U.S. companies have had to comply with international trade, federal, and state regulatory requirements for generations. But the combination of new regulations such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and closer scrutiny from investors and boards of directors have made complying with regulation a more costly, higher profile activity for companies?and one that poses substantial downside risk to companies and to their senior executives. Advances in
information technology and in the interdependencies among companies have made computerized information about business activities a primary source for demonstrating compliance with government regulation. As a result, regulatory compliance is an increasingly visible, data-intensive, and costly management function that requires collaboration among business units, IT, and finance functions.