By the Numbers: SOX no bargain in

This week's budget brief estimates SOX will account for 15% of IT spending next year.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act might be getting older, but it's not getting cheaper. Compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act will continue to devour a large chunk of IT budgets in 2006 than it has in years past, according to Gartner Inc.

Preliminary results from Gartner's 2005 survey of CIOs, IT compliance managers, CFOs and other compliance professionals shows that IT financial compliance management spending will account for a median 15% of IT budgets next year. The amount is more than four times the 3.3% of the IT budget professionals dedicated to compliance costs in 2004, the first year of the SOX compliance, according to Gartner.

Audit and finance professionals, who made up roughly one-third of the 326 survey participants, estimated the highest spending: 20%. IT compliance managers estimated 10%. IT professionals estimated 12% -- and CIOs estimated 12.5%. (That means some CIOs might be surprised when their CFO submits a bill.)

Here are two bits of good news: The survey found that most organizations (62%) are funding regulatory compliance as an ongoing program, rather than treating Sarbanes-Oxley as a project or phase. And about 80% of CIOs said they are members of their organization's compliance or governance council -- as analysts suggest they should be.

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