An Ounce of Prevention

Sarbanes-Oxley programs that address both compliance and business objectives can help companies trim the costs of section 404 compliance.

The 404 Institute’s third annual Benchmark Study found that companies with low compliance costs and more effective outcomes reported a:

Higher degree of centralized transaction processing and control.

Higher percentage of automated vs. manual controls, as well as preventive vs. detective controls.

A greater reliance on company-level controls.

The study found that companies that made compliance part of employees’ everyday work benefited from:

The use of fewer full-time resources , with more individuals dedicating less time to compliance.

A broad view of risk , relying more heavily on corporate governance and transactional volume than on factors such as the dollar value of accounts.

Substantive interaction with business owners , by involving compliance teams in the design stage of process changes rather than notifying them after changes have been made.

Strategic use of internal audit , focusing less on direct testing and more on self-assessment, strategic testing and reviewing changes.

Source: The 404 Institute’s “Lessons Learned From Compliance Efforts,” Benchmark Study , 2007,


Year-end tax planning and what’s new for 2016

Practitioners need to consider several tax planning opportunities to review with their clients before the end of the year. This report offers strategies for individuals and businesses, as well as recent federal tax law changes affecting this year’s tax returns.


News quiz: Retirement planning, tax practice, and fraud risk

Recent reports focused on a survey that gauges the worries about retirement among CPA financial planners’ clients, a suit that affects tax practitioners, and a guide that offers advice on fraud risk. See how much you know with this short quiz.


Bolster your data defenses

As you weather the dog days of summer, it’s a good time to make sure your cybersecurity structure can stand up to the heat of external and internal threats. Here are six steps to help shore up your systems.