The Securities and Exchange Commission has approved Auditing Standard No. 16, Communications with Audit Committees, as well as amendments to other standards from the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

The new standard and amendments will be effective for public company audits for fiscal periods beginning on or after Dec. 15, 2012. The SEC also determined that they would apply to audits of "emerging growth companies" under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012.

AS No. 16 establishes requirements aimed at enhancing the relevance and timeliness of the communications between the auditor and the audit committee. It supersedes interim auditing standards AU Sec. 310, Appointment of the Independent Auditor, and AU Sec. 380, Communication with Audit Committees, and amends other PCAOB standards.

"AS 16 supports the critical role of auditors and audit committees in financial reporting," said PCAOB Chairman James R. Doty in a statement. "The standard moves the auditor's communication with the audit committee away from compliance checklists, and decisively in the direction of meaningful, effective interchange."

The PCAOB adopted the new standard on Aug. 15, 2012 (see “PCAOB Adopts New Auditing Standard, Amendments.”)