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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: The Enron scandal prompted the creation of tough new Sarbanes-Oxley accounting standards, but small companies have been grumbling about the costs of trying to meet those standards. Now it looks as though the Securities and Exchange Commission is willing to make some changes. Marketplace's Hillary Wicai tells us more.


HILLARY WICAI: The SEC proposed giving smaller US public companies and some foreign companies a bit of a break.

They would get more time before they have to meet with some stringent audit requirements on their internal checks and balances for fraud.

It can cost well over $300,000 to comply with Sarbanes Oxley, a big pill for small companies to swallow.

Jim Cox of Duke University says it's a welcome breather for everyone, not just the businesses.

JIM COX:"This is buying time for the regulators themselves, it's buying time also for the accounting profession to get up to speed even better than they have so far."

Cox says the SEC will use the time to redesign the regulation and hopefully minimize companies' burdens. John White is with the SEC.

JOHN WHITE: "These are rulemaking processes and it takes time to do rulemaking"

The proposals granting the extensions could be enacted by the end of the year.

In Washington, I'm Hillary Wicai for Marketplace.

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