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Sarbanes-Oxley/SAS 99 Compliance

May 27, 2005
Datawatch Europe

Perhaps not surprisingly, some software companies have stepped forward to offer new 'Sarbanes-Oxley compliance solutions.' But IT research and advisory leader Gartner, Inc. warns that any stand-alone or "Sarbanes-Oxley specific" solution should be regarded with skepticism

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In the wake of the astonishing accounting scandals of Enron, Worldcom, Adelphia, Global Crossing and others, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act now requires public companies to provide more financial information than ever before, and holds corporate directors and officers personally accountable for the accuracy of financial disclosures. Other changes in auditing standards affect all businesses, public and private. Datawatch is driven to help both public and private organizations better manage their corporate data and process to meet their compliance objectives.

Key Sarbanes-Oxley concerns for executives Under Section 906, the CEO and CFO must certify the report fully complies with the requirements of applicable sections of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and fairly presents, in all material respects, the company's financial condition and results of operations. Under Section 302, the CEO and CFO must not only certify the report fairly presents the company's financial condition and results of operations, but also certify they have established and evaluated internal controls, designed to proactively ensure the organization is consistently recording and reporting financial results fairly. Any deficiencies discovered in these internal controls, as well as any fraud by management or anyone with a significant role in the company's internal controls, must also be reported. Section 404, requires each annual report to contain information regarding internal controls in place within the organization to ensure accurate financial reporting, as well as an assessment of the effectiveness of these internal controls.

Public and private organizations alike must also take into account other relevant important accounting regulations beyond Sarbanes-Oxley, most notably Statement on Auditing Standards No. 99 (SAS 99), "Consideration of Fraud in a Financial Statement Audit Summary." SAS 99 mandates that auditors must include a significantly increased emphasis on identifying financial statement fraud, including scrutinizing journal entries, adjustments, accounting estimates and unusual transactions for material misstatement due to fraud. All companies today must work more closely than ever with auditors to satisfy SAS 99, in addition to the demands of Sarbanes-Oxley for public companies.

Be careful about the compliance tools you choose

Perhaps not surprisingly, some software companies have stepped forward to offer new 'Sarbanes-Oxley compliance solutions.' But IT research and advisory leader Gartner, Inc. warns that any stand-alone or "Sarbanes-Oxley specific" solution should be regarded with skepticism. Plus, Gartner predicts an 80% likeliness that Sarbanes-Oxley targeted solutions purchased by 2004 will be retired or replaced by the end of 2005!

More sensible answers

Clearly, the answer to effective compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley and SAS 99 is not to throw money at a new, self-proclaimed "silver bullet" product. Instead, Datawatch offers a family of Monarch-powered solutions: proven business solutions with rock-solid functionality that can be used not only to address specific compliance concerns, but also provide the needed flexibility to help fulfill current and future accounting requirements.

Take advantage of the reporting solutions you already have in place

Datawatch's family of report-based analysis and management solutions enable you to transform any accounting or other reports into live data, without programming. For example, using Monarch, any General Ledger or General Journal can be easily transformed into live data and analyzed for anomalies, as mandated under SAS 99, and as part of the organization's Sarbanes-Oxley set of internal controls to proactively ensure fair and accurate financial reporting. With Datawatch|ES, our enterprise reporting solution, you can archive, distribute and provide web-based analysis of periodic accounting and other reports with full security.

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