Optimising financial processes

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Something to Consider: SOX Compliance Feels Automation Challenges on top of Corona Effect

Something to Consider July 2020 1

COVID-19 has left no area of our businesses unaffected and our SOX compliance activities are being challenged by the current crisis, as business, finance, IT and audit teams are required to perform tasks remotely.

A recent Protiviti survey found only 46% of audit teams have been utilizing advanced technologies to optimize SOX compliance activities, a decrease from the previous year.

The number of hours devoted to SOX compliance activities continues to rise, 67% reported the number of hours went up by more than 10% from the previous year. This finding can be attributed to a lack of automation and the increasingly more complex operations of modern companies, as well as dealing with the fall out of a global crisis.

However, 1/4 of those who do not currently utilize technology tools in their organization’s SOX compliance process responding that they plan to do so in the next fiscal year.

In addition to making decisions on appropriate automation /digitization, we are seeing a growing focus on other key elements that need to be optimized to drive the right outcomes:

  • Stimulating and sustaining executive ownership & accountability
  • Understanding and managing complexity
  • Shift of focus towards end-to-end processes, spanning multiple organisation units, systems and types of technology
  • Addressing business continuity plans
  • Harmonizing IT, business, cyber risk into an organisational, enterprise risk focus
  • Creating cross functional collaboration and alignment
  • Addressing first line of defence (operational first line management in the business), not just second (risk management) and third lines (assurance), empowering them to make faster, better risk informed business decisions
  • Creating a coherent strategy for effective preventive and detective controls and where each should apply
  • Exploiting the process, performance and risk data that is mined and exposed by GRC technologies, harness the power of analytics and AI to aid business performance as well as manage threats.

The current pandemic is a vivid reminder of how important it is for business leaders to be resilient, expect and adapt for the unexpected.

You can read more about the detail of the survey results here.

We are discussing this and other topics in the area at our upcoming webcast on 25th July, you can register your attendance here.

Our ‘Something To Consider’ snippets are framed as small, digestible, ‘dashes of insight’ around the pillars of what we define as “World Class Finance” – Process Optimization, Financial Control and Compliance, and Risk Assurance, all underpinned by technology enablement and integration.