Ever since the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act was introduced, investors and stakeholders have demonstrated greater confidence in corporate governance. With CEOs and CFOs being held responsible for approving regulatory filings, business accountability has increased, while internal controls around financial reporting have grown stronger.
On the flip side, SOX compliance has proved to be a major challenge for many companies – particularly from a cost perspective. This is where technology can help by automating SOX compliance management processes, minimizing associated inefficiencies and inconsistencies, and providing a consolidated and real-time view of the SOX compliance program.Download Fact Sheet
MetricStream SOX Compliance Management App
The industry-leading MetricStream SOX Compliance Management App provides a set of advanced features to address SOX compliance challenges, and strengthen the compliance process. The app also enables compliance with other similar regulations worldwide, including Euro-SOX (EU), Law 262/2005 (Italy), Corporate Law Economic Reform Program (CLERP 9 – Australia), C-SOX (Canada), and J-SOX (Japan).
The app enables you to design, assess, and improve internal controls under the COSO or COBIT framework. In addition, it supports the process of setting up a SOX framework, and helps monitor SOX compliance processes at any level of detail. Through the app, you can streamline procedures for SOX surveys and certifications, while strengthening internal control documentation.
The app automates and standardizes control testing and remediation workflows, thereby minimizing inconsistencies and compliance costs. It also provides comprehensive visibility into the status of controls and SOX compliance across the enterprise, enabling you to proactively identify areas of concern or improvement. The app’s "multi-dimensional organization structure functionality" supports complex organizational setups that include multiple business functions and locations. The feature helps ensure that regulations, risks, controls, assessments, certifications, and issues are mapped to the respective business functions, locations, and legal entities. Thus, country heads or business unit heads gain a holistic view of the SOX compliance posture of their respective geography or business unit.
The app is certified for conformance with global accessibility standards and best practices as defined by WCAG 2.1 Level AA and Section 508.
Why MetricStream SOX Compliance Management App
The MetricStream SOX Compliance Management App provides the following benefits:
Enables a Unified Approach to SOX Compliance
Helps manage risk and control data across multiple SOX compliance requirements; facilitates process consistency and easy tracking
Helps Rationalize Controls Using a Risk-Based Approach
Enables users to prioritize and rationalize controls that are related to high risk areas, or that have a greater material impact than others; reduces the number of controls and associated testing costs
Improved Compliance Efficiency
Streamlines control testing, documentation, certification, and issue remediation through consistent processes
Enhances Data Quality and Reliability
Provides a central database to manage compliance data and documentation, including plans and corresponding tests, surveys, and other details; helps arrange the data in a hierarchical tree-based structure for quick and easy reference
Strengthens Compliance and Reporting
Delivers timely, actionable insights on control test results and deficiencies that enable you to make informed decisions on which controls need to be improved
Supports Collaboration with Audit and Other Functions
Helps implement a common risk and control repository, and simplifies information-sharing across assurance functions such as internal audit and compliance
Engaging and Personalized User Experience
Makes SOX compliance processes context-sensitive and personalized for each user; facilitates an intuitive and engaging user experience
Supports app configurations and extensions in an upgrade-safe and scalable manner through the MetricStream AppStudio configuration framework; helps the organization adapt to change quickly
Mobility and Layering
Provides a responsive interface that allows SOX compliance processes to be managed across devices; leverages a REST API integration framework to layer compliance processes over heterogeneous IT systems and business critical infrastructure
Reporting and Analytics
Delivers powerful visualization tools and analytics to manage and monitor SOX compliance trends, data relationships, and actions in real time across the extended enterprise
Lean and Robust Architecture
Is built on a lean, modern, scalable, and extensible architecture that enables the global digital enterprises of today to seamlessly scale up and support new users, while also adding new apps and solutions to meet changing organizational needs
The MetricStream SOX Compliance Management App provides the following functionalities:
Setup of the SOX Compliance Framework
For each business unit, create a centralized SOX compliance framework that includes processes, risks, controls, financial accounts, financial statement assertions, evidence, questionnaires, and tests, along with the associated owners, reviewers, and approvers. Organize this data in appropriate hierarchies, and map the relationships between the various data elements. Upload content into the system library in bulk (e.g. lists of controls, processes, risks, and other data objects). Also, upload documents or templates for SOX compliance tests, surveys, and certifications.
Plan and schedule risk assessments, define their scope, and assign them to owners. Identify and assess risks (within the sub-processes or sub-cycles) based on impact and likelihood. Rate control effectiveness, and document the inherent and residual risk rating. Determine the nature, timing, and extent of testing that must be carried out in each area along with the sample size required to pass the tests. Leverage the risk and control matrix for a comprehensive view of the SOX compliance program, including risks, controls, control effectiveness, test results, assertions, and frequency of control testing.
Control Testing and Documentation
Plan and design control tests leveraging the COSO framework. Define test owners, schedules, scope, and frequency. Search and select controls for testing based on various parameters, and assign them to control owners or testers. Leverage built-in standard templates to conduct the control tests, and enable survey-based assessments. Select control samples, and record the results of testing, including the operating and design effectiveness of the controls. Capture non-compliance issues or control deficiencies which then become part of the issue remediation process. Classify issues into categories (e.g. significant deficiency, material weakness) for easy reporting and remediation. Attach supporting documents and evidence of compliance. Store these documents centrally, and provide access to them through secure, role-based landing pages.
Create plans, questionnaires, and schedules for certifications based on SOX Section 302 and 404 for internal control effectiveness (over the company’s entire financial statements). Conduct one-time or periodic certifications and sub-certifications, and aggregate responses from various levels. View a SOX 302 sub-certification report which provides management teams the assurance that sub ordinate levels have performed their internal control duties.
Remediation and Disclosures
Document control deficiencies and issues from the risk or control assessment process, mark them for remediation, and assign them to the respective owners. Create remediation action plans, and route them to reviewers for approval. Enable control managers or issue owners to modify the controls, define new controls, or recommend treatment plans to address each issue. Accelerate the process through automated workflows, notifications, and reporting processes. Review issues marked for disclosure, and channel them to the disclosure committee for recommendations and inclusion in regulatory filings.
SOX Compliance Monitoring and Reporting
Track the key departments involved in SOX compliance, as well as the processes, associated controls, attributes of controls, tests, and self-assessment plans. Monitor the status of control design, process ownership, control evaluation plans, test results, and other factors on graphical charts. Filter the data by reporting period or financial cycle, and drill down to view the data at finer levels of detail. Leverage key control metrics cards and scorecards to track the number and test status of the controls. Route these insights to management to help them identify control deficiencies, while guiding sign-offs and internal control review processes. Configure ad-hoc or scheduled reports, and define a reporting period (e.g. weekly, monthly, or quarterly). Provide a consolidated view of SOX compliance metrics by a variety of parameters such as process, test results, key controls, and issue remediation status.