Sarbanes-Oxley Act stretches out its claws

Sarbanes-Oxley Act stretches out its claws

The dreaded Sarbanes-Oxley Act was finally unleashed this week in the United States, meaning major enterprises had to meet the deadline of completing reviews of their internal financial controls, which could cost them dearly, and in turn affect the success of affiliated offices in Australia.

Many high profile regulatory bodies have warned that between one hundred to a thousand businesses may be found guilty of having weaknesses in their fiscal checks and balances, which could have negative repercussions on the companies.

John Hagerty, the vice president of research at AMR Research, said that companies are likely to increase spending on compliance to make sure they pass the guidelines of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act as time goes by, and as the significance of the Act kicks in.

"When people first started down the SOX compliance path, they treated it as a one-time project. With the passing of the November 15th deadline, companies now realise compliance is an ongoing issue and are investing to make processes repeatable, sustainable and cost effective.

"Technology will play an increasingly significant role in the integration of SOX compliance initiatives into business processes. Of equal importance is the consulting necessary to implement these technologies and establish best practices."

AMR Research has also identified the top areas of spending in technology, after surveying 200 businesses and IT leaders on the subject of SOX.

The priorities will be document and record management; internal and external security; business process management to integrate disparate business systems; applications compliance management software, which will document, monitor and manage compliance processes; and enterprise and financial application suites to standardise the compliant business practices for financial transparency.

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