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UK government plans to improve corporate governance will cost companies millions, a UK technology analyst firm claims.

The Butler Group says that firms will have to spend heavily to ensure that there computer systems comply with the Companies (Audit, Investigations and Community Enterprise) Bill. This Bill is the UK equivalent of the US's Sarbanes-Oxley Act and it addresses shortcomings highlighted by auditing scandals such as Shell, Parmalat and Enron. In essence, it deals with accounting practices, with particular attention paid to auditing processes.

Mike Davis, senior research analyst at Butler Group, said: "While the UK has always had better auditing standards than the US, the Companies Bill tightens these up still further. However, as with Sarbanes-Oxley, the only efficient and cost-effective way for UK businesses to meet the Companies Bill requirements will be through the investment in certain key technologies. Failure to make these investments quickly and correctly will leave UK businesses prone to severe financial penalties."

Butler Group has produced a list of key technologies needed to meet Companies Bill requirements:

  • BPM (Business Process Management) - ensures that specific tasks are assigned to the appropriate people within the organisation in a fully auditable and transparent way. As BPM can automate tasks, it allows the organisation to have greater control over high-risk accounting.
  • Disaster Recovery - essential for ensuring the safe retention of keys information.
  • Email management - taking control of emails out of the hands of employees is "essential for compliance".
  • Identity and Access Management - ensuring the correct level of security over key information and data.
  • Network Security - preventing unauthorised access to information and data.
  • Policy Management - ensuring that the right policies are in place to govern the type of data stored, how long it is stored for and how it is stored.
  • Records Management - the management of information from the moment it is stored through to its deletion.
  • Search, Discovery and Retrieval - allows key documents, emails and other records to be found at request.

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