04 May 2006
The worst seems to be over for US companies forced to comply with the
burdensome Sarbanes-Oxley Act, with further evidence emerging that
auditing costs related to section 404 of the rules are dropping.
The general opinion now is that, as well as identifying efficiencies
during the second year under the new laws, the higher costs first time
around were also attributable to many mistakes made by companies
trying to implement the new rules. UK companies could do well to learn
from this, according to Dawn Cresswell, part of UHY Hacker Young's
Sarbox advisory team.
From 15 July, UK companies with a listing in the US will also have to
face the same tough rules on internal controls. But as Cresswell said:
'UK companies have the advantage of being able to see what mistakes
have been made in the US and making sure they don't make the same
'US companies found they had misallocated a lot of their time and
money in trying to achieve the first year of Sarbox compliance. They
have now learnt from these mistakes and the dramatic reduction in
costs in the second year reflects a more considered approach.'
This view is backed by a recent report from consultants CRA
International. Using data from Big Four clients, it found that audit
costs for section 404 compliance among a sample of Fortune 1000
companies had dropped 44% on the previous year to an average of $4.8m
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