There’s a growing demand for advanced technologies to streamline Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) compliance, according to a survey released by the SOX & Internal Controls Professionals Group and conducted in partnership with Workiva.
The number of professionals who use a SOX-specific tool has more than doubled since last year:
- Even though legacy, desktop software is the primary technology tool for 75% of respondents, one-third of SOX professionals now report that they use an additional SOX-specific tool, which has more than doubled since last year’s survey.
Use of advanced technology for SOX compliance has increased:
- The use of data analytics for SOX compliance doubled from last year.
- More than half of survey respondents are considering using continuous controls monitoring (CCM), which automates monitoring and testing of internal controls.
Internal audit’s involvement in SOX and internal controls has expanded:
- Internal audit’s ownership of the SOX and internal controls compliance function has increased.
- One-third of survey respondents report that internal audit spends more than half of its time on SOX processes.
SOX and internal controls compliance costs continue to increase:
- SOX compliance costs rose slightly, and more than half of survey respondents report an increase in external audit fees.
- Additional Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) requirements, the adoption of new accounting standards and the demand for internal controls related to IT and cybersecurity are among the reasons why external audit fees are higher.
Cybersecurity and IT controls now lead the list of challenges and priorities identified by survey respondents.
“SOX compliance is a complex process because building, implementing and evaluating internal controls requires collaborating across multiple departments, often involving hundreds of coworkers,” said Hillary Eckert, VP of Product Marketing at Workiva. “It’s not surprising to learn that companies want better tools for connected reporting and compliance.”
“The SOX and internal controls market faces both challenges and opportunities from business process transformation and technology disruption,” said Ruth E. Nouanesengsy, Manager of Internal Audit at Lancaster Colony Corporation, who is also an advisor to the SOX & Internal Controls Professionals Group.
“The SOX professionals who meet these challenges will create new opportunities for efficiency, speed and accuracy—and, most of all, improve their value across their organizations.”