The Center for Audit Quality has weighed in on the Securities and Exchange Commission's proposal to delay certain internal control reporting requirements for smaller companies, in a letter suggesting that the commission use the postponement to better assess the costs and benefits of implementing new standards and guidance. The SEC has proposed pushing back by one year the Sarbanes-Oxley Section 404 deadline for non-accelerated filers to provide auditors' attestation reports on internal controls over financial reporting in annual reports, to fiscal years ending on or after Dec. 15, 2009. While stating that, "The benefits of complete 404 reporting ... should be available to investors in smaller companies," the comment letter from CAQ executive director Cindy Fornelli acknowledged the potential benefits of the delay in allowing the integration of forthcoming guidance from the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations into auditor assessments. The letter also urged the SEC to broaden its effort to evaluate the cost effectiveness of new regulations and guidance, particularly the PCAOB's Auditing Standard No. 5, by including input not only from reporting companies, but from investors, audit committee members, auditors and others. An affiliate of the American Institute of CPAs, the CAQ is dedicated to fostering investor and market confidence in the audit process.

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