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Survey: Documentation Tops Sarbanes-Oxley Costs

By John S. McClenahen Senior executives of U.S.-based multinational companies put documentation at the top of their costs of complying with the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a law designed to improve the accuracy of corporate financial statements, according to a survey done for PricewaterhouseCoopers, a professional services firm. Other costs cited by the executives: legal requirements, detailed policy development, self-assessment, attest and certification requirements, and staff training. Only 41% mentioned the cost of new tools and technology. Overall, 56% of the 150 executives interviewed said that initial compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley was not very costly for their companies, while 44% characterized it as "somewhat costly" or "very costly." Those executives able to estimate total cost of Sarbanes-Oxley compliance expected it to average 10.4% of their management controls budget during the next two years. However, 42% of the executives said they could not estimate the cost of compliance.

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