The US Securities and Exchange Commission has announced that it will delay moves to an accelerated filing period for annual reports. This is expected to ease the transition for big companies to the year-end reporting required under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
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In 2002, the SEC shortened the amount of time companies would have to file their quarterly and annual reports after the end of a financial period. The filing requirements for big companies shrank from 90 days within the close of a business cycle to 75 days this year. It was scheduled to be cut to 60 days next year.
But sources close to the issue said the SEC has been pressured by big accounting firms to maintain the 75-day filing requirement for one more year to help big companies to make their first transition to a year-end Sarbanes-Oxley deadline.
Under the latest SEC proposals the current deadlines would remain: 75 days for annual reports and 40 days for quarterly reports. SEC registrants have 30 days to comment on the proposal.
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires large companies to document in their annual reports the financial and IT controls they have in place for financial years that end on or after 15 November 2004.
Major accounting firms recently asked the SEC not to push the filing requirement to 60 days, at least for the time being, to help companies to deal with current pressures.
Thomas Hoffman writes for Computerworld