SOX and intangibles

Today’s Wall Street Journal is running a story about how Critics See Some Good From Sarbanes-Oxley:

But even critics acknowledge the law has done some good. “There is without question greater accountability in the boardroom,” says Thomas Lehner, an official of the Business Roundtable, a Washington group representing big-company CEOs. More boards resolve potential problems “before they fester and explode,” concurs John Olson, a senior partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher who advises directors at about a dozen concerns.

What the story didn’t mention, however, is that SOX is forcing some companies to come to grips with their intangible assets. According to comments by Kimberly Klein Cauthorn at session “Intellectual Property and Intangible Assets: Growth of a New Asset Class” at the Milken Institute Global Conference 2007 (audio available), more companies are conducting audits of their intangibles as part of Sarbanes-Oxley compliance requirements.
To me, that is a big deal. If Sarbanes-Oxley ends up changing how the corporate culture deals with intangibles, it will be a major accomplishment just for that alone.

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