Minneapolis (Sept. 2, 2003) -- Technology focusing on Sarbanes-Oxley compliance has become a confusing and expensive, undertaking for both IT and accounting departments. This does not need to be.

Tim Welu, chief executive of Paisley Consulting and developer of one such software option, asserts that local-level assessment is one of the most important characteristics a company should look for in compliance software.

"The most effective way to manage data is with a system that uses area managers to collect and maintain control documentation," Welu said. "Distributing responsibility for control documentation and evaluation to those business managers who are responsible for financial processes results in more accurate and dependable data."

Welu suggests asking eight simple questions as a checklist to compare software choices against each other:

  • Are processes certified? More importantly, does the software relate those specific processes to specific accounts and assign responsibility?
  • Does the software provide control qualification, evaluation, and testing?
  • Does the software support complicated business structures?
  • Is the software based on a recognized control framework? The Securities Exchange Commission recommends the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations' framework but does not require it.
  • Are workflow capabilities addressed?
  • Does the software provide both interactive reports and ad hoc reporting capabilities?
  • How are controls over IT, shared services and standard financial processes handled?
  • Is local level assessment provided? Tools that allocate control identification, documentation, and accountability down to area managers provide the best overall control and compliance administration.

Paisley Consulting has delivered business accountability software worldwide since 1995, reaching more than 400 organizations across a range of industries and nearly 30 percent of Fortune 100 companies. The firm offers clients processes, risk control, and business expertise to help ensure an organization meets Sarbanes-Oxley Act requirements.-- WebCPA staff

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