"Powerful Validation" of Sarbanes-Oxley: 79% of Financial Execs Report Stronger Internal Controls.
Despite the high costs of compliance, most financial executives (57 percent) describe their company's Sarbanes-Oxley compliance as a good investment for stockholders, and 79 percent say they have stronger internal controls after complying with the Enron-inspired law, according to the 2004 Oversight Systems Financial Executive Report On Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance.
Nearly three quarters (74 percent) say their companies realized a benefit from SOX compliance.
When asked to identify the benefits from SOX, the Oversight Systems' survey reports that:
- 46 percent say SOX compliance ensures the accountability of individuals involved in financial reports and operations
- 33 percent say SOX compliance decreases the risk of financial fraud
- 31 percent say they have reduced errors in their financial operations
- 27 percent say SOX improvements in the accuracy of financial reports
- 25 percent say SOX compliance empowers the board audit committee by providing it with deeper information, and
- 20 percent say SOX strengthens investors' view of the company
As for the costs and work required in complying with Sarbanes-Oxley, 54 percent of financial executives say they spent more than originally projected, and 63 percent describe their SOX compliance as "difficult" or "very difficult".
As part of the survey, respondents were also asked to define their feelings toward SOX legislation. Of the group, 52 percent say Congress had good intentions when it passed SOX, but the costs of compliance were not fully considered. Thirty-eight percent say SOX was Congress's over-reaction to the unethical behavior of a few executives, and 28 percent say the market requires regulations like SOX to boost investor confidence in the market's integrity. Only 13 percent say the benefits of SOX outweigh the costs of complying while 25 percent say the costs of complying with SOX outweigh the benefits.
These study results of 222 corporate financial leaders from across the U.S. compare and contrast corporate attitudes toward Sarbanes-Oxley compliance.