Friday, April 20, 2007

Increased reliance on Internal Audit- the means to increased compliance and reduced cost burden.

In an interview with, retired Senator Oxley is reported to have said that he is unhappy with the implementation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act especially Section 404, by the PCAOB through Accounting Standard 2 (An Audit of Internal Control Over Financial Reporting Performed in Conjunction with An Audit of Financial Statements). He felt it was far too prescriptive and much more expensive than anyone anticipated.

With Senator Oxley as the new non executive vice chairman of NASDAQ, one can only hope that this will translate into substantial changes to reduce the financial burden and at the same time maintain the level of compliance required by the Act.

This is definitely achievable and can happen through increased reliance on the work performed by Internal Audit groups for the purposes of complying with the Sarbanes Oxley Act particularly section 404. Internal audit departments whether in-house or outsourced are staffed by competent and experienced professionals with as much subject matter expertise as an external auditor. Additionally, they possess a certain level of independence through a direct reporting line to the Corporate Audit Committee.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Sarbanes-Oxley ripples felt on the Indian sub-continent.

Good news for those with business ties in the Indian sub continent. Last week, the DNA ( details on the Ernst and Young India CFO survey.

It appears that out of the 125 CFO’s who were interviewed, 43% wanted the country to follow a SOX like model for internal controls. In fact, 56% felt that the benefit from corporate governance requirement outweighs the compliance cost.

Note that of these 125 CFO’s, 78% represented listed companies.

There was also an overwhelming support (81%) for the existing regime of corporate governance certification by CFO/CEO, despite its perceived high level of risk. About 60% of the CFOs believed that regulatory compliance is not a burden.

There maybe growing opposition to the rigorous demands of Sarbanes-Oxley in the U.S but it is surely gaining positive momentum elsewhere. With a large number of financial and other operations being offshored to India, increased corporate governance in the sub continent is a welcome phenomenon.