How to be an effective compliance professional in 2020

    Compliance is a vital component in the success of every business.

    Without it, businesses are at risk of being heavily fined, or in the worst-case scenario, shut down completely. So it often comes as a surprise to many that compliance job roles (such as compliance consultant, compliance officer, compliance manager etc.) have not been around for very long. In fact, it was only through the passing of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002 that the need for compliance professionals in business really took hold.

    Despite this short time period, there have been many compliance developments and changes throughout multiple industries - and even in 2020, new developments are continually evolving. So, as a compliance professional, how can you ensure that you are carrying your role out effectively? To be an effective compliance professional, you essentially need to  advise the business that you work for on meeting their legal and regulatory obligations, and ensure that the business adheres to them. 

    Of course, this is much easier said than done. The role of a compliance professional is much more in depth and complex than many people realise - which is why we have shared our secrets on how to be a successful compliance professional below:

    How to be an effective compliance professional in 2020

    1) Continually improve your compliance skills 

    There are several essential skills and traits you need to have to be a successful compliance professional, so it’s important to ensure that you are always seeking self-improvement on the following:

    Integrity

    This is perhaps the most vital of a compliance professionals’ traits. Having a sound moral principle is essential to ensure that you not only act in the best interests of the business you work for as well as those affected by the business’ output, but that the business also trusts your judgement and takes on your advice.

    Problem-solving/critical thinking

    Being a compliance professional means frequently coming across complex and often unclear policies, laws, and standards, so it is essential that you can look at these analytically and critically in order to understand them. Additionally, if the business you work for wishes to carry out particular actions, you may need to think about how they can do so whilst remaining compliant, so ensuring your problem solving skills are up to scratch will help you to be a more effective compliance professional.

    Communication 

    Communication, whether written or verbal, is essential in any compliance role. As mentioned above, new policies, laws and standards can be unclear, so you should be able to explain these in a concise way. It’s also essential that you take the time to listen to what your colleagues have to say, so that you can respond to them accurately and professionally. Unfortunately, there are also times when a business may wish to carry out certain actions that do not adhere to compliance regulations; if they are resolute in this, you need to have strong conflict resolution skills in order to explain and defend your standpoint for the sake of the company’s welfare.

    Empathy 

    If a business does wish to carry out actions that do not adhere to regulations, as well as having strong conflict resolution skills, it’s important that you are also able to show empathy by emphasising that you understand their position and ambitions. Business managers are more likely to take on board your suggestions and advice around compliance if you empathise with their situation, too. 

    Transparency

    Having transparency – i.e. being open and honest in all your interactions with the business – means you will build trust. And the more you are trusted, the more effective you will be able to be within your compliance role.

    2) Always be one (or more) steps ahead

    One of the key aspects of compliance is that it is always evolving. So, to be effective as a compliance consultant, you will need to be as proactive and reactive as possible to stay ahead of the game. Take note of any and all updates in specifications, policies or laws in the business sector you advise for and take action on these as soon as physically possible. Keeping an eye on the daily news or articles that are posted online is a great way to do this. The sooner you are aware of a change, the sooner and more effectively you can prepare for it - and the simpler it will be for your business to make any necessary updates and changes. 

    3) Don’t forget to look at the bigger picture

    Leading on from the above, being an effective compliance professional means being able to focus on the little details of the latest regulations, as these can be what make the biggest differences for your business. But it’s also important to look at the bigger picture: how do new regulations, laws, policies and so on affect not only the business, but who they work for/alongside? What are the implications of this in the future? Again, the more insightful you can be, the better prepared you can make the business, and therefore, the more successful.

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    4) Find and befriend compliance believers 

    As a compliance professional, there will be many times where you may face conflicts within your career. This can be a lonely position to be in, however, by finding others within the business who are believers in compliance and showing them gratitude and recognition for this, you will encourage them to stand by you in difficult situations, meaning that your compliance procedures will be easier to carry out. Even just making your presence more known throughout the business – for example, work socials, getting involved in staffroom conversations and so on – can make this easier!

    5) Get involved in training opportunities and events 

    Being qualified as a compliance professional doesn’t mean the end of your training and development. In fact, it is only the beginning! There are a multitude of courses available both in person and online for you to enhance your practice and hone new skills ready to bring back to the office. What’s more, there are a wide variety of different events across the county each year that you can attend, such as the Risk and Compliance Annual Conference, The Financial Services Compliance & Risk Conference, Compliance Awareness and more. By attending as many of these events as possible, you’ll have the opportunity to stay up to date with the latest developments in the compliance sector and network with other compliance professionals, too. 

    6) Learn from other compliance professionals

    One of the best ways to keep learning and developing in the ever-changing landscape of compliance - and therefore become a more effective compliance professional - is by forging connections with other practising compliance professionals. Try and find yourself an experienced mentor in the sector, or network with more senior and experienced compliance professionals whose knowledge you can draw on and learn from for your own work. 

    Conclusion

    This advice is by no means exhaustive, but it should certainly provide you with a strong foundation to build on in order to become the most effective compliance professional you can be. If you’re a compliance professional looking to expand your experience further, why not take a look at the roles we have available here? Alternatively, you can find out more about how our team can assist you here.

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    Compliance is a vital component in the success of every business. Without it, businesses are at risk of being heavily fined, or in the worst-case scenario, shut down completely. So it often comes as a surprise to many that compliance job roles (such as compliance consultant, compliance officer, compliance manager etc.) have not been around for very long. In fact, it was only through the passing of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002 that the need for compliance professionals in business really took hold.

    Despite this short time period, there have been many compliance developments and changes throughout multiple industries - and even in 2020, new developments are continually evolving. So, as a compliance professional, how can you ensure that you are carrying your role out effectively? To be an effective compliance professional, you essentially need to  advise the business that you work for on meeting their legal and regulatory obligations, and ensure that the business adheres to them. 

    Of course, this is much easier said than done. The role of a compliance professional is much more in depth and complex than many people realise - which is why we have shared our secrets on how to be a successful compliance professional below:

    1)      Continually improve your compliance skills 

    There are several essential skills and traits you need to have to be a successful compliance professional, so it’s important to ensure that you are always seeking self-improvement on the following:

    Integrity

    This is perhaps the most vital of a compliance professionals’ traits. Having a sound moral principle is essential to ensure that you not only act in the best interests of the business you work for as well as those affected by the business’ output, but that the business also trusts your judgement and takes on your advice.

    Problem-solving/critical thinking

    Being a compliance professional means frequently coming across complex and often unclear policies, laws, and standards, so it is essential that you can look at these analytically and critically in order to understand them. Additionally, if the business you work for wishes to carry out particular actions, you may need to think about how they can do so whilst remaining compliant, so ensuring your problem solving skills are up to scratch will help you to be a more effective compliance professional.

    Communication 

    Communication, whether written or verbal, is essential in any compliance role. As mentioned above, new policies, laws and standards can be unclear, so you should be able to explain these in a concise way. It’s also essential that you take the time to listen to what your colleagues have to say, so that you can respond to them accurately and professionally. Unfortunately, there are also times when a business may wish to carry out certain actions that do not adhere to compliance regulations; if they are resolute in this, you need to have strong conflict resolution skills in order to explain and defend your standpoint for the sake of the company’s welfare.

    Empathy 

    If a business does wish to carry out actions that do not adhere to regulations, as well as having strong conflict resolution skills, it’s important that you are also able to show empathy by emphasising that you understand their position and ambitions. Business managers are more likely to take on board your suggestions and advice around compliance if you empathise with their situation, too. 

    Transparency

    Having transparency – i.e. being open and honest in all your interactions with the business – means you will build trust. And the more you are trusted, the more effective you will be able to be within your compliance role.

    2)      Always be one (or more) steps ahead

    One of the key aspects of compliance is that it is always evolving. So, to be effective as a compliance consultant, you will need to be as proactive and reactive as possible to stay ahead of the game. Take note of any and all updates in specifications, policies or laws in the business sector you advise for and take action on these as soon as physically possible. Keeping an eye on the daily news or articles that are posted online is a great way to do this. The sooner you are aware of a change, the sooner and more effectively you can prepare for it - and the simpler it will be for your business to make any necessary updates and changes. 

    3)      Don’t forget to look at the bigger picture

    Leading on from the above, being an effective compliance professional means being able to focus on the little details of the latest regulations, as these can be what make the biggest differences for your business. But it’s also important to look at the bigger picture: how do new regulations, laws, policies and so on affect not only the business, but who they work for/alongside? What are the implications of this in the future? Again, the more insightful you can be, the better prepared you can make the business, and therefore, the more successful.

    4)      Find and befriend compliance believers 

    As a compliance professional, there will be many times where you may face conflicts within your career. This can be a lonely position to be in, however, by finding others within the business who are believers in compliance and showing them gratitude and recognition for this, you will encourage them to stand by you in difficult situations, meaning that your compliance procedures will be easier to carry out. Even just making your presence more known throughout the business – for example, work socials, getting involved in staffroom conversations and so on – can make this easier!

    5)      Get involved in training opportunities and events 

    Being qualified as a compliance professional doesn’t mean the end of your training and development. In fact, it is only the beginning! There are a multitude of courses available both in person and online for you to enhance your practice and hone new skills ready to bring back to the office. What’s more, there are a wide variety of different events across the county each year that you can attend, such as the Risk and Compliance Annual Conference, The Financial Services Compliance & Risk Conference, Compliance Awareness and more. By attending as many of these events as possible, you’ll have the opportunity to stay up to date with the latest developments in the compliance sector and network with other compliance professionals, too. 

    6) Learn from other compliance professionals

    One of the best ways to keep learning and developing in the ever-changing landscape of compliance - and therefore become a more effective compliance professional - is by forging connections with other practising compliance professionals. Try and find yourself an experienced mentor in the sector, or network with more senior and experienced compliance professionals whose knowledge you can draw on and learn from for your own work. 

    Conclusion

    This advice is by no means exhaustive, but it should certainly provide you with a strong foundation to build on in order to become the most effective compliance professional you can be. If you’re a compliance professional looking to expand your experience further, why not take a look at the roles we have available here? Alternatively, you can find out more about how our team can assist you here.