Creating value for shareholders and owners is the ultimate goal for all public companies. And while compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 may be a legal requirement, many IT executives aren't limiting their work to merely complying with the letter of the law. According to this month's CIO Insight/Gartner EXP survey, 51 percent of companies are also attempting to take advantage of Sarbanes-Oxley initiatives to achieve better business performance. But how? Where, amid the legal language of the act, and the hard work of testing and validating financial controls, does the connection lie between Sarbanes-Oxley and building (as opposed to protecting) shareholder value?
This whiteboard, developed by Lee Dittmar, Kyle Cheney and other consultants from Deloitte's Sarbanes-Oxley practice, shows the way. It focuses on four fundamental areas where shareholder value gets generated: growing revenues, increasing margins, maximizing return on assets and effective governance. Next, within each of these areas, Dittmar and his colleagues have identified specific opportunities for proactive CIOs and their teams to leverage IT specifically implemented for Sarbanes-Oxley compliance to create business value. The whiteboard uses the example of a fictitious company, Existential Chemical, a profitable company with slipping growth levels, but looking to improve growth by taking advantage of its Sarbanes-Oxley compliance work.
The whiteboard is not intended to provide a comprehensive list of all the ways companies can derive shareholder value from their Sarbanes-Oxley compliance efforts. Instead, it highlights four examples of areas that demonstrate real upside potential, and is intended to assist managers in recognizing how regulatory compliance can lead to greater overall business success.
Lee Dittmar, a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP, is the lead consulting partner and co-leader of the firm's Sarbanes-Oxley practice. Dittmar is based in Philadelphia. kyle cheney is a senior manager in the CFO services area of Deloitte Consulting and a Sarbanes-Oxley project manager. He is located in Cleveland.