Five years after the Sarbanes-Oxley Act took effect, aboutone-fourth of internal audit managers surveyed by Protiviti Inc.say they have comfortably moved SOX concerns to the back burner asthey refocus on traditional responsibilities. That's more thandouble the percentage responding to a similar Protiviti survey in2005, indicating companies increasingly are satisfied with theircompliance operations and ready to return to the basics, explainsBob Hirth, managing director and head of Protiviti's internal auditgroup.

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“This is the fourth year for most accelerated filers, and theyare putting SOX into a better perspective,” says Hirth. This shouldbe especially true, he says, in light of the release of AuditingStandard 5 (AS5), which clarifies the rules. The Protiviti surveywas conducted before the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board(PCAOB) introduced AS5. “Companies clearly are seeing the long-termbenefits of rebalancing, which includes ensuring they do not focussolely on financial reporting at the expense of other criticalbusiness operations and functions,” says Hirth.

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