Knowing the laws and regulations that impact your business is key to staying in compliance with applicable rules. Depending on the industry and the rule, violations can subject companies to substantial fines, prohibition of conducting business in a particular industry, or even criminal liability, including prison time. Highly regulated companies typically have a person or group in charge of compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and depending on the circumstances, that person or group will work to educate the rest of the organization as needed. But these rules are not static. Depending on the industry, they may change frequently with major consequences for those that are caught off guard. So what steps should your organization take??
Watch for and Identify New Rules
You should be constantly on the lookout for new laws and regulations that could impact your business. This doesn’t mean passively keeping an ear to the ground. It means making yourself aware of the key regulatory or government bodies that impact your industry and setting up a monitoring program.
Once you’ve identified a new rule that impacts your business, the next step is to determine to what extent you’re impacted. There may be some regulations that don’t require you to take any action at all. Others might require substantial changes to business processes.
Plan Your Compliance Policies and Practices
With a solid grasp of the impact of the new rule on your business, chart your plan of action. Do you need to change current practices? Do you need to put policies in place to ensure you don’t undertake certain activities in the future? Is there reporting that needs to be implemented?
Roll Out Your Plan
The compliance team might be the one tasked with overseeing adherence to applicable rules and regulations, but the entire organization is responsible for that adherence. Every employee engaged in a regulated activity needs to know what is expected of him or her and what the responsibilities are.
Remind, Refresh, and Revisit
Compliance training—like any training—isn’t a one-and-done exercise. The relevant members of your team—it could be all staff, managers, or only key individuals—should have regular refreshers on the rules and regulations that impact them and your business.
Staying on top of the laws and regulations that impact your business should be seen as a key business function. Make sure you have a sound process in place to ensure you are staying up to date.