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Article

The Sarbanes - Oxley Act: More Bark Than Bite for Nonprofits

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. 2010. Vol. 39. No. 2.
Nezhina T. G., Brudney J. L.

Based on a survey of a representative sample of nonprofit organizations, this article explores the impact of the Sarbanes–Oxley Act (SOX) on the nonprofit sector. The study addresses two questions: What is the level of SOX adoption by nonprofit organizations? and How do we explain variations in the adoption level of SOX? Using Poisson regression models, our study finds that the level of SOX adoption in nonprofit organizations is determined to a large extent by nonprofit organizations’ accountability and transparency structure prior to SOX. When this factor is taken into account, contrary to previous studies, the level of SOX adoption by nonprofits is modest. In addition to the existing accountability structure, important variables in the statistical explanation of SOX adoption include CEOs’ familiarity with SOX, attitudes of nonprofit CEOs toward SOX, and organization size.