Dear Board members,
How much time do you dedicate to your function as chairperson or member of an audit committee? Do you receive the appropriate information at the right time? Do you make sufficient use of the in-depth information that the statutory auditors have on your company in order to form an «independent» opinion? Michèle F. Sutter-Rüdisser highlights these issues as well as other critical success factors of an objective-oriented activity within an audit committee, as expectations towards this essential corporate governance body are growing.
The independence of the statutory auditors is an important condition for a sound audit. In this respect, extensive standards have been issued both at national and international level. With the completion of the audit reform, the EU adds a new series of restrictive provisions that may disadvantage the European economy compared to other continents. Though indirectly concerned, Switzerland must also address the consequences of this reform.
As regards corporate taxation, complying with tax legislation is no longer enough. Today «tax morality» has become a new reference point by which companies must let themselves be judged. However this concept is not defined uniformly and there may be several years between a tax planning decision and the organization of a public debate on the subject. Companies are thus facing totally new challenges. The consistent integration of the tax policy in the long-term strategy and a clear and proactive communication regarding tax planning are appropriate measures in order to take part in the debate.
As you can see, we have plenty of food for thought for the coming months.
I hope that you enjoy reading this issue and wish you a pleasant summer.
Head of KPMG’s Audit Committee Institute