So much for a one-time project: Companies will spend an estimated $5.8 billion on meeting Sarbanes-Oxley Act requirements in 2005, with more than a third planning to increase SOX spending next year, according to AMR Research.

Monday marked the initial deadline for most large public companies to start complying with SOX Section 404, which requires them to report on their internal controls. While many companies initially treated the cost of complying with the act as a one-time project, a survey of more than 200 business and information technology leaders by AMR Research showed that 36 percent plan to increase spending on SOX compliance in 2005, while 52 percent will maintain current levels, and just 12 percent will decrease SOX spending. Nearly all of the companies surveyed (98 percent) said that 2004 spending has been higher or at the level anticipated.

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