Grant Thornton LLP has launched SOC.x, a new platform to more efficiently produce reports covering System and Organization Controls, while also providing industry-leading, market-accepted quality.
SOC reports allow service organizations to demonstrate to their customers that the services they perform meet the standards set forth by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. These standards cover compliance frameworks for areas such as financial reporting, security, availability, confidentiality and privacy. As one of the nation’s leading issuers of SOC reports, Grant Thornton believes SOC.x will significantly enhance the current SOC process in the marketplace.
“SOC reports are how service providers imbue their customers with trust and confidence — demonstrating that they take compliance and data security seriously,” said Nicole Julius, the national leader of Grant Thornton’s Strategic Assurance and SOC Services solutions. “But creating SOC reports is complex and time consuming, which is where SOC.x comes in.”
SOC.x provides Grant Thornton’s professionals with a web-based application that features standardized reporting templates and a ‘test once, report many’ approach to removing duplication, as well as a wide range of productivity tools and simplified quality-review capabilities. The platform also allows Grant Thornton’s teams to collaborate across multiple engagements for a single client. In addition, SOC.x allows the firm’s professionals to collaborate using tools that include standard interfaces, dashboards, comment threads and status reporting. This helps ensure consistent SOC reporting nationally and internationally.
According to Julius, “SOC.x allows Grant Thornton to meet its clients’ SOC reporting needs far more efficiently through a range of benefits.” For example:
- SOC.x uses standardized reports to make it simpler for Grant Thornton to consistently produce high-quality client reports.
- Grant Thornton can streamline the SOC reporting process by using a ‘document once, use everywhere’ approach that reduces the time it takes for clients to reconcile inconsistencies from one control to another, or one report to the next.
- Grant Thornton can rely on a singular-documentation format and methodology that allows the firm to expedite the onboarding process and scale its staffing resources with minimal training.
- Grant Thornton can better ensure consistency across forms and formats, allowing the firm to more effectively monitor quality for its multinational clients.
- Since SOC.x is a web-based application, a broad range of Grant Thornton’s professionals can view or work on any item for a client in real time.
- Because SOC.x is adaptive, Grant Thornton can seamlessly make additions or modifications to control wording or structures as necessary. This eliminates the need for clients to update multiple spreadsheets and complicated mapping files. Further, SOC.x features dynamic control sets that can keep pace with constantly changing environments like the ones Grant Thornton’s clients face.
- Grant Thornton can safely back-up all data on the cloud, reducing bottlenecks and ensuring data integrity.
“SOC.x not only makes Grant Thornton more efficient at producing high-quality reports, it also helps us be more responsive to our clients’ strategic needs,” said Julius. “Our engagement teams now have more time to focus on our clients’ risk areas, think advantageously and provide high-value recommendations.”
Partnering with Quisitive to tap the Microsoft Azure cloud
Historically, companies that produce SOC reports use relatively low-tech business applications and processes, such as spreadsheets, file collaboration sites and ticketing systems. Automation has been rare and most companies still compile SOC reports in something of a legacy fashion.
SOC.x brings this type of reporting into the era of web-based cloud computing by using Microsoft’s powerful Azure platform. Tapping into Azure allowed Grant Thornton to move SOC reporting onto one single platform that its professionals can ubiquitously access, while enjoying greater automation, standardization and collaboration.
To develop SOC.x in Microsoft Azure, Grant Thornton turned to Quisitive Technology Solutions Inc. (TSXV:QUIS), a premier Microsoft solutions provider with a global track record of innovation and technical expertise.
Mike Reinhart, CEO of Quisitive added: “Grant Thornton wanted a cutting-edge platform that is able to augment its current SOC reporting capabilities so they operate within the cloud, which is where Quisitive comes in. As an experienced and premier Microsoft National Solution Provider, our ability to provide customized assistance to customers migrating to Azure has been stellar. We look forward to working closely with the Grant Thornton team during this transition, as we provide a number of benefits to their current operations through cloud integration.”
The alyx platform in action
Grant Thornton developed SOC.x with the help of alyx™, a digital platform it recently launched for transformation and innovation. The platform is available to all of Grant Thornton’s service professionals so they can help quickly solve specific business problems for clients with new and emerging technologies.
The alyx platform uses a ‘concierge-enabled’ system that methodically shares business problems with teams of subject-matter specialists and technologists. These teams subsequently develop solutions by combining know-how in Grant Thornton’s core service areas — accounting, tax and consulting — with technologies such as intelligent automation, data extraction, data cleansing, analytics and blockchain.
“We launched alyx to solve challenges of all sizes. Some solutions are small, some are large and some are specific,” said Joseph Brown, Grant Thornton’s national managing partner of Market Innovation and Release Management. “SOC.x is one of the first scaled innovations we are rolling-out through alyx and it’s exactly the kind of game-changer we imagined when we developed alyx.”