In October 2014, Compliance Week noted that SEC Chair Mary Jo White indicated a concept release on Audit Committees would be forthcoming. James Schnurr, Chief Accountant, SEC Office of the Chief Accountant gave an update on the status of the release.
Mr. Schnurr noted the staff has been actively developing a recommendation to the Commission in the form of a concept release intended to seek feedback regarding how investors currently use the information provided in audit committee disclosures as well as feedback on the usefulness of potential enhancements, including additional disclosures. He anticipates being in position to recommend that the Commission publish the release for public comment in the near future.
As envisioned by Mr. Schnurr, the value of public comment would be to aid in the SEC’s understanding of audit committee disclosures that investors would find useful in informing their investment or voting decisions. As part of its review, the staff is also giving consideration to current trends in audit committee reporting. For example, many companies and their audit committees are currently providing disclosure beyond that which is required by the Commission’s requirements.
Mr. Schnurr is particularly interested in learning more from investors, audit committees, auditors, and others regarding current audit committee disclosures related to oversight of the independent auditor and whether the disclosures should be refined to provide more insight into the information the audit committee used and the factors they considered in executing their oversight of the external auditor.