Companies looking beyond compliance with SOX

Companies looking beyond compliance with SOX

Many firms will use Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) to improve business efficiency, with 39 percent of affected companies of the opinion that Sarbanes-Oxley will make them more competitive.

That is according to the results of a survey conducted by analysts META Group, who believe that organisations must look beyond just tactical Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance and focus strategically on leveraging SOX investments.

META Group has identified six phases a SOX project must be managed through with IT playing a strategic role. The IT organisation needs to be included as a supporter of enterprise internal control projects and must understand the maturity level or stage of the SOX project in order to help.

META Group estimates 10 percent of SOX-affected firms are at the "exploration" (Level 0) stage. Twenty-five percent of affected firms are at "building awareness" (Level 1), which is where the enterprise SOX project is being defined and resources are being identified to manage the process. The greatest percentage (40 percent) are at "project initiation" (Level 2) with their SOX initiatives, which is where the formal enterprise SOX project begins. Twenty percent of firms are at "project execution" (Level 3) and are actively involved in executing their internal control projects.

Only 5 percent of firms are at "perform assessment/review results" (Level 4), working on identifying business processes. Finally, probably very few firms are at "optimisation" (Level 5).

John Van Decker, vice president with META Group's Technology Research Services commented: "Firms are moving further along the SOX maturity curve and are considering business application projects to address deficiencies in the financial control processes."

"SOX requires that firms have documented and compliant internal controls around financial management processes," added Van Decker. "SOX has a major impact on IT, including support for business applications and IT governance."

Related Article:

Sarbanes-Oxley wake up call to Aussie businesses

Business Solution: