From overtime rules to environmental regulations to employee health benefits -- there are a lot of uncertainties in the regulatory world right now, and no matter how any of these issues turn out, your compliance officer needs to be able to meet these challenges head on.
With each new rule change or legislative act, they will have to figure out how it impacts your business, document new policies, and communicate these changes to the rest of your company.
Want to get the most out of your compliance program? Read: 5 Tips for Measuring Compliance Program Effectiveness.
The midst of a crisis or federal investigation is probably the worst time to develop compliance policies or investigation procedures. Instead, by having these corporate guidelines thoroughly documented, your compliance officer can focus on what went wrong and what can be done to prevent further violations.
Your business should also build in regular review periods for existing rules, making sure that they line up with any recently passed regulations.
No matter how well thought out your organization's guidelines are, they are meaningless if compliance is not built into your company's culture. After all, your established rules will likely only cover known risks or common issues for your industry.
Unfortunately, the real world can be a messy place, and opportunities for corruption and graft are not always as blatant as a textbook example. When your employees are familiar with the underlying values of your business -- beyond just the rules -- they are more likely to navigate and resolve ethical issues responsibly.
One of the primary ingredients to building a culture of compliance within your organization is the backing of senior management and the board of directors. If the tone at the top of your business makes it clear that ethical behavior is expected and mandatory, the rest of your workforce will quickly fall in line.
Conversely, if violations are tolerated for high performers or to land large accounts, your mid- and low-level employees will be less likely to follow rules that "get in the way."
Of course, you don't have to take our word for it. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) all cite executive leadership as critical in fostering an ethical culture.
Knowledge is power, and the more information you can provide to your compliance team, the more effective they will be. According to a global survey conducted by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), companies with active detection methods in place -- such as monitoring and account reconciliation -- identified fraud more quickly and experienced lower median losses than companies without these measures in place.
If possible, implement analytics software that can monitor for fraud or other financial irregularities. Also conduct regular surveys that allow employees to candidly and anonymously discuss your company's ethics and culture. The information gathered via these questionnaires can yield insight into how effective current compliance programs and training have been.
While employees are often the source of most compliance risks, they can also prove to be a valuable tool in the fight against corruption. The previously mentioned ACFE survey found that the most common means of identifying fraud -- cited in 39.1 percent of cases -- were tips and whistleblower activity from regular employees.
By offering your workforce ongoing compliance training, you can empower them to aid your compliance efforts, adding a number of living, breathing sensors to your monitoring efforts.
Corporate compliance officers face a never-ending struggle, but with the right resources and managerial support, they can help stave off scandal, corruption, and general misconduct.
To learn more about how we can help to create a culture of compliance at your company, request a demo of our services today.
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