The cost of doing business in a post-Enron corporate world keeps mounting. A survey of more than 70 companies by AMR Research concluded that complying with the new Sarbanes-Oxley Act alone will cost affected businesses a combined $5 billion or more, with about half of that going on new technology and consultants’ fees. When asked how they planned to pay for expenses related to compliance, their responses ranged from deferral of existing projects to an open chequebook, ‘spend what you need to spend’ approach.
AMR argues that the main costs will likely relate to management processes and systems complexity. “The less centralised and standardised a company is, the more they should plan to spend on compliance,” says AMR analyst John Hagerty.