Companies complying with Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley should, among other things, have internal experts develop the plan for documentation and testing; should maintain open and continuous communication between management and the internal and external auditors; and should include the external auditors in internal audit training sessions, according to a new report detailing 404 best practices.

Other leading practices for the company relationship with its auditor include setting reasonable milestones and conducting an annual debriefing, according to a report describing the 404 compliance practices of companies. The Financial Executives Research Foundation report is based on a discussion by 31 SOX 404 implementation leaders from 27 Fortune 500 companies on their experiences with 404 compliance during fiscal year 2004.

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