Smaller companies could get a reprieve from the Securities and Exchange Commission on filing internal control documentation, according to published reports.

In remarks this week at the Practising Law Institute's annual securities regulation conference, SEC chief accountant Donald Nicolaisen said that officials would soon decide whether to delay implementation for some companies of Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley, which requires management to report on its internal controls over financial reporting and independent auditors to attest to management's evaluation, Dow Jones reported.

Accelerated filers -- companies that have a public float of at least $75 million and meet other criteria -- must comply in annual reports for fiscal years ending on or after Nov. 15. According to the report, Nicolaisen suggested that if there were to be a delay it would affect companies at the lower end of that group. Smaller businesses shoulder a "disproportionate share of the costs associated with implementation," Dow Jones reported him as saying.

Smaller companies below the accelerated filer threshold aren't required to comply until after July 15, 2005.

"Hopefully no more [delays] are necessary," Nicolaisen reportedly said. "In the next couple of weeks, we'll take another tight look at that. We want this to be a successful implementation."

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