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SOX: Benefits of online tools, best practices

In the last three episodes about SOX of the podcast “Übernahme als Chance” – “Takeover as a chance”, Janet Winkler, CEO of FAE Consulting GmbH, and Judith Geiß, owner of the Bridge ∙ Consulting & Training e.K., talked about the beginnings and goals of SOX and gave us recommendations for the implementation of SOX.

In the last episode, Janet Winkler, and Judith Geiß will share with us some further experiences from their own previous SOX projects.

What are the most rewarding projects?

According to Judith Geiß, the most rewarding projects are those with difficult starting point but with really good results. For example, projects that bring the employees and management new ways to communicate and develop a deeper understanding for each other as well as those that integrated new tools into the organizational structure of the company.

Ways to document SOX implementation

For many years the most common way to document information has been on paper with a lot of folders full of files. With the paperless office, files and information are directly saved as attached PDF documents in SAP or on a SharePoint as Excel. The most progressive and relatively new way is to integrate system based online tools. This approach is usually introduced by the parent company and brings a lot of benefits and features for everybody involved.

Features of online tools:

  • Definitions of SOX controls which is similar to the knowledge database of management tools
  • Direct access for employees with possibilities to check the definition of the SOX controls
  • List of all documents that the employees need to prepare or request for each SOX control
  • Call to action for the employee to prepare the SOX documentation and for management to review and approve it
  • Messaging function informing and reminding employees and management about certain required tasks
  • Possibility to analyze data and generate reporting

Benefits of the usage of online tools:

  • Reveal existing problems
  • Trigger the search for suitable and more effective standardized solution
  • Find different approaches to the same processes when observing how other parts of the corporation work
  • Facilitate working together globally

Best practices from Janet Winkler’s and Judith Geiß’s projects

Fast close of the monthly statement in 5 days: With the right strategy and commitment, every company can close the month in a maximum of 5 days. If you need until the 20th or 25th of the month for your monthly statement, you are too late. Even if you are not subject to the SOX requirements, it is a good idea to implement fast close in your company.

Annual account done by the 3rd of January for the prior year: With discipline and suitable processes a company can do the annual accounts in shorter period. Especially helpful is the practice of preparing the SOX documentation parallel to the task an employee is conducting.

If you consider optimizing your processing and implementing SOX contact us at contact@fae-consulting.deFAE Consulting GmbH is specialized in optimization of business processes and offers advisory services on financial structuring, cost efficiency, and compliance. The Bridge ∙ Consulting & Training e.K. offers specialized consultancy services for companies which are acquired by an American group or integrated in an existing company structure as well as mentoring and training for the employees and management of these companies.

Both companies cooperate in assisting you with the SOX implementation and with the optimization of your processes. Contact us for a strategy meeting at contact@fae-consulting.de.

Sources:

the Bridge ⋅ Consulting & Training e.K.: SOX-Compliance: Warum Sie das jetzt brauchen – und es sogar gut für Sie ist
Haufe-Lexware GmbH & Co. KG: SOX Compliance: Das sind die Anforderungen
Wikimedia Foundation Inc.: Sarbanes-Oxley Act

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