According to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which of the following statements is correct regarding an issuer's audit committee financial expert?
a. The issuer's current outside CPA firm's audit partner must be the audit committee financial expert.
b. The issuer must fill the role with an individual who has experience in the issuer's industry.
c. If an issuer does not have an audit committee financial expert, the issuer must disclose the reason why the role is not filled.
d. The audit committee financial expert must be the issuer's audit committee chairperson to enhance internal control.
Choice "c" is correct. Sarbanes-Oxley Section 407 requires that an issuer's audit committee have at least one financial expert, or disclose why that role is not filled. Section 407 requires that the financial expert have an understanding of GAAP and financial statements, be able to assess the application of accounting principles, have comparable experience applying accounting principles to entities that present a similar level of complexity of the issuer, and understand both internal controls and audit committee functions.
Choice "a" is incorrect. The audit committee is charged with negotiating the engagement of the external auditor and supervising their work. The auditor is accountable to the audit committee. The partner in charge of the audit firm engaged to do the audit should not be the financial expert on the audit committee.
Choice "b" is incorrect. Section 407 requires that the audit committee's financial expert understand the application of accounting principles to the issues representative of the complexity of the issuer but does not require specific experience in the industry. Section 407 defines four ways in which the necessary attributes of a financial expert can be achieved: education, experience supervising a financial officer, experience overseeing auditors, or other relevant experience.
Choice "d" is incorrect. Section 407 does not require that the audit committee's chairman be its financial expert.