Sarbanes-Oxley Changes Will Aid Smaller Companies

The Securities and Exchange Commission on April 4 endorsed recommendations by SEC's professional staff to ease the burden of the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) law, which will benefit smaller companies, including some in the safety industry.

SEC commissioners asked the staff to continue working with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board to make the provisions of Section 404 of the SOX more efficient and cost effective. The commission said it expects the changes will be submitted for SEC review by the end of May or early June, in time for 2007 financial statement audits. "These needed improvements in the Sarbanes-Oxley process are especially urgent for smaller companies, who will begin complying with Section 404 this year," said SEC Chairman Christopher Cox. "The result of the new auditing standard for 404, together with the SEC's new guidance to management, should make the internal control review and audit more efficient by focusing the effort on what truly matters to the integrity of the financial statements."

The commission heard from Mark W. Olson, chairman of the PCAOB; Jeffrey Steinhoff, managing director for Financial Management and Assurance of the Government Accountability Office, which has studied the impact of Section 404 on smaller public companies; and SEC's Office of the Chief Accountant.

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