Sarbanes-Oxley Act impacts in the accounting world
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act remains a bill considered to help in finance regulation passed in the year 2002 to tackle numerous accounting scandals in firms. The act necessitates more documentation in public companies and restrictions on the tasks obligated to accounting firms. It remains major legislation in the 21st century with a direct impact on financial practice as well as corporate governance. The bill was introduced by Michael Oxley, who was a Republican from Ohio together with Senator Paul Sarbanes known as a Democrat who came from Maryland. The two of them passed two bills although different related to the same challenge of corporation’s auditing liability and monetary fraud problems in corporations. Generally, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act has increased the number of jobs in the accounting field.
Sarbanes introduced the S. 2673 bill as H. R. 3763 done by Representative Oxley. The revelation by WorldCom to the public that the firm in the past had overstated its income by over $72 billion dollars made the house together with the Senate to establish a conference committee. The objective was to merge the two bills to create a stronger one (Green, 2004). It was later approved by the conference committee and given the name Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, it was signed into law by President Bush and became law.
The Act has affected nonprofit accounting careers in that they make use of public companies as examples in the establishment of financial control systems. This is because management tends to consider the controls as the finest business practices. Although, nonprofits organizations are not officially obligated to give similar information like public companies in financial reports they have responsibilities to the public, donors, and clients. Nonprofits need to apply the disclosure requirements found in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act as their guideline (the United States, 2002). At the same time, additional disclosure requirements have increased the number of accounts to be hired by nonprofit companies.
It is obvious that an audit firm needs to change the lead as well as reviewing partners after every five years in auditing. The simplest mechanism to ensure the task is undertaken is changing the auditing firm after five years with the firms following the practice as highlighted in the act find themselves switching accounting firms often. The situation tends to reduce the number of available businesses to established companies and offer more business to accounting firms, which are not well known in the accounting world (Pain & Karmakar, 2007).
The Act has led to increasing of the audit services costs to public companies as they are forced to employ additional external auditors in the evaluation of their financial statements. At the same time, they have to hire more internal staff to verify the existing records’ accuracy. The costs of internal audit work have increased as well as the external audit service after the establishment of the act.
Conversely, internal control documentation remains a key additional expense, which the Sarbanes-Oxley necessitates, as accountants have to report on the efficiency of a public firm’s internal controls. This means accountants have to write manuals as well as other documents to help financial professionals understand the firm’s internal control system. This means that accountants with strong writing skills are required to write the documents, which has seen their numbers go up in the auditing world.
Many smaller firms lack the accounting staff to perform a proper Sarbanes-Oxley process of the documentation process. The situation has forced many of them to hire external accounting firms and consultants to help with Sarbanes-Oxley implementation requirements. On the other hand, several public companies have bought additional training for accounting staff and tend to give them additional work for those teaching in the field. It is evident that the act has led to an increase in job opportunities in the accounting field with much-qualified personnel getting a chance to be employed.
Green, S. (2004). Manager’s guide to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act: Improving internal controls to prevent fraud. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.
Pain, A. K., & Karmakar, N. (2007). Corporate Governance and Sarbanes Oxley Act: An introduction. Hyderabad, India: Ifai University Press.
The United States. (2002). Sarbanes-Oxley Act in perspective. St. Paul, Minn.: Thomson West.
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