Sox burden eased by new guidance, says study

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MENLO PARK, CA – New regulatory guidance from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) is helping US firms with their Sarbanes-Oxley Act (Sox) compliance efforts, according to a new Protiviti survey. Internal auditors have reported a decrease in time taken and the number of controls, and a rebalancing towards strategic responsibilities.

In its report Moving Internal Audit Back into Balance Protiviti says four in 10 firms are realising tangible benefits in their compliance to Sox’s Section 404 since the new guidance was issued by regulators in May 2007, with more time for traditional internal audit tasks and providing strategic advice to senior management and the audit committee.

Bob Hirth, executive vice-president and global leader of Protiviti's internal audit practice, says: “The great news here is that the SEC's interpretive guidance and PCAOB Auditing Standard 5 are having their desired effects. Without question, companies have been investing a tremendous amount of time on Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, particularly in the first years after the law went into effect.”

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