Research from audit and compliance consultancy Protiviti adds credence to the idea that the changes the Securities and Exchange Commission made to Sarbanes-Oxley implementation and the changes the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board made in adopting Auditing Standard 5 are doing what the regulators hoped they would: making Sarbox compliance easier.
The results reveal that at least 40 percent of internal audit teams responding to the survey say they have spent less time on Sarbanes-Oxley audit activities since the changes went in to effect. As a result, they have been able to begin rebalancing internal audit work to include those things that are vital to business, but were all but abandoned once Sarbanes-Oxley hit the books. Those things include advising the board on business strategy and addressing non-Sarbanes-Oxley regulatory-compliance issues.
According to the survey, 1 in 3 audit teams responding report that rebalancing the internal audit workload is in progress, and 1 in 5 say it is complete. Respondents also reported that were able to spend significantly more time and effort reducing the number of key controls than they had planned to spend as of last year's rebalancing survey from Protiviti. Commenting on these results, Protiviti EVP Bob Hirth says:
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.