, but can request that changes be made on a contact-by-contact basis. These requests will appear in the Requested Changes column on the Contacts view. Changes to Plan Contacts are made in the Contact Roles view of the Plan tab.


Warning: If a Contact is removed from all of their assigned Plan Contact Roles, the changes requested by the Plan Sponsor for that Contact will no longer be accessible.





The Plan view contains the answers the Plan Sponsor provided to the Employer Questionnaire. These questions can be customized within the Employer Questionnaire Task in the Project Template prior to launching the Project.





The 5500 view contains the answers the Plan Sponsor provided to the 5500 Questionnaire. These questions can be customized within the 5500 Questionnaire Task in the Project Template prior to launching the Project.





The Employees view allows for viewing and managing employee census data provided by the Plan Sponsor. The data fields to be collected are determined by the Plan type; to customize these fields, refer to the article Collection Fields for Census Data.


In addition to receiving census data via PlanSponsorLink, individual entries can be added directly from the Employees view by selecting Addadd.png to the top-right of the grid.


Selecting Errorerror.png displays any warnings or errors that PensionPro has detected with the census data.


The following additional functions can be accessed by selecting Moremore_options.png to the top-right of the grid:

  • Delete All Employees will clear all census data. This action cannot be undone.
  • Export saves the current census data into an Excel workbook file.
  • Import will populate the employee census from data saved in an Excel workbook file.
    • After a file is uploaded, a popup window will display any errors that PensionPro has detected with the template.
    • Importing an employee census will overwrite any existing data. This action cannot be undone.
  • Copy Employees allows census data to be copied from other Plan Years.
    • This action will replace any existing census data; these changes cannot be undone.


Note: To generate an employee census template, use Moremore_options.pngExport. This option is available even when no census data exists in PensionPro.


The exported template contains the proper Collection Fields for the census as specified by the Plan type. These column headings cannot be edited in any way, or the import will fail. The import will also fail if the Instructions worksheet is deleted.





The Approval view displays each step of the Data Collection process, along with the date that each step is completed. This provides a high-level view of the progress that Plan Sponsors have made on their Data Collection activities on PlanSponsorLink.



Protecting Collected Data


Additional Security Rights Required: Maintenance


PensionPro includes firm-wide functionality to protect data provided via PlanSponsorLink from accidental edits or deletion, preserving it exactly as submitted by the Plan Sponsor. To enable this layer of data protection, perform the following steps:


  1. From the Navigation Panel, select MaintenancePreferencesPensionPro
  2. In the Views Panel, expand the General list and select the Data Security view.
  3. Set the Lock Year End Data preference to Yes.


When Lock Year End Data has been enabled, Data Collection items are editable within PensionPro until the Plan Sponsor starts the Data Collection process in PlanSponsorLink. At that time, PensionPro users will no longer be able to add, edit, or delete any information presented in the Data Collection views. Not only does this preserve the integrity of the data that is submitted, but it also prevents any accidental overwriting of data that may occur if a PensionPro user and a PlanSponsorLink user are both making changes to Data Collection items at the same time.


If edits are required to any Data Collection items after the process is completed on PlanSponsorLink, the changes will need to be made by the Plan Sponsor. Selecting Moremore_options.png Unlock from any Data Collection view on the Project tab will reopen that step on PlanSponsorLink. The Plan Sponsor can then be notified that changes are required and directed back to PlanSponsorLink.



5558 Extensions


If a 5558 Extension needs to be filed for an Annual Administration Project, PensionPro makes it easy to create and track this Extension Project as well.


If the project is Extendable (per the Project Template), a Create Extension button will appear on the Summary view of the Annual Administration Project. This opens the Choose an extension template window, where a 5558 Project Template can be selected. The newly-created Extension Project is automatically linked to the Annual Administration Project, and appears on the Annual Administration Project's Assoc. Projects view.



Frequently Asked Questions


  • Can I launch two different Annual Administration Projects for the same period against the same Plan?
    No; PensionPro is not designed to facilitate this scenario.

  • Am I notified when a Client makes changes to Data Collection on PlanSponsorLink?
    No direct notifications are provided when information is edited on PlanSponsorLink. However, an Alertalert.png icon displays next to any Data Collection step in the Views panel if edits were made to the data during that step. 

  • Data Collection has been completed, but there are changes that need to be made to the data. Can this be done without deleting the Project and starting again?
    Yes, although this process may be different depending on whether or not your firm has protected Data Collection information as discussed in the Protecting Collected Data section:
    • If Lock Year End Data is disabled, any Data Collection view within the Project tab can be unlocked for editing by selecting Moremore_options.png Unlock. Updates can then be made within PensionPro.
    • If Lock Year End Data is enabled, Data Collection must be returned to the Plan Sponsor. As above, use Moremore_options.png Unlock to unlock the steps that require edits, then direct the Plan Sponsor to PlanSponsorLink, where the Task will appear on their My Active Tasks dashboard.

  • What is the difference between unlocking a Data Collection step, and removing completion from the Task in Workflow?
    • Unlocking a step reopens its Task, as well as the Final Approval Task. The remainder of the Project is unaffected. This is meant to facilitate returning portions of Data Collection to the Plan Sponsor.
    • Using Remove Completion to reopen a Task in Workflow (as per the article Tasks and Workflow) reopens the Task, as well as every subsequent Task in the relevant Task Grouping. This is meant to "revert" the Project to an earlier stage.

  • When importing an employee census, my Plan Sponsor is receiving an error that an employee's Separation Reason is invalid, even though this Collection Field is not marked as required. Why are they getting this error?
    When Separation Reason is a Collection Field for the employee census, the acceptable responses are governed by List Values, located in the List Values tab under Core > Project. This prevents the Plan Sponsor from providing illegitimate separation reasons. A list of acceptable responses can be provided by editing the Field Descriptions, located in PlanSponsorLink Preferences; this description will be included in the Excel workbook that is downloaded when the Plan Sponsor exports a blank employee census template from PlanSponsorLink. For more information on Field Descriptions, refer to the article Collection Fields for Census Data.