More Room for Compliance & Control Automation

Approva® Corporation has surveyed 200 high-level finance, internal audit and IT executives at leading public companies and the survey results found that many companies still manually audit a large portion of their organization’s internal controls.

Approva, a producer of continuous controls monitoring and audit software, announced the survey results this week. (www.approva.net/survey) Approva found that while the majority of companies that use software to automate their controls see value in their investment beyond Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance, most have yet to implement such a solution.

The survey also explored companies’ compliance technology spending plans, the adequacy of ERP controls, and the perceived affect of SOX on corporate fraud and investor confidence, the company said.

“Companies today are realizing that it is in their best interest to build a well-controlled environment across their organization,” said Rick Cobb, chief operating officer for Approva. “Controls automation technology touches all departments, employees and operations and offers overarching benefits which range from a reduction in audit preparation time to the near removal of human error.”

John Hagerty, vice president, AMR Research, said at a roundtable discussion in New York City, where the survey results were released, that there is presently a “boomerang effect” with regards to corporations’ attitudes toward compliance and their interest in controls automation software. “When the act was first passed in 2002, companies experienced ‘SOX fatigue,’ ” Hagerty said. “Today, companies are realizing that they must take a systematic approach to compliance and controls monitoring. Furthermore, they now understand that the solutions they need to invest in for SOX compliance can deliver solid business benefits across the entire organization.”

Key findings from the Approva survey include:

  • 81 percent of companies who currently use software to automate their controls predict their controls management investment will provide value beyond SOX compliance.

  • 72 percent of companies do not currently use a software solution to automate the testing and monitoring of IT controls.

  • 37 percent of companies surveyed say that at least 40 percent of their IT controls are still manual, while 68 percent say that at least 20 percent of their IT controls are manual.

  • 41 percent reported that their ERP system does not do an adequate job of demonstrating compliance with audit and regulatory requirements.

  • 47 percent of companies believe SOX has been successful in helping to prevent corporate fraud.

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