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Background[ edit ] InSarbanes—Oxley was named after bill sponsors U. Oxley R - OH. As a result of SOX, top management must individually certify the accuracy of financial information. In addition, penalties for fraudulent financial activity are much more severe.
Also, SOX increased the oversight role of boards of directors and the independence of the outside auditors who review the accuracy of corporate financial statements. These scandals cost investors billions of dollars when the share prices of affected companies collapsed, and shook public confidence in the US securities markets.
It created a new, quasi-public agency, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Boardor PCAOB, charged with overseeing, regulating, inspecting, and disciplining accounting firms in their roles as auditors of public companies.
The act also covers issues such as auditor independence, corporate governanceinternal control assessment, and enhanced financial disclosure. Bush signed it into law, stating it included "the most far-reaching reforms of American business practices since the time of Franklin D.
The era of low standards and false profits is over; no boardroom in America is above or beyond the law. Opponents of the bill have claimed it has reduced America's international competitive edge against foreign financial service providers because it has introduced an overly complex regulatory environment into US financial markets.
Charles SchumerD-NYcited this as one reason America's financial sector is losing market share to other financial centers worldwide. It also creates a central oversight board tasked with registering auditors, defining the specific processes and procedures for compliance audits, inspecting and policing conduct and quality control, and enforcing compliance with the specific mandates of SOX.
Auditor Independence Title II consists of 9 sections and establishes standards for external auditor independence, to limit conflicts of interest. It also addresses new auditor approval requirements, audit partner rotation, and auditor reporting requirements.
It restricts auditing companies from providing non-audit services e. Corporate Responsibility Title III consists of eight sections and mandates that senior executives take individual responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of corporate financial reports.
It defines the interaction of external auditors and corporate audit committees, and specifies the responsibility of corporate officers for the accuracy and validity of corporate financial reports.
It enumerates specific limits on the behaviors of corporate officers and describes specific forfeitures of benefits and civil penalties for non-compliance. For example, Section requires that the company's "principal officers" typically the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer certify and approve the integrity of their company financial reports quarterly.
It describes enhanced reporting requirements for financial transactions, including off-balance-sheet transactions, pro-forma figures and stock transactions of corporate officers. It requires internal controls for assuring the accuracy of financial reports and disclosures, and mandates both audits and reports on those controls.
It also requires timely reporting of material changes in financial condition and specific enhanced reviews by the SEC or its agents of corporate reports. Analyst Conflicts of Interest Title V consists of only one section, which includes measures designed to help restore investor confidence in the reporting of securities analysts.
It defines the codes of conduct for securities analysts and requires disclosure of knowable conflicts of interest. Commission Resources and Authority Title VI consists of four sections and defines practices to restore investor confidence in securities analysts.
It also defines the SEC's authority to censure or bar securities professionals from practice and defines conditions under which a person can be barred from practicing as a broker, advisor, or dealer. Studies and reports include the effects of consolidation of public accounting firms, the role of credit rating agencies in the operation of securities markets, securities violations, and enforcement actions, and whether investment banks assisted EnronGlobal Crossingand others to manipulate earnings and obfuscate true financial conditions.
It describes specific criminal penalties for manipulation, destruction or alteration of financial records or other interference with investigations, while providing certain protections for whistle-blowers. This section increases the criminal penalties associated with white-collar crimes and conspiracies.
It recommends stronger sentencing guidelines and specifically adds failure to certify corporate financial reports as a criminal offense. Corporate Tax Returns Title X consists of one section. Section states that the Chief Executive Officer should sign the company tax return.
Section recommends a name for this title as "Corporate Fraud Accountability Act of ". It identifies corporate fraud and records tampering as criminal offenses and joins those offenses to specific penalties.
It also revises sentencing guidelines and strengthens their penalties. This enables the SEC to resort to temporarily freezing transactions or payments that have been deemed "large" or "unusual".
The spectacular, highly publicized frauds at EnronWorldComand Tyco exposed significant problems with conflicts of interest and incentive compensation practices.
The analysis of their complex and contentious root causes contributed to the passage of SOX in The Senate Banking Committee undertook a series of hearings on the problems in the markets that had led to a loss of hundreds and hundreds of billions, indeed trillions of dollars in market value.
The hearings set out to lay the foundation for legislation. We scheduled 10 hearings over a six-week period, during which we brought in some of the best people in the country to testify The hearings produced remarkable consensus on the nature of the problems:Ask Entrepreneur is a question-and-answer forum for and by the alphabetnyc.com community.
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