What is an 'Audit Committee'

An audit committee is an operating committee of a company's board of directors that is in charge of overseeing financial reporting and disclosure. All U.S. publicly-traded companies must maintain a qualified audit committee in order to be listed on a stock exchange. Committee members must be made up of independent outside directors, including a minimum of one person who qualifies as a financial expert.

BREAKING DOWN 'Audit Committee'

Audit committees maintain communication with the company's chief financial officer (CFO) and controller. Audit committees typically have the authority to initiate special investigations in cases where they determine accounting practices are problematic or suspect, or where problems exist with personnel. The audit committee's role includes the oversight of financial reporting, the monitoring of accounting policies, the oversight of any external auditors, regulatory compliance, and the discussion of risk management policies with management.

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