Lost in the hotly debated issues surrounding the landmark Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 are the unforeseen consequences impacting the accounting profession itself. Foremost among these is the creation of an inhibited marketplace that primarily benefits the Big Four accounting firms at the expense of their smaller, regional and often more flexible counterparts.Largely because of SOX, the Big Four now collectively audit 80 percent of all U.S. public companies. Under Sarbanes-Oxley, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board was established and set out to define and enforce a set of rules covering standards for all auditors of public companies.

These standards are wholly inappropriate for smaller, entrepreneurial public companies and the small auditors that can most affordably and efficiently serve them. The PCAOB's standards practically wrote the Big Four into the rules, establishing what the U.S. Government Accountability Office has labeled an oligopoly.

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