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SOX: Like Throwing a Party?

Every few months my wife and I have a party. Apart from the goodness of
seeing friends, it also forces us to get the house cleaned up. A good thing all

It is in this same spirit that Stephen Ashton, director of Global IT business management
at the investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein says that Sarbanes-Oxley
is good for IT.  (See the article, "Sarbanes-Oxley
‘Good for IT
‘", by Andrew Donahue published yesterday by ZDNet
UK.)  Despite having 10% to 15% of the banks total headcount currently
committed to compliance ( !! ), Ashton feels that the gain is greater
than the pain. “We have just completed a data center review. The thing that came out of it was that we have
tons of information but very little knowledge. There is a lot of partial and inaccurate data in our
systems."  Ashton also talked of now having to invest in bringing
together disconnected "silos" of information that had just developed
over time, without planning.  Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein is now
investing in cataloging and integrating this information to make it useful.

We don’t really decide to have parties to get the house cleaned up.  But
it is a nice side-effect.  Are readers finding good side-effects of
Sarbanes-Oxley compliance?


  1. Sebastian Holst

    The connection between compliance and performance is strong. There is an article in the February 05 edition of DMReview entitled Transforming Compliance Burdens into Better Business Returns By Steven Lindseth which, I feel, provides a good context around this issue and speaks to some of the unique characteristics of SOX that make the connection between performance and compliance particularly strong. The article is online at

  2. sarahseddon

    You said that the main problem for spreadsheets was a lack of an audit trail. If you visit Lyquidity’s website ( you will be able to download a trial of ComplyXL. This software was designed to ensure the integrity of information within Excel. ComplyXL is able to detect ANY changes to Excel, whether macros, volatile functions, figures etc. A full version history is stored within Excel, but is invisible to the user. This ensures that the version history always ‘travels’ with the spreadsheet. Unlike a lot of similar systems, the user doesn’t have to decide in advance which spreadsheets are critical – ALL spreadsheets can monitored. Hope this helps!

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