Organizations required to comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act no doubt are experiencing this sentiment firsthand in recent weeks. The COVID-19 global pandemic has caused seismic shifts in companies of all sizes. The impact worldwide has been well-documented and will continue to evolve not only for the remainder of 2020, but certainly in the years to come as organizations transition to the new equilibrium.
We conducted this year’s Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance Survey in the first quarter of 2020, before the full scope and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was realized. However, since the results largely reflect SOX programs and work performed in fiscal year 2019, the findings remain highly relevant. In addition, trends we’ve identified with regard to the use of automation and technology tools are illuminated even further in this crisis, with offices worldwide closed and a massive percentage of the workforce — likely more than at any time in history — is working remotely.
These are unprecedented times. But CAEs and internal audit and SOX leaders are well-aware that their obligations to perform internal controls reviews and testing continue. And as we learned from our survey, challenges endure with regard to managing costs and time, as well as leveraging automation and technology tools to achieve long-term savings and efficiencies.
The Protiviti report is based on a survey of more than 700 audit, compliance and finance leaders and professionals at U.S. public companies, representing a wide range of industries. The survey was conducted with support from AuditBoard, a leading cloud-based audit, risk and compliance software company, during the first quarter of 2020, based on the fiscal year 2019.