March 29, 2013
To whom it may concern:
As a CFO of a small biotechnology with 74 employees and a market cap of $150M and no material or consistent revenues this requirement is another example of the agency applying a one size fits all view. This requirement will be another financial burden added to the already mounting burden that is being placed on smaller companies today to remain compliant with regulatory requirements. In essence you are asking for critical capital to be used on compliance when the relative risk is small. In may experience over the past several years as the new compliance requirements have gone into place, the rules start very general and then continue to get more and more detailed what may have seemed reasonable to start becomes very expensive. If I take SOX for example, the cost of management testing and the implications on our integrated audit have risen, in the past year from what was $800K to what is projected with the new PCAOB guidance to audit firms of $1M, while our business has continue to shrink in size from a $60M burn to $39M burn. There clearly needs to be a reality check as to what is the underlying objective or concern, and what would be the best and most efficient way for it to be addressed. If we are trying to address underlying issues with management and board governance there are much better ways to do that than adding yet another compliance function.
As a CFO, I fully understand and embrace the area of risk assessment and I do make it a part of our annual plan with the Audit Committee where we look at relative areas of key risk for our business and ensure that we 1)one obtain the committees' input on their areas of concerns, 2) highlight for them the critical risk areas of the business in addition to the accounting areas, and 3) conduct operational audits as appropriate to inform of areas of correction, concern or improvement.
I sincerely feel that process of developing regulations is severely flawed. More regulations will not necessarily lead to better outcomes. Participation upfront by a cross section of different sized companies would serve the agency well. In closing, I leave you with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: " foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds"
EVP Finance and CFO
280 East Grand Ave.
South San Francisco, CA 94080