Audit Committee Charter
STATEMENT OF POLICY
The Audit Committee (the “Committee”) of the Board of Directors (the “Board”) of Accelerated Technologies Holding Corp. (the “Company”) has the responsibility and authority to oversee the accounting and financial reporting processes of the Company, the integrity of the financial reports and other financial information and the audits of the Company’s financial statements. The Committee shall also review the qualifications, independence and performance, and approve the terms of engagement of the Company’s independent auditor, review the performance of the Company’s internal audit function and prepare any reports required of the Committee under rules of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”).
The Company shall provide appropriate funding, as determined by the Committee, to permit the Committee to perform its duties under this Charter, to compensate its advisors and to compensate any registered public accounting firm engaged for the purpose of rendering or issuing an audit report or related work or performing other audit, review or attest services for the Company. The Committee, at its discretion, has the authority to initiate investigations and hire legal, accounting or other outside advisors or experts to assist the Committee, as it deems necessary to fulfill its duties under this Charter. The Committee may also perform such other activities consistent with this Charter, the Company’s Bylaws and governing law, as the Committee or the Board deems necessary or appropriate.
ORGANIZATION AND MEMBERSHIP REQUIREMENTS
The Committee shall comprise three (3) or more directors selected by the Board, each of whom shall satisfy the independence and experience requirements of (i) Rule 10A-3 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, (ii) The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC (the “NASDAQ”); provided that the Company may avail itself of any permitted exemptions from such NASDAQ independence requirements, and (iii) the Company’s independence guidelines. In addition, the Committee shall not include any member who:
- Has participated in the preparation of the financial statements of the Company or any current subsidiary at any time during the past three (3) years; or
- Accepts any consulting, advisory, or other compensatory fee, directly or indirectly, from the Company, other than in his or her capacity as a member of the Committee, the Board, or any other committee of the Board; or
- Is an affiliate of the Company or any subsidiary of the Company, other than a director who meets the independence requirements of NASDAQ.
Each member of the Committee must be able to read and understand fundamental financial statements, including the Company’s balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement. At least one member of the Committee must have past employment experience in finance or accounting, requisite professional certification in accounting or other comparable experience or background that leads to financial sophistication. At least one member of the Committee must be an “audit committee financial expert” as defined in Item 407(d)(5)(ii) of Regulation S-K. A person who satisfies this definition of audit committee financial expert will also be presumed to have financial sophistication.
Each member of the Committee shall be appointed by the Board and shall serve until his or her successor is duly elected and qualified or until such member’s earlier resignation, removal or death. Any member of the Committee may be removed or replaced by the Board on the recommendation of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. Unless a chairman is elected by the full Board, the members of the Committee may designate a chairman by majority vote of the full Committee membership. The Chair shall preside at all regular meetings of the Committee and set the agenda for each Committee meeting.
The Committee shall meet as often as it determines, but not less frequently than quarterly. A majority of the members shall represent a quorum of the Committee. Formal action to be taken by the Committee shall be by unanimous written consent or by the affirmative vote of at least a majority of the members present (in person or by telephone conference call) at a meeting at which a quorum is present. The Committee may form and delegate authority to subcommittees, or to one or more members of the Committee, when appropriate. The Committee shall meet with management, internal auditors and the independent auditor in separate executive sessions as appropriate. The Committee shall meet with the independent auditor and management on a quarterly basis to review the Company’s financial statements and financial reports. The Committee shall maintain written minutes of its meetings, which minutes will be filed with the minutes of the meetings of the Board.
COMMITTEE AUTHORITY AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The Committee shall have the following authority and responsibilities, subject to such modification and additional authority as the Board may approve from time to time:
1. Oversight of the Company’s Independent Auditor
1. Be directly and solely responsible for the appointment, compensation, retention and oversight of any independent auditor (including resolution of disagreements between management and the independent auditor regarding financial reporting) engaged by the Company for the purpose of preparing or issuing an audit report or related work, with each such auditor reporting directly to the Committee.
2. Periodically review and discuss with the independent auditor (i) the matters required to be discussed by Statement on Auditing Standards No. 61, as amended, and (ii) any formal written statements received from the independent auditor consistent with and in satisfaction of Independence Standards Board Standard No. 1, as amended, including without limitation, descriptions of (x) all relationships between the independent auditor and the Company, (y) any disclosed relationships or services that may impact the independent auditor’s objectivity and independence and (z) whether any of the Company’s senior finance personnel were recently employed by the independent auditor.
3. Evaluate annually the qualifications, performance and independence of the independent auditor, including a
review of whether the independent auditor’s quality-control procedures are adequate and a review and evaluation of the lead partner of the independent auditor, taking into account the opinions of management and the Company’s internal auditors, and report to the Board on its conclusions, together with any recommendations for additional action.
4. Consult with the independent auditor regarding the rotation of the lead audit partner having primary responsibility for the audit and the audit partner responsible for reviewing the audit every five years, consider issues related to the timing of such rotation and the transition to new lead and reviewing partners, and consider whether, in order to assure continuing auditor independence, there should be regular rotation of the audit firm, and report to the Board on its conclusions.
5. Approve in advance the engagement of the independent auditor for all audit services and non-audit services,
based on independence, qualifications and, if applicable, performance, and approve the fees and other terms of
any such engagement; provided, however, that (i) the Committee may establish pre-approval policies and
procedures for any engagement to render such services, that such policies and procedures (x) are detailed as to
particular services, (y) do not involve delegation to management of the Committee’s responsibilities hereunder and (z) provide that, at its next scheduled meeting, the Committee is informed as to each such service for which the independent auditor is engaged pursuant to such policies and procedures, and (ii) the Committee may delegate to one or more members of the Committee the authority to grant pre-approvals for such services; provided that the decisions of such member(s) to grant any such pre-approval shall be presented to the Committee at its next scheduled meeting.
6. Meet with the independent auditor prior to the audit to discuss the planning and staffing of the audit.
7. Approve as necessary the termination of the engagement of the independent auditor.
8. Establish policies for the hiring of employees or former employees of the independent auditor who participated in any capacity in the audit of the Company, taking into account the impact of such policies on auditor independence.
9. Regularly review with the independent auditor any significant difficulties encountered during the course of the audit, any restrictions on the scope of work or access to required information and any significant disagreement among management and the independent auditor in connection with the preparation of the financial statements. Review with the independent auditor any accounting adjustments that were noted or proposed by the independent auditor but that were “passed” (as immaterial or otherwise, any communications between the audit team and the independent auditor’s national office respecting auditing or accounting issues presented by the engagement, any “management” or “internal control” letter or schedule of unadjusted differences issued, or proposed to be issued, by the independent auditor to the Company, or any other material written communication provided by the independent auditor to the Company’s management.
10. Review with the independent auditor the critical accounting policies and practices used by the Company, all
alternative treatments of financial information within Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”) that the independent auditor has discussed with management, the ramifications of the use of such alternative disclosures and treatments and the treatment preferred by the independent auditor.
2. Review of Financial Reporting, Policies and Processes
1. Review and discuss with management and the independent auditor the Company’s annual audited financial
statements and any certification, report, opinion or review rendered by the independent auditor, and recommend to the Board whether the audited financial statements should be included in the Company’s annual report on Form 10-K.
2. Review and discuss with management and the independent auditor the Company’s quarterly financial statements.
3. Review and discuss with management and the independent auditor the Company’s disclosure under
“Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” appearing in the
Company’s 10-K, 10-Qs and any periodic reports.
4. Review and discuss with management all press releases regarding the Company’s financial results and any other information provided to securities analysts and rating agencies, including any non-GAAP financial information.
5. Periodically meet separately with management, with internal auditors and with the independent auditor.
6. Review with management and the independent auditor any significant judgments made in management’s
preparation of the financial statements and the view of each as to appropriateness of such judgments.
7. Review with management its assessment of the effectiveness and adequacy of the Company’s internal control structure and procedures for financial reporting (“Internal Controls”), review annually with the independent auditor the attestation to and report on the assessment made by management, and consider with management, the internal auditors (if applicable) and the independent auditor whether any changes to the Internal Controls are appropriate in light of management’s assessment or the independent auditor’s attestation.
8. To the extent that it deems appropriate, review with management its evaluation of the Company’s procedures and controls designed to assure that information required to be disclosed in the Company’s periodic reports is
recorded, processed, summarized and reported in such reports within the time periods specified by the SEC for
the filing of such reports (“Disclosure Controls”), and consider whether any changes are appropriate in light of
management’s evaluation of the effectiveness of such Disclosure Controls.
9. Review and discuss with management and the independent auditor any off-balance sheet transactions or
structures and their effect on the Company’s financial results and operations, as well as the disclosure regarding
such transactions and structures in the Company’s public filings.
10. Review with management and the independent auditor the effect of regulatory and accounting initiatives on the financial statements. Review any major issues regarding accounting principles and financial statement
presentations, including any significant changes in selection of an application of accounting principles. Consider and approve, if appropriate, changes to the Company’s auditing and accounting principles and practices as suggested by the independent auditor or management.
11. Review any analyses prepared by management and/or the independent or internal auditor setting forth significant financial reporting issues and judgments made in connection with the preparation of the financial statements, including the effects of alternative GAAP methods on the financial statements.
12. Review any special audit steps adopted in light of material control deficiencies. Review with the independent auditor and management the extent to which changes or improvements in financial or accounting practices, as approved by the Committee, have been implemented.
13. If applicable, (i) review the appointment and replacement of the internal auditors, (ii) review the significant reports to management prepared by the internal auditors, and (iii) discuss with management and the internal auditors the internal auditors’ responsibilities, budget and staffing and the planned scope of internal audits.
3. Risk Management, Related Party Transactions, Legal Compliance and Ethics
1. Review with the chief executive and chief financial officer of the Company any report on significant deficiencies in the design or operation of the Internal Controls that could adversely affect the Company’s ability to record, process, summarize or report financial data, any material weaknesses in the Internal Controls identified to the auditors, and any fraud, whether or not material, that involves management or other employees who have a significant role in the Internal Controls.
2. Review and approve any related-party transactions, after reviewing each such transaction for potential conflicts of interests and other improprieties.
3. Establish procedures for the receipt, retention and treatment of complaints received by the Company regarding accounting, internal accounting controls or auditing matters, and the confidential, anonymous submission by employees of the Company of concerns regarding questionable accounting or auditing matters. Adopt, as necessary, appropriate remedial measures or actions with respect to such complaints or concerns.
4. In consultation with the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, consider and present to the Board for adoption a Code of Business Conduct and Ethics for all employees and directors, which meets the requirements of Item 406 of Regulation S-K promulgated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and provide for and review prompt disclosure to the public of any change in, or waiver of, such Code of Business Conduct and Ethics.
5. As requested by the Board, review and investigate conduct alleged by the Board to be in violation of the
Company’s Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, and adopt as necessary or appropriate, remedial, disciplinary, or other measures with respect to such conduct.
6. Discuss with management and the independent auditor any correspondence with regulators or governmental
agencies that raise material issues regarding the Company’s financial statements or accounting policies.
7. Discuss guidelines and policies to govern the process by which risk assessment and management is undertaken and handled. Discuss with management the Company’s major financial risk exposures and the steps management has taken to monitor and control such exposures.
8. Review with the Company’s general counsel and report to the Board on litigation, material government
investigations and compliance with applicable legal requirements and the Company’s Code of Business Conduct and Ethics.
9. Prepare the report required by the rules of the SEC to be included in the Company’s annual proxy statement.
10. Develop, in coordination with the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, and implement an annual performance evaluation of the Committee.
11. Regularly report to the Board on the Committee’s activities, recommendations and conclusions.
12. Review and reassess the Charter’s adequacy at least annually.