Accounting Information Systems Research Paper
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) was enacted into law in 2002 in the wake of corporation financial reporting scandals involving large publicly held companies. SOX instituted new strict financial regulations with the intent of improving accounting practices and protecting investors from corporate misconduct. SOX requires corporate executives to vouch for the accuracy of financial statements, and to institute and monitor effective internal controls over financial reporting. The cost of implementing an effective internal control structure are onerous, and SOX inflicts opportunity costs upon an enterprise as executives have ...view middle of the document...
The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board is the enforcement arm of the legislation, and is under the authority of the SEC to oversee accounting and auditing processes. Public companies are required integrate internal controls in their accounting information systems to ensure data validity and security.
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002
In the aftermath of several corporate financial reporting scandals involving large publicly held companies such as Enron, WorldCom, and Tyco, the United States Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and enacted it into law on July 30, 2002. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) takes its name from its two primary congressional sponsors, Representative Michael Oxley (R-OH) and Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) (Hoffman, 2005, p. 3). SOX instituted new strict financial regulations with the intent of improving accounting practices and protecting investors from corporate misconduct. The law is intended to protect stakeholders from corporate greed, fraud, and misleading financial reporting. SOX legislation tackles several important concerns including corporate responsibility, internal controls, auditor independence, financial disclosures, criminal and fraud liability, conflicts of interest, and corporate tax returns (Moffett and Grant, 2011, p. 3). Under the law, independent auditors and corporate officers of publicly traded companies must affirm both the accuracy of the financial statements and their supporting processes and data (Hoffman, 2005, p. 3). The law requires corporate officers to vouch for the effectiveness of the company’s internal controls and to be honest and transparent in financial reporting.
SOX is organized under eleven titles, with the majority of the compliance principles written under sections 302, 401, 404, and 409 (A Guide to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, 2006). Section 302 requires company officers to certify the truthfulness and completeness of quarterly and annual reports. Additionally, the signing officers are responsible for establishing and maintaining the internal controls, and must have evaluated the effectiveness of the controls within 90 days prior to certifying the financial statements (Hoffman, 2005, p. 4). Section 401 of SOX requires corporations to issue financial statements that are complete and accurate and include all material off-balance sheet obligations or liabilities (A Guide to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, 2006). This regulation was instituted to prevent public corporations from hiding liabilities from investors, and thus artificially inflating stock prices.
Section 404 requires public companies to establish internal controls and report annually on their effectiveness over financial reporting. The CFO and CEO are held personally responsible for the internal controls via the requirement to sign a statement certifying the adequacy of the internal control system (Moffett and Grant, 2011, p. 3). Additionally, the company’s independent auditor must issue an attestation...