SOX section 404 twenty years after: Reviewing costs and benefits

Bianca Fischer, Bernadette Gral, Othmar Lehner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Some issues of the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002 are still discussed controversially in literature. Thereof, Section 404 concerning internal control over financial reporting is one of the most criticized parts. This article focuses on costs and benefits of the section and impacts on earnings management. Most authors agree that compliance costs of Section 404 far outweigh its benefits. However, long-term benefits are expected. Regarding earnings management, studies show that the section has positive effects such as increased earnings quality and improved internal control systems. Although the section is heavily debated in literature, there is consensus that SOX Section 404 greatly contributed to the improvement of quality of financial reporting and of corporate governance as a whole.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-112
Number of pages10
JournalACRN Journal of Finance and Risk Perspectives
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2020


  • Benefits of SOX
  • Costs of SOX
  • Earnings management
  • Earnings quality
  • Internal control
  • Sarbanes Oxley
  • Section 404


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