Survey Shows New Guidance from SEC and PCAOB Having Positive Impact on Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance Efforts

Is it possible that Sarbanes-Oxley compliance is becoming a little
easier? According to a new survey from Protiviti Inc., organizations
today are realizing tangible benefits from updated regulatory rules and
guidance pertaining to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act that were
issued in May of 2007 by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board
(PCAOB) and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). According to
the study, approximately four in 10 internal audit departments have
been able to decrease the amount of time devoted to Sarbanes-Oxley
compliance activities since the new guidance and standard were
announced. As a result, these departments are increasing their efforts
to "rebalance" toward both more traditional internal audit
responsibilities that include regulatory compliance as well as being
strategic business advisors to senior management and the board’s audit
committee.
         

These are among the many findings of
Protiviti’s third Internal Audit Rebalancing Study, which surveys and
analyzes how organizations are shifting internal auditing
responsibilities away from a primary focus on Sarbanes-Oxley compliance
to a broader scope of activities. The survey of 321 internal audit
professionals was conducted in early 2008. Protiviti’s report about the
study, titled "Moving Internal Audit Back into Balance," will be of
great interest to C-level executives as well as internal audit
professionals seeking greater understanding into the impact of
Sarbanes-Oxley compliance activities on their internal audit functions.
A complimentary copy of the report is available online at www.protiviti.com/go/rebalancing3.

         

"The
great news here is that the SEC’s interpretive guidance and PCAOB
Auditing Standard Number 5 are having their desired effects," said Bob
Hirth, executive vice president and global leader of Protiviti’s
Internal Audit practice. "Without question, companies have been
investing a tremendous amount of time on Sarbanes-Oxley compliance,
particularly in the first years after the law went into effect. Our
survey findings indicate that as a result of the new information from
the SEC and PCAOB, companies are establishing a more finite number of
controls, thus enabling them to reduce the time spent on compliance and
then shift, or rebalance, their focus to other key areas in the
organization."

         

The survey results also confirmed
that external auditors are increasing their reliance on the work of a
company’s internal auditors, as PCAOB AS5 allows. "This is another
positive development in helping organizations streamline the compliance
process around Section 404 and internal control over financial
reporting," Hirth said.

         

For more information on the
SEC’s updated guidance regarding Section 404 compliance and the PCAOB’s
Auditing Standard No. 5, read Protiviti’s related SEC Report and PCAOB
Update, both of which are available at www.protiviti.com

         

Source: Protiviti, Inc.

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