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Technical Writers and SOX Compliance

    two people sitting at a desk, representing the importance of technical writers in SOX compliance

    Has Your Organization Updated its Internal Controls Report to be SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act) Compliant?

    Among the different laws and regulations of the US financial system, an important one to keep in mind is the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Passed in 2002 and effective in 2006, the SOX act expanded the number of required financial reports and compliance documentation for businesses in order to protect investors. These reports and compliance documentation encompasses a wide range of information and failure to do so results in hefty fines and possible jail time. Because of the scope of information required, hiring technical writing consultation would make the process go much smoother.

    How does SOX affect you?

    The purpose of SOX is for there to be corporate governance and financial disclosure by having businesses provide accurate and thorough compliance documentation. To accomplish this, section 404 of SOX requires the filing of an internal controls report. An internal controls report includes the mechanisms and procedures used by a company to ensure the integrity of its financial and accounting information. Under section 404, a company’s HR department is also required to take note of the salary, benefits, training costs, and paid time off and include it as part of their compliance documentation. And in addition to all this, companies are also required to show year-end financial disclosures. Lastly, with all this financial information compiled, the procedure that this was done is then required to provide an accurate picture of the audit process. By filing this documentation with the government and being compliant with the SOX act, your business is able to safeguard your financial data. Given the breadth of information required under section 404, having a technical writer as your SOX auditor would be helpful. A technical writer trained in compliance documentation and business analysis would make sure that all of it is filed according to SOX standards. Failure to comply with SOX can result in fines up to $5 million as well as potential jail time of up to 20 years.

    How can Technical Writers help?

    In addition to the number of documents that need to be filed, being compliant with the SOX act is also an expensive endeavor. According to a 2008 SEC survey of public companies, Sarbanes-Oxley compliance documentation costs an average of $2.3 million annually. Because of this, along with the strict penalties and procedures of SOX, having technical writing consultation can help streamline the Section 404 audit process. Essential Data Corporation’s technical writers are trained in audit documentation. So, by hiring EDC’s technical writers to look at your company’s internal knowledge and policies, you can expect a faster and most likely cheaper process. A technical writer trained in financial documentation knows what to look for and how to handle the compliance documentation needed.

    Conclusion

    The importance of SOX compliance documentation for a company is evident in the fines for not complying with the act. By hiring EDC’s technical writers your company will be able to provide accurate financial reports and comply with the requirements under the SOX act.

    What can EDC do for you?

    Whether you need a team of consultants to produce a complete line of documentation or a single technical writer for a brief project, Essential Data’s Engagement Manager will lead the project from start to finish. At Essential Data all our work is guaranteed, contact us today to get started.  (800) 221-0093 or sales@edc.us

    Written by Stanley Chu

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