Software Companies Blaming Sarbanes-Oxley for Lagging Earnings

Some software companies are missing second quarter earnings estimates and are blaming the time, energy and money companies are spending on Sarbanes-Oxley Act requirements for slowing software purchase decisions, Reuters reported.

The Sarbanes-Oxley reform legislation was enacted in 2002 after Enron imploded taking its auditing firm Arthur Andersen down with it.

Veritas Software Corp. and Siebel Systems warned about quarterly results in recent weeks because of a number of deals that failed to close in the key final weeks of the quarter, Reuters reported.

Piper Jaffray software infrastructure analyst David Rudow told Reuters that chief financial officers and chief executives were spending time and money on auditing in order to be in compliance with regulations under Sarbanes-Oxley.

"We believe the CFO's workload to complete this work is overwhelming and they may not have the time or budget to sign large software contracts at the last minute of the quarter," Rudow said.

"We feel this, along with the fairly tight spending environment, are contributing factors to the June quarter misses," Rudow said.

Others were less ready to blame SOX for the delays in software purchases.

"Customers and CFOs we've spoken to have not indicated Sarbanes-Oxley played a role their technology buying," Brad Reback, an analyst at CIBC, told Reuters.

In fact, SAP, the world’s largest maker of business software, predicted increased revenue for the second quarter. Reback said SAP had been successful in selling pieces of its software systems, rather than pushing the entire systems the way competitors have done.

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