May 28, 2015

CAQ Snapshot: May 2015

Center for Audit Quality Launches “Profession in Focus” Web Video Series 

The Center for Audit Quality (CAQ) debuted "Profession in Focus," an online video series that aims to highlight critical issues facing the public company auditing profession and the markets. Hosted by CAQ Executive Director Cindy Fornelli, Profession in Focus will feature interviews with an array of thought leaders from the auditing profession, corporate governance world, investor community, the regulatory arena, academia, and other important constituencies with a connection to the financial reporting process.

Profession in Focus“It is an exciting and transformative time for the public company auditing profession,” said Fornelli in a press release accompanying the launch of the series. “Profession in Focus will serve as another vehicle for the profession and the CAQ to engage with key stakeholders and further the dialogue.”

The inaugural episode of Profession in Focus features Cathy Engelbert, CEO of Deloitte LLP and CAQ Governing Board member. Engelbert, the first female chief executive of a large, global accounting and advisory firm in the United States, sat down with Fornelli to share her views on leadership, the future of the auditing profession, and career advancement. 

Panel Explores Opportunities and Challenges for the "Auditor of the Future"

With the right approach, the public company auditing profession can seize on transformative opportunities, agreed panelists at a May 5 event, "The Auditor of the Future." The discussion, hosted by the CAQ and the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware, gathered experts from the regulatory, investor, auditor, audit committee, and legal arenas. 

Technology certainly will be a driving force for change in auditing, according to several panel participants. "The way audit is going to look five years from now, I guarantee, will be very different from how it looks today," predicted one panelist, who noted that techniques like natural language processing and artificial intelligence are no longer "science fiction" for auditors.

Yet as it pursues new opportunities and expands, panelists suggested, the auditing profession must also keep a steady focus on enhancing audit quality, developing fundamentals such as independence and objectivity, and engaging with key stakeholders. "It's extremely important that the firms and the regulators stay in touch with what's happening with the changing nature of business and technology," said another participant. "Auditors need to respond to the changing needs of investors and the market."

Auditors also need to build on strengths in human capital, added CAQ Professional Practice Fellow Kevin Lavin, who represented the CAQ on the panel. Lavin said audit firms' investment in people—including efforts to foster work-life balance, career-track flexibility, and family-friendliness—will remain critical to ensuring the profession's future success.

Stacie Thomas Morales Joins the CAQ as Senior Director of Strategy

Stacie Thomas Morales has joined the CAQ as Senior Director of Strategy. In her new role, Morales focuses on helping the CAQ better understand, coordinate, and strategically align the profession’s U.S. policy positions with those in other jurisdictions.

moralesMorales comes to the CAQ from KPMG, where she served as Executive Director of International Government Affairs. In that capacity, she worked with firm leadership to develop global positions on public policy matters impacting the profession and to convey those positions throughout KPMG’s global network of member firms.

“While the CAQ primarily focuses on U.S. policy and regulatory matters, as the world becomes more interconnected, it is important that we have the ability to effectively and consistently engage at a global level,” said CAQ Executive Director Cindy Fornelli in a statement. “Stacie’s deep understanding of global issues affecting the profession will be of great benefit to the CAQ and its stakeholders.”

Prior to joining KPMG, Morales was an economist for the U.S Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. In that role, she worked on financial reporting and insurance matters, including development and passage of the landmark Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Federal Terrorism Risk Insurance Act. Morales holds a JD from George Mason University School of Law, as well as an MA in economics and a BA in international business from Clemson University.

New Video Promotes "Call to Action" on Audit Committee Disclosure

Working with its partners in the Audit Committee Collaboration, the CAQ released a new video that succinctly explains a key Collaboration resource: Enhancing the Audit Committee Report: A Call to Action. The video is available at the Audit Committee Collaboration website and on the CAQ's YouTube channel.

Call to Action Video"The Call to Action looks at leading disclosure practices of audit committees," says the video's narrator. "Based on those leading practices, the report gives you actionable ways you can enhance transparency and communication in your company's audit committee report, or in its proxy statement."

With its lively "whiteboard" style, this video accompanies an earlier Audit Committee Collaboration video on resources to help audit committees with their oversight and evaluation of the external auditor.