Simplify Sarbanes Oxley Compliance
TrackerSuite.Net offers organizations a cost-effective, easily deployed and maintained solution that facilitates compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (PDF) and similar legislation such as Canada's Bill 198. TrackerSuite.Net is a suite of integrated, modular applications for project management, time and expense reporting, purchasing, payment requests, invoicing, personnel management and business intelligence reporting. These applications work together to facilitate Sarbanes-Oxley compliance by:
- Simplifying financial requests and reporting..
- Securing financial processes.
- Improving reporting accuracy.
Simplifying Financial Requests
- Using TrackerSuite.Net, organizations can utilize entirely electronic, paper-free workflows for the creation, submission, approval routing and processing of expense reports, purchase orders and payment requests, all within a single system. This eliminates many of the potential issues inherent in using paper-based processes or disparate systems:
- No more missing paperwork, all items are stored online.
- Nothing is lost in the gaps between systems.
- Employees can submit these items in a timely fashion, from any location via the Web or within their own email client.
Securing Financial Processes
- Every expense report, purchase order and payment request in TrackerSuite is automatically routed through its approval process. TrackerSuite.Net supports multiple approval workflows depending on the user's role in TrackerSuite.Net, department and spending limits.
- Every item has an activity log with time and date-stamped electronic signatures, establishing both a timeline and a trail of responsibility for it.
- Users in Accounting can access an Accounting Inbox to review all items in the system. Administrators can easily review the status of all financial items in the system with dashboards for expense reports, purchase orders and payment requests.
Improving Financial Reporting Accuracy
- All purchases, payment requests and expenses are charged by line item against projects and support tickets, leaving no question about the intended purpose for any item.
- All items can also be charged against account codes, for example, the purchase order form includes a GL coding section where the total amount of the purchase request can be divided against multiple account codes. Users can also charge GL codes against specific tasks in a project's WBS.
- The Tracker Data Warehouse, a Web based reporting engine, receives data pushed from the other TrackerSuite.Net modules and produces real-time reports on finances, including Purchase Lists, Purchase vs. Payment, Activity Ledgers and more. Using a report editor, organizations can also generate the particular reports they need to comply with Section 404, to provide evidence of their fiscal responsibility.
The Advantages of TrackerSuite.Net for SOX Compliance
TrackerSuite.Net offers critical advantages as a Sarbanes Oxley compliance solution, in deployment, scalability, adoption and maintenance.
One of the larger, more difficult hurdles in achieving SOX compliance is the priority assignment in instituting controls throughout the organization. A large company with geographically distributed offices is forced to review and choose those that represent the critical areas of their financial reporting, whether by themselves or in aggregate with other offices.
Because TrackerSuite.Net is 100% Web based, both deployment and scalability are non-issues. TrackerSuite.Net presents the entire organization with a single portal, accessible from any location through Microsoft Internet Explorer, whether it's an organization of 50 employees or 5000. TrackerSuite.Net also integrates with major email platforms including Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes, allowing users to enter TrackerSuite.Net without ever leaving their email client. This ease of access, combined with a role-based user interface and straightforward functions simplify adoption.
The structure of the TrackerSuite.Net applications also simplifies maintenance as well as customization. TrackerSuite.Net is 100% SOA (Service Oriented Architecture), utilizing next generation architecture including LDAP, as well as established Web technologies including SOAP, XML and style sheets. By centralizing the control of services and eliminating the need for agents to drive processes, TrackerSuite.Net lowers IT overhead and frees resources.
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- 100% Web based with extremely fast, highly scalable applications.
- Source code included in licensing.
- Modular structure allows organizations to select the applications they need to assemble the solution they want.
An Overview of Sarbanes Oxley
The Purpose of Sarbanes Oxley
The purpose of Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) is both to enforce accurate financial reporting and to drive the development of stronger internal processes (particularly purchase to pay and controls within those organizations for the creation and management of financial records and approval procedures.
The Impact of Section 404 of Sarbanes Oxley
Section 404 of Sarbanes Oxley requires the following of the organization's management:
- That management must accept responsibility for the effectiveness of the companys internal controls.
- That management must report an assessment of the effectiveness of the companys internal controls at the close of each fiscal year. This report must be backed with evidence and documentation of the design of the controls.
- This assessment must be reviewed and validated by the public accounting company performing the organization's audit.
While the SEC realized that the demands of 404 would be burdensome, particularly in its first year, the consensus was that the benefits of improved reporting, as well as renewed investor confidence, would outweigh the costs involved. It was also believed that Section 404 would place a greater burden on large companies rather than mid-size or small businesses, however the opposite appears to be true.
By holding smaller organizations to the same standard as larger companies with more complex organization, the cost of Section 404 has become so prohibitive that some businesses, including Ohio Art Co., which makes Etch-A-Sketch and ShoLodge Inc., which owns and operates Shoney's Inns, have announced plans to de-register their securities and go private (Accounting Rule Exposes Problems, Stirs Debate, Post-Gazette.com). This has also moved the SEC to grant 1 year extensions to certain business for filing Section 404.