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CAQ Snapshot: April 2016

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Profession in Focus: Investor Views on Board Diversity, Audit Committees

Diversity of all kinds on corporate boards is a topic of keen interest to investors, said Anne Sheehan, Director of Corporate Governance at the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, in an April episode of “Profession in Focus.” Sheehan spoke to CAQ Executive Director Cindy Fornelli, the host of the online video series. 

Anne Sheehan of CalSTRS on
Anne Sheehan of CalSTRS on 
“Profession in Focus”

“It’s a shareholder value issue,” added Sheehan, pointing to research showing that companies with more diverse boards—especially corporate boards with significant gender diversity—tend to perform better financially.

Outside of diversity, Sheehan and Fornelli also discussed disclosure issues, including overall disclosure effectiveness and investor desire for information about the activities of audit committees. “As investors, we look to the board to be our representative,” she said. “It’s very important for us to have a glimpse into the activities of the [audit] committee.”

Launched in May 2015 by the CAQ, Profession in Focus features interviews with thought leaders from the public company auditing profession and other important constituencies with a connection to the financial reporting process. A playlist of the entire series can be found on the CAQ’s YouTube channel. 

Anti-Fraud Collaboration Holds First of Two Workshops with Regulators

Representatives from across the financial reporting supply chain gathered in New York City with policymakers for an in-depth workshop hosted by the Anti-Fraud Collaboration. Consisting of two panels and a set of smaller breakout discussions, the March 30 workshop explored issues identified in SEC enforcement actions that may have been mitigated by either strong internal control over financial reporting (ICFR) or the development and application of appropriate accounting policies. 

Cybersecurity Resource
From left to right, the CAQ’s Cindy Fornelli, 
Liban Jama of the PCAOB, and the SEC’s 
Brian Croteau and Margaret McGuire at the 
March 30 anti-fraud workshop.

A second, invitation-only workshop on these topics will be held in San Francisco in June 2016. Following the San Francisco event, the Anti-Fraud Collaboration plans to present insights and recommendations from both workshops in a report targeted for release later in the year.

The CAQ is a founding member of the Anti-Fraud Collaboration, along with Financial Executives International, the National Association of Corporate Directors, and The Institute of Internal Auditors.

CAQ Congratulates Timothy F. Ryan on Election to PwC Chairmanship

In a statement, the CAQ’s Fornelli praised the election of Tim Ryan as U.S. Chairman of PwC. “Tim is a proven leader who has played a critical role in driving PwC’s strategy and the firm’s outreach to key stakeholders, including investors and regulators,” she said. “We look forward to working with him as a member of the CAQ Governing Board.” Ryan assumes his chairmanship on July 1, 2016.

Professional Practice Team Adds Technical Directors

The CAQ’s Professional Practice Team expanded in April with two hires. The first is Dennis McGowan, CPA, who has joined the CAQ as a Technical Director. Prior to the CAQ, McGowan served as Senior Manager at PwC, where his responsibilities included, among others, leading multiple year-end audit engagements, performing technical research, testing of the operating effectiveness of controls, and coordinating with PwC component teams outside of the United States. McGowan holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree from La Salle University. 

Also joining as Technical Director is Vanessa Teitelbaum, CPA. She arrived at the CAQ from Dixon Hughes Goodman, where she held the position of Senior Manager. In addition, Teitelbaum worked as a Senior Manager at PwC. In that role, she served as lead auditor in a variety of industries, including financial services, manufacturing, technology, entertainment and media, construction, and real estate. Teitelbaum has a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies from Williams College and an MBA in Finance and Accounting from New York University.