The recent surge in UK SOx compliance, also known as the UK equivalent of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOx), has ushered in a new era of accountability and transparency for organisations across various sectors with a focus on robust controls across their payment processes.
If you want to find out more about how this affects Finance and Audit leaders, read our blog: 5 things you need to know about UK SOx compliance.
When delving further into UK SOx compliance, we have found many businesses have this at the top of their agenda, but still need support in understanding what a solid foundation for success looks like. Our CEO, Anish Kapoor, sat down with Raj Kohli of DCR Partners, a cybersecurity and risk management consultancy, to delve further into this topic, and we’ve summarised the key takeaways from the event.
Raj Kohli, CEO of DCR Partners
Raj brings decades of experience from the world of big accountancy firms, including Deloitte. His background in US Sarbanes-Oxley engagements and projects has uniquely positioned him to navigate the complex landscape of controls in payment process, risk management, and resilience.
Anish Kapoor, CEO of AccessPay
Anish is the driving force behind AccessPay, providing expert knowledge across technology solutions for finance and treasury functions. His expertise around the automation of banking processes, payments, and cash management has meant he has been able to identify the link between AccessPay’s fraud & error prevention capabilities and how it supports wider financial compliance, including UK SOx.
The role of technology in UK SOx compliance
When it comes to UK SOx, technology is playing a transformative role compared to US SOx compliance.
Why? Technology has evolved significantly since the inception of US Sarbanes-Oxley regulations two decades ago. Automation now plays a pivotal role in managing risks efficiently. Instead of relying on manual controls in your payment process, organisations are increasingly adopting automated controls to reduce the chances of circumvention.
One of the key areas where automation is crucial is financial statement accuracy. Historical corporate failures often stemmed from fundamental misstatements regarding cash reserves and operational requirements. These misstatements were enabled by weak manual controls in payment their processes. As such, the push for automation is a strategic move to enhance the reliability of financial statements.
Your road to UK SOx compliance success
Whilst organisations are now aware, and building towards a plan to ensure compliance with UK SOx, both Anish and Raj have recognised many organisations are still uncertain around specific aspects within the new regime, and how to navigate these.
With formal guidance on the new regime still in development; there are several key takeaways businesses can action in readiness for this guidance being released.
Start with your people
Begin by assembling a cross-functional team within your organisation, including representatives from finance, operations, technology, and security. This will ensure a comprehensive assessment of your current compliance risks and controls and identify your existing controls in payment processes and highlight areas for improvement.
This team will be able to leverage collective knowledge and experience to conduct a thorough examination of your payment processes, identifying the strengths and weaknesses. Through this collaborative approach, you can pinpoint areas for improvement to enhance compliance. Furthermore, involving individuals from different disciplines will foster a holistic understanding of regulatory compliance across the organisation, facilitating better communication and alignment in the pursuit of staying compliant.
Leverage existing processes
Many organisations likely have processes and controls in place that contribute to risk mitigation. Don’t reinvent the wheel; instead, evaluate and enhance existing controls in your payment process and leverage automation wherever possible.
Given the evolving nature of the regulatory landscape, organisations should be prepared to adapt quickly. By maintaining clear documentation of your assumptions and dependencies you’ll enable flexibility in your compliance approach. With transparency and accountability across all compliance decisions, you’ll be geared up for future audits and enquiries; ensuring a smooth transition when the new regime comes into play.
Focus on operational resilience
Compliance extends beyond financial statements. Consider how your business can operate effectively under various scenarios, including cyber security incidents to ensure long-term sustainability. DCR partners are a Digital, Change and Risk Management consultancy and can support across all areas of Operational Resilience. Find out more.
Collaborate and learn
Engage in knowledge sharing and collaboration with industry peers and experts. Stay updated on best practices and emerging guidance to refine your compliance strategy.
UK SOx compliance is ushering in a new era of accountability and risk management for organisations. While uncertainties persist, a proactive approach that combines technology, existing processes, and agile adaptability can pave the way for a successful compliance journey. Embrace the changes, focus on risk mitigation, and stay prepared for the evolving regulatory landscape.
To stay up to date with the latest compliance trends, see our dedicated UK SOx Resource Hub.