So your business is growing, and that's a great thing. But as you add employees, assets, services, or any other elements, your business operations naturally become more complex. In addition, as your business grows, different laws and regulations may start to apply. If you're at a point where it's getting hard to keep up with all the rules you're supposed to be following and monitor whether your employees are fulfilling their legal and ethical responsibilities, it might be time to look into hiring a compliance officer.
What is a compliance officer and what do they do?
A compliance officer is someone who ensures your business is meeting all of its legal and ethical responsibilities, and that employees are adhering to internal company policy, rules, and guidelines. Depending on your business, this could take many forms, such as:
- Making sure employees know and follow laws related to privacy and handling sensitive client information.
- Helping your business and staff to understand and follow complicated laws and regulations.
- Ensuring that your business maintains necessary licenses and permits.
- Keeping you up to date on important changes to regulations in your industry.
- Providing preventative education and risk management guidance.
A compliance officer is also often responsible for the enforcement of consequences for anyone who violates company policy, as well as helping you to handle any repercussions to your business.
Benefits of having a compliance officer:
As a business owner, it is your responsibility to know the law and follow it. And breaking the law can have serious consequences. Violations may carry significant fines, not to mention the damage it could cause to your company's brand and reputation. A good compliance officer can save you a lot of money and difficulty, and keep you from getting into a situation that is beyond repair.
Tips for hiring a compliance officer:
Education & Experience: A great hire will have the education required to understand the laws and regulations governing your industry (at major companies, compliance officers are often lawyers or have advanced degrees) and also have knowledge about your industry as a whole.
Certification: While you can't get a degree in compliance, you can get a certification to be a compliance officer in a specific field, such as healthcare or banking. These certifications require participants to pass an exam after receiving specialized education and having one ensures that your hiree at least has the basic qualifications to do the job.
People Skills: Your compliance officer may be able to understand the laws and policies that apply to your business, but they must also be able to communicate them to others and support your staff in carrying them out.
Adding a compliance officer to your staff is a big decision, but if it's time for your business to take that step, it's one that you won't regret.
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