Protiviti Survey Shows New Guidance From SEC and PCAOB Having Positive Impact on Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance Efforts



    
    Internal Auditors Report Decrease in Time and Number of Controls, and
    Increase in Activities to 'Rebalance' Toward More Strategic
    Responsibilities
    

    MENLO PARK, Calif., June 30 /CNW/ -- Is it possible that Sarbanes-Oxley
compliance is becoming a little easier? According to a new survey from
Protiviti Inc., organizations today are realizing tangible benefits from
updated regulatory rules and guidance pertaining to Section 404 of the
Sarbanes-Oxley Act that were issued in May of 2007 by the Public Company
Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
(SEC). According to the study conducted by Protiviti, a leading global
provider of internal audit and risk and advisory services, approximately four
in 10 internal audit departments have been able to decrease the amount of time
devoted to Sarbanes-Oxley compliance activities since the new guidance and
standard were announced.  As a result, these departments are increasing their
efforts to "rebalance" toward both more traditional internal audit
responsibilities that include regulatory compliance as well as being strategic
business advisors to senior management and the board's audit committee.
    
    (Logo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20051101/SFTU041LOGO)
    
    These are among the many findings of Protiviti's third Internal Audit
Rebalancing Study, which surveys and analyzes how organizations are shifting
internal auditing responsibilities away from a primary focus on Sarbanes-Oxley
compliance to a broader scope of activities. The survey of 321 internal audit
professionals was conducted in early 2008. Protiviti's report about the study,
titled "Moving Internal Audit Back into Balance," will be of great interest to
C-level executives as well as internal audit professionals seeking greater
understanding into the impact of Sarbanes-Oxley compliance activities on their
internal audit functions. A complimentary copy of the report is available
online at http://www.protiviti.com/go/rebalancing3.
    "The great news here is that the SEC's interpretive guidance and PCAOB
Auditing Standard Number 5 are having their desired effects," said Bob Hirth,
executive vice president and global leader of Protiviti's Internal Audit
practice. "Without question, companies have been investing a tremendous amount
of time on Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, particularly in the first years after
the law went into effect. Our survey findings indicate that as a result of the
new information from the SEC and PCAOB, companies are establishing a more
finite number of controls, thus enabling them to reduce the time spent on
compliance and then shift, or rebalance, their focus to other key areas in the
organization."
    The survey results also confirmed that external auditors are increasing
their reliance on the work of a company's internal auditors, as PCAOB AS5
allows. "This is another positive development in helping organizations
streamline the compliance process around Section 404 and internal control over
financial reporting," Hirth said.
    
    Other key findings from Protiviti's 2008 Rebalancing Study include:
    
    --  The most common activity related to rebalancing is rescoping
workloads within the internal audit department. Hirth said that Protiviti's
study now shows a three-year trend indicating that rather than hire new
resources, more organizations are rescoping workloads.
    --  Similar to the results from last year's study, one in three companies
report that rebalancing is underway, and approximately one in five companies
report having achieved rebalancing.
    --  The benefit of rebalancing cited most frequently by respondents was
"internal audit being able to perform more traditional audits." Also ranking
highly was "more appropriate coverage of risk." Hirth explained that
executives continue to see the importance of shifting the focus of the
internal audit function back to broader responsibilities, which in turn
provides them with higher confidence that the internal audit function is
improving the organization's overall risk management efforts.
    --  Companies reported that efforts to reduce the total population of
controls as well as the number of key controls exceeded significantly what was
planned last year (as reported in Protiviti's 2007 Internal Audit Rebalancing
Study). "This is a key indicator that PCAOB AS5 and the SEC's interpretive
guidance, both of which allow for such reductions, are having the impact that
was intended."
    For more information on the SEC's updated guidance regarding Section 404
compliance and the PCAOB's Auditing Standard No. 5, read Protiviti's related
SEC Report and PCAOB Update, both of which are available at
http://www.protiviti.com.
    
    About Protiviti
    
    Protiviti (http://www.protiviti.com) is a global consulting and internal
audit firm composed of experts specializing in risk and advisory services. The
firm helps clients solve problems in finance, operations, technology,
litigation and GRC. Protiviti's highly trained, results-oriented professionals
serve clients in the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East and
provide a unique perspective on a wide range of critical business issues.
    Protiviti has more than 60 locations worldwide and is a wholly owned
subsidiary of Robert Half International Inc. (NYSE:   RHI). Founded in 1948,
Robert Half International is a member of the S&P 500 index.
    Protiviti is not a law firm and is not licensed or registered as a public
accounting firm. The company does not issue opinions on financial statements
or offer attestation services.




For further information:

For further information: Kathy Keller of Protiviti, +1-650-234-6252, 
kathy.keller@protiviti.com


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