This study examines whether Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Section 404 material weakness (MW404) disclosures are predictive of future financial reporting quality. I find evidence that for companies with a history of MW404s, the likelihood of misstatements in financial information continues to be significantly higher for two years after the last MW404 report compared to companies without a history of reported MW404s. The magnitude of the effect decreases non-linearly with decreasing speed. The findings further imply that the reason for the misstatement incidences is the unacknowledged pervasiveness of control problems. In particular, it appears that in many cases, the future misstatements are unrelated to the MW types disclosed in the last MW404 report, suggesting that some MW types are unacknowledged and, hence, control problems are even more pervasive than what was identified. Overall, the findings of this study highlight the importance of discovering and disclosing material weaknesses in internal control over financial reporting.

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