Compliance management has become the number one priority for many businesses. Increased regulation has forced many businesses to draw up their own corporate compliance program. This is a list of written policies and procedures adopted by management and their staff as part of their company mission and best practice.
Compliance Management Software
There are all too few people skilled in compliance management. Accordingly, many companies are turning to technology to protect themselves against compliance violations.
There are many sophisticated compliance software tools available. These can be embedded into the heart of business activity to ensure company policies and procedures are carried out legally. Compliance management software centralizes data involved in everything from risk management to staff certifications. For example, if an employee leaves, his tasks can be reassigned much more quickly by his line manager when using compliance management software.
Shared documents can be accessed through a secure web portal or dashboard by anyone with the required privileges. Notifications, alerts, and other data are all displayed. Any compliance management task is monitored in real-time, or reviewed as a transparent audit trail at a later date.
Companies are now required by law to keep extensive data on their business operations. This has made compliance management software a necessity. Any regulatory violation that goes to a court of law requires a technological solution to assemble and sift through the data.
Why You Need Corporate Compliance
A corporate compliance program protects the company against fines, lawsuits, and imprisonment. But it makes commercial sense too. Some firms won’t transact with another unless there’s a corporate compliance program in place. Non-compliance penalties are less severe for those organizations already demonstrating a corporate compliance program.
Regulatory compliance shouldn’t be seen as another bureaucratic bind. A corporate compliance program protects the company from illegal or unethical activity. It’s a code of ethics, which defines the company culture and communicates how it expects its employees to behave. Reinforced by strong leadership, it should align with the company mission. As the organization grows, the corporate compliance program should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis.
The Five Essential Elements of a Corporate Compliance Program
There are many good templates online to help you create your corporate compliance program. Most plans can be distilled down to five essential elements.
These are: leadership, risk assessment, standards and controls, training, and oversight.
- Corporate compliance must originate from the top, with the CEO leading by example.
- Assess all risk factors arising from business work streams, including finance, HR, and sales.
- Draw up a code of conduct with core ethical principles, from which can be derived a set of standards and procedures.
- Train all staff to understand these standards and to follow ethically-defined procedures.
- Monitor and audit the corporate compliance program; update whenever necessary.
Never underestimate the effects of compliance violations. They can result in punitive fines, layoffs, imprisonment, loss of reputation, and even bankruptcy. These days, it’s essential for a company to adopt an effective corporate compliance program if it wants to remain viable. Talk to Affinity about what we can do to help keep you compliant.