The cost of finance operations has resumed its 14-year downward trend at typical companies, after spiking dramatically in 2004/2005 due in part to Sarbanes-Oxley compliance efforts, according to 2006 Enterprise Book of Numbers research from The Hackett Group.

After the 18 percent increase in finance costs at typical companies in 2004/2005 - which came largely as a result of compliance-related activities - this year's cost reduction of 3 percent at typical companies should come as a massive relief. At the same time, 2006 saw world-class finance organizations extend their performance lead, as they have in each of the past 14 years of Hackett's analysis. World-class finance organizations cut costs by an impressive 8 percent in 2006, building on their 2004/2005 decrease of 5 percent.

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