As I mentioned in the SOX Compliance Software article on this web-site, there are dozens of SOX software applications available to assist organizations manage and report on their SOX projects. In this article however, I want to drawn attention to, and highlight a software program designed for small and medium organizations. The software is called ICM, and the company behind the software is e2e Solution Inc.
Mr. Paul Changfoot, CA (SA), CA is the founder of e2e Solution, and has worked with a small group of professionals, including his brother Mr. Graham Changfoot, B.Sc who leads software development, to produce an application that has all the “bells and whistles” that you would expect from a high end product, but designed with small and medium businesses in mind. (Not to imply that ICM wouldn’t be of interest to a large organization as well – it is certainly very robust, and is steeped with more than enough features and functionality to meet the needs of a large company).
Recently, Paul Changfoot and some other members of the e2e Solutions team provided me with a demonstration of the ICM software via Web-ex. I was very impressed. First of all, the web meeting was scheduled conveniently around my schedule, and Paul quickly had the connection set up so that I was able to view the software from the convenience of my computer. Secondly, because Paul has “hands on” experience working on all aspects of SOX projects, and at the same time is a professional accountant, I found that I was able to have a thorough discussion on both software capabilities, and internal control concepts. That’s important to me as a SOX consultant, and I’m sure would be equally valuable for a Controller or CFO who might be responsible for overall SOX at an organization.
ICM is an internet-based solution, allowing all control participants to be focused on the same company control objectives on a real time basis, with the click of a mouse. ICM’s window based graphical user interface allows for quick and easy management of controls, test assignment, documentation and issue management. The monitoring component allows for scheduled surveys/check lists to be emailed out to responsible individuals for response and electronic signoff. ICM is developed to allow companies to use their existing infrastructure by either selecting a hosted service or by having ICM managed in house.
The ICM solution is built to leverage communication and monitoring within the organization, promoting internal controls, policies and procedures throughout the organization. Using existing methods and applications that the business already has at its disposal, the solution is designed to be economical and easy to use.
Here are some of the other key features that I noted during the demo, and subsequent discussions:
• Ease of use and speed – the application was very intuitive to use, and I would not expect intensive training to be required. I was also impressed with the speed at which screens updated.
• Email updates – this feature allows for ease of communication and follow-up. There are also automated updates that can be used as test reminders, and other scheduled tasks.
• Generic process narratives are available – these can be used as a starting point for documentation of business processes, and as means to ensure that key controls are designed. Great way to save money and ensure solid controls at the same time.
• Consulting support – e2e Solution offers flexibility in terms of software set-up and pricing, and provides a full range of SOX consulting, including IT General controls, depending on an organization’s needs.
• IFRS – e2e Solution realizes that the transition to International Financial Reporting Standards will consume a great deal of time resources in the next few years in Canada. To address this significant issue, ICM has been designed to include an IFRS project tracking component – to ensure SOX certification throughout the IFRS transition in 2009 – 2011 and beyond. That’s very unique, and valuable.
• Affordability – priced to accommodate the budget of small and medium sized organizations.
There is a vast array of SOX software available, and it would be very difficult for small and medium organizations to thoroughly research all of the alternatives. Therefore, I hope this overview of e2e Solution and ICM software is helpful. I definitely think organizations should consider ICM if they require software support for their SOX projects.
Please contact Edelkoort Smethurst Schein CPA’s LLP if you have any questions or comments. Thank you.