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2019 Priorities for Boards and Audit Committees

2019 Priorities for Boards and Audit Committees


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On the 2019 Board Agenda

Board agendas should continue to evolve in 2019. The game-changing implications of technology/digital innovation, scrutiny of corporate culture, growing demands to address environmental and social issues, and investor expectations for greater board engagement, diversity, and long-term value creation should all drive a sharper focus on positioning the company for the future. Combined with concerns about mounting trade tensions, resurging debt, high valuations, and political swings in the U.S., UK, and elsewhere, the year ahead will require a careful balance of near-term focus, agility, and long-term thinking.

Drawing on insights from our work and interactions with directors and business leaders over the past 12 months, we’ve highlighted seven items for boards to consider as they focus their 2019 agendas on the critical challenges at hand and on the road ahead:

  • Take a hard look at the board’s composition: Is the talent in the boardroom diverse and aligned with the company’s strategy and future needs?
  • Recognize that connecting digital disruption with risk management and strategy is more important—and more challenging—than ever.
  • Help focus the company on long-term value creation and understand the views of all key stakeholders.
  • Make CEO succession and talent development throughout the organization a priority. 
  • Assess, monitor, and reinforce culture as a strategic asset and critical risk.
  • Continue to refine boardroom discussions about cybersecurity and data privacy as risk management issues. 
  • Reassess the company’s crisis prevention and readiness.

On the 2019 Audit Committee Agenda

Audit committees can expect their company’s financial reporting, compliance, risk and internal control environment to be put to the test in the year ahead. Among the top challenges and pressures: long-term economic uncertainty (with concerns about mounting trade tensions, resurging debt, and market valuations), technology advances and business model disruption, cyber risk, regulatory scrutiny and investor demands for transparency, and political swings and policy changes in the U.S., UK, and elsewhere.

Drawing on insights from our interactions with audit committees and business leaders over the past 12 months, we’ve highlighted seven items that audit committees should keep in mind as they consider and carry out their 2019 agendas:

  • Take a fresh look at the audit committee’s agenda and workload.
  • Sharpen the company’s focus on culture, ethics, and compliance.
  • Understand how the finance organization will reinvent itself and add greater value in this technology and data-driven environment.
  • Monitor management’s progress on implementing new FASB standards as well as SAB 118 adjustments related to U.S. tax reform.
  • Discuss the new reporting requirements for critical audit matters (CAMs) with the external auditor and reinforce audit quality by setting clear expectations.
  • Give non-GAAP financial measures, other key operating metrics, and cybersecurity disclosures a prominent place on the audit committee agenda.
  • Focus internal audit on the company’s key risks beyond financial reporting and compliance.

For more information, download the full reports below.

The information contained herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation.

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