June 23, 2008

SEC Approves One-Year Delay for Smaller Companies’ Auditor Attestations

As proposed back in February, the SEC has approved another one-year extension of the compliance date for smaller companies to meet the Section 404(b) auditor attestation requirement of Sarbanes-Oxley. Smaller companies will now be required to provide the attestation reports in their annual reports for fiscal years ending on or after December 15, 2009.

In addition, the Office of Management and Budget is allowing the SEC to proceed with data collection for a study of the costs/benefits of Section 404, focusing on the consequences for smaller companies and the effects of the auditor attestation requirements.

FriendFeed: A New Way to Experience a Conference

Emboldened by my NIRI experience with FriendFeed a few weeks back, I have created a FriendFeed room for the Society of Corporate Secretaries & Governance Professional’s Annual Conference – which starts this Thursday – at A big “shout out” to Dominic Jones for leading the way here; FriendFeed only established its “rooms” capability in May, so this is truly cutting-edge.

1. Why Do You Care? – The FriendFeed experience is mind-blowing in that you can envision the future of conferences where the “speakers” are not just the lucky slobs up on the dais – it’s everyone in the room! It will be interesting to see how long it takes for this type of technology to live up to its potential.

If you don’t attend, you can get a flavor of what is happening from those that are there – if you do attend, your fellow attendees can help enrich your experience. For example, at the NIRI conference, I was able to better identify which booths were to my liking by following the recommendations of someone else – and I enjoyed reading commentary about various panels as they happened. Also useful are tips about the conference hotel, nightlife, etc. Of course, all of this becomes more useful when more people contribute – the strength of numbers.

2. How Can You Participate? You can simply read, listen and watch the contributions of others – but of course, it’s more fun if you actively participate. From what I have learned so far, here’s a roadmap about how you can observe or participate (this is all very new and evolving, so some of these might not work for you depending on what technologies you are using):

a. Catch the Highlights at FriendFeed – As noted above, the contributions are – and will – mainly be found on this FriendFeed page. For this first year, it may well be the only postings come from me – but hopefully not. This is an experiment and I imagine it will grow in future years as the tools become more user-friendly and we all learn more about available technology.

To watch others contribute, just click on the room and browse. To actively participate, you simply need to “join the room” by creating a nickname and password for yourself (after first creating a free FriendFeed account). Then, you can participate in any one of several ways described below.

b. Adding a Link to FriendFeed – Here is a short video that explains how to post a link to FriendFeed. Once you register for FriendFeed and watch this one-minute video, you will find it takes mere seconds to add a link to something and write a short comment about it.

c. Commenting on Someone Else’s Commentary on FriendFeed – This truly only takes seconds as you can click on the “comment” section underneath someone else’s contribution and quickly add your ten cents.

d. Uploading Photos and Video on FriendFeed – Uploading multimedia is more time-consuming than adding links and mere text. I will be trying to play around with that during the Conference and we’ll see how I do. It’s fairly easy – with the hard part being uploading a video to YouTube (after first compressing it, which is dependent on the speed of your Net access). So we’ll be at the mercy of the speed of the connections available at the Conference hotel.

e. Twitter, TwitterBerry and Twemes – Due to the “newness” of the technology, there might be Twittering during the Conference that isn’t caught on the Society’s FriendFeed page. Twemes allows you to follow Twitter posts that only relate to your conference (although that service is not perfect either and sometimes misses some Tweets). You can follow them by putting “society08” in the search box at the top of the Twemes home page – or simply go to this Society page.

If you carry a BlackBerry, you can twitter from that device by downloading free software called “TwitterBerry.”

You might ask: what is Twitter? Twitter is a rapidly growing – free – service that allows you to text a message (or it can be done from any browser) that is no longer than 140 characters. Each of these messages is known as a “Tweet.” (Fyi, Twitter is growing so fast that the people running it can’t keep up and they keep having outages.) For Twemes and FriendFeed to capture Tweets about the Conference, you must use this as part of your 140 characters: #society08. Don’t forget the pound sign.

Just like FriendFeed, you must first register for Twitter (at, which is free and easy to do.

f. Tag Everything with “#society08” – To contribute content, you will need to tag your Tweets, Flickr photos, YouTube videos, blog posts, public bookmarks, etc. with the “#society08” tag. That will just make it possible to get everything aggregated in the room.

3. Will I Get in Trouble? – Assuming you don’t upload embarrassing pictures of yourself or give away trade secrets, it’s hard to imagine you getting into trouble for participating. However, if you are paranoid, you can use screen names that won’t identify you when you register for Twitter or FriendFeed (for example, one of my Twitter accounts is under “Captain XBRL”). That way you will feel unemcumbered and can join the “conversation.” Have some fun and see ya in Boca!

Last Week: Early Bird Discount for Our Conferences

Don’t forget it’s the last week to take advantage of the early bird discount – which expires June 30th – for both the “16th Annual Naspp Conference” and the combined “Tackling Your 2009 Compensation Disclosures: The 3rd Annual Proxy Disclosure Conference” & “5th Annual Executive Compensation Conference.”

And remember that registration for attendance to these Conferences – either in New Orleans or by video webcast – entitles you to a discount for the upcoming Lynn and Romanek’s “The Executive Compensation Disclosure Treatise & Reporting Guide.” So there are two benefits to registering for one (or both) of these Conferences today.

The Nasdaq Speaks ’08: Latest Developments and Interpretations

Join us tomorrow for the webcast – “Nasdaq Speaks ’08: Latest Developments and Interpretations” – to learn all the latest from the Nasdaq from these experts:

– Mike Emen, Senior Vice President, Nasdaq’s Listing Qualifications Department
– Arnold Golub, Associate General Counsel, Nasdaq’s Office of General Counsel
– Lanae Holbrook, Chief Counsel, Nasdaq’s Office of General Counsel/Hearings
– Suzanne Rothwell, Counsel, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

– Broc Romanek