Project Description

A case study on SOX compliance & internal audit

As a Fortune 500 enterprise with ownership of U.S. Cellular, TDS complies with Generally Accepted Accounting Principes (GAAP) and Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX). These regulations require detailed internal testing, documentation, and reporting protocols. TDS adopted the use of  Onspring to gain efficient management of controls and compliance, plus internal auditing. Now SOX compliance and internal audits are some of the most effective and easiest workflows to manage across the company.


hours saved per week by automating reports


platform enhancement requests from TDS that Onspring has rolled out or added to the product roadmap


Company: Telephone & Data Systems, Inc. (TDS)

Industry: Telecommunications

Reach6 million customers

Size: 10,600 employees


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While the TDS team considered themselves ‘Excel masters,’ they realized SOX compliance could not continue to be managed effectively in the long run. There was talk of rolling SOX compliance into the current internal audit management system, Teammate; however, none of the internal audit team were happy with the software.

“Teammate never treated us like a customer they actually wanted. We were more like a nuisance to them.”
– Manager, Internal Audit Data Analytics

TDS needed software that provided better reporting, simpler task management, and a more human approach to customer service.


Replacing Teammate and Excel with Onspring’s internal audit and compliance solutions created end-to-end project management for the auditing process. At a moment’s notice, anyone on the team can check the health of each audit project and the entire audit plan.


The internal audit team used to put together one-page PowerPoint slides for the Vice President every month. Reports included updates on where internal audit stood on deadlines and project completions. The manual process was described as “hell on earth” by team members. To create the same reports, but skipping the manual labor each month, executive dashboards were established in Onspring to provide real-time status updates on not only audit projects and timelines, but SOX compliance and controls.

Reporting improvements: 

  • Closed-loop reporting
    • Finding definitions
    • Mitigation plan management
    • Process owner update management
  • Resource management planning
    • Staffing assignments
    • Project budget monitoring
    • Time entry capabilities
    • Staff utilization tracking and reporting
  • Internal Audit Quality Assurance and Improvement Program management
    • Project and workpaper evaluations and surveys


Automation optimized TDS internal audit processes and procedures, without requiring changes.

“The process automation setup is simple, easy to understand, and adaptable. With Onspring, I don’t have to change our processes to match how a developer thinks we should run our department. Plus, Onspring is easy and flexible enough that we can modify our solution down the road as business conditions change.”

-Vice President, Internal Audit

Automated workflow improvements: 

  • Audit Universe and associated risk assessment methodology
    • Annual and incremental risk assessment scheduling, automation, execution, and approvals
  • Audit planning
    • Flagging proposed audit universe elements for audits & periodic audit plan review
  • Audit Project scoping, planning, and execution functionality
    • Definition and linkage of objectives, risks, and controls
    • Execution of project field work
  • Establishing relationships between internal audit processes and existing SOX control evaluation processes


The biggest benefit for TDS is the overall monitoring and general health status of each of the internal audit projects.

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