The Sarbanes Oxley Act Controversy

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The Sarbanes-Oxley Act arose as a result of several corporate accounting scandals that became public in late 2001 and early 2002. These scandals involved many publicly traded companies such as Enron, which “boosted profits and hid debts totaling over $1 billion by improperly using off-the-books partnerships”; WorldCom, which “overstated its cash flow by booking $3.8 billion in operating expenses as capital expenses and gave founder Bernard Ebbers $400 million in off-the-books loans”; and Xerox, which “falsified financial results for five years, boosting income by $1.5 billion”, among a long list of others (Patsuris, 2002). In the book Revolutionary Wealth, Alvin and Heidi Toffler (2006) explain that “slowly changing regulatory and…show more content…
Regulation and Enforcement The Sarbanes-Oxley Act consists of 11 titles that set significant requirements and consequences for non-compliance in terms of transparency of financial reporting and accountability of leadership for publicly held companies. The Act established the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), which is an independent, nongovernmental and non-profit organization created to oversee the audits of public companies. The Act also set requirements for the audit committee, the CEO and CFO in regards to certifying financial statements, prohibits loans to executive officers, require real-time disclosure of information, changed the deadline for insiders to report trading in company 's securities to within two business days of the transaction, provides for the protection of whistleblowers, and imposes sanctions and penalties on violators of the provisions of the Act (“Corporate scandals, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and equity prices,” 2007, p. 83). All of these provisions are used to help improve accuracy and reliability of corporate disclosures by ensuring transparency, neutrality, and accountability in reporting financials, in order to protect investors. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act has many

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