While it is clear that the role of the external auditor is important and that the audit committee is charged with their oversight, it is unusual to see advice on how that oversight should be discharged.
One of the reasons is that most of the advice given audit committees comes from the audit firms, and they are hardly likely to suggest that they are asked penetrating questions.
Another reason is surely political: who wants to upset the auditors?
I wrote two blogs on this topic, The effective audit committee and Evaluating the external auditors, which you may want to visit.
In my experience, both as the leader of internal audit functions and more recently as an advisor to organizations, audit committees fail to challenge the external auditors and ensure they are providing quality services at an appropriate cost.
Some of that may be because they see the auditors as having to be independent and don’t feel they should be questioning either their expertise or insight.
Both can be questionable and the audit committee needs to ensure that the auditors are doing the job they are paid for – well and at reasonable cost.
I want to bring my blogs up to date by talking about the external auditors’ work on SOX.
As you may know, I literally wrote the book for the IIA on SOX(now in its 4th edition). I also…