Mary Moore Hamrick steps in as director of external relations and strategic planning at the Center for Audit Quality (CAQ) at an opportune time. CAQ, like the country itself, is preparing for great change. "We're entering a new environment with a new administration," says Hamrick, "Anytime you go through a financial crisis, there will likely be calls for structural change." Anticipating--and helping to influence--those changes is a big part of Hamrick's job, which includes working with CAQ CEO Cindy Fornelli, members, investors, legislators and market representatives to develop long-term strategies that build confidence in auditing.
As a liaison, she must stay on top of policy that affects public company auditors. CAQ is affiliated with the American Institute of CPAs and comprises 750 accounting firms registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB). The transition should be smooth. Hamrick held a similar position at the PCAOB. Previously, she headed New York Life Insurance Co.'s governmental affairs office and, earlier, was counsel for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. "She is a strategic public policy expert," says Fornelli. "Her wealth of experience will benefit us in countless ways."
Hamrick knows her way around D.C. She has met with congressional leaders and regulatory officials, relationships that will serve her well as the new administration and a Democratic Congress grapple with financial services issues, most of which impact auditing. "I have gained an insight into their thinking and hopefully the CAQ will be on their radar when it comes to finding solutions," she says. Many changes are expected as Congress rules on such issues as fair-value reporting--which CAQ wants maintained. "It's too soon to tell what form changes might take," says Hamrick. CAQ's mission is to make sure investors' interests are served, Adds Hamrick: "We want to be viewed as the point 'person' when information is needed about the public company auditing profession."