How to Keep SOX on Track During a Pandemic



iStock-1189302146It’s been several weeks since COVID-19 entered our vocabulary and made working from home the new normal, according to Accounting Today. Professionals over the last month are adapting to remote work and how they are responding to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the forefront, SOX professionals are thinking about how to revise their risk management playbook for the year in response to the pandemic. Many SOX teams are also talking about the tools they need to collaborate with each other and stakeholders to execute SOX compliance effectively and comprehensively while working remotely.

These three areas are top of mind with SOX practitioners:

1. Does my scope represent the new reality?

Not many companies planned for a global pandemic. Yet the sudden business disruption and widespread economic volatility raise questions about the current scope of your internal controls. Your risk assessment may need to shift to reflect the new reality.

With the global supply chain upended by shortages, closed borders, and manufacturing companies retooling to make critically needed ventilators and personal protective equipment for health care providers, you may need to assess the risk of delayed customer orders because of supply chain bottlenecks.

2. Will I complete all the testing required?

SOX teams hit the pause button in March to pivot and adjust accordingly. The disruption from COVID-19 has meant a shorter turnaround time for annual SOX compliance, which has many SOX teams wondering if they can complete their controls testing on schedule. 

Where possible, automate control testing. As teams finalize the SOX plan for 2020, assess if control testing can be performed using automation. Can the SOX team deploy a bot that can run the audit procedure on the samples selected and indicate exceptions? If they're not fully automating the test procedure, can the team automate test steps in the control testing and minimize the manual level of effort?

3. Will my 2020 SOX program satisfy external auditor assessment?

The COVID-19 pandemic will require SOX teams to pivot and adjust their program to the current business environment. The collective mindshare of SOX professionals to meet these new challenges and strategize on ways to align will be critical. 

As we transition through the COVID-19 pandemic, and adjust to the 100 percent work-from-home format, SOX teams need the right tools to execute the compliance mandate effectively while working remotely. As teams perform SOX testing for 2020, the work from home reality highlights the relevance of the “remote readiness” aspect of internal controls. KnowBe4's KCM GRC Platform helps you get audits done in half the time, is easy to use, and is surprisingly affordable - all while you are working from home. 

Accounting Today has the full story


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