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Audit costs almost doubled between 2001, the year before Sarbanes-Oxley took effect, through the end of 2006, primarily because of a median 345% jump in audit fees, according to an in-depth analysis of public companies’ financial data by The Corporate Library. The huge jump in fees, in fact, overshadowed a big drop in consultancy costs, which occurred because projects commissioned before SOX are no longer part of the outside auditor’s responsibilities. As a result of this changing paradigm, the proportion of fees as a percentage of total audit costs, or how much auditors were paid vs. general expenses, rose from 40% to almost 95% of the total bill, according to the study: The Audit Landscape: 2001-2007.”

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