Initiatives

Northeast Audit Committee Network

Fraud. Risk management. Taxes. Information technology. Transactions. More than 30 audit committee chairs residing in or representing companies in New England, Deleware, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington DC have discussed these and other important audit committee oversight issues in our Northeast Audit Committee Network (NEACN), founded in 2010. The network is supported by EY.

This dialogue has contributed to enhanced audit committee performance and highlighted opportunities for directors across the region to refine corporate governance practices.

Recent network topics:

Audit chairs discuss information security, activist investing, and updates in tax policy

Members of the Northeast Audit Committee Network (NEACN) convened in Washington on September 25, 2017, to discuss the information security function and the role of the chief information security officer (CISO), new trends in
shareholder activism, and an uncertain tax reform landscape.

Audit chairs discuss insider cyber threats, robotic process automation, and external auditor evaluation.

Members of the Northeast Audit Committee Network convened in New York on June 1, 2017, to discuss insider cyber threats, robotic process automation (RPA), the new American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (AICPA) cybersecurity evaluation criteria and reporting guidance, and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Members also explored external auditor evaluation in a members-only conversation.

In an era of information overload, ACCs are carefully choosing where to focus their core activities of oversight

Members of the Northeast Audit Committee Network convened in New York on February 6, 2017 and discussed where they are focusing when it comes to three areas: cyber risk, revenue recognition and financial reporting. 

Audit committee chairs seek to understand changes to come in the political, accounting, and regulatory realms

In the weeks since the 2016 presidential election, new questions have been raised about what boards and business leaders can expect regarding the environment in which their companies will operate.  Northeast Audit Committee Network (NEACN) members met in New York City on November 29, 2016, to explore and understand possible changes under a new administration, as well as what is under consideration in accounting standard-setting at the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)

Audit committee chairs discuss board composition, the regulatory landscape, and Britain’s exit from the EU

Boards are looking to realign their collective skills to better meet the needs of their companies in an evolving risk landscape. Current issues include regulatory scrutiny of companies, as well as economic and political uncertainties resulting from Britain’s vote to exit the European Union. Members of the Northeast Audit Committee Network convened on September 8, 2016, in Washington, DC, to discuss these topics.

Seeking external perspectives: audit committee chairs discuss investor views and oversight of special investigations

Audit committees are increasingly gaining the attention of external observers, from investors to regulators. Audit committee chairs heard from an investor and expert about investor expectations of boards and investor priorities including board composition and board engagement with investors. Regulators are also looking to the audit committee to oversee special investigations in a company, particularly if allegations involve senior management. Audit committee chairs discussed their role and how they ensure an investigation is thorough and any problems rectified.

Audit chairs discuss insider cyber threats, robotic process automation, and external auditor evaluation.

Members of the Northeast Audit Committee Network convened in New York on June 1, 2017, to discuss insider cyber threats, robotic process automation (RPA), the new American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (AICPA) cybersecurity evaluation criteria and reporting guidance, and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Members also explored external auditor evaluation in a members-only conversation.

Improving corporate culture, processes, and reputation

Our latest issue of VantagePoints consolidates perspectives from meetings this past winter of over 80 audit committee chairs across North America. Within this issue, we address corporate culture and compliance, with a focus on the challenge directors face in assessing culture from their seats in the boardroom; new analytics tools that are changing companies' perceptions not only of their markets and customers, but also of their own operating and reporting systems; and finally, corporate tax as a matter of reputational concern, including ways to take charge of the narrative so as to tell the company's true tax story. 

Anticipating change

Our third issue of VantagePoints consolidates perspectives gleaned from meetings this past fall of over 80 audit committee chairs across North America. A common theme emerged from those discussions, anticipating change. Within this issue, we further explore: dialogue among audit committee chairs and members of the Public Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB); expectations for China and what a changing China will mean for the global economy as well as individual companies' operations; the new converged standard on revenue recognition, which goes into effect at the beginning of 2017; and finally the topic of risk and the close connection between strategic planning and risk.

Audit committee performance, revenue recognition, and tax inversions

What are the characteristics of a high-performing audit committee? Audit committee members acknowledged they need a broader skill set than before, mainly because of their role in risk oversight, and the highest performers are those who invest the time to learn and stay on top of issues. NEACN members also addressed the steps companies are taking to prepare for the new converged standard on revenue recognition, a standard issued by the IASB and FASB, as well as the trend of corporate inversions.  

The power of communication

A common thread through each director discussion across all the North American regional audit committee networks was the importance of clear expectations and communications to establish and maintain strong and effective working relationships. Within this issue of VantagePoints the benefits of good communications were addressed across a variety of contexts: between the audit committee and internal audit in the face of ever-growing demands of that function, between the public and private sectors in collaborating on cybersecurity, and between companies and analysts in the disclosure of a company’s financial reporting. 

Participant Profile

Craig Omtvedt

Craig Omtvedt
Northeast Audit Committee Network

Audit Committee Chair, General Cable and Oshkosh

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