SOX Spending Rolls On

Research figures show that 2005 was a big year for e-business spending driven by Sarbanes-Oxley SOX- regulations, and that 2006 will have a similar impact. Now Gartner, as part of its Predict 2006 series, predicts that Through 2008, investigation of new technologies will slow as discretionary budgets divert to regulatory compliance. That s a demonstration of the ongoing impact of SOX and other regulatory spending, which will be built into budgets for the next three years.

There are a couple of ways to look at this. The first is in terms of overall SOX benefits. Some CFOs tell me that they are now able to make day-to-day financial decisions faster, because they have more reliable operational data as a result of the improved processes and controls, writes Gartner analyst French Caldwell, by way of example. We ve also seen SOX deployed as part of a broader risk management approach that can, at least theoretically, deliver a significant return on investment ROI-. That said, not all SOX spending is created equal. Gartner s Caldwell points out that your enterprise should be paying particular attention to finding out precisely what controls are key. If you lack this visibility, you spend lots of money on testing and monitoring things that are low risks, and you have no negotiating position with your auditors. The bottom line here is: Do risk assessments and apply automation - and then you can quit paying your auditors so much. That s one way to make SOX less of a cost burden. With no quick end to the spending, you should look into making the whole process as efficient and automated as possible, as per Caldwell s advice. Source: line56.coma>