Although many companies are reportedly not ready for it, the era of internal-controls compliance begins in earnest today. That's when Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act goes into effect for all companies whose fiscal year ends after today.
There will be nothing to file on Tuesday. But by early next year, the vast majority of companies that report on a calendar-year will have to assess the effectiveness of their internal controls over financial reporting and state in their annual reports whether the controls are operating effectively. The companies' outside auditors also must evaluate the in-house assessment and render an independent report on it.
The average cost to a organization to get in compliance is estimated at $5M and rising for a Fortune caliber public company.