Costs for being public went up 33% in 2004

The average cost of being public in 2004 increased 33% over 2003 for a company with annual revenue under $1 bln, Foley & Lardner LLP says. Audit fees accounted for the largest out-of-pocket costs increases, with average audit fees for public companies with less than $1 bln of annual revenues increasing 96% to $1 mln in 2004 from $532,000 in fiscal 2003. The study attributes this increase to the phase-in of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, as the dramatic rise in audit costs exceed the rate of average audit fee increases witnessed in fiscal 2002, the year Sarbanes-Oxley was enacted.