On Friday, the Securities and Exchange Commission officially began a cost-benefit analysis of Sarbanes-Oxley section 404 for small businesses. According to an agency press release, the study will consist of both a Web-based survey of subject companies and "in-depth interviews" with companies new to 404 compliance. The study will analyze "real-world" costs and effects under the SEC's new principles-based guidance for Sarbox implementation.
Also on Friday, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, praised the SEC for taking the time to gather more information before requiring small businesses to comply. (The SEC approved another extension of the compliance deadline for small businesses late in 2007.) PR Newsire quotes Snowe as follows:
When you consider that businesses that employ fewer than 20 people spend more than $2,000 per employee in regulatory compliance costs than businesses who employ more than 500 people, it's painfully clear that we could be doing more to help small businesses succeed. I am pleased that the SEC has taken steps today to help address and rectify this discrepancy.