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Accounting Students' Perceptions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002

27 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2004  

Marianne James

California State University, Los Angeles - Department of Accounting

Date Written: September 15, 2004


The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX), which was created to enhance the integrity of financial reporting and protect financial statement users, affects many business professionals and especially accountants. The ultimate success of the SOX in achieving the goals set by lawmakers is not assured and ultimately will depend on the support from those affected by the Act.

This study investigates accounting students' perceptions of (1) key provisions of the SOX, (2) the effect of the SOX's provisions on financial statement and audit quality, (3) their degree of knowledge of the provisions of the SOX, and (4) the degree and sufficiency of in-class coverage of those provisions.

This study finds that the majority of the students participating in the study do not perceive that auditors should be prohibited from performing non-audit services for audit clients. However, the majority perceive that it is necessary for CEOs and CFOs to certify their financial statements and that this will improve financial statement quality. The majority also perceive that the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board audit firm registration requirement is appropriate and will improve audit quality. Only a small percentage of the students perceive that in-class coverage of the SOX is sufficient in accounting and non-accounting classes, although the percentage is higher for accounting classes. Surprisingly, accounting majors do not perceive that they are more knowledgeable than non-accounting majors.

The findings from this study are important and provide information to accounting and business educators to guide them in enhancing and refocusing their in-class discussions of the SOX.

Keywords: Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, Non-audit services, In-class discussion of the SOX

JEL Classification: I20, K22, K42, M41

Suggested Citation

James, Marianne, Accounting Students' Perceptions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (September 15, 2004). Available at SSRN: or

Marianne James (Contact Author)

California State University, Los Angeles - Department of Accounting ( email )

Los Angeles, CA 90032-8121
United States

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