23 March 2004

Institutions Find it Tough to Meet Sarbox Deadline

Institutions Find it Tough to Meet Sarbox Deadline: "

As the first deadline for Sarbanes-Oxley compliance of June 15 nears, financial-institutions are finding that complying is more difficult than they had anticipated. According to a survey of Sarbanes-Oxley project managers from 54 financial institutions, 95 percent say they will meet the deadline, more than half say it will be difficult to do so. The study was conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

The most difficult areas seem to be documentation and testing of procedures. Sixty-nine percent said level of testing and documentation needed pose the most problems. Following these issues were evaluating and identifying deficiencies at 39 percent.

In order to comply with Section 404 of the Act, respondents said they would have to fix manual controls, computer controls and security.

All of this work is not being done simply to comply with new regs, said respondents. As a matter of fact, over half of the executives said that Sarbanes-Oxley compliance is a necessary cost of doing business and over 40 percent reported the perception that Sarbanes-Oxley will ultimately make them more productive.

Executives are even starting to look ahead and incorporate their Sarbox upgrades into other areas. For example, they plan to make improvements to risk identification, financial reporting, internal audit and compliance management in order to streamline compliance in future years.

Despite this approach, two thirds of respondents said their Sarbox plan is not integrated with other compliance processes."

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