Why this is important.

The primary charge of the audit committee is to provide oversight of the institution’s financial practices and standards of conduct. This committee ensures its institution prioritizes accountability, transparency, and enterprise risk management as well as efficient and effective operations. Trustees who are members of the audit committee work closely with other board committees—specifically finance and investment—in assisting the full board with its fiduciary role.

Source: The Audit Committee by Richard A. Staisloff, AGB 2011

Questions for boards.

These are key questions for your board to consider:

Fundamentals

Consequential Questions:

  1. Is our committee work aligned with our institution’s strategic vision, goals, and priorities?
  2. Does our committee work closely with other board committees, such as the finance committee and investment committee?
  3. How often does our institution rotate our external auditor?

Sources:The Audit Committee by Richard A. Staisloff, AGB 2011

Discussions

Consequential Questions:

  1. Does our committee translate our charges into annual goals and work plans that align with the board’s governance responsibilities and our institution’s strategic plan?
  2. Are our committee meeting agendas concise and do they clearly state desired meeting outcomes?
  3. Is our charter up to date and does it outline our committee’s charge, structure, and areas of responsibility?
  4. How does the institution’s financial health compare with last year?

Sources:The Audit Committee by Richard A. Staisloff, AGB 2011

Relationships

Consequential Questions:

  1. Does our committee effectively serve as our institution’s first line of defense when considering financial reporting, internal control, compliance, and risk management?
  2. Is our committee aware of how our institution’s financial health changed over the past year? Did our external auditor provide us with related information in their report?
  3. Has our committee developed a culture of evaluating and identifying risk at multiple levels?

Sources:The Audit Committee by Richard A. Staisloff, AGB 2011

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