ASPEN TECHNOLOGY, INC.
AUDIT COMMITTEE CHARTER
(Rev. May 2014)
The purpose of the Audit Committee is to assist the Board of Directors’ oversight of:
- the integrity of the Company’s financial statements;
- the Company’s compliance with legal and regulatory requirements;
- the independent auditor’s qualifications and independence;
- the performance of the Company’s internal audit function and independent auditors;
- the Company’s policies for risk assessment and management; and
- the Company’s investment management and other treasury policies.
B. Structure and Membership
- Number. The Audit Committee shall consist of at least three members of the Board of Directors.
- Independence. Except as otherwise permitted by the applicable rules of The Nasdaq Stock Market and Section 301 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (and the applicable rules thereunder), each member of the Audit Committee shall be “independent” as defined by such rules and Act.
- Financial Literacy. Each member of the Audit Committee shall be able to read and understand fundamental financial statements, including the Company’s balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement, at the time of his or her appointment to the Audit Committee. In selecting members of the Audit Committee, consideration shall be given as to whether at least one member is an “audit committee financial expert” (as defined by applicable SEC rules).
- Chair. Unless the Board of Directors elects a Chair of the Audit Committee, the Audit Committee shall elect a Chair by majority vote.
- Compensation. The compensation of Audit Committee members shall be as determined by the Board of Directors. No member of the Audit Committee may receive any consulting, advisory or other compensatory fee from the Company other than fees paid in his or her capacity as a member of the Board of Directors or a committee of the Board.
- Selection and Removal. Members of the Audit Committee shall be appointed by the Board of Directors, upon the recommendation of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. The Board of Directors may remove members of the Audit Committee from such committee, with or without cause.
C. Authority and Responsibilities
The Audit Committee shall discharge its responsibilities, and shall assess the information provided by the Company's management and the independent auditor, in accordance with its business judgment. Management is responsible for the preparation, presentation, and integrity of the Company's financial statements and for the appropriateness of the accounting principles and reporting policies that are used by the Company. The independent auditors are responsible for auditing the Company's financial statements and for reviewing the Company's unaudited interim financial statements. The authority and responsibilities set forth in this Charter do not reflect or create any duty or obligation of the Audit Committee to plan or conduct any audit, to determine or certify that the Company's financial statements are complete, accurate, fairly presented, or in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles or applicable law, or to guarantee the independent auditor’s report.
Oversight of Independent Auditors
- Selection. The Audit Committee shall be solely and directly responsible for appointing, evaluating and, when necessary, terminating the engagement of the independent auditor. The Audit Committee may, in its discretion, seek stockholder ratification of the independent auditor it appoints.
- Independence. The Audit Committee shall take, or recommend that the full Board of Directors take, appropriate action to oversee the independence of the independent auditor. In connection with this responsibility, the Audit Committee shall obtain and review a formal written statement from the independent auditor describing all relationships between the independent auditor and the Company, including the disclosures required by Independence Standards Board Standard No. 1. The Audit Committee shall actively engage in dialogue with the independent auditor concerning any disclosed relationships or services that might impact the objectivity and independence of the auditor.
- Compensation. The Audit Committee shall have sole and direct responsibility for setting the compensation of the independent auditor. The Audit Committee is empowered, without further action by the Board of Directors, to cause the Company to pay the compensation of the independent auditor established by the Audit Committee.
- Preapproval of Services. The Audit Committee shall preapprove all services (audit and non-audit) to be provided to the Company by the independent auditor; provided, however, that de minimis non-audit services may instead be approved in accordance with applicable SEC rules.
- Oversight. The independent auditor shall report directly to the Audit Committee, and the Audit Committee shall have sole and direct responsibility for overseeing the independent auditor, including resolution of disagreements between Company management and the independent auditor regarding financial reporting. In connection with its oversight role, the Audit Committee shall, from time to time as appropriate, receive and consider the reports required to be made by the independent auditor regarding:
- critical accounting policies and practices;
- alternative treatments within generally accepted accounting principles for policies and practices related to material items that have been discussed with Company management, including ramifications of the use of such alternative disclosures and treatments, and the treatment preferred by the independent auditor; and
- other material written communications between the independent auditor and Company management.
Review of Audited Financial Statements
- Discussion of Audited Financial Statements. The Audit Committee shall review and discuss with the Company's management and independent auditor the Company's audited financial statements, including the matters about which Statement on Auditing Standards No. 61 (Codification of Statements on Auditing Standards, AU §380) requires discussion.
- Recommendation to Board Regarding Financial Statements. The Audit Committee shall consider whether it will recommend to the Board of Directors that the Company's audited financial statements be included in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K.
- Audit Committee Report. The Audit Committee shall prepare an annual committee report for inclusion where necessary in the proxy statement of the Company relating to its annual meeting of security holders as described in Section 407(d) of Regulation S-K.
Review of Other Financial Disclosures
- Independent Auditor Review of Interim Financial Statements.The Audit Committee shall direct the independent auditor to use its best efforts to perform all reviews of interim financial information prior to disclosure by the Company of such information and to discuss promptly with the Audit Committee and the Chief Financial Officer any matters identified in connection with the auditor's review of interim financial information which are required to be discussed by Statement on Auditing Standards Nos. 61, 71 and 90. The Audit Committee shall direct management to advise the Audit Committee in the event that the Company proposes to disclose interim financial information prior to completion of the independent auditor’s review of interim financial information.
Oversight of the Internal Audit Function
- Responsibilities, Budget, and Staffing. Review with management and the independent auditor the responsibilities, budget, and staffing of the internal audit function. Ensure there are no unjustified restrictions or limitations placed on the function.
- Internal Audit Director. Review and concur in the appointment, replacement, or dismissal of the Internal Audit Director.
- Internal Audit Plan. Review the annual internal audit plan in terms of the scope of the audits conducted or scheduled to be conducted, and recommend any changes in the scope, as necessary.
- Internal Audit Reports. Review the significant reports to management prepared by the internal audit function and management’s responses to their recommendations.
- Effectiveness. Review the effectiveness of the internal audit function.
Controls and Procedures
- Oversight. The Audit Committee shall coordinate the Board of Directors' oversight of the Company’s internal accounting controls for financial reporting, the Company’s disclosure controls and procedures and the Company’s code of conduct. The Audit Committee shall receive and review the reports of the CEO and CFO required by Section 302 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (and the applicable rules thereunder) and Rule 13a-14 of the Exchange Act.
- Procedures for Complaints. The Audit Committee shall establish procedures for (i) the receipt, retention and treatment of complaints received by the Company regarding accounting, internal accounting controls or auditing matters; and (ii) the confidential, anonymous submission by employees of the Company of concerns regarding questionable accounting or auditing matters.
- Related-Party Transactions. The Audit Committee shall review all related party transactions on an ongoing basis, and all such transactions must be approved by the Audit Committee.
- Additional Powers. The Audit Committee shall have such other duties as may be delegated from time to time by the Board of Directors.
D. Procedures and Administration
- Meetings. The Audit Committee shall meet as often as it deems necessary in order to perform its responsibilities. The Audit Committee may also act by unanimous written consent in lieu of a meeting. The Audit Committee shall periodically meet separately with the independent auditor. The Audit Committee shall keep such records of its meetings as it shall deem appropriate.
- Subcommittees. The Audit Committee may form and delegate authority to one or more subcommittees (including a subcommittee consisting of a single member), as it deems appropriate from time to time under the circumstances. Any decision of a subcommittee to preapprove audit or non-audit services shall be presented to the full Audit Committee at its next scheduled meeting.
- Reports to Board. The Audit Committee shall report regularly to the Board of Directors.
- Charter. The Audit Committee shall periodically review and reassess the adequacy of this Charter and recommend any proposed changes to the Board of Directors for approval.
- Independent Advisors. The Audit Committee shall have the authority, without further action by the Board of Directors, to engage and determine funding for such independent legal, accounting and other advisors as it deems necessary or appropriate to carry out its responsibilities. Such independent advisors may be the regular advisors to the Company. The Audit Committee is empowered, without further action by the Board of Directors, to cause the Company to pay the compensation of such advisors as established by the Audit Committee.
- Investigations. The Audit Committee shall have the authority to conduct or authorize investigations into any matters within the scope of its responsibilities as it shall deem appropriate, including the authority to request any officer, employee or advisor of the Company to meet with the Audit Committee or any advisors engaged by the Audit Committee.
- Annual Self-Evaluation. At least annually, the Audit Committee shall evaluate its own performance.