The primary and essential duty of a compliance manager is to keep the ethical integrity of a company intact. He/she must make sure that the business activities of the organisation are carried out within a regulatory framework. Compliance officers can only carry out risk management process by effectively planning programs and enforcing policies within the organisation. Certain designed duties and tasks of a compliance manager involves the following:
- Assessing business and operations’ risks.
- Conduct audits to ensure adherence to standards.
- Identifying compliance issues.
- Ensuring written and verbal policies and regulations of an organisation are kept in check.
- Develop risk management strategies and processes.
- Investigation on compliance procedures and necessary follow-up action.
Coveted Skills for Compliance Managers
To execute above tasks and to effectuate desired value, the compliance manager must possess a defined set of skills and expertise. Top most important skills for compliance managers are compiled in the list below:
1. Organisation skills: Compliance managers should be capable of multitasking within clearly defined timelines. An idea of the existing rules and regulations for maintaining compliance within an organisation should be made aware among its employees and staff by a compliance officer. Clear goals should be developed prior to the compliance process and those should be fulfilled within fixed dedicated agenda. He should be clear about what needs to be done and how and when he is going to do it. Breaking down audit into component parts and delegating tasks will also help.
2. Communication skills: Like most job profiles, compliance managers are also supposed to possess both written and verbal communication skills. Interpersonal communication including listening and decision making will help an auditor to effectively carry out compliance process. Reflection and clarification on regulation topics should be maintained by a compliance officer.To keep all the sectors and resources that should abide by a compliance process in alignment, the compliance officer must have quality communication skills. Effective communication is a necessity for propagating the findings during an audit report.
3. Problem Solving skills: Effective problem solving requires a combination of creative and analytical thinking. Compliance officers face the problem of unclear and vague regulatory policies, cost issues, irreversible business failure issues, etc. The risk attached to a particular policy-making should be identified by the field officer. This helps him achieve a simple structured solution process. Problem solving can only be completed with right implementation and concise monitoring of solution. The process should be carried out in pre-planned steps and for the chosen solution, correct feedback should also be given. Auditors should have a grasp on business acumen and sound judgement on next course of action.
4. Assessing and interpreting risks: The main steps in a risk management process involves identification, analysis, planning, monitoring, reporting and control. Compliance managers must be familiar with all these steps and should choose to operate accordingly. Lessons should be learnt from previous regulation errors which will help in avoiding future non-compliance. To assess risks and analytically interpret them, base knowledge about regulation concepts and its part in the specific business must be identified. Risk management process involves statistical analysis. Compliance managers should be capable of assessing a particular risk and interpreting its implications on the organisation.
5. Critical Thinking: Critical thinking is a desirable skill for a compliance manager. Rational and clear thinking about risk analysis should be done on the part of the inspector. Critical/analytical thinking is important for auditors as they are required for analyzing data and offering more strategic input. Practical solutions should be conveyed to tackle problem statements. Compliance managers should have the ability for reflective and independent thinking and should be able to understand the logical connection between business policies and compliance regulations.
6. Creativity: A compliance manager should have creative skills. They should be able to perceive the compliance and regulation measures within the business. Creativity helps in seeking and finding connections between seemingly unrelated risk analysis management and decision-making. Creative capacity will also help in generating solutions to unique compliance issues. A compliance manager requires creativity and innovation to combine current business processes with effective compliance/ audit inspections and reports.
7. Integrity: Integrity is a must for any profession. Compliance managers are no exception. Regulation management process can only be implemented and accomplished effectively if the officers carrying out the inspection reports have strong moral principles and honest quality. They should uphold being in an undivided and unbiased state while executing their tasks. Compliance managers should be trustworthy. They should also have confidence and resilience when faced against tough situations and dealing with audit reports.
8. People skills/relationship building: The ability to read people and presence of mind is important for any auditor. This also helps a compliance officer in building trust and credibility among his clients. Compliance managers should be non-confrontational and non-aggressive and a healthy workplace requires them. Compliance and regulation policies/principles are fulfilled to the best of their potential by understanding situation of companies, moderating responses to errors, effective contact and proper empathizing. Relationship building among clients and companies can help earn trust, respect, credibility and productive interactions for auditors.
9. Business/IT Knowledge: Knowledge on latest business technologies and IT requirements will not only ensure an error-free audit session but also helps the compliance manager in climbing the career ladder. This would help with continous learning and teamwork on behalf of the inspector. Shrewd astute business acumen is necessary for a compliance officer and this involves flexibility about unforced regulation errors and adaptability to different audit environments. IT knowledge also plays a huge part as the role of an auditor is defined by the combination of accounting and technical know-how. Primary IT tools should be mastered and compliance related technology should be accounted for.
10. Knowledge about vulnerability/security: A particular audit/compliance process will only go right as per plan if the compliance manager have a crystal clear idea about the security policies associated with the specific audit. Vulnerabilities that could occur for the process should be identified and auditor should be able to discuss prevention measures or repair steps depending on the status of the report. Compliance managers should have a clear understanding of different security standards like ISO standards, interception regulations, control and abuse policies, monitoring and evaluation techniques, review and report performances.
Compliance managers are supposed to oversee compliance programs and generate audit reports with efficiency. The general purpose of accomplishing a perfect compliance process can only be achieved if the compliance officer is capable of essentially sticking to the above listed skills. To execute qualified responsibilities and duties, the compliance manager must follow the general principles detailed for each skill set. Ensuring compliance with all applicable rules, laws and regulations alongwith respecting the wide range of roles and responsibilities within a firm is a priceless task. Compliance managers should follow these requirements with no slippage in the work assigned to them by being aligned to the skills described in the article.
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