A 17-member advisory committee began work Thursday on improving U.S. corporate financial reporting, focusing on ways to make it less complex and more useful to both retail and institutional investors.

The panel, formed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, expects to produce a report next August with about a dozen recommendations that can be put in place without congressional action, said the panel chairman, Robert Pozen, a former vice chairman of Fidelity Investments and current chairman of MFS Investment Management Inc.