Our understanding of the "Bigger picture," allows us to identify areas for improvement more easily and how these changes will affect the entire organisation.
As part of an audit of a Housing Association we helped to implement Sarbanes - Oxley (SOX) methods. The SOX policies are very similar to the UK Companies (Audit, Investigations and Community Enterprise) Act of 2004, which requires companies to adopt more stringent information security measures to ensure the accuracy and integrity of their records.
SOX rules were created in the wake of accounting scandals at large firms such as Enron and contain guidance on issues such as auditor independence, corporate governance, internal control assessment, and enhanced financial disclosure.
By implementing these methods companies and public bodies are able to secure keener insurance rates, attract investors and mitigate the risk of lawsuits more easily. Using SOX we made several recommendations to the housing association including:
Review of audit committee
Our review ensured the audit committee consisted of independent advisors who sit in on board meetings and ensure the integrity of the audit process
Creating an ethics code
Our consultant, Kieron audited the ethics code of the housing association to try and ensure all employees understood the policy and the association's code of ethics covered every eventuality
Kieron also helped to create a system to allow employees to flag up any malpractice in the organisation. This process ensured that employees could remain anonymous and feel empowered to report anything they feel is wrong across the association
Software has been developed to execute SOX type policies. We helped the housing association choose the best software to help them monitor financial activity across the organisation.
By implementing these solutions the Association was able to get more information on its own processes and able to flag up any discrepancies and inefficiencies. The new systems also reduced errors with automated financial controls and report writing in place through the new SOX compliant software.
Consultant Responsible: Kieron Kehoe