Call it an early Christmas gift. Call it caving to special interests. Call it a change of heart. Whatever you call it, the Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to propose delaying the Sarbanes-Oxley compliance deadline for small businesses -- public companies with a market capitalization of less than $75 million -- until 2009. Without the delay, SMBs would have to comply beginning with fiscal years ending Dec. 15, 2008.
Frankly, given that Chairman Christopher Cox and other SEC officials were adamant in the summer that no additional delays were warranted, I didn't see this one coming. Even in late September, SEC corporate finance director John White advised small companies that "at least from this building (the SEC), we are not anticipating any extensions."
Mr. Cox said he could support a delay for one more year.He said the SEC staff would study the costs and benefits of the new standard by sending a survey to companies and conducting more detailed interviews with some companies. Mr. Cox said that he expected the study to be completed no earlier than next June and that he wanted to see the results before making a final decision.