Sarbanes-Oxley and other initiatives all play an important role in improving modern-day corporate governance. Although the U.S. Sarbanes-Oxley compliance initiative receives a great deal of attention, it is only one of a host of compliance initiatives in place worldwide. For example the Basel II Accord is designed to improve capital adequacy for large banks within the Group of 10 (G-10) nations. The IFRS group released GAAPs in 2005 for 7,000 European Union (EU) companies with shares traded on any EU-regulated market. Microsoft Dynamics NAV has the flexibility to help organizations comply with financial regulations. The solution is an ideal choice for international companies that must comply with several initiatives depending on where they do business.
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (officially known as the U.S. Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act of 2002) was passed by the United States Congress to restore investor confidence in the integrity of U.S. capital markets in the wake of a series of accounting scandals involving large, publicly offered companies such as Enron and WorldCom. Sarbanes-Oxley is intended to implement higher regulatory standards upon the quality and integrity of the information itself and assign responsibility to those who report accounting and financial information.
However, with regard to computerized accounting and reporting, compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley and other compliance initiatives also places a heavy burden on the technological infrastructure of many organizations. Microsoft Dynamics NAV provides a range of features, tools, and services to help support small to midsized businesses in their efforts to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley.
Requirements mandated by Sarbanes-Oxley include:
- Authorization and Security—Access to financial information should be limited to those who have authorization to the system or to a section of the system. This must be in place to avoid unauthorized access and fraud.
- Validity—Information should come from a reliable, trusted source. Only certain people or groups can post or alter certain information.
- Precision—Information is only accepted when entered in the correct format. Furthermore, information may only be entered once—duplicate entries are detected and then rejected. All information is kept as current as possible.
- Safeguarding—All transactions should be backed up. Additionally, a log of users, their sessions, and their transactions is ideal for tracking inconsistencies in the system.
Basel II Compliance
The Basel II Accord was designed by the Bank for International Settlements to promote safety and security in the financial system within the G-10 nations by enforcing a new framework structured by three pillars: minimum capital requirements, supervisory review process, and market discipline. Although this accord applies strictly to financial institutions, small and midsized businesses may see an impact from Basel II in the form of increased demand on the financial information from credit institutions. Organizations can use Microsoft Dynamics NAV features, including account schedules, reporting, and Business Analytics to generate detailed and tailor-made data required by their banks as part of their adherence to Basel II.
Because Microsoft Dynamics NAV provides a single version of the truth, all reports and analytics can be based upon the same core data and use common definitions of financial entities. This, along with the integrated reporting and analytics of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, enables employees to quickly and easily click their way to details on everything from production schedules and inventory levels to sales orders and marketing campaigns, all in a single, secure database. Information entered into the database in one application area is simultaneously available for use in other application areas, so users can optimize business processes and leverage corporate knowledge.
With its open development environment and feature-rich application areas, Microsoft Dynamics NAV makes it easy to speed up decision-making, so users can respond more rapidly to new competitive challenges and seize new market opportunities. Microsoft Dynamics NAV provides built-in reporting and analytic functionalities, including:
Standard Reports—Users who need generic and predefined analytical reports on the state of business (order summaries, inventory availability, and so on) will find such capabilities in more than 300 standard reports across the functional areas of Microsoft Dynamics NAV.
• Report Wizard and Report Design Tools—If business needs are not met by one of the more than 300 standard reports, the report wizard can help create ad hoc reports to meet even the most demanding requirements, including customer-specific reports. For example, if a company requires a type of report that is unique to their business and it is not included in the standard package, the report design tools can be used to develop what is needed. In addition, these tools become very useful when moving reports from previous systems to a new Microsoft Dynamics NAV implementation.
• Account Schedules and Analysis Reports—These are built-in analysis tools, which enable users to extract data from general ledger, sales, purchasing, and inventory information in Microsoft Dynamics NAV. Users can compare data to budgets across time, departments, projects, campaigns, and other dimensions. The easily defined line and column layout provides people with a comprehensive and tabular form of analysis. The results can be presented in print, in a window that enables easy navigation to original entries and documents, or in Excel for further processing.
• Audit Trail Navigation—Key to compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley is the capability to trace source documents through accounting processes to the financial statement and back to the original source document. Microsoft Dynamics NAV provides drill-down and look-up functionality for users and/or auditors to easily follow extensive audit trails, also aiding in Section 404 compliance.
Integration with SQL Server 2005
Microsoft Dynamics NAV integrates with Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services to provide a powerful reporting environment for financial management. Reporting Services is a comprehensive, server-based solution for creating, managing, and delivering both traditional paper-based reports and interactive Web-based reports. Reporting Services combines the data management capabilities of SQL Server and the Windows Server operating system with familiar Microsoft Office system programs such as Excel to deliver real-time information to support daily operations and decisions.
SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services, the OLAP component in SQL Server, creates OLAP cubes that contain preaggregated summaries so queries can be answered quickly, regardless of the level of summarization required to answer the query.
Microsoft Dynamics NAV includes built-in analytical functionality that quickly turns data into business information. There are two Business Analytics offerings: Basic and Advanced. Both give users a deeper understanding of the information stored in Microsoft Dynamics NAV.
The Basic offering enables the transformation of business data into information on SQL Server. Users can then access the information they need via the core Microsoft Business Intelligence offerings and further analyze the information within the familiar user interface of Microsoft Dynamics NAV. The Basic offering also simplifies the complexity of setting up OLAP cubes on Microsoft SQL Server.
The Advanced offering supports more complex reporting and analysis needs, while remaining easy to use. Users can obtain a 360-degree view of business performance and quickly set up and review graphical displays and reports.
Integration with Additional Analytical Tools
Microsoft Dynamics NAV integrates with additional analytical tools, including:
Microsoft Office Excel—The tools Account Schedules and Analysis Reports as well as Analysis by Dimensions within Microsoft Dynamics NAV have the built-in capability to be exported to Excel for further processing.
Microsoft Office Business Scorecard Manager—Business Scorecard Manager is a business performance management application designed to help organizations move forward with a common purpose and direction by making key performance indicators (KPIs) fully available throughout an organization. Business Scorecard Manager offers a clear base for performance control and a comprehensive way for organizations to gain deeper contextual insight into the most important business drivers of their business.
NODBC—The Microsoft Dynamics NAV Open Database Connectivity (NODBC) Driver extracts data from Microsoft Dynamics NAV implementations that are running its native server. NODBC moves the raw data to Excel or Word for reporting or further analysis.
Employee Portal in Microsoft Dynamics NAV—Employee Portal in Microsoft Dynamics NAV is an easy way for employees to work with their business information on the intranet. Using the Web-based interface, users can view almost all company data online instead of in the back-end application. The framework is intuitive and requires very little training since it looks and feels like the other Microsoft programs. And since access is roles-based, users see only the data relevant to their jobs.
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