Companies that limit Sarbanes-Oxley reviews to a small group of senior management have worse performance records compared with those that involve much of the organization in their review process, according to a report by research firm AberdeenGroup.

"Firms where the CEO, CFO and the board are directly involved in the day-to-day tasks of SOX compliance are operating as laggards," said Jim Hurley, Aberdeen's vice president of risk, security and compliance, and the author of the report, "Automating SOX Compliance." "By contrast, performance leaders have already pushed responsibility for SOX compliance down in the organization."

According to the report, firms placing responsibility for SOX compliance onto a chief risk or chief compliance officer are well ahead of other organizations in reducing deficiencies. What's more, companies are combining SOX with business process improvement programs to deliver better results.

"If your company does not take this opportunity to leverage SOX to improve inefficient business procedures," continued Hurley, "it is going to face stiff competition in the future that are operating at full throttle and with complete balance."

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