Good Reads

Reviewing the latest books in the field

By Cathy Hale

Fraud knowledge is growing rapidly. Online anti-fraud material is abundant but new professional reference books are still added every week. Good Reads provides reviews on some of the latest books in the field. 


Book: Student Guide to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act
Author: Robert A. Prentice
Publisher: Thomson Learning
Publication date: 2005
Reviewer: Linda Chase, CFE, ACFE Educator, assistant professor, Baldwin-Wallace College, Berea, Ohio


By this time, most people should have heard of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, passed by Congress in July of 2002. What may still be a mystery, though, is the impact the Act has had on working professionals in the accounting industry. First, we can thank the Enron scandal, followed very quickly by WorldCom and other corporate accounting scandals for providing the catalyst that drove the federal government to pass this extensive Act of legislation. Congress responded very quickly because confidence in the markets had been shaken by the knowledge that a company's financial records were falsified to make them appear more profitable than they actually were. Suddenly, the Act created a "new federal agency and restructured the entire accounting industry, reformed Wall Street practices, dramatically altered corporate governance practices and attacked insider trading and obstruction of justice."

This sea change drove people to seek information that would help them better understand how the Act would impact them and their jobs. Due to this change, I highly recommend the "Student Guide to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act," written by Robert Prentice. It is not a lengthy book - just 60 pages total - but don't be fooled. This book is packed with simple, concise information regarding each section of the Act.

It starts with an executive summary of the Act's provisions, including highlights regarding accounting reforms, corporate governance, and whistle-blowers. The author continues by breaking out each section, detailing the problem Congress was addressing, the solution of the problem as addressed by provisions of the Act, and the implications and consequences of the solution to publicly traded companies and accounting professionals.

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