If you listen to folks from the capital markets, you would presume

that most CFOs hate the very words Sarbanes-Oxley. The fact is they don't. In survey after survey and in conversation, almost all CFOs will gladly affirm their support for the law and the controls that accompanied its passage. Why not? If anything, SarbOx has enhanced the profile of finance in the corporate world, attributing to it for the first time the significance it should have had all along in setting the parameters for corporate growth. The problem, as most will concede when regulators aren't listening, has been the lack of guidance initially provided by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) about what would be a reasonable approach to conducting a Section 404 review. Instead, companies left to their own devices decided that quantity would at least impress regulators as to their sincerity. Auditors simply decided that more was more billable hours and went to it. Now, the SEC under Christopher Cox and the PCAOB under Mark Olson and Thomas Ray are making sincere efforts to remedy the void with what seem, upon initial review, sensible compromises that will maintain the spirit of SarbOx without an undue dedication of corporate resources. It is unfortunate that Henry Paulson has chosen this moment to launch a committee that could, if left unchecked, recommend the law's castration. Indeed, the committee may be correct to address the excess in the legal arena at the root of most foreign-company decisions to avoid U.S. markets. But for now, the committee should allow SarbOx to find its own balance.

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