The Audit and Finance Committee is appointed by the Board to assist the Board in the oversight of (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 internal audit function and the independent auditors, (4) the compliance by the Company with legal and regulatory requirements; and (5) the Company’s policies and practices with respect to major financial risk exposures.
The Audit and Finance Committee shall prepare the report required by the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”) to be included in the Company’s annual proxy statement.
The Audit and Finance Committee shall consist of three or more members of the Board. The members of the Audit and Finance Committee shall meet the independence and experience requirements of the New York Stock Exchange, Section 10A(m)(3) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) and the rules and regulations of the Commission. At least one member of the Audit and Finance Committee shall be an “audit committee financial expert” (as defined by the Commission). No director may serve as a member of the Audit and Finance Committee if such director serves on the audit committees of more than two other public companies unless the Board determines that such simultaneous service would not impair such director’s ability to serve effectively on the Audit and Finance Committee.
The members of the Audit and Finance Committee shall be appointed by the Board on the recommendation of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. Members shall serve at the pleasure of the Board and for such term or terms as the Board may determine.
Committee Authority and Responsibilities
The Audit and Finance Committee shall have the sole authority to appoint or replace the independent auditor (subject, if applicable, to shareholder ratification), and shall approve all audit engagements and the fees and terms thereof and all non-audit engagements with the independent auditors subject to de minimus exceptions for non-audit services described in Section 10A(i)(1)(B) of the Exchange Act that are approved by the Audit and Finance Committee prior to the completion of the audit. The Audit and Finance Committee may consult with management but shall not delegate these responsibilities to management. The independent auditor shall report directly to the Audit and Finance Committee.
The Audit and Finance Committee shall be directly responsible for the compensation and oversight of the work of the independent auditor (including resolution of disagreements between management and the independent auditor regarding financial reporting) for the purpose of preparing or issuing an audit report or related work.
The Audit and Finance Committee may delegate to a member of the committee the authority to approve audit engagements and permitted non-audit engagements with the independent auditors. If any such authority is delegated, any decisions to pre-approve any activity shall be presented to the full Audit and Finance Committee at its next meeting.
The Audit and Finance Committee shall meet in person or telephonically as often as it determines necessary, but not less frequently than six times per year. The Audit and Finance Committee may form and delegate authority to subcommittees when appropriate.
The Audit and Finance Committee shall have the authority, to the extent it deems necessary or appropriate, to retain independent legal, accounting or other advisors. The Company shall provide for appropriate funding, as determined by the Audit and Finance Committee, for payment of compensation to the independent auditor for the purpose of rendering or issuing an audit report and to any advisors employed by the Audit and Finance Committee. The Audit and Finance 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 and Finance Committee shall meet with management, the internal auditors and the independent auditor in separate executive sessions at least quarterly. The Audit and Finance Committee may also, to the extent it deems necessary or appropriate, meet with the Company’s investment bankers or with financial analysts who follow the Company.
The Audit and Finance Committee shall make regular reports to the Board with respect to its activities, including any issues that arise with respect to the quality or integrity of the Company’s financial statements, the Company’s compliance with legal or regulatory requirements, the performance and independence of the Company’s independent auditors or the performance of the internal audit function.
The Audit and Finance Committee shall produce and provide to the Board of Directors an annual performance evaluation of the Committee, which evaluation shall compare the performance of the Audit and Finance Committee with the requirements of this Charter. The performance evaluation shall also encompass a review and reassessment of the adequacy of this Charter, and the Audit and Finance Committee shall recommend to the Board of Directors any improvements to this Charter deemed necessary or desirable by the Audit and Finance Committee. The performance evaluation by the Audit and Finance Committee shall be conducted in such manner as the Committee deems appropriate. The report to the Board of Directors may take the form of an oral report by the Chairperson of the Audit and Finance Committee or any other member of the Audit and Finance Committee designated by the Committee to make this report.
The Audit and Finance Committee, to the extent it deems necessary or appropriate, shall:
Financial Statement and Disclosure Matters
1. Review and discuss with management and the independent auditor the annual audited financial statements, including specific 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.
2. Review and discuss with management and the independent auditor the Company’s Form 10-Q, including the quarterly financial statements, prior to the filing of its Form 10-Q, including the results of the independent auditor’s reviews of the quarterly financial statements.
3. Review and discuss with management and the independent auditor (a) analyses prepared by management and/or the independent auditor setting forth significant financial reporting issues and judgments made in connection with the preparation of the Company’s financial statements, including the development, selection and disclosure of critical accounting estimates and analyses of the effects of alternative GAAP methods on the financial statements, and (b) major issues regarding accounting principles and financial statement presentations, including any significant changes in the Company’s selection or application of accounting principles, and any major issues as to the adequacy of the Company’s internal controls and any special steps adopted in light of material control deficiencies.
4. Review and discuss with the independent auditors:
(a) Changes in critical accounting policies and practices to be used.
(b) All alternative treatments of financial information within generally accepted accounting principles that have been discussed with management, ramifications of the use of such alternative disclosures and treatments, and the treatment preferred by the independent auditor.
5. Review and discuss with management (including the senior internal audit executive) and the independent auditor the Company’s internal controls report and the independent auditor’s attestation of the report prior to the filing of the Company’s Form 10-K.
6. Discuss with management the Company’s earnings press releases, including the use of “pro forma” or “adjusted” non-GAAP information, as well as financial information and earnings guidance provided to analysts and rating agencies. Such discussion may be done generally (consisting of discussing the types of information to be disclosed and the types of presentations to be made).
7. Discuss with management and the independent auditor the effect of regulatory and accounting initiatives as well as off-balance sheet structures on the Company’s financial statements.
8. Discuss with management the Company’s major financial risk exposures and the steps management has taken to monitor and control such exposures, including the Company’s risk assessment and risk management policies.
9. Receive and discuss with management reports on the security of and risks related to the Company’s information technology systems and procedures.
10. Discuss with the independent auditor any matters that the independent auditor is required to discuss with the Audit and Finance Committee pursuant to professional and regulatory requirements related to the conduct of an 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, as well as other material written communications between the independent auditor and management, such as any schedule of unadjusted differences.
(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.
11. Review disclosures made to the Audit and Finance Committee by the Company’s Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer during their certification process for the Form 10-K and Form 10-Q about any significant deficiencies in the design or operation of internal controls or material weaknesses therein and any fraud involving management or other employees who have a significant role in the Company’s internal controls.
12. Review the experience and qualifications of the senior members of the independent auditor team.
13. Obtain and review a report from the independent auditor at least annually regarding (a) the independent auditor’s internal quality-control procedures, (b) any material issues raised by the most recent internal quality-control review, or peer 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, (d) all relationships between the independent auditor and the Company including any relationships which, in the auditor’s professional judgment, may reasonably be thought to bear on its independence and (e) written affirmation from the auditor that it is independent. Evaluate the qualifications, performance and independence of the independent auditor, including reviewing and evaluating the lead audit partner of the independent auditor and considering whether the auditor’s quality controls are adequate and the provision of permitted non-audit services is compatible with maintaining the auditor’s independence, and taking into account the opinions of management and the internal auditor. Review and discuss with the independent auditor any documentation supplied by the independent auditor as to the nature and scope of any tax services to be approved, as well as the potential effects of the provision of such services on the auditor’s independence. The Audit and Finance Committee shall present its conclusions with respect to the independent auditor to the Board and, if so determined by the Audit and Finance Committee, recommend that the Board take additional action to satisfy itself of the qualifications, performance and independence of the auditor.
14. In the event the independent auditor notifies the Company that it is the subject of any inquiry or investigation by governmental or professional authorities, or that an audit of the Company has been selected for review by the PCAOB, discuss with the independent auditor and management any issues that arise as a result of that inquiry, investigation or review that could significantly reflect on the independent auditor’s qualifications to serve as the Company’s independent auditor or have a significant impact on the Company's accounting, financial reporting or disclosure.
15. Ensure the rotation of the audit partners of the independent auditor as required by law. Consider whether, in order to assure continuing auditor independence, it is appropriate to adopt a policy of rotating the independent auditing firm on a regular basis.
16. Set policies for the Company’s hiring of employees or former employees of the independent auditor who participated in any capacity in the audit of the Company.
17. Discuss with the independent auditor issues on which they have consulted with their national office regarding accounting, auditing and reporting matters.
18. Meet with the independent auditor prior to the audit to discuss the planning and staffing of senior members of the audit team.