In a strategy designed to help modernize the business-reporting model, board members of the American Institute of CPAs’ recently restructured Center for Audit Quality will embark on a multi-city “listening tour."The aim of the tour is for members to engage investors, regulators, academics and business leaders and, subsequently, offer a series of recommendations.

“We need to get the key stakeholders to the table,” Cindy Fornelli, executive director for the center, told WebCPA. “It’s often hard to get the perspective of investors and users of financial information. We need to establish a dialogue, where it’s not so much a matter of us asking them, but rather us listening to them talk amongst themselves.”

She said that beginning towards the end of April, the center will conduct between eight and 12 meetings. Venues, which have not all been determined, will include both midsized markets and larger cities.

Fornelli, a former deputy director at the Securities and Exchange Commission and compliance executive at the Bank of America, was named to head the CAQ in October.

At the end of the tour, she said that she hopes the center can come up guidelines, possibly in the form of a white paper, to address issues such as enhancing investor confidence and other critical challenges that affect the public domain.

The center, whose counts roughly 800 firms among its members, supplanted the AICPA Center for Public Company Audit Firms. Its board is comprised of the chief executives of the six largest audit firms and the AICPA. Three board slots currently remain open.

“It’s a matter of getting the right people in the room,” she said. “It’s going to be a gradual learning process for us.”

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