Audit committee is one of the major operating committees of a company’s board of directors that is in charge of overseeing every aspect of internal process ,reporting and disclosure.
THE ROLES OF THE AUDIT COMMITTEES
- The Audit Committee helps to maintain a good communication with the company’ CFO (Chief Financial Official and Controller.
- The committee can also initiate special investigations in cases where it is determined that accounting practices are problematic or suspect issues arising with employees.
- The oversight of financial reporting, the monitoring of accounting policies
- The oversight of any external auditors, regulatory compliance and the discussion of risk management policies with the management.
CHIEF AUDIT EXECUTIVE
Chief Audit Executive, director of audit, director of internal audit, auditor general, or controller general is a high level independent corporate executive with overall responsibility for internal audit. The CAE reports to the board of board of directors with administrative reporting to the CEO.
THE ROLE OF THE CHIEF AUDIT EXECUTIVE
- To constitute a third level of control in the organization, which must be independent from the first level control
Note: The first level layer belongs to the management of the organization who is responsible in the first instance for acting in compliance with the organization’s rule and consecutively second level which are the supporting units that is HR, Risk function, financial control, etc.
Engaging with the audit committee is not the same as engaging with other members of the senior management. Fortunately, the profession has come a long way in the past two decades when it comes to reporting relationships; a recent IIA Global Pulse of Internal Audit survey shows that nearly 75 percent of internal audit leader’s worldwide report functionally to a board or its audit committee. From experience, management typically becomes comfortable with internal audit’s dual reporting relationship. Strong audit committees embrace their oversight of internal audit, and management understands that. In the vast majority of organizations, the CEO and other C-suite executives would not interfere with internal audit’s access or reporting relationship with the audit committee. However, this still may create tension as some CAEs feel smothered by their CEO or CFO when it comes to the audit committee relationship and as such report that the CEO wants to review and approve every communication with the audit committee, they also lament that their CEO may frown upon or prohibit communication with the CAE and the audit committee chairman.
This is a complicated dilemma, while it is clearly inappropriate for management to obsessively filter the CAE’s communications with the audit committee; the CAE again is caught between a rock and hard place. Audit committee chairs has to be firm in communicating their expectations on internal audit access, and be the one who initiate contact with the CAE if they believe the management is impeding communication. CAEs have to build productive relationships within their organizations so they are surrounded by advocates and champions for the work of internal audit. CAEs should also try to build a network of peers with whom they can share their frustrations and seek advice. It is never easy to walk alone.
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