Reply of at least 150 words on this post
Each reply must incorporate at least 1 scholarly citation in the current APA format. Any sources cited must have been published within the last five years. Acceptable sources include the textbook, the Bible, etc
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 is arguably the most influential piece of accounting legislation that has been put into action. Every finance, accounting, and business class at least mentions this important piece of legislation. I found an article that considers the impact of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, 15 years later. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, otherwise known as SOX, had a major impact on the economy immediately. The article that I found is broken down into 6 parts being 1st, the objectives of SOX, then the impact of SOX, its implications of accounting ethics, the conclusion, a notes section, and finally references.
The first section of the article addresses the objectives of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and says that “SOX had the primary objective of curbing fraud and encouraging ethical behavior in private enterprises by company employees, and most notably by executives and auditors of the corporation.” (Gunz, 2018). This means that the main goal of this act was to protect the finances of all through increasing ethical standards and financial practices. This act was conceived after a time of financial scandals and mishaps with major companies like Enron, Worldcom, and Tyco (Gelinas et al., 2017). The SOX act is covered in chapter 7 of our textbook where it is explained in detail about what the act is and why it was derived. SOX created an oversight board to monitor the accounting practices of companies, called the PCAOB (Gelinas et al., 2017). The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, or PCAOB, implemented “strengthened auditor independence rules, increased accountability of company officers and directors, mandated upper management to take responsibility for the company’s internal control structure, enhanced the quality of financial reporting, and put teeth into white-collar crime penalties.” (Gelinas et al., 2017). This is very important to modern accounting for companies and how they handle their investors finances and their own finances. Especially with the birth of cryptocurrencies, it would be easier than ever to launder money and act unethically because of increased technology and automation.
The main article then highlights the broad effects of SOX in the US and how it leaked into other countries. The article says “Approximately 44 other countries quickly followed the lead of the US and passed similar legislation…” (Gunz, 2018). This act was so impactful to the US economy that other countries decided to take pieces of it or follow the lead of the US and make sure that their economies were protected from the dangers of unethical practices in finance. The EU recently created a few pieces of legislation similar to our Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. There are multiple parts to their acts though. The first part is the “Directive 2014/56/EU, which established the framework for audits, public oversight of auditors, and cooperation between EU authorities.” (Grajek, 2020). The second piece is the “ Regulation (EU) No 537/2014 and specifies audit requirements for public interest entities.” (Grajek, 2020). The third piece of the EU SOX lookalike legislature is ‘the establishment of the Committee of European Auditing Oversight Bodies to further improve oversight of audits across the EU.” (Grajek, 2020). The point of all this is that directive legislation on accounting and audit ethics was so impactful that other countries followed in the footsteps of the US to protect themselves as well.
The third section of the article covers whether SOX actually had an impact on influencing more ethical behaviors in accounting of corporations and auditors. The article then goes to show three separate papers that show their opinions with support for if SOX facilitated ethical behavior. Accounting Today says that “A recent survey by Deloitte found that more than half (52.4 percent) of C-suite and other executives said global corporate ethical behavior has improved since the enactment of SOX.” (Cohn, 2017). A 50% increase of ethical behavior is pretty good if you ask me. The survey reported that just over half of US corporations felt the impact of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. There would never be a one hundred percent increase in ethical behaviors in corporations. That expectation would be too overzealous. The Accounting Today article also said that some corporations still are having trouble with compliance to ethical policies (Cohn, 2017). That result is normal when there are employees because a corporation will never be able to get all of their employees to follow and comply with all policies put in place. The last paragraph of the third section mentions that the SOX act increased “whistleblower policies” (Gunz, 2018). That means that the act created more avenues for employees and others who are part of corporations and audit teams to tattle on those who they have knowledge of being involved in corrupt actions or acting unethically and fraudulent. On the note of ethics, if companies were to structure their policies in a Christian way it may be more lucrative and rewarding for employees who are Christians trying to act ethically. The book of Colossians says a verse that reads, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (NIV, Colossians 3:17). The Lord specifically instructs all who follow him to act in an ethical way and in good faith for God the Father and Christians should always strive to follow this word.
The conclusion of the main article from Springer Link discusses in brevity what was covered in the entire article. It sums up the main themes and conclusions made throughout the evidence shown throughout the article. The conclusion states that “The three studies suggest that the goals of increasing transparency and trust in financial reporting appear to have been met, as trust on the part of investors has increased, and ethical climate in organizations has improved.” (Gunz, 2018). This means that the overall goal of Sarbanes-Oxley Act was met and helped with corporate fraud and mistrust overall. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 is nearing its 20 year anniversary and corporations can still say that they are feeling the impact and positive trends that this act created. The overall environment of corporations and auditors has been much more trustworthy and reliable since this act was implemented. The scandals that occurred just before this act were heinous and unacceptable and that is the reason that SOX was conceived, to make the investing and corporate environment friendly and not hostile.
The final sections of references and notes are just to acknowledge the resources used in creating the article and to give credit to those who are deserving of it.