2004 Committee Charter : CRE
The Audit Committee ("the Committee") shall (1) assist the Board of Directors of CarrAmerica Realty Corporation (the "Company") in monitoring (a) the integrity and accuracy of the financial statements of the Company; (b) the Company's systems of internal controls regarding finance, accounting and legal compliance; (c) the Company's independent auditor's qualification and independence; and (d) the performance of the Company's internal audit function; and (2) prepare an audit committee report as required by the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "Commission") to be included in the Company's annual proxy statement.
The Committee shall be comprised of at least three (3) members of the Board, one of whom shall serve as Chairperson of the Committee. The Chairperson and all other members of the Committee shall meet the independence and other requirements of the New York Stock Exchange, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (the "Sarbanes-Oxley Act"), the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and applicable rules and regulations of the Commission, all as in effect from time to time. Because of the Committee's demanding role and responsibilities, and the time commitment of each attendant to Committee membership, no member of the Committee, including the Chairman, shall serve on the audit committee of more than three (3) public companies at any one time, including the Committee.
To ensure independence and to otherwise avoid any potential conflicts of interest, members of the Committee may not (other than fees and equity received as compensation for serving as a director) accept or receive any consulting, advisory or other compensatory fee from the Company or be an affiliated person of the Company or any of its subsidiaries.
The Chairperson and other members of the Committee shall be appointed by the Board, subject to satisfying the standards set forth above. Committee members may be removed by a majority vote of the Board, with or without cause. Any member of the Committee may resign at any time by giving written notice of his or her resignation to the Board.
The Committee shall meet at least four times annually, or more frequently as the Committee deems necessary. The Chairperson of the Committee shall set the meeting agenda.
The Committee shall have access to and, if the Committee deems appropriate, request attendance at its meetings, the Chief Financial Officer, Controller, director of internal audit and such other members of the Company's management as the Committee deems necessary.
The Committee shall meet at least quarterly with management, independent accountants, and the director of internal audit in separate executive sessions to discuss any matters that the Committee, the Chair of the Committee or any of these groups believe necessary or appropriate.
The Committee shall be directly responsible for the appointment, compensation, retention and oversight of the work of any accounting firm employed by the Company (including the resolution of disputes between management and the accounting firm regarding financial reporting) for the purpose of preparing or issuing an audit report or performing other audit, review or attestation services for the Company, and such firm shall report directly to the Committee.
The Committee, to the extent it deems necessary or appropriate, shall:
A. Financial Statement and Other Reviews
1. Review with management and the Company's independent auditor the Company's quarterly financial statements and Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, including the results of the independent auditor's review of such statements, prior to the Company's issuing of its quarterly earnings release and filing of its Form 10-Q.
2. Review with management and the Company's independent auditor the Company's annual audited financial statements and Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations prior to the Company's issuing of its fourth quarter earnings release and filing of its Form 10-K. Included in such review shall be a review and discussion with management and the Company's independent auditor of the independent auditor's audit process and procedures, any major issues regarding accounting and auditing principles and practices, the adequacy of internal controls that could significantly affect the Company's financial statements and any adjustments to the financial statements that were suggested by the independent auditor (including whether or not such adjustments were made).
3. Determine whether to recommend to the Board of Directors the inclusion of the annual audited financial statements in the Company's Form 10-K for the applicable fiscal year.
4. Meet separately and periodically with management, internal auditors (or other personnel responsible for the internal audit function) and the independent auditors to review the Company's major financial risk exposures and the steps management has taken to monitor and control such exposures. The Committee shall also review and evaluate the Company's processes and policies for identifying and assessing key financial statement risk areas and for formulating and implementing steps to address such risk areas. As part of this process, the Committee should discuss guidelines and policies to govern the process by which this is handled.
5. Review and discuss with management and the independent auditor any significant financial reporting issues and judgments raised by them in connection with the preparation of the Company's financial statements, including any significant changes in the Company's selection or application of accounting principles and practices, any major issues as to the adequacy of the Company's internal controls, the development, selection and disclosure of critical accounting estimates, and analyses of the effect of alternative assumptions, estimates or GAAP methods on the Company's financial statements.
6. Review with management and the independent auditor proposed and recently enacted major changes to the Company's auditing and accounting principles and practices.
7. Review with management and the independent auditor new regulatory and accounting rules, pronouncements or initiatives and their impact on the Company's financial statements.
8. Review with management and the independent auditor all off-balance sheet structures and transactions.
9. Review with the Company's General Counsel and the independent auditor legal matters that could have a material impact on the Company's business, properties or financial statements.
10. Discuss with the independent auditor the matters required to be discussed by Statement on Auditing Standards No. 61 relating to the conduct of the audit.
11. Review with the independent auditor any audit problems or difficulties the auditor may have encountered in the course of the audit work, including any restrictions on the scope of activities or access to requested information and any significant disagreements with management, and management's response. Such review should include:
(a) any accounting adjustments that were noted or proposed by the independent auditor but were passed (as immaterial or otherwise);
(b) any communications between the independent auditor and its national office respecting auditing or accounting issues presented by the engagement;
(c) any "management" or "internal control" letters issued, or proposed to be issued, by the independent auditor to the Company; and
(d) the responsibilities, budget and staffing of the Company's internal audit function.
12. Review the following matters with the independent auditor (such matters shall be timely reported to the Committee by the independent auditor):
(a) All critical accounting policies and practices to be used;
(b) All alternative treatments of financial information within generally accepted accounting principles that have been discussed with management, ramifications of the use of such alternative disclosures and treatments, and the preferred treatment of the auditor; and
(c) Other material written communications between the auditor and management, including any management letter or schedule of unadjusted differences.
13. Meet with the officers certifying the Company's periodic reports pursuant to Section 302 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and any other officers that the Committee deems necessary or appropriate, to:
are reasonably likely to adversely affect the Company's ability to record, process, summarize and report financial information;
14. Meet with the officers certifying the Company's periodic reports pursuant to Section 302 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and with the Company's independent auditor to discuss any deficiencies and fraud.
15. Review with management earnings press releases and financial information and earnings guidance provided to analysts and rating agencies, including the type and presentation of information to be included in earnings press releases, including the use of "pro forma" or "adjusted" non-GAAP information, as well as review of any financial information and earnings guidance provided to analysts and rating agencies.
B. Auditor Review and Retention
1. Be directly responsible and have the sole authority to appoint, discharge and replace the independent auditors to be retained by the Company and to approve the compensation of the independent auditors and all audit engagement fees and terms. The Committee may consult with management but shall not delegate these responsibilities to management. The Committee should meet with the independent auditor prior to the audit to discuss the planning and staffing of the audit.
2. Have the sole authority to, and shall, review and pre-approve any engagement of the Company's independent auditor to provide any non-audit service to the Company that is not prohibited by law. The Committee shall have the ability to delegate the authority to pre-approve non-audit services to one (1) or more designated members of the Committee. If such authority is delegated, the delegated member(s) of the Committee shall prepare a memorandum regarding the action taken, and shall report to the full Committee, at the next Committee meeting, all items pre-approved by the designated member(s).
3. Receive and review a report from the independent auditor, at least annually, regarding: (a) the auditor's internal quality control procedures, (b) any material issues raised by the most recent internal quality-control review, or peer review, of the auditing firm, or by any inquiry or investigation by governmental or professional authorities, within the preceding five years, respecting one or more independent audits carried out by the firm, and any steps taken to deal with any such issues, and (c) all relationships between the independent auditor and the Company.
5. Evaluate the qualifications (including the experience and qualifications of the senior members of the audit team), performance and independence of the independent auditor, including whether the provision of non-audit services by the independent auditor is compatible with maintaining the auditor's independence, based on the above.
6. Ensure that the Committee receives, annually, a letter of independence from the independent auditor, and recommend that the Board take appropriate action in response to such letter to satisfy itself of the independence of the auditor.
7. At each quarterly meeting of the Committee, review all engagements of the Company's independent auditor for non-audit services that occurred during the prior fiscal quarter.
8. Request evidence from the independent auditors confirming that such firm is registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.
9. Request a representation letter from the Company's independent auditor prior to the commencement of the audit engagement confirming that (i) the lead (or coordinating) audit partner and the reviewing audit partner have not performed audit services for the Company for more than five (5) consecutive years, and (ii) if either of such persons performed audit services for the Company for five (5) consecutive years, the last year of such period was more than five (5) years ago.
10. Obtain from the Company's independent auditor the inspection report of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.
11. Set policies for the Company's hiring of employees or former employees of the independent auditor.
12. Consider whether, in order to assure continuing auditor independence, it is appropriate to adopt a policy of rotating the lead audit partner or even the independent auditing firm itself on a regular basis.
C. Oversight of Internal Audit Function and Internal Controls Over Financial Reporting
1. Review the appointment and replacement of the senior internal auditing executive or third-party internal audit firm, as applicable.
2. Review the significant reports to management prepared by the internal auditors and management's responses thereto.
3. Discuss with the independent auditor the internal auditor's responsibilities and scope of planned internal audits.
5. Review management's annual report on internal control over financial reporting prior to the Company's inclusion of such annual report in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K.
6. Review the independent auditor's attestation report regarding management's assessment of the Company's internal control over financial reporting prior to the inclusion of such attestation report in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K.
7. Review with management any changes in the Company's internal control over financial reporting that occurred during the most recently completed fiscal quarter that have materially affected, or are reasonably likely to materially affect, the Company's internal control over financial reporting.
8. Review any significant deficiencies or material weaknesses identified in the Company's internal control over financial reporting, and any special steps taken as a result thereof.
D. Other Responsibilities
1. Make quarterly reports (or more frequently as the Committee deems necessary or appropriate) to the board of Directors.
2. Prepare the report required by the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission to be included in the Company's annual proxy statement.
3. Establish and periodically review procedures for the receipt, retention and treatment of complaints received by the Company regarding accounting, internal accounting controls or auditing matters.
4. Establish and periodically review procedures for the confidential, anonymous submission by employees of the Company of concerns regarding questionable accounting or auditing matters, and providing whistleblower protection for any employee, contractor, subcontractor or agent who provides information in accordance with such process. The Committee shall direct the dissemination of the mechanics of such process to all employees.
The responsibilities and duties set forth herein are the sole responsibility of the Committee and may not be allocated to a different committee.
V. Powers and Limitations
1. The Committee shall have prompt and unrestricted access to all financial and operating information relevant to the Company's business.
2. The Committee may cause an investigation to be made into any matter within the scope of its responsibility.
3. The Committee shall have the authority, to the extent it deems necessary or appropriate, to retain legal, financial, accounting or other consultants to advise the Committee, and shall have the sole authority to approve the consultants' fees and other retention terms.
4. While the Committee has the responsibilities and powers set forth in this Charter, its function is one of oversight, and it is not the duty of the Committee to plan or conduct audits or to determine that the Company's financial statements are complete and accurate and are in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles or other applicable rules or regulations. These are the responsibilities of management and the independent auditor.
5. Advise the Company of the funding requirements necessary to pay (i) the auditors for the purpose of rendering the audit report or performing other audit, review or attest services, (ii) any other advisers employed by the audit committee, and (iii) ordinary administrative expenses of the Committee that are necessary or appropriate in carrying out its duties.
VI. Annual Committee Review
The Committee shall conduct an annual review and self-evaluation to determine whether it is functioning effectively and report on such review and evaluation to the Board. The Committee shall annually review and reassess the adequacy of (i) its Audit and Non-Audit Services Pre-Approval Policy, and (ii) this Charter and recommend any proposed changes to the Board for approval.
This Charter shall be posted on the Company's website.