The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) is one of the most far-reaching pieces of legislation affecting corporate America in years. Ultimately, its purpose is to restore investor confidence in publicly traded corporations in the U.S. Specifically, the key wording is "... to protect investors by improving the accuracy and reliability of corporate disclosures made pursuant to the securities laws."

While chief executive officers (CEOs) and chief financial officers (CFOs) are the focus of the Act, CIOs will be affected as well. It is technology that will give corporations the assurance that they are in compliance –­ specifically business intelligence (BI) technology. Compliance is more than just financial legislation. At its heart, it is about ensuring the validity and transparency of the creation and documentation of information in financial statements. This month's column examines the significant sections of the Act and addresses what is required of BI environments to ensure the required visibility and validity of data.

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