Global boardroom insights: The audit committee workload

When a chorus of seasoned audit committee chairs say the audit committee’s workload may be reaching a tipping point, every board’s antenna should go up.

In this issue of Global Boardroom Insights, KPMG’s Audit Committee Institute asked audit committee chairs around the world for their views on the audit committee’s workload.

Our interviews shed light on how audit committee agendas are evolving, and approaches that these audit committee chairs are taking to help the committee focus its time and energy on the issues that matter most.

“The challenge for an audit committee and its chair is to step back and try to figure out what’s most material to the fortunes of the company, and make sure that between the audit committee, the financial management team, and the external auditor, everyone’s focusing their efforts on those things,” says Ronald Sugar, audit committee chair for Apple and Chevron.

Other key insights include the value of well thought-out and structured meetings, the importance of informal meetings with financial management and auditors, and spreading the committee’s own workload effectively.

Perhaps not surprisingly, our interviewees said risk will be a top priority in the year ahead and will require taking a hard look at the broader board’s risk oversight approach and the implications for the audit committee.

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