From: Joel M. Barry
As the CEO of a small public company (NASDAQ/SmallCaps:-ECHO, $70MM in Revenues), we have seen the impact of SOX...our auditors of 19 years, PriceWaterhouseCoopers moved our audit expense up from $110,000 to just under $300,000 and they gave us an estimate of another $500,000 to do SOX......$800,000 as a total.
We have been trying to find both an internal accounting director for $80k (what used to be a reasonable salary) to help us control the costs of preparing for SOX and we have also been trying to find another auditor but all of the auditors are increasing their fees by huge amounts and the market for qualified accounting people is very, very scarce (because the auditors are paying them well into the mid-$100k ranges to do SOX audits).
Last year we made just over $1.2 million so it does not take a genius to realize the impact these added fees will have on our bottom line. After 19 years with PWC and 10 years of no-change audits, the shareholders are honestly in no better position than they were two years ago prior to SOX but there is one group who has improved its position dramatically...the auditors....after Anderson was taken down for being the auditors of Enron, Congress decided to provide the accounting business with a huge windfall at the primary expense of the small companies that are doing their best to make a profit.
I have very little confidence that this poor decision will be corrected so, as an alternative, may I suggest a windfall profits tax on all public accounting firms. At least make them pay like we are!
Joel M. Barry