The complexity of the organization’s activities, its stage of development and magnitude of its issues will determine the audit committee’s agenda. In addition, familiarity and experience of the audit committee members with the organization’s operations are important factors in determining adequate time allotment. On average, the audit committee should plan for at least two meetings per year, but that number may be on the “lighter” side, as discussed previously. The audit committee should meet to discuss scheduled matters, such as planning, and the year-end audit, but be prepared to schedule ad hoc sessions as circumstances warrant. Most audit committees try to schedule their meetings to coincide with regular meetings of the board, which may result in a more effective use of time. However, be wary of meetings that are squeezed into other agendas as this is usually an ineffective practice and sends the wrong message as to the tone at the top.

Further thoughts about audit committee meetings and suggestions for their agendas are outlined in Model Audit Committee Meeting Agendas within the Appendix.