In an effort to support and promote effective audit committees for organizations across the spectrum of the American economy, the AICPA has created the Audit Committee Matching System, part of our Center for Audit Committee Effectiveness which will be launched later this year.
This system was built for two reasons: for our members, to provide them with opportunities to serve on boards of directors; and as a public service, to provide companies access to a database of CPAs who may meet their skills and experience needs to serve on boards of directors and presumably the audit committees of those boards.
The AICPA is particularly sensitive to this need as a result of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and the related Securities and Exchange Commission rules that place certain new requirements on the audit committee of boards of directors. A prime example is the audit committee financial expert, defined by the SEC as a person who has the following attributes:
- An understanding of generally accepted accounting principles and financial statements.
- The ability to assess the general application of such principles in connection with the accounting for estimates, accruals and reserves.
- Experience preparing, auditing, analyzing or evaluating financial statements that present a breadth and level of complexity of accounting issues that are generally comparable to the breadth and complexity of issues that can reasonably be expected to be raised by the registrant's financial statements, or experience actively supervising one or more persons engaged in such activities.
- An understanding of internal controls and procedures for financial reporting.
- An understanding of audit committee functions.
Many AICPA members meet this SEC definition, bringing financial expertise, a commitment to a Code of Ethics, knowledge of business processes and a broad business perspective to all endeavors. Moreover, the need for qualified people on audit committees extends beyond SEC registrant companies. Privately owned companies should employ corporate governance best practices, and thousands of not-for-profit and other organizations also should be held to the same high standards.
The ACMS responds to the continued interest in strong corporate governance and the need for various entities to include people on their boards and audit committees who have expertise in financial matters. CPAs bring that expertise to bear to help boards and management make better informed decisions.
ACMS Candidate Section
Registering with ACMS is a prime opportunity for you as an AICPA member to contribute your financial expertise, commitment to a Code of Ethics and knowledge of business to an organization's governance efforts. Registration is available to AICPA members only for no fee.
ACMS Search Section
The search side of ACMS enables companies and organizations searching for an audit committee candidate to explore whether there might be a CPA candidate who meets the needs of its boards of directors. The search process will be offered as a public service to organizations, at least for the foreseeable future.
Overview of How ACMS Works
The first step in the ACMS http://acms.aicpa.org/login.asp is for AICPA members to register and complete a form listing their background, qualifications and preferences as a candidate in the system. People who are looking to fill positions (referred to as "searchers") access the database of members by filling out the search selections built into ACMS. After identifying candidates, it is up to the searcher and the candidate to perform the appropriate due diligence to determine if the match is appropriate. (See Terms and Conditions at the ACMS Web site.)
Future AICPA efforts to support audit committee effectiveness will include a competency model - useful for assessing knowledge and skills needed - and a practical audit committee member toolkit. Send comments and suggestions on the Center for Audit Committee Effectiveness and ACMS.