The Audit Committee is appointed by the Board to assist the Board in monitoring (1) the integrity of the financial statements of the Company, (2) the independent auditor’s qualifications and independence, (3) the performance of the Company’s independent auditors, and (4) the compliance by the Company with legal and regulatory requirements.
The Audit Committee shall prepare the report required by the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission to be included in the Company’s annual proxy statement.
The Audit Committee shall consist of no fewer than two members. The members of the Audit Committee shall meet the independence requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The members of the Audit Committee shall be appointed by the Board. Audit Committee members may be replaced by the Board.
Committee Authority and Responsibilities
The Audit Committee shall have the sole authority to appoint or replace the independent auditor, and shall pre-approve all audit engagement fees and terms and all non-audit services with the independent auditors. The Audit Committee shall consult with management but shall not delegate these responsibilities.
The Audit Committee shall meet as often as it determines, but not less frequently than quarterly. The Audit Committee may form and delegate authority to subcommittees when appropriate.
The Audit Committee shall have the authority, to the extent it deems necessary or appropriate, to retain special legal, accounting or other consultants to advise the Committee. The Company must provide appropriate funding, as determined by the Audit Committee, for payment for the services of such advisors. The Audit Committee may request any officer or employee of the Company or the Company’s outside counsel or independent auditor to attend a meeting of the Committee or to meet with any members of, or consultants to, the Committee. The Audit Committee shall meet with management, any internal auditors and the independent auditor in separate executive sessions at least quarterly.
The Audit Committee shall make regular reports to the Board. The Audit Committee shall review and reassess the adequacy of this Charter annually and recommend any proposed changes to the Board for approval.
The Audit Committee, to the extent it deems necessary or appropriate, shall:
Financial Statement and Disclosure Matters
- Review and discuss with management and the independent auditor the annual audited financial statements, including disclosures made in management’s discussion and analysis, and recommend to the Board whether the audited financial statements should be included in the Company’s Form 10-K.
- Review and discuss with management and the independent auditor the Company’s quarterly financial statements prior to the filing of its Form 10-Q, including the results of the independent auditors’ reviews of the quarterly financial statements.
- Discuss with management and the independent auditor significant financial reporting issues and judgments made in connection with the preparation of the Company’s financial statements, including any significant changes in the Company’s selection or application of accounting principles, any major issues as to the adequacy of the Company’s internal controls, the development, selection and disclosure of critical accounting estimates, and analyses of the effect of alternative assumptions, estimates or GAAP methods on the Company’s financial statements.
- Discuss with management the Company’s earnings press releases, including the use of “pro forma” or “adjusted” non-GAAP information, as well as any financial information and earnings guidance provided to analysts and rating agencies.
- Discuss with management and the independent auditor the effect of regulatory and accounting initiatives as well as any off-balance sheet structures on the Company’s financial statements.
- Discuss with management the Company’s major financial risk exposures, if any, and the steps management has taken to monitor and control such exposures, including the Company’s risk assessment and risk management policies.
- Discuss with the independent auditor the matters required to be discussed by Statement on Auditing Standards No. 61 as amended from time to time and any successor standards relating to the conduct of the audit. In particular, discuss:
- (a) The adoption of, or changes to, the Company’s significant auditing and accounting principles and practices as suggested by the independent auditor, internal auditors or management.
- (b) The management letter provided by the independent auditor and the Company’s response to that letter.
- (c) Any difficulties encountered in the course of the audit work, including any restrictions on the scope of activities or access to requested information, and any significant disagreements with management
Oversight of the Company’s Relationship with the Independent Auditor
- Review the experience and qualifications of the senior members of the independent auditor team.
- Obtain and review a report from the independent auditor at least annually regarding (a) the auditor’s internal quality-control procedures, (b) any material issues raised by the most recent quality-control review of the firm, or by any inquiry or investigation by governmental or professional authorities within the preceding five years respecting one or more independent audits carried out by the firm, (c) any steps taken to deal with any such issues, and (d) all relationships between the independent auditor and the Company. Evaluate the qualifications, performance and independence of the independent auditor, including considering whether the auditor’s quality controls are adequate and the provision of non-audit services is compatible with maintaining the auditor’s independence, and taking into account the opinions of management and the internal auditor. The Audit Committee shall present its conclusions to the Board and, if so determined by the Audit Committee, recommend that the Board take additional action to satisfy itself of the qualifications, performance and independence of the auditor.
- Review and approve any audit and non-audit services that management of the Company propose be rendered by the firm performing the Company’s independent audit.
- Consider whether, in order to assure continuing auditor independence, it is appropriate to adopt a policy of rotating the lead audit partner or even the independent auditing firm itself on a regular basis.
- Make a recommendation to the Board as to the Company’s hiring of any employees or former employees of the independent auditor who were engaged on the Company’s account.
- Meet with the independent auditor prior to the audit to discuss the planning and staffing of the audit.
Compliance Oversight Responsibilities
- Obtain from the independent auditor assurance that Section 10A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 has not been implicated.
- Obtain reports from management and the independent auditor that the Company and its subsidiary/foreign affiliated entities are in conformity with applicable legal requirements and any code of business conduct of the Company. Review reports and disclosures of insider and affiliated party transactions. Advise the Board with respect to the Company’s policies and procedures regarding compliance with applicable laws and regulations and with any code of business conduct.
- Discuss with management and the independent auditor any correspondence with regulators or governmental agencies and any employee complaints or published reports which raise material issues regarding the Company’s financial statements or accounting policies.
- Discuss with the Company’s counsel legal matters that may have a material impact on the financial statements or the Company’s compliance policies.
- Approve or reject all related party transactions.
Oversight of the Company’s Anonymous Complaint Policy
19. Establish and oversee any anonymous complaint policy, which may be contained within any code of business conduct of the Company, regarding:
- (a) The receipt, retention and treatment of complaints received by the Company regarding accounting, internal accounting controls or auditing matters; and
- (b) The confidential, anonymous submission by employees of the Company of concerns regarding questionable accounting or auditing matters.
Limitation of Audit Committee’s Role
While the Audit Committee has the responsibilities and powers set forth in this Charter, it is not the duty of the Audit Committee to plan or conduct audits or to determine that the Company’s financial statements and disclosures are complete and accurate and are in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and applicable rules and regulations. These are the responsibilities of management and the independent auditor. It is not the duty of the Audit Committee to conduct investigations, to resolve disagreements, if any between management and the independent auditor or to assure compliance with laws and regulations and the Company’s Code of Business Conduct and Ethics.