Sarbanes - Oxley Act
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act came into force in July 2002 and introduced major changes to the regulation of corporate governance and financial practice. It is named after Senator Paul Sarbanes and Representative Michael Oxley, who were its main architects, and it set a number of non-negotiable deadlines for compliance.
The legislation establishes new or enhanced standards for all U.S. public company boards, management, and public accounting firms. The Act contains 11 titles, or sections, ranging from additional Corporate Board responsibilities to criminal penalties, and requires the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to implement rulings on requirements to comply with the new law.
The Act establishes a new quasi-public agency, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, or PCAOB, which is charged with overseeing, regulating, inspecting, and disciplining accounting firms in their roles as auditors of public companies. The Act also covers issues such as auditor independence, corporate governance, internal control assessment, and enhanced financial disclosure.
As far as compliance is concerned, the most important sections within the Act are 302, 401, 404, 409, 802 and 906.