Everyone obviously did not agree with yesterday's piece from Financial Engineering Today that suggested that the (net) costs of Sarbanes-Oxley may have been overstated. I am sure we will see more about the actual costs in the coming years, but I will admit that the costs can be far reaching and come from seemingly unexpected areas (but so too can be the benefits!).
For now we can say that for nearly all firms the actual costs of compliance have increased. What we can not yet see are the benefits.
Some of the higher costs include higher audit fees, and for some firms the costs include finding a new auditor. As if for evidence of this latter cost, the NY Times writes that many firms are being dropped by their auditors not for being problem clients, but because the auditors are merely too busy.
The New York Times > Business > Your Money > Sorry, the Auditor Said, but We Want a Divorce: "A growing number of companies are looking like unsuspecting spouses being left for trophy partners. That's because the top accounting and audit firms - PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, Ernst & Young and Deloitte & Touche - are dropping their corporate clients in droves"
"The top auditing firms, collectively known as the Big Four, declined to say how much more the new law was costing their clients, though they all said it had sharply increased the amount of work they must do for clients, and the fees they charge. BDO Seidman, a so-called second-tier firm, says its fees have increased by 40 percent to 100 percent, if it agrees to retain the client at all"
The whole article is available here.