More than two-thirds of all small businesses favor setting different Sarbanes-Oxley compliance standards for small and large companies, according to a recent study commissioned by SAP America Inc.

Nearly half of all small companies feel that Sarbanes-Oxley regulation has made it harder to successfully conduct business, and many others are outsourcing or cutting back in areas such as marketing, research and personnel to meet compliance demands.

Other findings of the survey included that 10 percent of surveyed companies intend to ignore Sarbanes-Oxley regulation in anticipation of an eventual repeal for small and midsized businesses; and 54 percent of public small businesses cited the cost factor as the greatest challenge facing decision-makers.

According to the survey, SOX compliance plans have been funded in a variety of ways -- 42 percent of companies have outsourced the work; 18 percent are cutting marketing and/or research and development; and 16 percent have reduced their headcounts to scale back costs.The survey was conducted in October 2005 by a private research firm that polled public and private companies with less than 250 employees in a variety of industries.

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