Sarbanes Oxley Compliance Professionals Association (SOXCPA), the largest Association of Sarbanes Oxley professionals in the world

Signed into law on July 30, 2002, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act led to vast changes in companies and organizations.

Sarbanes-Oxley is a hot skill in risk management, compliance, audit, IT, and almost every other department of an organization. Thousands of managers, employees and consultants, continue to work for the implementation of the Act in many countries. They work for the control environment, the risk assessment (including risk identification and analysis, company-wide objectives, process-level objectives, change management), the control activities (including policies and procedures, security controls, business continuity, outsourcing), the information and communication, the monitoring (including ongoing monitoring, separate evaluations, reporting deficiencies).

The Act was designed to restore public confidence in financial reporting with more transparent financial practices, and to hold management liable for violations and non-compliance.

Voluntary compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act is evidence that the framework has restored confidence. The risk to not-for-profit organizations of a damaged reputation has probably never been as great as it is today. Not-for-profit organizations have no obligation to comply with the Sarbanes Oxley Act, but they volunteer to comply. They report that Sarbanes Oxley compliance is extremely beneficial to them.

The Act has its critics too. Some of them believe that the Sarbanes Oxley Act went too far, stating that the legislation is overly complex and reduces the U.S.’s international competitive edge against foreign firms.

Others believe that the Sarbanes Oxley Act didn't go far enough. As in the implosion of Lehman Brothers, the fall of Bernard Madoff and other cases, many have asked: Did SOX go far enough?

In response to the recent crisis, U.S. lawmakers passed the Dodd-Frank Act that amended certain sections of the Sarbanes Oxley Act. SOX is part of the new regulatory reform. Lawmakers did not make the Sarbanes Oxley provisions weaker, they have made them more strict and clever.

For example, whistleblowers now have a monetary incentive to report matters to the SEC (and they may be entitled to as much as 10 percent to 30 percent of the monetary sanctions imposed).

Management should clearly explain to all employees the importance of prompt reporting of violations.

Public companies should do more for complaints submitted to audit committees or employee hotlines, to address areas of potential concern.

The Dodd-Frank Act also provides an employee with remedies against the employer that has violated provisions of the Act. These remedies include reinstatement with the same seniority status that the individual would have had, two times the amount of back pay otherwise owed to the individual, with interest, and even compensation for litigation costs, expert witness fees, and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

Risk and compliance management challenges have become more important after the 2007 financial crisis. Sarbanes Oxley knowledge is valuable for firms and organizations. Sarbanes Oxley professionals understand risks, controls, policies, procedures, accountability, testing, documentation, preparation for audits. They have what investors need to trust companies and organizations.

The Sarbanes Oxley Compliance Professionals Association (SOXCPA) is the largest association of Sarbanes Oxley professionals in the world. Join us. Read our monthly newsletter with news, alerts, challenges and opportunities. Get certified. Provide independent evidence that you are an expert.

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