As a result of scandals concerning major financial crime in the early twenty‐first century, including accounting and auditing fraud and inappropriate behavior by directors on the boards of US corporations, Congress hurriedly enacted the Sarbanes‐Oxley Act (SOX) in 2002. SOX's major purpose was to restore investor confidence in America's securities markets. Small firms argued that their cost of compliance was very heavy and that their burden was greater than for larger firms, especially the costs related to section 404 of the Act, which dealt with new requirements to obtain independent audit opinions. The authors found no empirical research that supports or denies these claims. Subsequently, in 2007, the Securities and Exchange Commission reduced the Act's new audit requirements for small companies. This paper aims to examine audit fees for large and small firms.
The study examines actual audit fee data to investigate the increased costs paid by publicly traded companies to independent audit firms for their services due to Sarbanes‐Oxley. The authors use univariate and multivariate statistical methods to compare increases in audit fees paid by samples of 150 large firms and 150 small firms.
The study finds that both small and large firms incurred increased audit fees due to compliance with Sarbanes‐Oxley, and that small companies did incur larger increases in their cost burden.
The study uses actual audit fee data reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission and controls for other factors that determine audit fees in reaching its conclusions.
Millar, J. and Wade Bowen, B. (2011), "Small and large firm regulatory costs: the case of the Sarbanes‐Oxley Act", Corporate Governance, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 161-170. https://doi.org/10.1108/14720701111121038Download as .RIS
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