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Sarbanes-Oxley and Small Investors

Phil Town
Phil Town

In the comments a few days ago, Steve asked me about some corporate accounting issues I'd mentioned while speaking in San Diego.

Namely, I mentioned how important Sarbanes-Oxley is to small investors

The big guys are trying to repeal the act... and for good reason, I suppose.  The Big Three Accounting agencies are forcing companies to get crazy by being over-demanding -- a kind of reaction to the previous laxness of the industry.

To give you an example of how crazy it can get, I heard a good anecdote playing golf in Florida recently.  Sometimes when I'm on the road I have a couple of days in between east coast appointments, and since it's not enough time to go home and then come back, I just find a cozy hotel and goof off. 

I played golf with an exec from a sizable public company that just got hammered by S-O.  He said that they had to spend $270,000,000 to comply.  This involved the complete restating of the last 4 years of their accounting.  The result was they found they had overstated revenue by less than $3 million.  Amazing.  They were forced by their CPA firm to spend an insane amount of shareholder money to basically do nothing useful on behalf of those same shareholders.  This is, of course, stupid.

What we want to keep are the requirements that public companies provide zero information to their friends that they don't also provide to all the rest of us.

So when you write your congressperson, make the distinction.  We want completely transparent info from them, but we don't want them spending our money to do stupid and unnecessary accounting.

Now go play.

Phil Town