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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A process of improvement: Sarbox is never simple, but it can be less complex.

How many processes does your company have? A simple question if your firm has documented them all as part of meeting Sarbanes-Oxley requirements. But ensuring actual compliance? That’s another matter.

So who’s going to help minimise the time the nasty auditors spend going through all those processes? You guessed it. Business software companies can help you meet your compliance needs, they plead.

This time, though, they have a point. PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Anton Ruddenklau revealed that one US company he worked with on Sarbox documented 88,000 processes. As he pointed out, it takes an auditor around five hours of billable time to test each one.

So what can technology do to help ease this pain? Firstly, many processes can be automated. The more the degree of automation, the quicker that processes can be checked and the stronger the process will appear to the auditor.

For processes that require the intervention of mere humans, there are products providing workflow technology. These help manage it on a day-to-day basis, and provide the auditor with a clear and easy view of the process itself.

But Oracle UK finance director Norman Green warns: ‘While IT certainly holds the key to easing the compliance burden and facilitating more transparent reporting, it’s important that firms use technology to improve and streamline existing processes rather than automate what they’re already doing.’

His point? Improve processes ­ then look to IT.

posted by Brian Moran @ 1:40 PM   0 comments

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