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Finance and HR often seem to live in two different worlds. That's been especially true since the passage of Sarbanes-Oxley: While finance executives have scrambled to comply with new reporting and certification requirements, benefits caretakers have largely watched from the sidelines.

That's changing. Under Sarbanes-Oxley Section 302, CFOs and CEOs must certify that their companies' quarterly and annual filings are true and that they omit no material facts. And facts about employee health care are becoming nothing if not more material: Employee benefits now typically represent a company's third-biggest expense, trailing only cost of goods sold and non-manufacturing payroll.

What's more, in order to sign off on those filings, finance chiefs arguably must have some grasp of the statements' underlying content. That can be an especially formidable challenge in the retiree-benefits arena, where a transparency-challenged accounting system holds sway. deputy editor David Katz investigates in our feature article, ''Sarbanes-Oxley and Health Plans.''

Sarbanes-Oxley and Health Plans
The structure of employee health plans often obscures the view of benefit costs and internal controls that the Sarbanes-Oxley Act demands.

Stuck in the SAS 70s
As Sarbanes-Oxley Section 404 meets up with an obscure auditing standard, many companies are thinking hard about offshoring their business processes.
Finance executives continue to grapple with Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley. So far, it's unclear who's winning.
Control(ler) Issues
How to meet the needs of a growing business -- and the demands of new regulations -- without burning out the finance staff.
Rites of Privacy
With the dust settling on Sarbox compliance in the public sector, eyes turn to private companies.
Drowning in Data
A flood of corporate data, intensified by Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, threatens to overwhelm business managers.
Whistle-Blower Woes
Many companies think the whistle-blower provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley will spark nuisance suits by disgruntled employees. The truth is far more complex.
Sticker Shock
When Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, it didn't worry about how much it would cost companies. Today, CFOs are totting up the compliance bill -- and they don't like what they see.
Command and Controllers
Sarbanes-Oxley may bring new risks to the CFO's office, but it's raising the profile of the once-faceless company controller.
How Audits Must Change
Auditors face more pressure to find fraud.
Who Will Audit the Auditors?
When your accounting firm sets up software to help monitor your internal controls, are you implementing solutions -- or risk?
Nothing to Hide
Eager to be more transparent, companies are using a range of technologies to communicate with shareholders.
The New Rules of Engagement
With the passing of Sarbanes-Oxley -- and the advent of the PCAOB -- audits may never be the same again.
Fear Factor
Sarbanes-Oxley offers one more reason to tackle enterprise risk management.
Off the Street
Stricter rules and wary investors are prompting more companies to exit the public markets.
Facing a Stronger Board: Two Masters?
In the wake of Sarbanes-Oxley, CFOs must now contend with more inquisitive directors.
CFOs: Risk Magnets
New certification and internal control requirements are heaping new hazards on finance chiefs.
Under Pressure
Sarbox is just one of many new regulatory requirements companies face. Can IT help?
What You Don't Know about Sarbanes-Oxley
Snares, pitfalls, and trapdoors: Sarbanes-Oxley is full of surprises. These five top the list.
Two Weeks in January
The SEC put much of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act into effect by passing a slew of new rules. Here's what was proposed and what was disposed.

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