A new report finds that the cost of compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley Section 404 internal control audit requirements for smaller public companies is actually about 14 percent lower than originally estimated.

The Securities and Exchange Commission had initially predicted a cost of $91,000 for public companies. However, a report by research company Lord & Benoit estimates that the average costs for smaller companies are closer to $78,474.

The average cost of complying with just Sec. 404(a)'s requirement for the management assessment is estimated at $53,724 for non-accelerated filers. However, costs can range from $15,000 for a smaller software company to as high as $162,000 for a complex company.

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