Only one of my current clients adheres to SOX and HIPAA. Yes, it has impacted work. I agree with you, that it is really for the better in that the separation of duties, although often raising the administration work, is really our job anyway.
As for the extra paperwork, ya, I'm not going to jump for joy about that. But at the same time, it makes everyone up the food chain aware that cowboy-coding is a no-fly zone. Ok, I just had to mix something from Austin, TX with a current event in the same sentence.
I actually think it made the management of my client to become aware of the risks of them ordering a bad practice, or sneak in some code/data changes 'like before'. So although there is a longer change management process between the SQL coder and the production db, with lots of testing and approval in between, shouldn't that be needed anyway for non-trivial systems?
Really, the pressure is off my back because everyone is now used to changes taking a few days to implement - at least, and it will simply no longer be done 'this afternoon'. I'm talking about 95% of the time as a general procedure, not when there is an emergency.
So I don't mind it so much. In fact, it has helped my own DBA staff to similarly cognitive of why this is in place so we can follow similar processes with our smaller clients - but with less paperwork.