Audit Committee Reports to Shareholders

The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation 2019-09-13

Posted by Steve Klemash, Jamie Smith, and Jennifer Lee, EY Center for Board Matters, on Friday, September 13, 2019
Editor's Note: Steve W. Klemash is Americas Leader, Jamie Smith is Investor Outreach and Corporate Governance Specialist, and Jennifer Lee is Audit and Risk Specialist, all at the EY Americas Center for Board Matters. This post is based on their EY memorandum.

As US public companies and their audit committees maintain an almost decade-long trend of increased voluntary disclosures to shareholders about audits, it’s clear that rigorous oversight of public company audits by independent audit committees helps protect investors, and disclosing information about that oversight process contributes to investor confidence.

Many investors, regulators and other stakeholders share the view that increased transparency regarding the audit committee’s oversight process builds investor confidence. [1]

EY’s Center for Board Matters (CBM) measured this trend in its eighth annual assessment of voluntary disclosures by Fortune 100 companies relating to the important audit oversight role carried out by audit committees.

To help raise awareness of the audit, and audit committees’ important role in the audit process, the CBM seeks to shed light on the types of information about the audit available to investors—beyond disclosures required by laws or regulations—and how the availability of information is increasing.

To carry out this assessment, CBM has reviewed the proxy statements of Fortune 100 companies to compare audit-related disclosures from 2012–19, providing a clear view of trends.