Show Me The Value

So it gets me wondering: In the final analysis, will SOX go down a

Mitch Irsfeld, Contributor

October 20, 2005

2 Min Read

It's time for corporate America to get specific. Shortly after the SOX legislation was introduced, we heard a lot of drum beating about shareholder value and the rosy, glass-half-full notion that early adopters of compliance management technology would hold a competitive advantage over the kickers and screamers. It seemed plausible at the time—still does, but the examples of that actually happening are few and far between.

So it gets me wondering: In the final analysis, will SOX go down as nothing more than a remedial reaction, designed to restore investor confidence, or are companies just being tight-lipped about how compliance initiatives are providing shareholder value? It wouldn't be the first time that discussions of competitive advantage are kept out of the media. Oh, technology vendors are quick to offer up case studies with real live user organizations, and they are generally educational, but they fall short of describing how a particular implementation or new practice is delivering shareholder value.Implicit in the idea that compliance equals shareholder value is that the new gyrations a company goes through to meet regulatory requirements will somehow make it a better company, the stock price goes up and everyone is happy. Again, it sounds plausible, but "show me the money."

Don't get me wrong, I understand how reducing risk, eliminating inefficient and error-prone processes, and creating a more ethical corporate culture could be valuable. But that's about all the detail we get. It seems to me that if the enhanced visibility, which SOX is intended to engender, was really delivering shareholder value, companies would be promoting it. Nothing sells like success.

So how about it? It's time to start getting specific about how your SOX controls and best practices are delivering goods. Let's talk.

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