High-profile scandals such as those committed by Enron and WorldCom were possible because before SOX, there wasn't a comprehensive system in place to check company books in the private sector. Under SOX, the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) is the body responsible for administering the act's provisions. The SEC sets deadlines for compliance and publishes the rules for its requirements. The SOX act is divided into 11 main areas and the documentation is freely available via the Internet. Some of the act's provisions include mandates that all business records, including electronic records and messages are saved for at least five years. "Sarbanes-Oxley developed the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, a private, non-profit corporation, to ensure that financial statements are audited according to independent standards. Sarbanes-Oxley also holds chief executives and chief financial officers directly responsible for the accuracy of financial statements" (Fass, A. 2003).
The consequences for not complying with these provisions can be quite severe and include fines, imprisonment of the responsible company officers or even both. Bank of
References: http://www.pwc.com/Extweb/NewCoAtWork.nsf/docid/ D0D7F79003C6D64485256CF30074D66C http://www.computerworld.com/news/special/pages/0,10911,2025,00.html http://www.cioinsight.com/article2/0,1397,1592627,00.asp http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/05/23/business/regs.php One year later, The impact on Sarbanes-Oxley. Fass, A. 07/22/03 http://www.forbes.com/2003/07/22/cz_af_0722sarbanes.html