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The Sarbanes-Oxley Act takes dead aim at corporate wrongdoers, and CEOs and CFOs who don’t want to be led out their offices in handcuffs are putting intense pressure on already strapped IT staffs to develop compliance systems. The new law, whose provisions take effect this fall, mandates complex new disclosure and reporting responsibilities for companies.

But, say former SEC attorney Michael T. Cronin and CommerceQuest CEO Ulysses Knotts, the challenge of developing those solutions could reap unexpected rewards for enterprises. Cronin and Knotts reviewed Sarbanes-Oxley during the expoQ webinar Using BPM to Reduce Enterprise Risk, part of our BPM and the Real Time Enterprise series sponsored by CommerceQuest. Both spotlighted Business Process Management (BPM) and other real-time solutions as the best way to ensure compliance. And both pointed to possible positive ripple effects of coming up with the compliance systems: improving corporate risk management efforts and business processes.

“Activist investors are up in arms at what was going in on corporate America, and they’d like to not just see the standards adhered to, but actually have an even higher best practices standard model out there to manage this risk concept across the enterprise,” said Knotts.

“When companies look at the way their businesses have been built over the years, they’re very much in a functional silo perspective, and the requirements to solve reporting requirements to fulfill Sarbanes-Oxley are going to span many of those functional silos,” he pointed out.

But by “being (able) to look at, map and monitor the process, you can create dashboards and viewports for the various process owners and CEO and CFOs and give them the ability to have visibility into whether or not these process components are within compliance, and if they are outside compliance, provide automatic escalation and routing and exception reporting and handling.

“A byproduct is that you can have real-time feedback into the process that you can then feed back into the system and see simulations on what we can do to improve the process, and enhance the process performance to not only adhere to the compliance requirement, but in fact improve the business performance.

So in a sense, complying with Sarbanes-Oxley could have side benefits for businesses.


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