Brookfield, Wis. (May 21, 2003) -- The impact of Sarbanes-Oxley on businesses has not been all negative, especially for auditor and accountant suppliers like Jefferson Wells International which saw a three-fold increase in its internal auditor staffing assignments since 2001.

Internal auditing services made up 11 percent of the firm's business in 2001. That has since risen to 30 percent and could reach as much as 45 percent by the end of this year, according to Jefferson Wells chief financial officer George Herrmann.

“With the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a lot of our clients need to face the question of how do I get my audit control environment together, help clients make that assessment, and do the testing and documentation to prepare for year-end. That’s where we come in,” said Herrmann.

Most of the firm's auditing assignments fall into the risk management and information control categories. Jefferson Wells also offers accounting and finance, tax, and technology assignments.

Hermann noted though his firm’s clients are primarily Fortune 1000 companies, they have received calls from “a fair number of private companies that want to follow the guidelines and need us to help.”

Jefferson Wells has 37 offices and 1,200 employees nationwide, 500 of which are internal auditors or individuals with 10 to 15 years of audit experience. Herrmann expects to increase his audit staff throughout this year as well, though he declined to reveal by how much.

The number of auditing professionals who obtained certified internal auditor designation jumped from 3,221 in 2001 to 4,900 in 2002, according to the Institute of Internal Auditors.

-- Seth Fineberg

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