AMENDED AND RESTATED
CHARTER OF THE AUDIT COMMITTEE
PURPOSE AND POLICY
The policy of the Committee, in discharging these obligations, shall be to maintain and foster an open avenue of communication between the Committee and the Auditors and the Company's financial management.
MEETINGS AND MINUTES
To evaluate the performance of the Auditors, to assess their qualifications (including their internal quality-control procedures) and to determine whether to retain or to terminate the existing Auditors or to appoint and engage new auditors for the ensuing year.
To determine and approve engagements of the Auditors, prior to commencement of such engagement, to perform all proposed audit, review and attest services, including the scope of and plans for the audit, the adequacy of staffing, the compensation to be paid to the Auditors and have the authority to negotiate on behalf of the Company, of the Auditors' engagement letters, which approval may be pursuant to preapproval policies and procedures, including the delegation of preapproval authority to one or more Committee members so long as any such preapproval decisions are presented to the full Committee at the next scheduled meeting.
To determine and approve engagements of the Auditors, prior to commencement of such engagement (unless in compliance with exceptions available under applicable laws and rules related to immaterial aggregate amounts of services), to perform any proposed permissible non-audit services, including the scope of the service and the compensation to be paid therefor, which approval may be pursuant to preapproval policies and procedures established by the Committee consistent with applicable laws and rules, including the delegation of preapproval authority to one or more Committee members so long as any such preapproval decisions are presented to the full Committee at the next scheduled meeting.
To monitor the rotation of the partners of the Auditors on the Company's audit engagement team as required by applicable laws and rules and to consider periodically and, if deemed appropriate, adopt a policy regarding rotation of auditing firms.
At least annually, to receive and review written statements from the Auditors delineating all relationships between the Auditors and the Company, to consider and discuss with the Auditors any disclosed relationships and any compensation or services that could affect the Auditors' objectivity and independence, and to assess and otherwise take appropriate action to oversee the independence of the Auditors.
To evaluate employment by the Company of individuals formerly employed by the Company's Auditors and engaged on the Company's account.
To review, upon completion of the audit, the financial statements proposed to be included in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K to be filed with the SEC and to recommend whether or not such financial statements should be so included.
To discuss with management and the Auditors the results of the annual audit, including the Auditors' assessment of the quality, not just acceptability, of accounting principles; the reasonableness of significant judgments and estimates (including material changes in estimates); any material audit adjustments proposed by the Auditors and immaterial adjustments proposed by the Auditors or discovered by management which were not recorded; the adequacy of the disclosures in the financial statements and any other matters required to be communicated to the Committee by the Auditors under generally accepted auditing standards; and all material alternative treatments of financial information within generally accepted accounting principles that have been discussed with management, including the ramifications of the use of such alternative treatments and disclosures and the treatment preferred by the Auditors.
To discuss with management and the Auditors the results of the Auditors' review of the Company's quarterly financial statements, prior to public disclosure of quarterly financial information, if practicable, or filing with the SEC of the Company's Quarterly Report on Form 10 Q, and any other matters required to be communicated to the Audit Committee by the Auditors under generally accepted auditing standards.
To review and discuss with management and the Auditors, in the context of a meeting of the Committee or otherwise as appropriate, the Company's disclosures contained under the caption "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" in its periodic reports before they are filed with the SEC.
To inquire of and discuss with management the process followed and any action taken by the Company's disclosure committee with respect to the Company's quarterly and annual reports filed with the SEC. The Committee shall also discuss with the Company's Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer the Section 302 and Section 906 certifications required by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as may be amended.
To review and discuss with management and the Auditors, as appropriate, earnings press releases, as well as the substance of financial information and earnings guidance provided to analysts and ratings agencies, which discussions may be general discussions of the type of information to be disclosed or the type of presentation to be made. The Chair of the Committee may represent the entire Committee for purposes of this discussion.
To review with
management and the Auditors significant issues that arise regarding
accounting principles and financial statement presentation, including
critical accounting policies and practices, alternative accounting policies
available under accounting principles generally accepted in the
To review and discuss with management and the Auditors, as appropriate, the Company's guidelines and policies with respect to risk assessment and risk management, including the Company's major financial risk exposures and the steps taken by management to monitor and control these exposures.
To evaluate the cooperation received by the Auditors during their audit examination, including any significant difficulties with the audit or any restrictions on the scope of their activities or access to required records, data and information.
To review with the Auditors and, if appropriate, management, any management or internal control letter issued or, to the extent practicable, proposed to be issued by the Auditors and management's response, if any, to such letter, as well as any additional material written communications between the Auditors and management.
To review with the Auditors and management any conflicts or disagreements between management and the Auditors regarding financial reporting, accounting practices or policies and to resolve any such conflicts regarding financial reporting.
To confer with the Auditors and with the management regarding the scope, adequacy and effectiveness of internal financial reporting controls and procedures in effect, including any special audit steps taken in the event of material control deficiencies. The Committee shall also review with the Auditors and management the annual internal control report of management and the Auditors' attestation report proposed to be included in the Company's Annual Reports on Form 10-K to be filed with the SEC.
Periodically, to meet in separate sessions with the Auditors and management to discuss any matters that the Committee, the Auditors or management believe should be discussed privately with the Committee.
To consider and review with management, the Auditors, outside counsel, as appropriate, and, in the judgment of the Committee, such special counsel, separate accounting firm and other consultants and advisors as the Committee deems appropriate, any correspondence with regulators or governmental agencies and any published reports that raise material issues regarding the Company's financial statements or accounting policies.
To oversee established procedures, when and as required by applicable laws and rules, for the receipt, retention and treatment of complaints received by the Company regarding accounting, internal accounting controls or auditing matters and the confidential and anonymous submission by employees, consultants, vendors, etc. of concerns regarding questionable accounting or auditing matters.
To review with counsel, the Auditors and management, as appropriate, any significant regulatory or other legal or accounting initiatives or matters that may have a material impact on the Company's financial statements, compliance programs and policies if, in the judgment of the Committee, such review is necessary or appropriate.
To review the results of management's efforts to monitor compliance with the Company's programs and policies designed to ensure adherence to applicable laws and rules, as well as to its Code of Conduct, including review and approval of related-party transactions as required by Nasdaq rules.
To investigate any matter brought to the attention of the Committee within the scope of its duties if, in the judgment of the Committee, such investigation is necessary or appropriate.
To prepare the report required by the rules of the SEC to be included in the Company's annual proxy statement.
To review and assess the adequacy of this charter annually and recommend any proposed changes to the Board for approval.
To report to the Board of Directors with respect to material issues that arise regarding the quality or integrity of the Company's financial statements, the Company's compliance with legal or regulatory requirements, the performance or independence of the Company's Auditors or such other matters as the Committee deems appropriate from time to time or whenever it shall be called upon to do so.
To adopt written procedures for the confidential receipt, retention and consideration of any report of evidence of a material violation under Rule 205.3 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
To carry out the responsibilities of a QLCC as set forth in the Rules of Professional Conduct.
To perform such other functions and to have such powers as may be necessary or appropriate in the efficient and lawful discharge of the foregoing.
It shall be the responsibility of management to prepare the Company's financial statements and periodic reports and the responsibility of the Auditors to audit those financial statements. These functions shall not be the responsibility of the Committee, nor shall it be the Committee's responsibility to ensure that the financial statements or periodic reports are complete and accurate, conform to GAAP or otherwise comply with applicable laws.