Posted on June 20, 2013

Keep Your Spreadsheets Out of SOX's Crosshairs

Since the Public Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act of 2002—commonly referred to as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Sarbox or SOX—became law, it has become more important than ever to secure workplace technology to guarantee compliance.

SOX put standards in place for all US public company boards, management and public accounting firms by requiring stricter certification on accuracy of financial information and more severe penalties for fraudulent activity. Due to SOX’s goal to cut down on fraud, organizations’ payroll processes are now under more scrutiny than ever before.

Are spreadsheets safe?

In the business of payroll, as in many other spheres, data are exchanged and compiled in spreadsheets. But with the demand for SOX compliance, questions have been raised surrounding these files: how do businesses ensure the appropriate controls are applied when using spreadsheets for payroll information? And are spreadsheets secure when loaded with columns upon columns of confidential payroll data?

32% of all payroll data is stored in spreadsheets that often lack the proper safeguards and controls needed to protect against errors and ensure SOX compliance. Mistakes in spreadsheets that may have slid by before—such as unauthorized changes or logic errors—now represent unacceptable risk and exposure for organizations.

Spreadsheets must be handled with much greater care under SOX. They must be encrypted and password protected, must have a clear audit trail with a list of authorized users, a segregation of duties, validation of formulas to increase accuracy, version controls and backups and testing of the data and formulas. The passwords must be handled with utmost care, and special software must be utilized to provide spreadsheet governance and risk and compliance controls.

An alternative to spreadsheets

Realistically, the exhaustive list of demands on spreadsheets is not going anywhere. In today’s legal environment, conditions that have opened the door to fraud will only continue to drive government regulations and controls around spreadsheets.

So what if you could eliminate spreadsheets and store all of your data in some other secure location? Paycor’s HR and payroll applications allow you to store all kinds of employee data with unlimited custom fields, all of which can be reported on with a few clicks of the mouse. Gone are the days of managing dozens of spreadsheets, which are not only inconvenient, but also risky in terms of SOX compliance. Find out how Paycor’s solutions can help your business store employee information securely and mitigate the risks of non-compliance. To learn more, contact us today.

Source: PayTech Magazine