Fifth Annual Survey Identifies 2020 Trends in SOX Compliance
- Improving efficiency is the main theme of 2020
- Cybersecurity and IT concerns heightened as a consequence of COVID-19
- Companies that have been slow to adopt technology have renewed push for 2021
- C-suite places a high value on SOX programs
CHICAGO - Sept. 1, 2020 -- The SOX & Internal Controls Professionals Group today released the findings of its fifth-annual State of the SOX and Internal Controls Market Survey. The survey, which was conducted in partnership with Workiva Inc. (NYSE:WK), measures the costs, execution, challenges and priorities faced by companies that comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX).
"In its fifth year, our survey reflects the broad experience of SOX professionals over time and presents a balanced perspective of the current state of SOX and internal controls management," said Camille Kearns Rudy, National Director of the SOX & Internal Controls (IC) Professionals Group. "Importantly, the survey confirms that the C-suite views SOX as highly valuable in their organizations. This acknowledgement ensures that SOX will have access to institutional capital needed to thrive and be effective."
Improving efficiency in the SOX function was the top priority for SOX/IC practitioners in 2020. One-third of respondents reported they spend more than half their time on SOX, and that finding new ways to reduce the complexity of the controls processes and the time spent on manual testing was key. Forty-four percent of respondents said they will focus heavily on controls automation, which ushers in the need for intelligent, cloud-based technology.
More than half of the market currently uses a SOX-specific software to execute their SOX compliance program, but one-third still rely on spreadsheets and desktop publishing tools. While upgrading technology has been a concern, but not a priority in previous years, the high-risk environment created by COVID-19 has sparked a renewed sense of urgency to make changes to existing technologies and processes.
Cybersecurity and IT Controls have also historically been among the top three areas of concern for SOX/IC professionals. These too have received increased attention in 2020, as over half of write-in comments highlighted the impacts of remote working and the ability to execute compliance.
“The results of the State of the SOX and Internal Controls Market Survey make it clear that now is the time to consider the benefits of connected reporting and compliance,” said Hillary Eckert, Vice President of Product Marketing at Workiva. “The Workiva platform enables our customers to continuously meet new challenges and create new opportunities for risk-management. When they connect data from across their organization and collaborate inside the Workiva platform, they automate workflow, improve efficiency, remediate costly control deficiencies and gain better visibility into the status of compliance.”
About The SOX & Internal Controls Professional Group
The SOX & Internal Controls Professional Group is a community of professionals who work with Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) compliance, internal controls and internal audit processes, which include documenting, evaluating and testing internal controls. The group fosters networking, promotes thought leadership and creates opportunities for members to share best practices with like-minded professionals to help them increase their value and influence across their organizations. Workiva is a national sponsor of the SOX & Internal Controls Professional Group. For more information, visit soxprofessionalsgroup.org.
Workiva Inc. (NYSE:WK), provider of the world’s leading connected reporting and compliance platform, is used by thousands of enterprises across 180 countries, including 75 percent of Fortune 500® companies, and by government agencies. Our customers have linked over five billion data elements to trust their data, reduce risk and save time. For more information about Workiva, please visit workiva.com.
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Camille Kearns Rudy Kevin McCarthy
SOX & Internal Controls Professionals Group Workiva Inc.