Sarbanes Oxley Consultant. A federal law, enacted in 2002, is responsible for creating the specialized field of Sarbanes Oxley consulting and it has opened a door for accountants and other financial professionals. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 requires public companies to adhere to a whole new set of accounting and financial control standards. Most of these companies need external help in complying with these new rules and look toward Sarbanes Oxley consultants for input and expertise.
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The Sarbanes Oxley Act was enacted as a result of several high-profile bankruptcies of large US corporations such as Enron and WorldCom, which were caused by questionable accounting and reporting procedures combined with weaknesses in key controls. The Act was designed to restore investor and public confidence in US corporations by requiring more stringent accounting principles that are subject to external audit and review by the SEC. In order to comply with these new requirements, corporations are turning to Sarbanes Oxley consultants for help.
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002
This Act, which is also known as SOX or Sarbox, was enacted in response to several major corporate accounting scandals which cost investors billions of dollars and resulted in the erosion of public and investor confidence in US corporations.
The legislation establishes higher accounting and reporting standards that are designed to improve the accuracy and reliability of corporate disclosure. It also places personal responsibility for reporting completeness and viability on individual corporate executives. This represents a sea change in that SOX introduced tangible personal accountability and potentially personal financial liability for certain key executives in large organizations.
The Act also established the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, or PCAOB, which oversees, regulates, inspects, and disciplines accounting firms that provide auditing of public companies. This provides the Sarbox consultant with the opportunity to work with external and independent accounting firms in addition to the large corporations that fall within the scope of the act.
The Sarbanes Oxley Consulting Offering Defined
Sarbox forces public companies to seek expert external advice in order to ensure that the company complies with the new law. Since corporate executives are being held accountable for the corporation's actions and they are scrutinized by the SEC, they need an expert who will provide the knowledge and expertise to enable the company to demonstrate for compliance with the Act.
Sarbanes Oxley consultants are the experts that help corporations comply with the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Armed with in-depth knowledge of the Act and corporate financial reporting experience, you provide the direction and expertise needed for companies to develop the necessary accounting procedures and reporting methods dictated by the new legislation.
Sarbanes Oxley Consultants - Core Skills & Experience
Since the Act revolves around the way corporations account for and report their financials, clearly a background in accounting and a recognized professional accounting qualification provides the best foundation for becoming a Sarbanes Oxley consultant. One is not limited, however, to the accounting field. Any relevant experience in finance, audit or risk management will lend itself in mastering and specializing in the provision of Sarbanes Oxley consulting services.
Sarbanes Oxley consultants typically possess years of experience in a corporate accounting environment, either as an employee of a major corporation or with one of the big five accounting and consulting firms.
To be successful you will need to have a broad knowledge of corporate accounting procedures and in depth knowledge of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. In addition to the technical and professional knowledge of financial reporting and accounting in publicly traded companies, Sarbanes Oxley consultants need to be familiar with the key financial controls that are integral to accounting systems and financial reporting processes.
Career Potential For Sarbanes Oxley Consultants
Having Sarbanes Oxley knowledge and experience puts any aspiring consultant in a very strong position. Every public corporation that falls within the scope of the Act and needs specialized expertise in order to comply. The need for Sarbanes Oxley consultants stretches across every major industry sector and demand for experts in this field surpasses the number of qualified professionals available.
Opportunities are by no means limited to the United States. Any company that has material trading activities in the U.S. is required to comply regardless of the geographic location of the holding company.
Although much controversy has surrounded the Act's benefits versus costs after initial passage, there exists enough support from Congressional leaders to speculate that the new legislation will stay in place for at least two decades or more. Continued complexities in complying with the requirements of the legislation and anticipated revisions will provide numerous opportunities for experienced Consultants to establish a lucrative career in this specialization.
If you have a credible background in corporate accounting procedures, you can demonstrate a solid understanding of the full breadth of the legislation and a detailed knowledge in certain key areas, then you are an excellent candidate to develop your consulting niche in Sarbanes Oxley.
Rewards Of The SOX Consultant
Given that demand for experts on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act exceeds supply, financial compensation from corporations and consulting firms can be very substantial. When you consider data, such as compiled by Finance Executive International, showing that corporations in the $6 billion range spent an average of $2.9 million on compliance, the compensation potential for Sarbanes Oxley consulting services are very attractive. The level of the six-figure income you choose is attainable with the right experience. You can earn upwards of $250K per annum without too much difficulty.
Consider also the status of specializing in Sarbanes Oxley consulting and the demand for your services. Each project will allow you to further strengthen your portfolio to gain even more lucrative assignments. As your expertise increases, your name becomes prominent in high corporate circles and you will be able to choose your projects and your clients and demand top dollar.
Potential as An Independent SOX Consultant
Since all companies have accounting procedures and the Sarbanes Oxley Act requires all public corporations to comply with new legislation, an independent consultant with Sarbanes Oxley expertise has many options. An experienced Sarbanes Oxley consultant will have highly marketable skills that are applicable across a number of clients.
In it's enforcement efforts of the Act, the SEC also has a need for Sarbanes Oxley consultants and this presents another significant avenue of opportunity. Besides the SEC, there are a number of other regulatory entities that require the skills of Sarbanes Oxley consultants.
Joining a large consulting organization has it's benefits if it fits your situation. Companies like PriceWaterhouseCoopers offer comprehensive Sarbanes Oxley consulting services to fortune 500 companies. Large firms can provide extensive training and experience that can be the stepping stone to independence if that is your ultimate objective.
The broad application of the Sarbanes Oxley Act affords an experienced professional unprecedented opportunities to capitalize on growing demand. With such a wide field of potential clients, employers, and institutions involved in the implementation of and compliance with the Act, now is an excellent time to position yourself as the expert SOX consultant. With the right background, you can carve out your niche in this field and stand above the crowd.
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