New Sarbanes-Oxley Software Incorporates Proposed SEC Changes

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Meridian Management Systems Inc., announced today the release of its COSO-standard Sarbanes-Oxley compliance software package. Due to growing public pressure from companies and lobbyists, the SEC has encouraged the PCAOB to develop new guidance. Many small companies are hoping for a reprieve from SOX legislation altogether, however, no such relief is forthcoming.

Meridian Management Systems Inc., a leading provider of compliance software and management solutions, announced today the release of its Meridian 2.0 software that incorporates recent proposed changes to Sarbanes-Oxley compliance from the SEC and PCAOB.

Due to growing public pressure from companies and lobbyists, the SEC has encouraged the PCAOB to develop new guidance (called AS-5) aimed at providing companies with relief from the high cost of complying with Sarbanes-Oxley legislation. While there are some who argue against any real or perceived lowering of financial reporting compliance requirements in light of major corporate accounting failures (i.e. Enron, MCI, etc.), others argue that the high cost of SOX regulation puts American companies at a significant competitive disadvantage.

Many small companies are hoping for a granting of immunity from SOX legislation altogether. However, no such relief is forthcoming. The Glass Lewis study released in December of 2006 points to significant evidence that Section 404 has actually reduced the number of financial restatements by 26% in the first nine months 2006 and has uncovered thousands of control weaknesses for the large accelerated filers. In addition, the micro-cap companies (less than $75 million market cap) are noted as being the main culprit of financial restatements in 2006 since they do not yet have to comply with SOX. The findings of this study are consistent with the anecdotal reports from companies that have already implemented SOX that the process has forced companies to pay more attention to their financial reporting process. Such evidence does not help the cause of the smaller companies seeking exemption from SOX.

This week's PCAOB Standing Advisory Group discussions clearly show that the direction of the new rules is in providing clearer guidance that allows for a "risk-based" approach to reduced audit work and fees while not reducing the overall effectiveness of Section 404. Indeed, the majority of the discussions centered on the definition of a risk-based approach and its effectiveness in addressing audit concerns.

A spokesman for the Meridian stated "While the new rules have not yet been formally adopted, recent guidance and trends are unmistakably heading in the direction of a more rational risk and materiality based approach to SOX compliance. Our Meridian 2.0 incorporates these key changes along with the new guidance issued by COSO to help companies meet compliance requirements and reduce costs. These changes are a critical win for all public companies as they can now reduce their costs by approaching compliance from a more rational direction."

About Meridian

Meridian is a provider of risk management solutions and consulting services to public and private companies. The company designs specialty software to meet the needs of its clients. Meridian recently announced its partnership with the SC&H Group (an award winning national provider of CPA, Tax, and Specialty Services) to offer consulting services. Its flagship product is the Meridian compliance software designed to assist companies in complying with Sarbanes-Oxley regulations. Meridian can be reached at 877-790-0062. Additional information is available at MeridianManagement.com.

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Jacques Fu
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