Produced by the Audit Committee Guidance Committee (ACGC), the Guidebook for Audit Committees in Singapore is a key initiative of Singapore's ongoing efforts to strengthen the corporate governance practices of listed companies. Audit committees play a central role in the governance and oversight of companies. With the growing complexities of the business environment, audit committees face even greater demands. This Guidebook thus provides timely assistance to audit committee members. The key objective of the Guidebook is to share the experiences, knowledge and practices of audit committee members for other audit committee members to adapt to suit their specific circumstances. It is not intended to be a new rulebook or to prescribe additional standards. Ultimately, audit committee members must exercise independence and observe the spirit of the relevant rules and regulations.
The Guidebook was developed with extensive industry input, sought through dialogue sessions, focus groups and a survey of audit committee members. During the course of consultations with the business community and stakeholder groups, participants agreed that the Guidebook would provide greater direction for audit committee members.
The ACGC has placed emphasis on addressing key areas of concern identified during its consultations so as to provide practical guidance. These areas of concern include risk management, fraud, internal controls and the composition of the audit committee. The best practices are also targeted at audit committee members from various types of companies and all levels of experience. To further assist audit committee members to implement the best practices, the ACGC has included a number of practical tools, such as frequently-asked-questions, case studies, checklists, red flags and sample forms.
The industry-led ACGC was established on 15 January 2008 by Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) and Singapore Exchange (SGX) to develop practical guidance for audit committees of listed companies. This is a key initiative announced by MAS and SGX in June 2007 to strengthen corporate governance practices of listed companies in Singapore.
Dialogue sessions and focus groups were conducted with the business community and stakeholder groups. Participants included industry practitioners from the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME), the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (ICPAS), the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and the Singapore Institute of Directors (SID).
The ACGC commissioned the SMU School of Accountancy to survey AC members on the practical difficulties and challenges that they face in discharging their duties, as well as the areas in which they would welcome practical guidance. The survey was conducted from March to April in 2008. Find out more information on the results of the survey