Thanks to some fast footwork by regulators at the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, accounting firms and many of their smaller audit clients gained an additional 45 days of breathing room to comply with complex new Sarbanes-Oxley Act internal control reporting rules.

Under those rules, public companies will be required to include in their annual reports both an assessment by management of the effectiveness of the company's internal controls and a report by the auditors on the internal control assessments made by management.

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