Protiviti's 2013 Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance Survey Shows Companies' Need for More Scrutiny on High-Risk Processes

Protiviti's 2013 Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance Survey Shows Companies' Need for 
More Scrutiny on High-Risk Processes 
Key trends include growing reliance on internal audit functions and automation 
of controls; survey results to be discussed during May 14 webinar 
MENLO PARK, Calif., May 14, 2013 /CNW/ - Demand for added attention to 
high-risk processes, growing costs and the increasing role of IT controls and 
testing reports are some of the key changes and challenges companies faced 
over the last year as they worked to meet Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) requirements, 
according to findings in the 2013 Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance Survey 
( by global consulting firm Protiviti 
When executives and professionals involved in SOX compliance were asked what 
was driving the most change in their SOX compliance processes, 66 percent said 
there was at least moderate change due to demand for increasing process and 
control documentation for high-risk processes. Additionally, 60 percent of 
respondents indicated that the increased amount of time required for 
walkthroughs and documentation around processes was also driving moderate 
"To continue to improve their SOX compliance efforts, companies need to 
intensify their scrutiny of high-risk processes such as financial reporting, 
accrual processes, stock options and equity, and taxes," said Brian 
Christensen, Protiviti's executive vice president for global internal audit.  
"The study shows that companies are beginning to adjust in that direction and 
the shift aligns with guidance from the SEC and PCAOB." 
"It's important to note that SOX compliance programs and processes should 
remain agile and ready to change course if public companies are to adhere to 
the law in an effective and cost-efficient manner," said Christensen. "As 
demonstrated by regulators, providers of ongoing guidance (e.g. COSO) and 
rapidly changing business conditions, the achievement of sustainable, 
cost-effective and value-enhancing compliance processes remains an ongoing 
journey that requires continual vigilance." 
With regard to the new COSO internal control framework, nearly two-thirds (66 
percent) of the Protiviti survey respondents were aware of the revision 
process. Not surprisingly, the vast majority (85 percent) were against early 
implementation in 2013. If given an adoption option, respondents were fairly 
evenly split across several potential implementation schedules, including 
fiscal year 2014 and adoption after 2014. 
Shifting Responsibility to the Internal Audit Function 
Year-over-year findings about which area within an organization is responsible 
for overseeing SOX compliance showed a sizeable shift toward the internal 
audit function and away from project management. In 2012, the survey found 
that 30 percent of organizations housed this responsibility with the internal 
audit function, while 25 percent handled SOX compliance through their project 
management office. However, in this year's survey, 45 percent of respondents 
said internal auditing managed SOX compliance (up 15 percent), while only 10 
percent said it was handled by project management (down 15 percent). 
One reason for this shift is the willingness of external auditors to rely on 
the work of internal audit departments rather than other functions. In 2013, 
only 25 percent of respondents said there was an increase in external 
auditors' reliance on documentation, walkthroughs and testing performed 
outside of the internal audit function, while 39 percent said there was an 
increase from external auditors in having the same work done by internal audit 
Additional Survey Findings 
Other key findings from Protiviti's 2013 Sarbanes Oxley Compliance Survey 

    --  Eighty percent of respondents indicating they have seen
        improvements in internal control over financial reporting
        structure since Sarbanes-Oxley Section 404(b) was first
        required for large accelerated and accelerated filers in 2004.
        This is especially true for large accelerated filers, with 87
        percent saying there have been improvements.
    --  More than one-third of companies (38 percent) reporting a
        year-over-year increase (from 2011 to 2012) in SOX costs.
        Nearly half of the companies surveyed (47 percent) also
        reported a year-over-year increase in external audit fees
        during the same period. That said, on average the costs for SOX
        compliance are not extraordinarily high relative to the
        objective of quality financial reporting to investors through
        improved internal controls. For most organizations, the cost of
        SOX compliance remains at a manageable level.
    --  Automation of controls continues to be an area of increased
        focus, with 90 percent of companies surveyed this year
        indicating that they have plans to automate IT processes and
        controls for SOX compliance, up from 83 percent in 2012.

About the Survey

In its fourth edition, Protiviti's 2013 Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance Survey 
gathered insights from 297 executives and professionals at companies with 
gross annual revenues ranging from less than $100 million to more than $20 
billion. The survey was conducted in late 2012 and early 2013, and respondents 
included chief audit executives, chief financial officers, corporate 
Sarbanes-Oxley and Project Management Office leaders, chief compliance 
officers and others involved with SOX. The survey is available for 
complimentary download at:

A 90-minute webinar discussing the results of the survey will be held on 
Tuesday, May 14, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. PDT. To register for the complimentary 
webinar, please visit

Additionally, a video featuring Protiviti's Brian Christensen discussing key 
trends in SOX compliance based on the survey results is available at

About Protiviti

Protiviti ( is a global consulting firm that helps companies 
solve problems in finance, technology, operations, governance, risk and 
internal audit. Through its network of more than 70 offices in over 20 
countries, Protiviti has served more than 35 percent of FORTUNE 1000(®) and 
FORTUNE Global 500(®) companies. The firm also works with smaller, growing 
companies, including those looking to go public, as well as with government 

Protiviti is a wholly owned subsidiary of Robert Half International (NYSE: 
RHI). Founded in 1948, Robert Half International is a member of the S&P 500 

Protiviti is not licensed or registered as a public accounting firm and does 
not issue opinions on financial statements or offer attestation services.

NOTE TO EDITORS: An infographic of key survey findings is available in JPEG 
and PDF upon request.

Kathy Keller, (650) 234-6252,

PRN Photo Desk,

PRN Photo Desk,

SOURCE: Protiviti

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-0- May/14/2013 12:02 GMT

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