Some people might think Sarbanes-Oxley is a minor character from an obscure Monty Python skit. As any cool kid from accounting will testify, however, those people couldn’t be more wrong. SOX is an incredibly important reporting requirement that rose from the ashes of the Enron fiasco 15 years ago.
Although SOX might occasionally feel like an overwhelming responsibility for any accounting firm, we here at Embark are once again able to provide a little bit of guidance, some absolutely reliable knowledge, and a pinch of our own opinion regarding some of the most popular SOX reporting software platforms.
Of course, Embark encourages those looking for such guidance to conduct a bit of independent research into the different solutions and find the best possible answer to your SOX reporting needs. Our unbiased take on the many available solutions, however, should provide you a great starting point.
Workiva Internal Controls Management
Workiva is considered a market leader in reporting tools for good reason. Their solutions are incredibly intuitive to use, flexible for organizations working in separate locations, and they do a remarkable job of providing cohesion and efficient sense of direction and pacing for any given project. For SOX reporting, their Internal Controls Management platform is no exception to their typically high standards.
The Workiva platform provides a convenient center point for diverging process information and work, forming an essential hub from which all of the SOX reporting procedures can operate. Its ability to isolate and analyze any deficiencies throughout processes ensure that no detail is omitted and all reporting gaps are filled. Effective, team-wide communication is supported across the platform, making it a valuable time- and resource-saver for any firm looking for a thorough, concise and efficient answer to their SOX reporting needs
As part of the Donnelley Financial Solutions group, SOXHub is another integrative platform that, at least functionally, is quite similar to the Workiva platform. It allows you to manage and analyze internal controls needed throughout the SOX reporting process and efficiently monitors workflow to make sure the team stays on track and on schedule. SOXHub constantly searches for omissions and gaps to make sure the process and subsequent reporting are complete and reliable. SOXHub also enjoys the benefit of Donnelley’s significant customer support staff if your firm runs into any snags or concerns along the way.
The Archer Regulatory Compliance Management platform from RSA is another market leader in the space and was specifically designed to fit into the overall Archer Governance Risk and Compliance suite of solutions. For firms that are already using the RSA Archer platform in some capacity, the Regulatory Compliance module would likely be a cost-efficient solution that operates within a familiar platform. Like most of the Archer group of solutions, it is exceptionally thorough and does an adequate job of organizational risk assessment, but it isn’t necessarily the most user-friendly solution.
Excel and SharePoint
Sometimes the most traditional solutions only maintain their popularity due to familiarity. Although most firms began their SOX compliance procedures using these Microsoft products as the centerpiece, the advancements in the marketplace and regulatory complexities no longer make them a viable solution for most firms. Even a staff filled with macro-writing wizards will lack the overwhelming efficiency and effectiveness provided by the other solutions. Granted, Excel and SharePoint are incredibly cost-efficient and flexible when it comes to the look and feel your auditors might prefer, but their shortcomings in risk assessment and workflow management make them an inferior choice relative to the other platforms.
All in all, the Workiva Internal Controls Management platform is a formidable solution that does everything exceptionally well. However, Embark suggests you spend a few moments looking into the different solutions to find what fits your firm’s needs best. SOX compliance is too important to simply leave to the free software that came preloaded on your workstations.
If you need help need help deciding which SOX compliance platform is best for your firm, feel free to reach out to the Embark team today.