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Getting compliance right

The role of a compliance team

Clark Abrahams, Chief Financial Architect, SASCompliance teams play an important role in ensuring that their organizations stay compliant with local and international regulations. The ongoing overhaul of regulations across multiple industries and geographic regions can overwhelm even the best compliance teams. However, this overhaul presents an opportunity for compliance teams to influence organizational strategy. With closer-than-ever scrutiny from the regulators and government agencies, senior managers and boards are increasingly relying on guidance from compliance teams when making strategic decisions.

In addition to guiding their organizations through the emerging regulations, compliance teams must adopt strategies to become more effective and efficient so that instead of spending considerable time dealing with a mountain of documents, they can spend it on more valuable activities such as analysis or consulting with business units.

Today’s compliance teams are expected to collaborate more with risk managers and internal auditors. In the past, compliance teams, risk management teams and internal audit teams worked in silos resulting in layers of duplicate risks and compliance processes for business units. This created inefficiencies in processes and alienated business units because they provided the same type of information in slightly different formats to compliance, risk management and internal audit teams. Collaboration is the only sure means for reducing duplication, while ensuring business units proactively manage compliance exposures. It is widely recognized that the convergence of risk management, compliance and business strategy is inevitable. Technology can help speed the operational “end state” associated with this necessary evolution in the way businesses operate.

The efficiency and effectiveness gains from an enterprise GRC platform are significant. The compliance team would no longer have to play the role of middleman since the technology empowers the workforce with access to up-to-date regulations with a button-click. Furthermore, an enterprise GRC platform can immediately identify which policies are affected by regulatory changes (this mapping is performed during system implementation and is maintained throughout the life of the system). Again, this saves time and effort. The policy management burden on line staff and corporate staff areas is significantly lessened, and responsiveness to change is greatly improved. Even the job of preparing for compliance testing and process improvement is enhanced.

These before and after pie charts tell the story:






Success for today’s compliance teams hinges on collaboration with internal and external forces and upon an understanding of key technology needs.

Read more about how a compliance team can help your organization meet the challenges of today’s regulatory landscape in this white paper that I co-authored with Manoj Kulwal. Download Safeguarding compliance and then let’s talk about any questions or comments that you may have.  We have a great forum here for discussion.

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