How Document Imaging Can Help Your Business Comply With HIPAA

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Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002 

We live in an increasingly electronic world where more and more data is stored in a digital format. Many businesses have records that contain personal and sensitive information about their clients. In order to protect information of this nature, industries are subject to legal regulations around the reporting and security of information. Meeting legal requirements for sensitive information can be challenging. If your business must comply with legal regulations of some kind, a document imaging system can serve as a powerful tool.

a gavel in front of law books

Publicly held companies are subject to legal regulations.

In the wake of various corporate and accounting scandals, including Enron and WorldCom, Congress enacted a law to hold public companies accountable. The law is called the Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act, or the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002 (simply called Sarbanes-Oxley). The Act enforces extensive reporting and record-keeping requirements on publicly held companies. It also deems that senior executives are personally accountable for the accuracy of financial reporting and accounting practices. Non-compliance results in firm penalties.

What Sarbanes-Oxley means for business

Sarbanes-Oxley is a complex law with many regulations for publicly held companies. However, the Act does not exclusively apply to public companies. For example, private companies are prohibited from intentionally destroying evidence to interfere with an FBI investigation.

Sarbanes-Oxley Explained:
  • Process controls and procedures must be tested and certified every fiscal quarter.
  • Detailed audit records must be saved.
  • Public companies and registered public accounting firms must keep all audit work papers, including anything that forms the basis of an audit or review and all information to support the audit, for 7 years.
  • Financial records must be easy to retrieve.
  • CEO and CFO must certify all financial statements and disclosures.
  • SEC is allowed to review records at any time.
  • Documents related to an official proceeding or investigation cannot be altered or destroyed.

electronic document management

How a document management system can help your business comply with Sarbanes-Oxley

Document management systems offer a variety of solutions for your business. The available features will vary depending on the supplier you choose and the options they offer. Systems are usually customizable. Below is a list of general features that a document management system may offer to help you meet the regulations of Sarbanes-Oxley.

  • Capture documents automatically by keyword, type of document, or author. Example: a document written by the CFO could be labeled as such.
  • Keep documents archived for a specific, automated timeframe. Example: 7 years.
  • Destroy documents at a specific, automated timeframe. Example: 7 years, plus 1 day.
  • Control access to multiple levels of a document with security features. Example: A certain type of document could be accessible only by certain departments or specific employees.
  • “Check-in” or “check-out” documents to track who accesses or edits a document, creating an audit trail for the document.
  • Search features to make it easy for internal or external auditors to find audit trails and back-up documents.

Publicly held companies must comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. A document management system can make compliance a lot easier by allowing your business to control and track all of the documents your employees make. Beyond compliance, there are many other advantages to implementing a document management system.

Learn More

Read more in the Document Imaging System/Services Buyer’s Guide about how a document management system can increase efficiency and save you money.

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