Saturday, April 28, 2007

Sarbanes-Oxley and Nonprofit Boards

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act was signed into law on July 30, 2002. Passed in response to the corporate and accounting scandals of Enron, Tyco, and others of 2001 and 2002, the law's purpose is to rebuild public trust in America's corporate sector.

Does your board meeting look like this? (See photo to left).

The law requires that publicly traded companies adhere to significant new governance standards that broaden board members' roles in overseeing financial transactions and auditing procedures.

While nearly all of the provisions of the Act apply only to publicly traded corporations, the passage of the bill served as a wake-up call to the entire nonprofit community. Indeed, several state legislatures have already passed or are considering legislation containing elements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to be applied to nonprofit organizations. In many instances, nonprofit organizations have adopted policies and altered governance practices in response to the Act.

Nonprofit leaders should look carefully at the provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley, as well as their state laws, and determine whether their organizations ought to voluntarily adopt governance best practices, even if not mandated by law. This report will review those provisions and assess their relevance to nonprofit organizations.

Finally, it is important to note that two provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley apply to all entities, including nonprofit organizations. This report will also review those features of the Act that require immediate nonprofit compliance.

Learn more about SOX here.

No comments: