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Black Boxes, Red Herrings and White Powder - Perspectives on the Audit Committee

Laura Spira
Oxford Brookes University Business School

Date: 7 November 2006
Time: 1-2.30pm
Venue: CARR Seminar Room, H615

Audit committees have become a central feature of the architecture of corporate governance in the UK since the publication of the Cadbury Committee's recommendations in 1992. This paper outlines the history of the audit committee idea and uses a metaphorical approach to provide different perspectives on its role, identifying its limitations as a mechanism for improving corporate governance and considering the consequences of these limitations in the context of UK corporate governance policy.

Laura F Sira is Professor of Corporate Governance at Oxford Brookes University Business School. She qualified as a chartered accountant with Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co (now KPMG) in London and, after leaving professional practice, worked in the NHS at regional level before joining Brookes.

Laura's research into corporate governance issues has included a study of the role of audit committees: her book 'The Audit Committee: Performing Corporate Governance', was published by Kluwer in 2000. She has also explored recent developments in internal control and risk management in large UK public companies, leading to the publication of 'The Turnbull Report, Internal Control and Risk Management: the Developing Role of Internal Audit', jointly authored with Mike Page and published by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland in 2004. As a result of this, she was invited to act as Academic Adviser to the Turnbull Review Group.

Laura is a member of the executive committee of the British Accounting Association Corporate Governance Special Interest Group, of which she was a founding member. She is also Research Relationships Adviser for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, bridging the gap between theory and practice by helping technical staff to build networks with academics.