Two-plus years into contending with a global pandemic, business leaders recognize that Sarbanes-Oxley compliance activities are not immune to a broad range of market disruptions. Inflation, a rising interest rate environment, ongoing supply chain volatility, a bruising talent shortage, and other economic and external factors compromise internal control environments while contributing to rising SOX compliance costs and hours. Internal changes, trends and challenges exert similar pressures on compliance programs.
Protiviti’s annual Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance Survey benchmarks compliance costs, hours, processes and improvements, including how these areas are affected by current business conditions. This year’s results show that costs, along with the hours that internal audit teams devote to SOX compliance, continue to increase across most, if not all, company sizes, industries and reporting types. These increases are occurring as external auditors request higher volumes of more detailed SOX-related information from their clients.
Key findings include:
Costs continue to climb due to a range of factors: A combination of internal and external factors creating volatility is contributing to rising SOX compliance costs.
Hours on the rise as well: A majority of organizations increased the number of hours logged for SOX compliance during their most recent fiscal year.
A growing number of companies are deploying automation to support SOX work; more should follow suit: Automation platforms and applications bring greater efficiency to SOX compliance activities.
A widespread desire for efficiency is kindling interest in centers of excellence and alternate sourcing strategies: The ongoing goal to moderate SOX compliance cost increases makes alternative delivery models for SOX compliance services more appealing.