AMR Research estimates that companies will spend $6 billion on complying with Sarbanes-Oxley Act requirements in 2006, close to the $6.1 billion they will spend in 2005.

The findings are based on a recent study conducted by AMR Research in which over 300 business and IT leaders were surveyed on their Sarbanes-Oxley and compliance spending priorities.

However, there will be key differences in how the budgets are spent from year to year. Budgets allocated to internal headcount are expected to fall by 8 percent, while the technology allocation will grow by more than 13 percent over 2005 numbers. External consulting activities, which do not include audit fees, are expected to hold steady. The estimated dollar breakdown is $2.3 billion in staffing expenses; $1.9 billion in technology layout; and $1.8 billion for external consulting.

"These spending predications support a long-term approach to SOX compliance," said John Hagerty, vice president of research, in a statement. "Budgets are shifting from headcount to technology so that compliance can become repeatable, sustainable and cost-effective."

In additional findings, AMR Research reported that:

  • 39 percent of companies currently have an operational SOX solution, while 37 percent are implementing one in 2005;
  • 40 percent of companies have a specific budget for SOX compliance; the remainder fund efforts from existing operations; and,
  • None of the companies surveyed had spent less than anticipated.

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