In any company, financial compliance is necessary to avoid running into costly legal issues. The Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act of 2002 was passed after the Enron crisis in order to ensure that larger companies were being completely forthcoming with their reported numbers. 

According to a multidisciplinary review after ten years, researchers found that this legislation has been successful at keeping businesses honest— but it also costs them quite a bit more money.1

Now, accounting professionals can take Sarbanes Oxley training and certification programs to help these companies follow the rules. Basically, someone who completed one of these training courses can be an appealing hire out of a larger workforce— in many cases, helping to advance their career to higher positions and salaries.

Depending on your industry, you can absolutely benefit from earning this financial reporting certification. We’ve organized a shortlist of the best SOX compliance training courses available online. Check out this list and you can start planning your next career move today!

#1 Illumeo SOX Certification Training

Illumeo training

Illumeo is our top recommendation due to their seamless approach to obtaining Sarbanes Oxley certification. Their Sarbanes Oxley training material is spread out over 17 courses that take roughly 30 hours to complete.

If you’re a CPA, you can use the 30 CPE credits earned to maintain your license at the same time. And if you’re already subscribed to Illumeo for your continuing professional education, you’ll get a nice discount on enrollment.

Illumeo Pros and Cons

  • Pro: A Linear Process – Illumeo leads students through a set of courses, each with their own exam. Once completed, you will receive your certification. It’s a stripped-down process that doesn’t require you to set a strict schedule.
  • Pro: Thousands of Additional Courses – With over 600 On Demand Courses and more than 4000 video lessons, you can stick with Illumeo after getting learning about Sarbanes Oxley requirements to earn other certs.
  • Con: Subscription Model – The best deal you can get from Illumeo requires you to get a monthly subscription. This isn’t necessary if you’re only interested in SOX compliance requirements— but it can lead to even more career opportunities in financial reporting or even enterprise risk management.

Illumeo Features

  • 17 Courses
  • 4000+ Extra Videos
  • Discounts for Subscribers
  • Instructors are Sarbanes Oxley Experts
  • Certificate of Completion
  • Exams After Each Course
  • Online and Compatible with Mobile

Illumeo Bottom Line

Illumeo is the easiest way to make sure that you get the education you need on a guided line of courses. We recommend them above all the others!

#2 Management and Strategy Institute SOX Training

MSI Training - Management and Strategy Institute

Management and Strategy Institute offers something a little different for compliance requirements training. As a training provider, they offer a small library of courses with a reasonable cost. 

It’s a great way to keep your own training costs low while you learn how to help businesses prepare their own financial disclosures.

MSI Pros and Cons

  • Pro: Pricing – For less than $200 you can receive your Sarbanes Oxley certification with MSI. This makes it one of the most budget-friendly options to quickly enhance your professional resume.
  • Pro: Competency Based – Instead of having to complete every single course on offer MSI allows you to take your certification exam as soon as you feel you’re ready. Take as little — or as much — time as you want!
  • Con: Less Review Material Types – It’s not as comprehensive as Illumeo, so you might have a better experience if you use their course instead. However, many students have shared positive reviews of their experience with MSI, so you should be in good hands either way.

MSI Features

  • 7 Modules included
  • Free training materials included
  • Priced lower than most competitors
  • 100% Online
  • Self-Paced Course
  • Professional Certificate Received after passing final exam

MSI Bottom Line

If you’re someone that loves to take things at your own pace, MSI is for you. Their competency-based approach will allow you to take their final exam at any time you would like, allowing you to potentially save a ton of time on your certification program.

#3 The Knowledge Academy Sarbanes-Oxley Training

The Knowledge Academy Training Courses

The Knowledge Academy isn’t your typical academy; they mostly offer a range of SOX study materials. You get 90 days to go over about 24 hours of content, which includes case studies and exercise files related to financial reporting for publicly traded companies.

You can take an online instructor-led course from a true Sarbanes Oxley expert, an online self-paced course, or an onsite class. Additionally, you can speak with a tutor 24/7 thanks to an impressive support team. This SOX training course is even compatible on mobile devices, so you don’t have to sit on your computer to start studying.

The Knowledge Academy Bottom Line

At a very attractive price point, a decent library of study materials, and excellent tutor support, The Knowledge Academy is a safe bet if you want to learn about SOX best practices. It’s great if you like to take things slow, but Illumeo offers similar materials with a faster pace.

#4 CPA Training Center SOX Compliance

CPA Training Center

Despite being on the bottom of our list, this company has an interesting approach that’s worth considering. They offer a few different courses, each of which has a special topic of focus. If you want to know more about internal auditing, this should definitely be on your radar.

There are many types of accounting jobs, so it’s nice to see CPA Training Center account for these within their curriculum. They have Sarbanes Oxley Rules for Payroll, Fundamentals of Internal Auditing, Internal Audit School, and more. These courses can be taken live or on-demand and all come with their own bonus handouts for additional studying. CPA Training Center also offers in-person seminars as well as online webinars so that you and those you work with can benefit from their material. 
However, there is one big drawback to this course when compared to Illumeo or our other top picks. These presentations and seminars are great at teaching you the material, but you won’t receive any kind of certificate for completing them. This may make it a bit tougher to convince potential employers that you understand internal controls and know how to write compliant financial reports.

CPA Training Center Bottom Line

CPA Training Center is a great way to get some extra help on a specific aspect of Sarbanes-Oxley. It’s not a certification course, but it can help you earn a cert from another company.

Honorable Mention: Course Hero

Unlike other courses, Course Hero has a subscription based system. Anyone willing to pay a monthly fee will gain access to over 40 million course materials. Plus, every student is supported by Course Hero’s team of over 60,000 faculty.

Since it’s more of a library of materials instead of a structured course, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act Course Hero study materials are unique from the others on our list. They still have videos, study documents, and textbooks— but they’re not organized in any meaningful way. 

Since you’re encouraged to upload your study docs on this site, you can see what students at other universities are working on to help them understand the material. It’s a fascinating and modern approach, but the socialized nature of this learning resource definitely isn’t for everyone.

Course Hero Pros and Cons

  • Pro: Custom Studying – You pick out all of the materials you plan on using without any guidance from instructors. No requirements or study plans: just decide what you want to study and at what pace. Seriously, you have unlimited freedom in your study approach!
  • Pro: Amount of Content – Course Hero offers thousands of hours of Sarbanes Oxley content. This comes in all forms, such as video lectures or research papers. Some of these materials come from impressive schools, including Notre Dame and BYU.
  • Con: No Guided Content – Unfortunately, there are only self study options available for the Sarbanes Oxley certification. Course Hero currently doesn’t offer any courses or tutoring on this subject. If you’re not comfortable flying solo, Illumeo is a safer bet.

Course Hero Features

  • Study Documents/Guides from Accredited Universities
  • Textbook Solutions and Explanations
  • Video Lessons
  • Hero Student Scholarship
  • Mobile-Friendly

Course Hero Bottom Line

Course Hero isn’t a standard course and shouldn’t be treated like one. If you’re confident in your self study skills or just want access to more materials, then I’d recommend giving this a try. Using it alongside another course like Illumeo could also be worth your time.

Sarbanes Oxley Compliance FAQs

What is SOX compliance?

SOX is an abbreviation for the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Passed in 2002, the SOX Act was created in order to protect companies and shareholders from accounting fraud and errors. The act came about as a result of large companies like Enron and WorldCom committing and perpetuating fraud.2 The Act designates that specific records need to be kept by a company and the duration that they must be kept for.

What does a Sarbanes Oxley compliance auditor do?

The SOX auditor has the task of inspecting policies, controls, and procedures in the midst of a Section 404 audit. They are required to evaluate the internal controls and frameworks of their audits in said fiscal year for efficacy.3

Do all businesses have to be Sarbanes Oxley compliant?

Any company or business that is an accounting firm or a public company must adhere to the guidelines set forth within the Act. Despite what many believe, private businesses are also required to follow SOX— not just publicly traded companies.4

Kenneth W. Boyd is a former Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and the author of several of the popular "For Dummies" books published by John Wiley & Sons including 'CPA Exam for Dummies' and 'Cost Accounting for Dummies'.

Ken has gained a wealth of business experience through his previous employment as a CPA, Auditor, Tax Preparer and College Professor. Today, Ken continues to use those finely tuned skills to educate students as a professional writer and teacher.