So where is it? Where's the financial bonanza–the next Y2K–that technology vendors were expecting after passage of the landmark Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002? It's going on two years, and no one has yet seen anything close to a repeat of the ballyhooed buying spree of corporate information technology that accompanied the turning of the century.

Software and systems providers–at least half of the 140 surveyed–recently told business advisory firm Meta Group that they were, in fact, disappointed with the sales generated so far. But they need just a little more patience because there are indeed rumblings that financial tech spending is gaining momentum–although slowly and not necessarily as a direct result of Sarbanes-Oxley.

As the economy has started to show real signs of life in the second half of this year, a few vendors are reporting that finance departments are loosening the purse strings for solutions that will help them meet the increasingly rigorous demands of the investment community for real-time numbers and accountability on financial projections. While all the proposed purchases will ultimately assist in compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley and other corporate governance regulations, compliance seems almost an afterthought in the rationale for the tech buy. "We are starting to see activity," says Steve Pugh, CEO of accounting software provider CODA Financials Inc. "People are interested in updating their financial systems and improving their planning and budgeting functions. But this is tied much more to corporate performance than Sarbanes-Oxley."

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