Sarbanes-Oxley For Dummies Paperback – Feb 27 2006
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"...an informative read..." (Accounting Technician, May 2006)
From the Back Cover
Understand what Congress really intended when it passed Sarbanes-Oxley
Whether you're a CEO or a small business owner, complying with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act won't be simple. Fortunately, this easy, plain-English guide explains all the bill's provisions and gives you and your firm an effective framework for implementation. Sarbanes-Oxley For Dummies gives you all the help you need to comply with the law and maintain your credibility.
Discover how to
- Minimize compliance costs in every area of your company
- Create an efficient audit committee
- Survive a Section 404 audit
- Avoid litigation under SOX
- Purchase and use SOX software solutions
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The book starts out with the saga of SarBox. The author covers the political environment, loopholes that existed before the legislation, and how the legislation sought to close them. The author also attempts to debunk myths about SarBox. For this reader, the most important myth is that "internal control means data security". The author states up front and for all to hear that SarBox does not specify any specific data security requirements. This is something all auditors and auditees need to hear and accept.
Chapter 2 covers "SOX in 60 Seconds", or what a sales person might call the "elevator pitch". Essentially this is the who, what, where and why. From here, the author goes into more details about how SarBox fits into the context of other securities regulations and laws. An important part of this chapter (Chapter 3) is the discussion why private companies should and do care are about the legislation and rules. In Chapter 4, SarBox and how it ties into specific financial statements such as the income statement and balance sheet. For those unfamiliar with these statements, it is a good quick and dirt overview.
Part II of the book goes into more details about roles and responsibilities under SarBox. This starts out with the auditors, and then the discussion extends to the audit committee, the board of directors, management and employees. The most important point to take home from this section is that in order to play the game, you have to 'know the playbook'. The rules of the game have changed and everyone needs to know the roles and responsibilities.
Part III of the book goes into a detailed overview of controls and audits. An important aspect of this is clearing up confusion about how the definition of controls is distinct in Sections 302 and 404. From here, the author covers what is covered under a 404 audit, how not to live in fear of it, and how it can be leveraged for success.
Part IV of the book, "Software for SOX Techies", is the weakest part of the book for this reader. The author does give some tips about specific tools. However, the tools selected are very narrow in scope. The discussion seems to miss the important point that organizations should look to build a "compliance oriented architecture" as opposed to buying silo-based solutions.
The remaining parts of the book cover the SarBox horizon, the potential legal repercussions (including discussions about who can and cannot file lawsuits and when they can be filed), the impact of SarBox on outsourcing, and more. Finally, the book goes into "rules of tens", such as 10 ways to avoid prosecution, 10 tips for an effective audit committee, and more.
As I said earlier, the book provides a good quick and dirty overview. It falls short in its discussion of software tools. The other thing that I did not like was the inclusion of the full text of the Act as an appendix. No, not the fact that they included it, but the fact that the text was entirely too small to be read. At that point, they should have just left it out.
Who Should Read This Book?
This book should be read by anybody who has an interest in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and its implications but does not want to get into too much detail. There are better titles for CEOs and CFOs who want a detailed discussion. But for the quick and dirty, it is a good first read on the topic.
Par on an average Par 4
1. What it appears that Congress intended.
2. What the SEC has issued.
3. What the courts have subsequently ruled.
This book presents the whole story of SOX from a high overhead view, and it does so in a surprisingly entertaining way for what is basically an accounting book. The author seems to have not only a theoretical understanding of SOX but presents a view of 'Here's the rules, then here's the real rules, then this is what the future rules might look like.'
All in all, SOX is the biggest change in the accounting rules in decades. While it was intended for big public companies it has become the standard by which even small private companies are held. The cost of compliance is huge, and may make a big change in the overall ability of new companies to get started.
SOX also reaches down to the employee level, even in some cases to quite low level employees.
This is the best book I've seen on trying to make sense out of SOX and all its implications.
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