What background is required to work in a SOX environment? 1570

  • I have been a Project Manager in the IT area for approximately 15 years. My formal education and original career was in Accounting. As an accountant I did work for a major accounting firm and have some experience in the audit area.
    As a Project Manager I’ve implemented and upgraded IT systems in a number of environments. These situaitons have involved working for large and small companies and dealing with both internal and external clients. The success of these implementations is a result of applying buisness knowledge to IT implementations, being able to translate conversations between IT and business owners, and understaning the business objective underlying an IT implementation.
    To maintain my CPA I’ve taken several self study courses about Sarbanes Oxley. I’ve also spoken to people who are involved with SOx implementations. One common complaint I hear is that SOx implementations are often lacking a Project Management viewpoint - there’s no definition of what is to be accomplished, how to accomplish a stated goal, how to measure how / if the goal is accomplished.
    I have investigating career opportunities managing a SOx implementation. I’ve not gotten very far - most conversations I’ve had end quickly because of my lack of specific SOx experience.
    Are there opportunities available that would require the background I have? Any ideas of how to use my background in a SOx career opportunity is appreciated.

  • Hi,
    From a quick review of your professional qualification (CPA) and work experience (IT PM), you seem to have the basic and requisite educational and work experiences to participate on a SOX implementation.
    In my opinion, a strong background in project management is particularly helpful to lead or manage a SOX engagement. Generally, someone with IT project management experience is able to translate the technical issues to the business users and/or non-technical staff. Addtiionally, someone with this background is familiar with a employing a formal methodology (SDLC) so adopting/implementing COSO or CobiT would not require significant ‘new’ learning.
    I have not seen any resources to specifically identifies IT SOX Core Competencies or SOX Core Competencies in general. Since SOX is over 2 yrs. old now, it is likely that companies have developed resources that describe the knowledge, skills, and abilities, for assessing candidates applying for these job categories.
    If you are interested in learning more about SOX IT career opportunities, you might consider posting your information on this Forum and someone with need for your services can reply.
    Good luck and hope this helps,

  • Hi Dan - I agree with Milan that you already have the background qualifications to secure a job in this area (e.g., excellent credentials in Audit, IT, and Project Management).
    Still many prospective employers require experience for a leadership role in SOX projects, so this is most likely why you may run into some of the difficulties shared. Below are some ideas:

    1. Emphasize your SOX courses and training on your resume and cover letters when applying for jobs.
    2. When you reply to job ads, ‘always answer the ad specifically’ … If the ad says ‘we need skill-1, skill-2, etc.’, answer back in your cover letter about having skill-1, skill2, and your training/experience associated with each.
    3. If you can gain any SOX experience as an advisor or project team member over time, this will certainly help overcome the ‘lack of experience’ factor.
    4. I’d also not become discouraged as the CPA certification is prestigious and employers might give you a shot at a key SOX related project.
    5. Networking with others CPAs and professionals might also help you find a good fit for pursuing SOX related leadership roles or other jobs you might be interested in.
      Good luck to you 🙂
      P.S. Some of the ideas on resume preparation and interviewing might help in the thread below from ALLPM (i.e., free forums related to the Project Management). While this pertains to PM, the concepts shared are applicable for any profession,
      As hyperlinking is discouraged in the forums, please add ‘www’ and cut/paste link below.
      GETTING STARTED - The Project Management Profession

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