Veteran Mac users may remember August 15, 1998 as the day the original Bondi blue iMac became available to consumers. It was a day that re-launched the Mac in the consumer space and revived a once ailing company. The iMac went on to become the most popular personal computer in history.
August 15, 2002 is also a day that Apple Computer was seen to "Think different." This time the companyis actions set Apple apart not only from other computer makers, but many large American corporations. Thatis the day by which 695 publicly traded companies were required to have their financial statements certified by their top executives. Another 247 companies, including Apple Computer, are required to certify their financials before the end of the year.
According to the information available on the Web site of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Apple Computer was obliged to file its certified financials no later than December 27, 2002. Apple chose to comply with a more stringent calendar deadline and submitted its certified financials by the mid-August deadline. A copy of Appleis faxed statement certifying its financial statements as of August 8, 2002 is available from the SEC site in PDF form.
A new law, know as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, was signed into law by President Bush on July 30, 2002. Among the lawis provisions, CEOs and CFOs of all 14,000 publicly traded companies must now certify their companyis financial statements. Penalties for corporate officers that knowingly certify false statements include stiff financial penalties and jail time. The new law takes effect on August 29, 2002.
SEC regulations require Apple Computer and over 900 other large American corporations to certify financial statements back to their most recent annual report and certify any subsequent reports to the present time. Several companies, including Apple and 3M, have chosen to certify their financials ahead of their scheduled dates. The SEC issued the regulatory order on June 29, 2002. Apple certified its financials more than four months ahead of its deadline.
Although Appleis actions ahead of August 15, 2002 will not necessarily boost Appleis sales and market share like its actions on August 15, 1998, the certification of its financials more than four months early should alleviate any investor concerns about the companyis integrity in its financial dealings.
The new law and SEC regulations are in response to the recent accounting scandals that have plagued corporate America, including shenanigans from both WorldComis and Enron.