Operating a regulated business in industries like healthcare or finance can be challenging. Frequently, new guidelines from state and federal governments change or update requirements for regulation compliance and reporting. Often, this means reevaluating how your compliance team is structured and retraining employees on the new regulations. Many companies chalk the constant shuffle of compliance up as the cost of doing business. However, some companies have found ways to manage ever-changing compliance and regulations easier. Generally, they focus on automating compliance as best as possible and creating a flexible system for compliance management that easily adapts to change.
Creating a Compliance Management System for Your Company
The first step to any compliance management system is to familiarize yourself with the current state of regulations in your industry. This involves reading the applicable laws, but it also requires speaking with regulators and experts in your industry. At this stage the important point is not to focus on the specific legal requirements, but the general guidelines and information that the government requires.
Deloitte has found that “judgment based supervision” is a key of any good compliance program, and they recommend going beyond the letter of the law to the overall intended meaning of the law for your compliance planning. Research from KPMG backs up Deloitte’s claims. Companies would do well to create compliance cycles that rely on judgment-based guiding principles, instead of focusing solely on the specific legal requirements. Such a compliance cycle decreases risk to the organization while allowing the organization to easily adjust to new regulations that are in the same intended meaning of the law.
Tracking and Managing Access
The Enterprise Systems Journal published an article ten years ago advocating for systems to track changes and manage access to information systems within your company. A decade later, those early calls for accountability have proven spot on, and it’s now more important than ever to have a change management system in place that enables information access and alterations in an auditor-friendly way.
Luckily, policy management software can automate much of the process of managing changing compliance and regulations. According to PCMag, 47% of business leaders said keeping policies up to date with new and changing regulations is their number one compliance management challenge. This means that nearly half of all businesses are struggling to manage changing compliance and regulations.
The Importance of Reporting: How to Manage Changing Regulations and Compliance Easier
One of the most critical and time-intensive parts of the compliance process is reporting after the fact. Thomson Reuters produced a helpful infographic of the entire compliance process and highlighted the importance of comprehensive reporting as a risk management tool and a way to guide future decisions in the company. Reporting is more than a necessary evil, it’s an opportunity to gain intelligence about how your business is functioning and where future challenges might arise.
While there will never be a magic bullet to answer all regulatory and compliance challenges, establishing a user-friendly system and set of clear guiding principles can make the compliance process much easier. In the face of new and changing regulations, investing a flexible compliance cycle, complete with some automated accounting and reporting, has the potential to save your company time and money over the long run.
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