For many financial institutions affected by Sarbanes-Oxley, the issue is whether or not increased treasury automation ensures a more reliable internal control environment. Beyond the efficiency gains, a key driver of these initiatives is the need to streamline the SOX compliance process.
Process automation enables treasury departments to improve and standardize their control procedures across the enterprise. In addition, inherent treasury system functionality eliminates the need for costly manual reconciliations, validations or other compensating controls. It also provides CFOs, treasurers and management with real-time visibility into key online metrics and reports, measuring the ongoing performance of treasury operations and enabling timely detection of potential risks for proper remediation. After two years of Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) implementation (larger public companies had to meet the new financial reporting and certification mandates for end-of-year financial statements filed after 15 November 2004), treasury professionals are becoming smarter about their compliance process and are looking to embed more controls into their financial systems to eliminate inefficiencies and reduce risks. Impact of SOX on Corporate Treasury
Treasury departments of publicly traded organizations subject to the SOX Act of 2002 (see box at end) have been impacted at both business process and IT levels. At the business process level, treasury has inherited responsibility for documenting, assessing and improving key internal controls relating to all processes affecting the accuracy and dynamics of financial reporting. Examples of treasury controls affecting financial reporting include: •
Cash management controls, e.g. bank reconciliations.
Investments-related controls, e.g. accuracy of interests, dividend income, accruals and fair values (mark-to-market). •
Debt-related controls, e.g. accuracy and completeness of amortization and interest expense, appropriate estimation,...
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