Rates for SOX work 1056

  • I was curious what sort of rates people are seeing for SOX engagements. I have been sent several offers but the rates are way to low (Below USD65 an hour). Since I know that the ‘Big 4’ charge something in the upper USD200 an hour I was curious what people are getting. I am not interested in the companies you are working for just trying to level set for future engagements.

  • Many companies are tying to cut their costs for SOX compliance way down, which is causing some pressure on rates. Some want to reduce the cost by 50% and they want to use contractors that are cheaper. I’ve seen rates anywhere from USD50 -USD65 per hour. Some IT auditors are making more per hour. The rate you get depends on what you can negotiate.%0AI’m also seeing that a revolving door with cheaper contractors. If a better gig with a higher rate comes up these folks leave. This puts the client behind on their schedule for testing and at risk.%0AThere is a shortage of supply of good quality talent. %0AOn the other hand, there are a lot of people that will work for cheaper rates that have limited SOX experience. You don’t want to set yourself up to compete on price.%0ASome clients understand it is best to go for quality talent before price that you can get the work done right the first time and usually cheaper. These companies understand the ‘value add’ of your experience. My suggestion is to focus on companies that understand this already. %0ASometimes it is possible to negotiate a better rate than what they are offering, especially if they are desparate to fill the role. It helps if you have a good track record and good references. Also, if you are bailing out a project in trouble then you are golden.%0AGood luck.

  • 30 - 40 per hr here.

  • 30 - 40 per hr? You’re giving it away. A car mechanic gets paid better than that.
    I would say a fair rate for a private contractor is around USD90 - 100, for a firm (CPA or other), aroung USD150-175 blended rate is good.
    A comment on the cheap rate quotes you see - they may charge half the price, but I bet they take twice as long.

  • We are paying agency rates of up to USD150 per hour. We do expect good people for that and have had to dismiss some we didn’t feel were worth it.

  • I’ve been getting between USD65 and USD80 per hour. But it’s been getting harder to get this rate recently. I think companies are looking to pay less, but we all know what type of consultant that will bring in. If your experience has been like mine, maybe 2 out of 10 independent consultants you run into aren’t really qualified. I’ve got a friend in Florida making USD90/hour right now and another friend making USD95/hour with Tyco. I just rolled off of an USD80/hour engagement in D.C. I was offerred and declined a USD73/hour 1099 engagement in San Antonio recently. I think you really have to spell out for the client exactly what you are bringing to the table. Unfortunately, a lot of clients (esp. on the IT side) aren’t sophisticated enough with deciphiring skill sets. Some on the IT side are looking for too much specialized skills and not engouh SOX and ITGC controls understanding.

  • My experience is similar to JLWs. I’m getting between 75 and 95 for documentation and testing. But that has been with established clients. Potential new clients have balked at that. Luckily existing clients are keeping me pretty busy. And forget about working through an agency - best I’ve seen there is USD60 and they referred to it as ‘attractive’.
    ALso, in the beginning, clients didn’t balk at travel expenses. Now that is getting harder to negotiate as well.
    I think that SOX is just taking longer than any one thought it would and the endless revisions to documentation is costing more than anticipated. Every time a client or their auditor gets a new employee on the SOX team, then it starts all over again because they have a new perspective.

  • I’m an Executive Recruiter specializing in the placement and representation of SOX IT and Financial candidates. I also work with Tax and Audit professionals. I will typically offer two rates to clients for the consultants I work with. One will be and the other will be an all inclusive rate. Both rates include, taxes, unemployment ins. etc. There may be an incentive for either rate given the client. Some clients have per diems budgeted and contracts set aside for interim housing however other clients may not and may very well accept the all inclusive rate to avoid reimbursing a consultant for travel, housing and meals.
    The consultant will typically make out better with the all inclusive rate because it’s a guaranteed hourly bump and we all know the hours tend to mound with these SOX projects. It also gives the consultant to ability to select their own interim housing and manage a budget for travel to and from the project site as they see fit.
    Rates can range from USD75.00 to USD155.00 p/h for highly skilled consultants.
    It seems most public accounting firm charge around USD200.00 p/h so there’s an incentive to work either direct with the consultant or through an Executive Recruiter.

  • Big four charge 150 for staff (out of college), 180 for Experience Staff, 250 for Seniors and 350 for Managers.
    Rates depend on the territory. IT Auditors can fetch anything between 100 and 150 all inclusive in the east coast and the west coast.
    Whereas other Auditors at Max fetch 95 all inclusive.
    The average for the country is USD80 for IT auditors(T and E) paid by clients and USD55 for their counterparts in other areas.
    I hope that this helps.

  • If an agency if offering you USD60.00 p/h and you’re an experienced auditor you’re most likely working with someone who isn’t familiar with the market or very possibly your skills. The demand is still very much alive for qualified auditors.
    Sure a service needs to cover all the costs of being the ‘Employer of Record’ however that cost is minimal and if managed appropriately everyone involved has the opportunity to make money.

  • Hi all%0AI agree with Stephanie 100%, none of us (who are honestly qualified) should be working for USD60.00 an hour, all your doing is making money for your contract company who’s carrying your paper. My last engagement was at USD105.00 an hour inclusive with unlimited overtime. The overtime issue is one thing I ask about on every potential engagement. If I’m out of town, I might as well be working, not sitting in a hotel watching TV. I was on an engagement last summer that ran from July to Oct and with unlimited overtime, I was able to make over USD79,000.00 in three months, overtime helps heaps.%0AThere are more important things than just the bill rate, location, tone at the top (Management), team experience, resume value-add, etc. I’d take a lower rate with overtime than a higher rate with no overtime every time. Prior to that gig, rates ranged from my first SOX gig (took lower to gather experience) at USD50.00 up to over USD100.00 an hour. I look more at the team, the company, location etc. My resume is my portfolio and I’m very picky about who goes on it. I’ll turn down a good rate if the company’s not a ‘value add’ to my resume. Most ranges I’ve been out on have been in the USD85.00 and up per hour.%0AI’ve seen some STUPID cheap rates, mostly from all the new group of people who seem to have chosen the SOX bandwagon to make their next million… Indian companies… I’ve had Indian recruiters named (fake names) John, Fred, Beth (who were obviously Indian and not even in this country) offer me gigs in Ourkansas (Arkansas), Penix (Phoenix), Settle (Seattle) etc… they’ve offered rates as low as USD7.95 an hour… yes, you heard that right… I was offered less than minimum wage for a gig cus the Indian recruiter who was talking to me had no idea what he was talking about.%0ADo us all a favor, we’ve all worked hard, given up things, family time, ISACA/CISA fees etc to improve our value to our clients… don’t sell yourself cheap… all you’re doing is cheapening the market… %0ACheers%0AJennifer%0A--------------%0AJennifer Bond, CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor)%0ASarbanes-Oxley IS/IT Auditor

  • What do you call these:
    An African American CPA friend of mine was offered USD25 by an American company for her SOX efforts, in the last month. She did not accept it. Some years back(immediately after 9/11, Enron and Arthur Andersen crisis), I was offered USD16 per hour for a project whereas she was paying USD40 per hour to another white consultant for the similar project. Ofocurse, I just walked out finishing whatever I had on hand.
    Rates are driven by race orientation here. My inference is based on personal experiences.
    I agree, If they can pay USD100 per hour to ‘follow instruction like line function’ ERP implementers, then they should pay atleast more than that to SOX consultants who ‘create instructions’ to get the work done.
    Reality is different. If you are white, you command best rates. We have to generalize rates considering all races together.

  • Well my resume doesn’t say if I’m white, black, green nor blue and most of my engagements are arranged, I’m hired etc before they even see me face to face (I usually fly in and start work, the first time they see me is when I show up on the first day). I’ve never had anyone ask what color my skin was etc. so I’m not sure that rates are based on your race etc but you’re entitled to your opinion.
    If anything I’ve seen the opposite, I’ve been on a couple engagements where Auditors (for lack of a better term) who were ‘not’ white were being paid the same rate as I was yet were total idiots (not based on their race, just based on them being idiots period), they’d never done a SOX Audit in their life, they didn’t do their work properly, violated information security by disclosing findings to friends on the phone etc and were never fired or let off the project due to management fearing a backlash about them being ‘racist’.
    One of the things I love about contracting is that the rates are fairly fair across the board white, black, purple or yellow.

  • I agree with all who have provided input regarding this subject matter. But regardless of color, one should NEVER accept a sox engagement that is far below the average. %0AAnd Jennifer, I tip my hat to ya. I agree 100% with regards to firms (those who last name is hard to pronounce, but their first name is always american) who have no clue the market rates and insists on trying to get you for low ball rates.

  • Without stepping into the debate over SOX rates, what is considered ‘market’ rate, etc., I thought it might be helpful and a value-add to identify some (please note that the list below is not complete, just examples) core competencies for SOX professionals.
    Consideration of the SOX Core Competencies could then be used to determine if the charge rate is appropriate and is justified for the services performed.
    SOX Professionals should be able to:
    Internal Controls Understanding:
    Explain the role of internal controls in an accounting system
    Describe management’s responsibility and reasons of maintaining accounting systems with sound internal controls
    Explain the need for internal control and the potential results of poor controls
    Describe the features of a sound internal control system
    Describe the inherent limitations of internal control systems.
    Explain and design an effective internal control system.
    Iinternal Controls Procedures:
    Identify the activities involved in, and the accounts affected by each of the transaction cycles listed below,
    Implement (Design) a system using appropriate operating procedures ineach of the transaction cycles, and
    Identify the internal control objectives for each of these transaction cycles:
    -Purchases and accounts payable
    -Inventory and production
    -Sales and Accounts receivable
    -Cash and bank balances
    -Non-current assets
    Has anyone developed a SOX Core Competency Table or a Skills Assessment Questionnaire that can be used as an aid to assess the competency of a SOX professional?

  • I would expect a rate of USD125 per hour, but client prefers to pay that rate to Jefferson Wells, Lucas, Solomon Edwards, Resources Connections and the Titus Group. When we approach them, they wanna pay us at USD70 per hour at the maximum. I would prefer to be employed at the client place (Manager) rather than take a risk of one night stand contracting.
    USD125 per hour is worth the risk. But no no to USD70 per hour.

  • Chaya,
    I don’t see the value of posting charge rates quoted, paid, or otherwise, on the Forum as the billable rate is entirely determined through contract negotiation, the client’s perceived value, the competency of the SOX professional(s) performing the work, regional factors, and other considerations.
    A SOX professional may agree to take a lower rate if the engagement requires less travel, enables him or her to perform work remotely, or the contract contains other performance incentives. Similarly, the same individual might not be willing to accept the same rate if some or all of these conditions are not present. Other qualitative factors might also influence the decision–the reputation of the company, skill of other professionals performing the work, depth of assistance needed, etc.
    In short, it seems a pointless discussion to rattle off charge rates, individual circumstances. etc., with hope of achieving some financial benefit–will any person who reads the postings and discussion thread approach the client to demand a higher rate?
    …seems a fruitless discusson. That’s why I tried to salvage it by requesting SOX professionals if they had any insights about SOX core competencies. That seems to have a direct bearing on the charge rate and be establishing a common denominator for performing SOX work and adjusting it based on regional differences, it might be easier to compare SOX rates amongst the professionals performing the work.

  • I agree with you on that.
    I was putting across a point that whatever a Sox Professional deserve is not getting at the market place.
    SOX consulting is still a risky proposition. 3 months you are consulting and two weeks you are on bench. And for that risk, USD70 is not a justifiable remuneration. Most of my peers here in the Chicago Land are really apprehensive and they are looking forward to be placed at client’s place permanently, instead of taking a risk by continuing to consult.
    Frankly, I believe that rates would go down as more and more people get into SOX - age old story of supply exceeding demand. Therefore, leaving a job for SOX consulting may not be viable at this juncture.
    Everybody is in a sustenance cycle now, so there would not be any Yahoo requirements whatsoever compared to 2004 and 2005, this would tend to bring down requirements for SOX consultants.

  • Milan,
    With all due respect, I think you are dreaming. This business (SOX consulting and any other consulting, for that matter) is all about the money. The core competency is merely window dressing. Case in point, look at the revenue for the external firms and compare it to the job that they do and the competence of the people that they hire. My personal experience suggests that the maximization of revenue is what drives them. Why shouldn’t it drive us lone wolves, as well?
    In my view, an open discussion of acceptable rates is highly appropriate for this forum.
    As to the earlier comment from the executive recruiter that an all-inclusive rate allows the consultant to manage a budget as they see fit, I have to laugh. Only a headhunter could possibly say such a thing with a straight face. Suffice to say, I only do gigs where the t and e is picked up. Anything else is thievery.

  • David, thanks for your reply. I was really glad to hear your opinion of inclusive rates. I have a potential client right now pushing for one - first time I’ve had that request - and it has me stumped. Have been trying to figure out how it would benefit me after seeing the other post - glad to see that maybe I was right to begin with.
    ALso agree with you that this IS the right place to discuss rates. If not here, where?
    That’s not to say the disucssion on core competencies wasn’t valuable and useful, too. We definitely need both disucssions…at least I do.
    Some of the other posts I’ve seen here are from the ‘temp’ sector - those who are using SOX contract work as a means to an end - that end being a permanent position - to borrow a phrase from the headhunters - ‘temp to hire’. (don’t anybody take that negatively - it is not meant to be a slam)
    But some of us, like myself, are truly consultants. This is what I do - I am not looking for an employer - I am looking for clients. Right now SOX is the hot area in consulting - in my career as a consultant there have been other hot areas - system conversions, RTC work during the savings and loan scandals, etc. I am as much concerned about my core competencies as I am about my rates so I have found all of these posts helpful.

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