Companies may be spending millions to comply with it, but more than two years after its passage, the majority of workers and investors don't know what Sarbanes-Oxley is, according to a poll by staffing firm Hudson.

Eighty percent of U.S. workers and 76 percent of employed investors have never heard of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, according to a survey of 2,152 workers and 1,880 investors conducted for Hudson by research firm Rasmussen Reports.

Just 7 percent of working investors (employees owning at least $5,000 in stocks, bonds and mutual funds) said that Sarbanes-Oxley has increased their confidence as an investor. Likewise, only 7 percent among this group said that it had increased their confidence in the leadership of public companies.

As the first compliance deadline approaches, only 9 percent of workers said that they had been asked to do something differently in their jobs as a result of SOX, according to Hudson.

However, the act's influence has, predictably, been much greater in accounting and finance circles. Twenty-five percent of accounting and finance workers reported that they've been asked to do something differently in their jobs as a result of Sarbanes-Oxley and 22 percent said that the act has created more work for them personally. Senior managers are also feeling the impact, with 18 percent reporting that they've been asked to do something differently and 13 percent saying that it has created more work for them.

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