SARBANES-OXLEY Act (SOX) increased the risk and responsibility of chief executive and chief finance officers (officers) of publicly traded companies. SOX increased accountability and visibility of the officers within public companies by broadening the scope of responsibility of adhering to regulations and reporting of fraudulent activities from lawyers to independent auditors of the company. The SOX provisions that directly or indirectly impact officers include, but are not limited to introduction of new and/or enhanced existing requirements: internal controls, disclosure, criminal penalties, and role of audit committee.
Also, each measure an officer is responsible for creating or maintaining requires a formal certification and is subsequently verified by at least one of the company’s boards.
SOX widen the scope of accountability and visibility of the officers that issue financial reports. It does not consider whether the issuer is foreign or domestic. All CEO/CFOs are held to the same standard (Coustan, 2004). A measure used to distribute accountability also assists in decreasing controversial matters such as “conflict of interest” scenarios. For example, an officer may have to determine if a particular company relationship may be seen as a conflict of interest. This issue is avoid by giving a committee formed independently of the CEO the authority to make the decision. For example, the audit committee chooses the independent auditor and is responsible for its compensation and oversight. Also, the auditor reports to the committee. The overall impact obligates all company officials doing business in the U.S. to U.S. regulations and requires all companies to adopt the same decision making process for difficult issues (Coustan, 2004).
The CEO/CFO must develop, maintain, and certify the reporting system is sufficient. SOX also requires the audit committee to verify the officer’s system claims are accurate. Officers are now required to certify...