Nearly three-quarters of finance professionals believe their company could be more efficient in the implementation of Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act dealing with the outside audit of internal controls, according to a new survey.

The survey by Ajilon Finance Solutions polled 210 accountants during a recent Institute of Management Accountants webinar. Seventy-three percent of the respondents believe their company could be more efficient in the implementation of SOX 404(b), while 35 percent of them say their company is less than 25 percent in its implementation of SOX 404(b). On the other hand, 34 percent of respondents said their company is nearly 100 percent complete with the compliance process.

For now, only large public companies are subject to the SOX 404(b) requirements, which companies have complained are expensive and onerous. The SEC has repeatedly delayed the effective date of the SOX 404(b) requirements for small public companies, but in October it said that companies with a public float of under $75 million would need to begin complying in June 2010.

Last week, the House passed its version of financial regulatory reform legislation, which exempts public companies with a float of less than $75 million from the SOX 404(b) requirements (see House Passes Financial Regulatory Reform Bill). The Senate has yet to take up the bill, however, and it is unclear whether the SOX provision will be included in its version of the sweeping financial regulatory reform legislation.

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