AMENDED AND RESTATED CHARTER OF THE AUDIT COMMITTEE OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF AUTHENTIDATE HOLDING CORP.
The primary function of the Audit Committee is to assist the Board of Directors of Authentidate
Holding Corp. (the “Company”) in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities by: (a) reviewing and monitoring the integrity of the financial reports and other financial information provided by the Company to any governmental body or the public; (b) reviewing the Company’s systems of internal controls regarding finance, accounting, legal compliance and ethics that management and the Board have established; (c) reviewing and monitoring the Company’s internal auditing, accounting and financial reporting processes generally; and (d) overseeing the independent auditor’s qualifications and independence. Consistent with this function, the Audit Committee should encourage improvement of, and foster adherence to, the Company’s policies, procedures and practices at all levels. Similarly, the Audit Committee shall provide an open avenue of communication among the independent accountants, financial and senior management, the internal auditing department, and the Board of Directors. The Audit Committee will primarily fulfill these responsibilities by carrying out the activities enumerated in Section IV of this Charter.
The Audit Committee shall be comprised of three or more directors, as determined by the Board, each of whom shall be independent directors as defined in Section 10A(M)(3) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”) and the regulations promulgated thereunder by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”) and by the rules of any exchange on which the Company’s securities may be listed for trading. Each member of the Audit Committee shall be free from any relationship that, in the opinion of the Board, would interfere with the exercise of his or her independent judgment as a member of the Audit Committee. At least one member of the Audit Committee shall be an “Audit Committee Financial Expert” as that term is defined by the Commission in regulations it has promulgated under the Exchange Act. All members of the Audit Committee shall have a working familiarity with basic finance and accounting practices. The members of the Audit Committee shall be elected by the Board at the annual organizational meeting of the Board or until their successors shall be duly elected and qualified. Unless a Chair is elected by the full Board, the members of the Audit Committee may designate a Chair by majority vote of the full Audit Committee membership. All members of the Audit Committee may be replaced by the Board.
The Audit Committee shall meet at least once quarterly and more frequently as circumstances dictate. In addition, the Audit Committee shall meet with the independent auditors and management quarterly to review the Company’s financial statements. The Audit Committee shall meet periodically with management and the Company’s independent auditors in separate executive sessions to discuss any matters that the Audit Committee or each of these groups believes should be discussed privately. The Audit Committee may request any officer or employee of the Company or the Company’s outside counsel or independent auditor to attend a meeting of the Audit Committee or to meet with any members of or consultants to the Audit Committee.
IV. RESPONSIBILITIES AND DUTIES
To fulfill its responsibilities and duties the Audit Committee shall undertake the following:
A. Independent Auditors
1. The Audit Committee shall have the sole authority to appoint or replace the independent auditor (subject, if applicable, to shareholder ratification). The Audit Committee shall be directly responsible for the compensation and oversight of the work of the independent auditor (including resolution of disagreements between management and the independent auditor regarding financial reporting) for the purpose of preparing or issuing an audit report or related work. The independent auditor shall report directly to the Audit Committee.
2. The Audit Committee shall preapprove all auditing services and permitted non-audit services (including the fees and terms thereof) to be performed for the Company by its independent auditor, in accordance with Section 10A of the Exchange Act which are approved by the Audit Committee prior to the completion of the audit. The Audit Committee shall adopt policies and procedures governing its preapproval of all audit and permitted non-audit services to be performed by the Company’s independent auditor. Subject to applicable law and the requirements of any exchange upon which the Company’s common stock is traded, the Audit Committee may form and delegate authority to subcommittees consisting of one or more members when appropriate, including the authority to grant preapprovals of audit and permitted non-audit services, provided that decisions of such delegatee to grant preapprovals shall be presented to the full Audit Committee at its next scheduled meeting.
3. Review and discuss with the independent auditor (and separately with management) the matters required to be discussed by Statement on Auditing Standards No. 61 relating to the conduct of the audit. This review shall include:
- The adequacy of the Company’s internal controls and the fullness and accuracy of the
- Company’s financial statements;
- Whether there have been (and if so, the nature of) any audit problems or difficulties and any related responses by management;
- Confirmation that management is not placing any restrictions on the scope of the independent auditors’ work or their access to information;
- Any significant disagreements with management and management’s response;
- Inquiry as to any accounting adjustments noted or proposed by the independent auditors but “passed” (as immaterial or otherwise) and any communications between the audit team and the audit firm’s national office regarding auditing or accounting issues raised in connection with the Company’s audit;
- Discussion of any “management” or “internal control” letters issued or proposed to be issued by the independent auditors to the Company, as well any other material written communications between the independent auditors and management; and
- Discussion of the responsibilities, budget and staffing of the Company’s internal accounting function and the adequacy and appropriateness thereof.
4. Review and evaluate the lead partner of the independent auditor team and ensure the rotation of the audit partners as required by law. Consider whether, in order to assure continuing auditor independence, it is appropriate to adopt a policy of rotating the independent auditing firm on a regular basis.
5. Obtain and review a report from the independent auditor at least annually regarding (a) the independent auditor’s internal quality-control procedures, (b) any material issues raised by the most recent internal quality-control review, or peer review, of the firm, or by any inquiry or investigation by governmental or professional authorities within the preceding five years respecting one or more independent audits carried out by the firm, (c) any steps taken to deal with any such issues, and (d) all relationships between the independent auditor and the Company consistent with Independence Standards Board Standard No. 1. The Audit Committee shall evaluate the qualifications, performance and independence of the
independent auditor, including considering whether the auditor’s quality controls are adequate and the provision of permitted non-audit services is compatible with maintaining the auditor’s independence, taking into account the opinions of management and internal auditors. The Audit Committee shall present its conclusions with respect to the independent auditor to the Board.
6. Recommend to the Board policies for the Company’s hiring of employees or former employees of the independent auditor who participated in any capacity in the audit of the Company.
B. Financial Statement and Disclosure Matters
1. Review and discuss with management and the independent auditor the annual audited financial statements, including disclosures made in management’s discussion and analysis (“MD&A”), the critical accounting estimates employed in the MD&A and inquire whether such financial statements and any related notes are prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles and, together with such MD&A, are consistent with the information known to Audit Committee members, and recommend to the Board whether the audited financial statements should be included in the Company’s Form 10-K.
2. Review and discuss with management and the independent auditor the Company’s quarterly financial statements, related notes, the MD&A and the critical accounting estimates employed in the MD&A prior to the filing of its Form 10-Q, including the results of the independent auditor’s review of the quarterly financial statements and inquire whether such financial statements and any related notes are prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles and, together with such MD&A, are consistent with the information known to Audit Committee members.
3. In consultation with the independent auditors, the Audit Committee shall review the adequacy and integrity of the organization’s financial reporting and business control processes, both internal and external. Discuss with management and the independent auditor significant financial reporting issues and judgments made in connection with the preparation of the Company’s financial statements, including any significant changes in the selection or application of accounting principles, any major issues as to the adequacy of the Company’s internal controls and any special steps adopted in light of material control deficiencies or significant changes thereto.
4. Review the independent auditors’ judgments about the quality and appropriateness of the
Company’s accounting principles and approve significant changes to the Company’s auditing and accounting principles and practices as suggested by the independent auditors or management. Evaluate with management and the independent auditors, on an independent basis, the implementation of changes or improvements in financial or accounting practices as approved by the Audit Committee.
5. Review and discuss periodic reports from the independent auditors on: (a) all critical accounting policies and practices to be used; (b) all alternative treatments of financial information within generally accepted accounting principles that have been discussed with management, ramifications of the use of such alternative disclosures and treatments, and the treatment preferred by the independent auditor; and (c) other material written communications between the independent auditor and management, such as any management letter or schedule of unadjusted differences.
6. Discuss with management (on a pre-issuance basis) (a) the Company’s earnings press releases, financial information and earnings guidance provided to analysts and rating agencies; (b) significant financial reporting matters to be disclosed in any Commission filings, such as a change in accounting principles or extraordinary and non-recurring items and transactions; and (c) significant matters to be disclosed in Form 8-K filings with the Commission.
7. Discuss with management and the independent auditor the effect of regulatory and accounting initiatives including the Company’s use, if any, of “pro forma” or “adjusted” non-GAAP financial information and off-balance sheet structures on the Company’s financial statements.
8. Review and evaluate the Company’s policies and practices with respect to risk assessment and risk management, including the Company’s major financial risk exposures and litigation and insurance management processes and review steps taken by management to monitor and control such exposures. If appropriate, initiate special investigations into matters within the Audit Committee’s scope of responsibilities or as delegated by the Board of Directors.
9. If applicable, review the appointment and replacement of the senior internal accounting personnel and the organizational structure, and qualifications of the internal accounting department.
C. Ethical and Legal Compliance; Additional Responsibilities
1. Establish, review and update periodically a Code of Ethics compliant with Commission regulations and applicable to all employees, including the Company’s principal executive officer, senior financial officers and directors; ensure that management has established a system to enforce this Code; and review management’s monitoring of compliance with the Code of Ethics. Determine whether to grant any waivers of or approve any other deviations from the Company’s Code of Ethics, including those concerning related party transactions.
2. Review with management and the organization’s counsel, legal compliance matters including corporate securities trading policies and any other legal matter, including material litigation or special investigations that could have a significant impact on the organization’s policies or financial statements to ensure that reports and other information disseminated to governmental organizations or the public satisfy legal requirements.
3. Obtain from the independent auditor assurance that Section 10A(b) of the Exchange Act (“Required Response to Audit Discoveries”) has not been implicated.
4. Establish procedures for the receipt, retention and treatment of complaints received by the
Company regarding accounting, internal accounting controls or auditing matters, and the confidential, anonymous submission by employees of concerns regarding questionable accounting or auditing matters.
5. Evaluate, approve, and monitor on an ongoing basis any related party transactions.
6. Report to the Board on a regular basis about the Audit Committee’s activities and make appropriate recommendations. Review and reassess the adequacy of this Charter annually and recommend any proposed changes to the Board for approval. Conduct an annual self-evaluation to assess the Audit Committee’s effectiveness.
7. The Audit Committee shall have the authority, to the extent it deems necessary or appropriate and without obtaining specific Board approval, to retain independent legal, accounting or other advisors. The Company shall provide for appropriate funding, as determined by the Audit Committee, for payment of compensation to the independent auditor for the purpose of rendering or issuing an audit report and to any advisors employed by the Audit Committee.
8. Prepare the reports required by the rules of the Commission which are required to be in the Company’s annual proxy statement and other reports filed pursuant to the Exchange Act and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder by the Commission.
9. Perform any other activities consistent with this Charter, the Company’s By-laws and governing law, as the Audit Committee or the Board deems necessary or appropriate.