The annual Foley & Lardner study on Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) and its financial impact reveals that out-of-pocket compliance costs are continuing to climb.This is happening despite an overall decrease in compliance costs. How is this happening? The biggest culprits are rising legal fees and audit expenses.But while we'd like to add more fuel to the fire, Lora Bentley over at IT Business Edge has found a few firms that attest costs are going down, not up.Partner Steve Jackson of UHY even goes so far as to say, "I’m not convinced that they know what they’re talking about. My experience is that costs have come down."Meanwhile, Auditing Standard 5 takes effect in November. The purpose of AS5 is to ease the burdens of small businesses dealing with Sarbanes-Oxley, resulting in "audits that are more efficient, risk-based and scaled to the size and complexity of each company," according to Chairman Mark Olson of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.Cheers to that. And if you're so inclined, download the complete Foley & Lardner Sarbanes-Oxley study.