Some viewed yesterday's deadline for executives to personally verify their company's financial statements as a nonevent. Though I agree it was a positive step, I admit to being skeptical that it would provide significant change. After all, it was already unlawful to knowingly falsify SEC filings. What good would adding a few more penalties do?

Apparently the new rule has some teeth, however. Three companies felt the need to restate prior earnings before the deadline. Then yesterday evening, AOL Time Warner(NYSE: AOL) revealed possible irregularities in its second-quarter earnings. It seems the AOL unit may have "inappropriately recognized as advertising and commerce revenues" certain payments from third parties. The total only amounts to about $49 million over six quarters, which is rather insignificant for the media giant.

It's still no surprise the stock price is at a four-year low, however. After all, the company said it would review other such transactions, and it's already the subject of a federal probe about possible accounting irregularities. Shares are down over 60% this year alone, and the company has a long way to go to regain investor trust -- personal guarantees aside.

If you'd like to know if the executives of your favorite company signed off on their financial statements, Tom Jacobs tells you how to find out in today's Fool on the Hill.