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Firm offers smaller companies an email audit trail

Recombo says its new software can help smaller companies track critical documents through email, although some firms may find there's still no substitute for old-fashioned wet-ink signatures.

Recombo Inc., a content integration technology company, has released new software that lets small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) secure and track documents through email -- and possibly eliminate some of the hassles of meeting Securities and Exchange Commission regulations.

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The Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) corporate reform law continues to be a source of controversy among experts, particularly regarding how it relates to SMBs. Complying with SOX has proved costlier than predicted -- 20 times more so by some estimates -- with the toll on smaller companies especially heavy.

Recombo's product is intended to help curb some of that angst -- and cost.

By using Waypoint, small businesses can bypass the distribution of paper documents requiring signatures. For instance, Waypoint integrates with Microsoft Office Outlook so employees can electronically sign off on corporate policy documents distributed by their company. The company then has an electronic audit trail confirming that an employee has read and agreed to the policies.

"If there is a communication that you need to make sure people have received and need proof that they received it, this product will satisfy that," said Mike Gardner, CEO of Vancouver-based Recombo. "Really, this is communication you would otherwise be using your fax machine and filing cabinet for."

But some companies may prefer to stick with wet-ink signatures on paper for their more critical documents.

"Lawyers really like (wet ink)," said Julie Gable, principal of Gable Consulting LLC in Wyndmoor, Pa. "In most large corporations, IT has to sign off (in ink) on financial reports before they even go to the financial department."

Still, Vivian Gopico-Tero, senior research analyst at IDC in Framingham, Mass., said Waypoint can be good for SMBs struggling with compliance issues. Particularly, it can help streamline some aspects of compliance with SOX, as well as other corporate policies related to liability and regulation.

"It provides a link between the communication of corporate policies or other employment practices to employees, and the acknowledgement by the relevant employees that he or she is aware and agrees to abide by those policies," Gopico-Tero said.

However, Gable said a company might want to ask itself certain questions before considering a product like Waypoint.

"How likely are they to find themselves in court?" she said. "Or are they in an industry that is regularly examined or inspected? For those companies it might prove useful."

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Shamus McGillicuddy, News Writer

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