The soaring cost of SOX compliance

For small to midsized companies, the average cost of being public increased 33 percent last year, thanks largely to Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, according to a new survey conducted by the law firm Foley & Lardner. Audit fees accounted for the largest out-of-pocket cost increases, the survey said, with audit fees for public companies with less than $1 billion in annual revenues averaging $1 million in 2004, a 96 percent increase over 2003. The full text of the report is available here: The Cost of Being Public in the Era of Sarbanes Oxley.