Three years after it became law in the US, fewer than a quarter of IT support professionals in the UK are aware of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act or its potential equivalents in Europe, according to a newly published industry poll.
Almost 70 per cent of support staff interviewed in the survey, conducted by IT service management firm Axios Systems and the Help Desk Institute Europe, did not know about Sarbanes-Oxley or similar legislation which may be introduced in the European Union.
Only a fifth indicated that they were aware of the regulatory laws, with the remainder unsure.
Sarbanes-Oxley has important implications for the IT sector, as financial documentation and controls in most organisations are heavily dependent on IT systems.
If IT systems are not included in the audit process, it is highly likely that organisations will be unable to achieve compliance.
Sarbanes-Oxley is regarded as one of most important pieces of legislation affecting corporate governance, financial disclosure and the practice of public accounting in the US for 70 years.
The Act came into force in 2002, and is best known for its requirement that the chief executive and chief financial officers of an organisation are personally responsible for certifying financial results.
"Organisations in the UK and Europe need to be more aware of US legislation and the possible introduction of similar laws in the European Union," said Ailsa Symeonides, sales and marketing director at Axios Systems.
"The lack of awareness of Sarbanes-Oxley is not a big surprise since this is American legislation and the poll respondents are in the UK.
"However, massive penalties can lie in store for senior managers if they do not exercise proper governance of their companies, and the use of IT service management can be a vital tool in ensuring compliance."
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