Sarbanes Oxley Compliance Professionals Association (SOXCPA), the largest Association of Sarbanes Oxley professionals in the world

Signed into law on July 30, 2002, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act raised the bar for risk management, corporate governance, internal controls, risk awareness and training, disclosures, and auditing requirements.

The Sarbanes Oxley Act ended more than 100 years of self-regulation, and established the independent oversight of public company audits by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB).

The Act was designed to restore public confidence in financial reporting with more transparent financial practices, and hold management criminally liable for violations and non-compliance.

Voluntary compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act is evidence that the framework restored confidence. The risk to not-for-profit organizations of a damaged reputation has probably never been as great as it is today. Not-for-profit organizations have no obligation to comply with the Sarbanes Oxley Act, but they do it. They report that Sarbanes Oxley compliance is extremely beneficial to them.

After the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, management cares more about risks and controls, and this is a major achievement.

The Act has its critics too. Some of them believe that the Sarbanes Oxley Act went too far, stating that the legislation is overly complex and reduces the U.S.’s international competitive edge against foreign firms.

Others believe that the Sarbanes Oxley Act didn't go far enough. As in the implosion of Lehman Brothers, the fall of Bernard Madoff and other cases in recent years, many asked: Did SOX go far enough?

In response to the recent crisis, U.S. lawmakers passed the Dodd-Frank Act that amended certain sections of the Sarbanes Oxley Act. SOX is part of the new regulatory reform. Lawmakers did not make the Sarbanes Oxley provisions weaker, they have made them more strict and clever.

For example, whistleblowers now have a monetary incentive to report matters to the SEC (and they may be entitled to as much as 10 percent to 30 percent of the monetary sanctions imposed).

Management should clearly explain to all employees the importance of prompt reporting of violations.

Public companies should do more for complaints submitted to audit committees or employee hotlines to address areas of potential concern.

The Dodd-Frank Act also provides an employee with remedies against the employer that has violated provisions of the Act. These remedies include reinstatement with the same seniority status that the individual would have had, two times the amount of back pay otherwise owed to the individual, with interest, and even compensation for litigation costs, expert witness fees, and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

Does it look like the end of Sarbanes Oxley? No, it is Sarbanes Oxley on steroids.

We have some good news for you. Risk and Compliance Management has become more important, after the recent crisis. Sarbanes Oxley knowledge is valuable for firms and organizations. You understand risks, controls, policies, procedures, accountability, testing, documentation, preparation for audits. You have what investors need to trust companies.

The Sarbanes Oxley Compliance Professionals Association (SOXCPA) is the largest association of Sarbanes Oxley professionals in the world. Join us. Read our monthly newsletter with news, alerts, challenges and opportunities. Get certified. Provide independent evidence that you are an expert.

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