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Sarbanes-Oxley not only changed the way and audit is done, but it really changed the whole stock market in general. “Investors will face a lower risk of losses from fraud and theft, and benefit from more reliable financial reporting, greater transparency, and accountability. Public companies will pay a lower cost of capital, and the economy will benefit because of a better allocation of resources and faster growth,” (Coates 2007). SOX makes it almost impossible to engage in unethical actions from what I learned in auditing class. There are many checks and balances to make sure there is little to no fraud happening on either side of the auditing process (being the auditor and auditee). For example, requiring the CEO and CFO to certify the work of the auditing company is a big check and balance, because if the company was being fraudulent about their reporting, the auditing company would say something. Also, if the company was called out for being fraudulent and was not, the CEO and CFO could prove they were not. Another big check and balance for me is that the auditing company cannot do non-auditing services which could cause neutrality to be compromised if the auditing company also did the official audit. Also, another check and balance is the fact auditing companies can only audit a company for five years before someone else has to do it because impartiality could be compromised as well. Ever since SOX came into rules by the turn of the century, there really has not been as frequent of fraud cases as there used to be, especially in the publicly traded companies. Another reason for that could be that publicly traded companies must report their financial statements to the public, so if an auditor even did miss something (which is rare), someone on the internet researching that specific company could find something and report it. There really is no room or benefit for trying to be fraudulent, because eventually the company will be busted, especially with the technology we have today.
Coates, John, C IV. 2007. “The Goals and Promise of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 21 (1): 91-116.DOI: 10.1257/jep.21.1.91

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