Making IT systems compliant with the Companies Bill, which had its second reading in Parliament last week, could cost UK businesses millions of pounds.
Mike Davis, senior research analyst at Butler Group, said many UK businesses would need a radical rethink of IT systems to comply with the legislation.
"Any organisation will have a raft of existing infrastructure, such as reporting systems, very few of which will be up to scratch in terms of meeting the bill's requirements," he warned.
"Few can deliver the information within required timescales with any accuracy without a great deal of manual overhead."
The proposed Companies (Audit, Investigations and Community Enterprise) Bill will have as radical an impact on UK companies as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act had in the US. Failure to make these investments quickly and correctly will leave UK businesses prone to severe financial penalties, said Butler Group.
But it pointed out that the technologies needed to ensure compliance are also those that can allow organisations to make business decisions more effectively.
Technologies for compliance
Technologies that Butler Group has identified as being key to the Companies Bill are:
- 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 key information
- E-mail management: taking control of e-mails and the information they contain lIdentity and access management: ensuring the correct level of security over 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 it is stored and how long for
- Records management: the management of information from the moment it is stored through to its deletion
- Search, discovery and retrieval: Allows key documents, e-mails and other records to be found on request.