As companies race to document their financial processes and become compliant with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, large vendors such as Oracle, SAP AG and PeopleSoft Inc. are trying to lure customers with a range of products.
Oracle this week released a new version of its Internal Controls Manager, a module within the E-Business Suite that addresses Sarbanes-Oxley compliance.
The application documents and tests internal controls, and it monitors ongoing compliance with the federal regulations. It targets Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley; that portion of the law requires companies to perform a self-assessment of risks for business processes that affect financial reporting.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has pushed back the deadline for companies to become compliant with Section 404. The new deadline is Nov. 15, 2004; the previous deadline was June 15.
Aaron Sager, manager of business systems at Carlsbad, Calif.-based digital satellite firm Viasat, said his company is among those using Oracle Internal Controls Manager to meet the deadline.
"If you're a highly splintered company using multiple ERP systems, the task of becoming compliant is somewhat daunting," Sager said. "By having all of our divisions on Oracle using a single set of books and having a set of global processes, it allows us to have one set of controls that we rely on."
SAP and PeopleSoft also plan to introduce regulatory software this year, said Paul Hamerman, a senior analyst with Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research.
SAP plans a release of a compliance product for its mySAP Financials software in May, and PeopleSoft plans an updated Sorbanes-Oxley release this summer, Hamerman said.
"Most companies are well on their way to becoming compliant," Hamerman said. "They've gone from a planning and documenting phase to a risk-assessment phase in order to gain complete compliance."
The latest version of Oracle's Internal Controls Manager allows companies doing business in other countries to apply global processes to each region, while also managing regional variations, said Steve Miranda, Oracle's vice president of financial applications development.
Since the first version of product was released, 75 customers from a variety of industries have purchased it, Oracle said. Although it can be purchased separately, most companies using the software are running E-Business Suite.
The base price for the software is $30 per user, with a minimum of 500 users.
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