To help companies worldwide comply with the provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley, as well as leverage the process of bringing together and analyzing data from across their operations, SAS, a leader in business intelligence, announced a new software solution, SAS Corporate Compliance for Sarbanes-Oxley. The solution helps publicly traded organizations satisfy their requirements under Sarbanes-Oxley through an auditable, searchable and authenticated infrastructure and is flexible enough to prepare organizations for other future governance and compliance requirements.

Under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, publicly traded companies face regulatory pressure to deliver financial transparency and comply with new, more stringent financial reporting and disclosure requirements. Sarbanes-Oxley is a global issue; as long as an organization’s stock is traded in the U.S., it is forced to comply. An AMR Research survey indicates that “nearly 77 percent of companies will spend more on information technology (IT), business process change, corporate governance, and/or consulting this year as a direct result of Sarbanes-Oxley compliance.” (Source: AMR Research Report, “CIOs: There Is a Sarbanes-Oxley Project in Your Future – Do You Know What It Is?” May 6, 2003).

“When implementing software to support Sarbanes-Oxley requirements, organizations are aiming to improve business efficiencies as well as comply with the Act.,” said Julie Rahal, research analyst at IDC. “SAS’ comprehensive analytics and data management capabilities, combined with its workflow module, differentiate SAS Corporate Compliance for Sarbanes-Oxley in the marketplace and enable organizations to address other business needs such as risk management, customer relationship management and performance management.”

SAS Corporate Compliance for Sarbanes-Oxley provides the intelligence that corporations need to turn regulatory burden into an opportunity. With the SAS solution, companies can evaluate the overall success of their financial systems and performance management strategies. The solution enables rapid and accurate consolidation of financial data from disparate sources – ERP, general ledger, and other operational and legacy systems from across the globe, for example – to help organizations meet Sarbanes-Oxley reporting deadlines; it also gives finance departments more time to analyze and verify numbers.

SAS Corporate Compliance for Sarbanes-Oxley includes a powerful repository function for working on financial documents, processes and controls. The repository, designed with the all-important Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley in mind, provides additional insight and transparency into the preparation of financial reports. In addition, financial statements can be assessed and validated with SAS’ world-class reporting and analytic capabilities.

An important differentiator for SAS Corporate Compliance for Sarbanes-Oxley is its enterprise-wide platform, which spans all channels of the organization to ensure consistency in risk measurement and reporting. Through this platform’s monitoring and evaluation tools, organizations can gauge the effectiveness of their internal controls and achieve the financial transparency required by Sarbanes-Oxley. A dashboard on top of this platform provides a comprehensive and intuitive view of compliance status while generating alerts as needed when compliance requirements an organization has set are in danger of not being attained. Organizations can implement continuous monitoring and reporting against the risk of failing to meet the compliance standards they have established.

The technology foundation for SAS Corporate Compliance for Sarbanes-Oxley was an existing SAS pharmaceutical solution, SAS Drug Development, which helps life sciences organizations track new drugs undergoing the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approval process. The data warehousing, analytic, reporting and exploring capabilities used in monitoring FDA compliance have been adapted for complying with Sarbanes-Oxley and other regulations. Further enhancements, specifically added for SAS Corporate Compliance, to this technology foundation include operational risk components, financial consolidation and reporting techniques, and digital signature certification hierarchy.

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