KARACHI (December 02, 2010) : Pakistan Institute of Corporate Governance (PICG) recently organised a daylong conference on the ‘Role of the Audit Committee’ at a local hotel. With a brief introduction by PICG President & CEO Fuad A. Hashimi, the conference was focused on the changing perspective and challenges associated with this signal board committee.
Historically, the Audit Committee has always had the role of oversight and monitoring management and the external auditor. Consequent to the global economic crisis and the continuing uncertainty, the focus of the committee has intensified on all financial communications – from guidance to press releases to other disclosures.
Timothy Copnell, Associate Partner, Audit Committee Institute, KPMG LLP (UK), delivered the keynote address on ‘International Best Practices’ pertaining to changing role of the Audit Committee globally. It was followed by the contrasting experiences from different Pakistani business segments presented by PBC Chief Executive Kamran Mirza.
Copnell also discussed role of external auditor keeping experiences from Pakistan in context. The session was concluded with an enlightening discussion forum, where discussants deliberated further on the critical issues. Discussants on the panel, Abdullah Yusuf (Council Member & Vice President (North), ICAP), ICMAP President Hasan A. Bilgrami and ACCA Pakistan Head Arif Masud Mirza elaborated further on how independence of committee might be ensured and what could be different alternatives available to enhance their performance and contribution overall.
During the second session, HUBCO Chief Internal Auditor Huma Pasha deliberated on role of internal auditors by sharing experiences from Pakistani businesses. It was followed by the last presentation on perspectives from IT Audit Committee by CDC Chief Internal Auditor Fazal Ghaffoor.
The session was concluded by a discussion forum where discussant ISACA Karachi Chapter President Waqar A. Khan elaborated on the role and requirement of IT Audit Committee and its enhanced role in future. To identify structure and role of the Audit Committee in the participating organisations, quick poll was conducted. The result of which was also shared in the end. To conclude the session, IIAP Vice President Huma Pasha gave her closing remarks.
It was an informative session examining how an audit committee plays an elemental role in sustainability of a corporation and why there is an enhanced global emphasis on strengthening the role of audit committees. It was further discussed how the role is strengthened by the power and authority given to the committee by the board and regulations and the committee’s understanding of contentious issues due to its oversight and monitoring role, and lastly its commitment to ensure that the financial statements present a true picture