So far, the banking and biotech industries are refusing to take no for an answer when it comes to Sarbanes-Oxley compliance relief for small businesses. Representatives from both fields testified before the U.S. House Small Business Committee this week.
Jim Greenwood, president and CEO of the Biotechnical Industry Organization (BIO) and a former legislator, told committee members that the new guidelines for Sarbox 404 implementation recently approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board were a step in the right direction, according to Genetic Engineering News. However, he also suggested that further changes were necessary to reach the level of flexibility small biotech companies need.
Even if further change is forthcoming, he argued that strict congressional oversight of the implementation process is warranted. Otherwise, the new rules might not afford small businesses the flexibility and scalability that Congress intended.
Speaking for America's Community Bankers, Diane Casey-Landry also testified before the committee on Tuesday. Like Greenwood, she also applauded the SEC and the PCAOB for their efforts thus far to provide small businesses with some relief from the compliance burden. But she didn't stop there. The president and CEO of the only banking industry group invited to appear called for an outright exemption from Sarbox 404 requirements for small banks. She argued that the internal control requirements in Sarbanes-Oxley are duplicative as applied to community banks because they already make similar reports both to their respective chartering agencies and to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
From what I have read to this point, an exemption isn't likely any time soon, but if it's up to Greenwood and Casey-Landry and others in similar positions, neither is an end to this debate.