Drawing on insights from our conversations with audit committees and board directors around the world, we highlight the issues for them to consider as they approach and execute their 2020 agendas.

— Controlling the agenda and reassess whether the committee has the expertise and time to oversee the risks it has been assigned.

— Assessing the scope and quality of ESG disclosures has been of growing importance, with investors demanding more information and seeking engagement with companies.

— Regulation will continue to ramp-up and put compliance systems to the test.

— Focusing on ethics and compliance – the reputational costs of an ethics or compliance failure are higher than ever.

— Monitoring corporate reporting – carefully consider the detail provided in those areas of the annual report which are exposed to heightened levels of risk.

— Reinforcing audit quality – how your audit firm drives sustainable, improved audit quality – including their implementation and use of new technologies. 

— Leveraging the impact of technology – what are the company’s plans to leverage robotics, cloud technologies, artificial intelligence and data analytics to improve efficiencies in the finance function?

— Broadening the benefit of internal audit and help ensure that internal audit is focused on these key risks and related controls.

Prioritizing a heavy audit committee agenda is never easy, and 2020 will be particularly challenging as the audit committee operates against a backdrop of global volatility and economic uncertainty, in a world where investors and stakeholders are becoming increasingly powerful and informed.