It’s been more than a year since a historic global pandemic changed the way companies operate in the near-term and very likely for the long-term future. We can see the impact on numerous fronts — certainly including the time, costs and efforts organizations are investing in their Sarbanes-Oxley compliance activities. And for certain companies, the use of technology and automation rose to the forefront as a key advantage.
The results of Protiviti’s annual Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance Survey quantify some of the effects. SOX compliance costs, which have revealed relatively consistent year-over-year increases for the past decade of our study, showed some leveling off for certain groups of organizations. This likely is an indication of changing operating models resulting from closed offices and facilities, which altered the way SOX audits were conducted and, in most cases, reduced typical travel related to compliance activities.
As part of this year’s study, we also took a closer look at organizations we define as “Digital Leaders.” There are some interesting differences in how these organizations approach their SOX compliance activities relative to other organizations.