The clamor may be dying down following the latest Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) guidance, but debate over what many see as excessively complex and costly U.S. financial reporting procedures persists in less boisterous tones. Now, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Christopher Cox hopes to mute the noise even more by addressing these concerns in a 12-month project aimed at reducing some of the confusion–and costs–in U.S. accounting procedures.

"Our reporting system has become overly complex, with the result that financial statements are difficult for investors to understand and expensive for companies to comply with," Cox said in announcing the endeavor and naming 17 industry experts to the newly formed Advisory Committee on Improvements to Financial Reporting.

Cox said that by August of next year, the panel will recommend ways to create clearer accounting rules, provide unambiguous advice on applying those rules and develop efficient methods of communicating financial results to investors. Members will also address how technology can help redesign reporting through XBRL and hyperlinks.

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