Be your own compliance champion

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Compliance officers have the opportunity to position themselves as the essential business asset that they are, anchored not only by a strategic understanding of their business and its regulatory obligations, but also qualities such as adaptability and openness.

This is the view of Karmil Govender, regulatory compliance author at LexisNexis South Africa.

This is especially important in a constantly changing regulatory environment.

Govender says: “The role of compliance officers has also evolved over time and those responsible for compliance are increasingly re-educating their organisations about the function. It requires one to be on top of the game, constantly. It’s certainly time we moved away from the perception of being ‘policeman’ types who are intent on making colleagues’ lives difficult.”

Govender suggests the following steps to aid compliance officers in positioning themselves as a necessity within their organisation and securing the buy-in of their organisations:

• Relationships are key. Building relationships within and beyond your organisation is important to help encourage a more proactive, rather than a reactive, approach to compliance within the organisation.

• Understand the business. Know everything there is to know about your organisation and what legislation is relevant. Keep up to date by using the relevant tools at your disposal.

• Keep up to date. Have an annual, monthly, weekly and daily planner diarising compliance-related issues or use an online tool to manage these.

• Learn to say “No!” when necessary. There are times when business will push against the boundaries, wanting to proceed with activities despite not meeting regulatory standards. Govender advises: “Stand firm to prevent far-reaching consequences of non-compliance. This is where knowledge of facts and relationships comes into play.”

• Be your own “Compliance Champion”. Defeat the stereotype of being boring or having a tick-the-box mentality. Let people know that what you do and how you protect the business against regulatory fines help ensure their own job security.

“Adding this human element to compliance will greatly support your duty of keeping your organisation aware of the financial and other implications of non-compliance,” she says.

“Being proactive in seeking out international and local standards, and using up-to-date and relevant tools to ensure active compliance will facilitate the building of the brand of compliance champion.”

Lexis Assure is an online compliance system with automated alerts that advise clients timeously of any regulatory changes that could put their business at risk. The compliance system has a new feature – an automated compliance management system, designed to save clients time and simplify their compliance processes. The tool is intuitive and can be customised to a user’s regulatory universe.

For more information about Lexis Assure, visit: http://www.lexisnexis.co.za/lexisassure

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