The Sarbanes-Oxley Act has brought about tremendous improvements in corporate governance and internal control, but the changes haven't come cheap.

According to a survey recently released by Financial Executives International, 46 of the 100 largest U.S. public companies have exceeded the new requirements on independent board directors. Costs, however, have been 62 percent higher than anticipated, with a 109 percent rise in internal expenses, a 42 percent rise in external costs, and a 40 percent increase in auditor fees.

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