Corporate Finance & Governance | Leadership / Management | Legislative / Regulatory

Section 404: Big break for small businesses

SecSmall businesses have been getting some big breaks from regulators lately.

First, President Bush signed the Small Business and Work Opportunity Act of 2007, which targets nearly $5 billion in tax incentives principally to small businesses. Then, the Financial Accounting Standards Board deferred implementation of FIN 48, titled "Accounting for Uncertainty in Income Taxes," for all non-public companies to periods beginning after Dec. 15, 2007.

Now comes word that the SEC has launched a study of the auditor attestation requirement for smaller companies under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. While it conducts the study, the SEC is planning to give small companies an additional year to comply with that auditor attestation requirement.

"The study will give us the opportunity to ensure that the investor protections of Section 404 are implemented in the way that Congress intended, and do not impose unnecessary or disproportionate burdens on smaller companies," said SEC Chair Christopher Cox.

The SEC also has released a plain-English guide to help small companies comply with Section 404(a) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. That guide is available here.


Bill Sheridan