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CAQ Snapshot: September 2014

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A New Name and Look for the CAQ Newsletter

From the CAQ’s beginnings, our newsletter has provided members and others with a monthly snapshot of CAQ news and views on developments in public company auditing. With this history and role in mind, we’ve given the newsletter a new name: CAQ Snapshot

The newsletter’s purpose remains the same: to brief you on the latest CAQ activities, resources, and insights. However, along with the name change, we’ve refreshed the design to improve its look and functionality. As always, we welcome your feedback on CAQ Snapshot at

Expert Panel Selects Winning Ideas in GW/CAQ Initiative on Rethinking Financial Disclosure

In late September, an esteemed panel of judges selected a set of winning recommendations made by George Washington University graduate students participating in the Initiative on Rethinking Financial Disclosure (the Initiative). The students – Elizabeth Moehlenbrock (MBA Class of 2015) and Liyuan Su (MSF Class of 2015) of the George Washington University School of Business (GWSB) – took the Initiative’s top honors with their recommendations to provide executive summaries of certain 10-K items to highlight year-over-year changes and new information, and to provide more company-specific information, especially in the area of risk.

Judging the student’s recommendations was a three-person panel including Andy Cross, Chief Investment Officer, Motley Fool; Catherine Odelbo, head of corporate strategy and partnerships, Morningstar; and the Honorable Mary Schapiro, Promontory Advisory Board Vice Chair and former Securities and Commission (SEC) Chairman.

Announced in May 2014, the Initiative is a partnership between GW’s Institute for Corporate Responsibility and the CAQ. As a part of the Initiative, multiple teams of graduate students at the GW School of Business spent several months intensively studying top concerns regarding effective corporate disclosure. The students also received input from an advisory committee – comprised of leading academics, practitioners, and others – and met with SEC Commissioners during the process to discuss their hypotheses and ideas.

The students’ efforts culminated with presentations to the judging panel on their recommendations for ways to reduce unnecessary or redundant reporting requirements, while maintaining the integrity and value of the information for investors. The judges also considered the practicality of the ideas and their level of innovation. 

The following GWSB students also participated in the Initiative: Rayan Chahwan, MSF Class of 2015; Christopher Haddad, MSF Class of 2015; Elizabeth Halford, MBA Class of 2015; Chang Hyun Song, MBA Class of 2015; Chu (Tracy) Xu, Maccy Class of 2015; and Han (Sadie) Zhang, Maccy Class of 2015.

Students will now work with faculty advisers to compile their recommendations into a comprehensive report which will be presented to the SEC in October.

New Videos Provide Guidance on CAQ Research Award Programs

The CAQ has produced a set of new videos to help researchers make the most of its research award programs: the Access to Audit Personnel program, offered in conjunction with the Auditing Section of the American Accounting Association (AAA), and grants available through the CAQ Research Advisory Board

In the first of these videos, CAQ Executive Director Cindy Fornelli and Director of Research Margot Cella offer an overview of the programs and their annual deadline process.

The CAQ has also developed a video that offers expert guidance and advice on how to develop a successful research proposal. Divided into chapters, the video examines how to identify a good research question, where to find a good research question, the tools for executing a successful proposal, and insights on the benefits of applying for CAQ research awards. Visit the CAQ’s Research page to view the videos and to learn more. 

Now Online: Video From Sixth CAQ Annual Symposium

The CAQ has posted several videos from its Sixth Annual Symposium, held this year on August 3 in Atlanta. The event, which coincides with the AAA’s Annual Meeting, is a key part of the CAQ’s ongoing dialogue with the academic community on how research can inform audit practice.

The 2014 Symposium included a panel discussion addressing developments of efforts to identify audit quality indicators. A second panel examined the topic of auditing internal control over financial reporting.

In addition to videos, the CAQ’s Symposium webpage links to panel materials such as slides, panelist biographies, and highlights from audience breakout discussions. Videos may also be found at the CAQ’s YouTube channel.

Fornelli Named to Accounting Today’s “Most Influential” List

Accounting Today has again placed the CAQ’s Cindy Fornelli on its 2014 list of the Top 100 Most Influential People in the accounting profession. “No important development in auditing is complete until Fornelli and her team at the CAQ have weighed in on its merits, offering their insight and analysis, as well as research and resources for the audit world as a whole,” writes the publication. 

“Behind the Scenes” Thoughts From Cindy Fornelli on Managing Different Viewpoints

Empathy and etiquette are the keys to reconciling different points of view, writes the CAQ’s Fornelli in a September LinkedIn Influencers commentary. Fornelli contributed the post as part of a special series, “Behind the Scenes,” featuring contributions from a wide range of thought leaders.

“When differences turn to disagreement, peril can ensue, particularly in a policy context” Fornelli writes. “If internal disagreements prevent an organization from taking cohesive positions on key issues, the constituency that the group represents might find itself at a serious disadvantage as the policy process unfolds.”

To avoid these perils, Fornelli suggests a key first step in managing differing perspectives is to make sure that all parties have a very good grasp of the others’ position. Next, it helps to establish not just that the difference of opinion exists – but also how parties plan to talk about those differences. “When issues get aired respectfully,” she says, “there’s a better chance that a solution may come down the road.” 

Provide Your Input: What Format Should the Next Version of the CPA Exam Take?

The accounting profession evolves constantly, anticipating and responding to significant changes in the business and regulatory environments. Accordingly, the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is developing the next version of the Uniform CPA Examination to address changing circumstances, expectations and demands and to continue to effectively protect the public interest.

On September 2, the AICPA released a document for public comment on what format should be taken by the next version of the Uniform CPA Examination. Access the Invitation to Comment to provide your feedback and help determine the knowledge and skills newly licensed CPAs need in today’s market. Deadline for comment is December 2, 2014. Read more in this item from the Journal of Accountancy.