The New Role of Audit Committees
The audit committee has taken on greater responsibility, and the authority of the board, shareholders, and management has conversely diminished. Sarbanes-Oxley requires all members of the committee be independent. Auditors must disclose their communications, policies, and practices with management to the audit committee. Post-Sarbanes-Oxley, audit committees must also establish procedures for handling complaints including options for confidentiality.
The NYSE and NASDAQ also have delineated new duties for the audit committee, with additional responsibilities to the Sarbanes-Oxley requirements to be outlined in a charter.