Five Key Steps to Improve Regulatory Compliance

Posted by: Bobby O'Neal | November 9, 2018

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Every business is aware of the importance of regulatory compliance, yet we often hear about compliance violations and huge fines being levied on organizations by regulatory bodies. Enforcing regulatory compliance is a complicated task because it requires every stakeholder in the business process to be compliant. The employee at the front line dealing with customers must be cognizant of the organization’s compliance needs but they are just the first line of defense. Then the responsibility falls on their manager, then on the compliance department, then on upper management.

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How can I improve my regulatory compliance?

An organization can improve its regulatory compliance levels through multiple approaches such as better regulatory intelligence, improved compliance monitoring, or by streamlining the compliance governance workflow. Over the past decade, we have seen the rise and adoption of regulatory compliance technology. Tech-based regulatory compliance solutions automate processes, enabling organizations to improve compliance levels across the organization while lowering compliance-related costs. Such solutions consolidate regulatory compliance tools and features (such as regulatory intelligence feeds, executive compliance dashboards with real-time metrics, and document lifecycle management) and deliver it under one unified platform for the whole organization to use.

5 key steps to improve regulatory compliance

If any single stakeholder in the process makes a mistake or misses an issue it results in non-compliance. There are steps that organizations can take to catch these mistakes and ensure better compliance.

Step 1: Making compliance accessible

Training and development are important to enforce regulatory compliance but just as important is the accessibility of compliance. Employees may forget or need to reference compliance related rules and documents from time to time. Any organization that wants better compliance levels must make sure that all such information and data is easily available at every point of the business process where compliance matters.

Step 2: Encouraging and enabling compliance consultancy

Organizations need to improve the ease of communication between the compliance department and front line employees. In many organizations the front line thinks of the compliance department as the department that polices them. This perception emerges because the compliance department only gets in touch with a front line employee to train them and then to catch their mistakes. The efficiency of regulatory compliance increases if the relationship is instead one of consultancy. The people at the front line should have the option to ask for help or advise from the compliance department whenever needed.

Step 3: Anonymous surveys

If multiple attempts at changing the compliance culture of the organization fail the management needs to investigate matters. Surveys are a great way of gathering information but there are two caveats – one, they should be anonymous and two, they should ask about the culture instead of asking questions about people. Anonymity allows people to be honest without worrying about their job security.

Questions need to be about the culture instead of other employees because when people give negative feedback about other employees, they feel like they are hurting the career of the other employee. This may make them feel guilty and result in them not giving an honest answer. The solution is to ask questions that do not require pointing fingers. Instead of asking ‘’have you seen any of your colleagues ignoring compliance requirements’’ the question that is asked should be ‘’how often do you see non-compliant behavior within the department or organization’’.

Step 4: Make compliance visible

The invisibility of compliance is a major obstacle to improving regulatory compliance. Organizations are not able to detect issues when they are formed and instead learn about them in an audit months later. This allows the issues to grow and cause major problems. Management also has no holistic view of compliance – they cannot see the current status of compliance and compliance issues and must instead rely on reports generated manually on request.

Visibility is why compliance technology plays such a crucial role in improving regulatory compliance. Management and compliance personnel gain a live view of the compliance status of the whole organization when a compliance management system has been implemented. If there is a compliance issue it immediately becomes visible to all stakeholders and it can be resolved immediately.

Step 5: Introduce automated controls

There is no need to rely only on the vigilance of every person involved in the business process. A more effective method is to introduce automation into the business process. Compliance management systems can also detect compliance issues. For example, if an important part of the compliance process has been skipped the system will flag the non-compliance immediately. It is better to have compliance professionals deal with strategies to improve regulatory compliance and offload monitoring and tracking tasks to automation.

Increasing regulatory compliance levels by implementing a compliance management system is not a complicated task anymore. If you want to see what such a system can do for your organization get in touch with us and we will arrange a demo for you. You can also avail a one-month trial of our American Bankers Association endorsed Predict360 Compliance Management solution.

About the company

360factors, Inc. (Austin, TX) helps companies improve business performance by reducing risk and ensuring compliance. Predict360, its flagship software product, vertically integrates regulations and requirements, policies and procedures management, risks and controls, audit management and inspections, and on-line training and qualifications, in a single cloud-based platform based on artificial intelligence.

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