What is compliance? — An explanation with a guide do implement in your company

Protect your business by Implementing a compliance program

We all grew sick and tired of getting to know corruption cases in different companies, from different countries and in various industries. To protect consumers and the market from further scandals, the concept of corporate compliance was created. But what is compliance, after all? 
Basically and very simply put, compliance's meaning can be summed up in a very simple concept: sticking to the rules. Easier said than done, in many cases, as we are going to see throughout this article. 
In this text, we are going to answer the following FAQ about this topic: 
 

  • What is compliance in business? 
  • How do I guarantee corporate compliance in my company?  
  • Directive 2014/55/EU in Europe: how to comply? 

Stay with us for the next few minutes of reading and know all of the essentials about this topic! 
 

What is compliance in business? 

At this point, you already know that corporate compliance is the (not so) simple task of abiding by all applicable rules. We could even define it as the process by which leaders and managers plan, execute, measure, control and lead activities that ensure the company is following all applicable laws.  
Some of said activities may include: 
 

  • Internal and third-party audits; 
  • Security protocol; 
  • Preparing and publishing reports, accompanied by documents to support it; 
  • Modelling and executing processes that ensure compliance. 

One might easily think "Well, following all the rules and operating by the lay shouldn't be a thing, it should be mandatory!" However, things are a bit more complicated than that. We believe, of course, no one would go around breaking rules on purpose. 
The problem lies in those situations when you don't comply with a particular rule or law simply because you don't know of it. In a context where laws and regulations are constantly changing and new criteria are being established for companies, being updated can be a real challenge. 
This is why including corporate compliance in your processes is important. This is one way to guarantee that, regardless of who is in the team and the specific challenges you are dealing with, things will always follow a method that is covered by all laws and regulations.   
 

How do I guarantee corporate compliance in my company? 

Implementing a compliance program in your business is a way to protect your business. But, in case you have plans to go into the stock market, compliance is also a must for your company to be indexed in the market. 
Most big companies have compliance departments. However, this is not an effort that can be restricted to a single group of people. Compliance is a transversal task that should be pursued by everyone in the company. Engaging all departments and staff in this effort is vital to lessen the risks of violations and failures. 
Be sure to include an actual process to create, update, distribute and monitor your compliance policies. The only way your team can comply with the rules is if they know such rules exist and how they work. Here are a few tips to implement a successful corporate compliance program.
 

Involve your leaders

Example is key in a compliance program. This is the first reason why you should bring your leaders on board. Depending on the size of your company, you may have one or multiple leaders who are in charge of the compliance program. 
What is most important is that they have the authority and the autonomy to enforce compliance rules and hold all hierarchy levels of the company accountable for their actions. 
 

Hold regular risk assessments

Managing risk is what lies behind all your compliance efforts. Therefore, you need to identify which areas of your company pose the higher risks to the whole company. Once identified, you can start placing resources towards managing these weaknesses. 
Regulations both federal and state, industry standards and quality criteria are in constant evolution. If you don't run frequent risk assessments, you can find yourself in one of those situations we mentioned previously in this article, where you are exposed for not being up to date with the rules. 
Consider the compliance assessment a yearly task you should include in your calendar. 
 

Define and implement your Code of Conduct

When people have to answer the question "what is compliance?", they normally think of regulatory and law aspects. But the conduct of your team and what happens in your day to day operations can be a compliance aspect too. 
Since you can only demand certain attitudes from your employees if they know how they are supposed to behave, the best way to ensure everyone is well informed and on the same page is by having a formal document that explains everything in detail. 
Some codes of conduct are very thorough and include norms on situations such as receiving gifts from clients and partners, having a love relationship with a colleague and so on. 
Generally speaking, you should consider including orientations on corruption, bribery, tax practices and conflict of interests. Then, analyse what else makes sense to your company and which behaviours and attitudes could pose a risk to the organization. 
 

Work on your training

Having a beautifully designed compliance program won't do anything for your company if it is simply not followed. So, last but not least, you should invest in training your team so that they learn your compliance policies and practice them. 
Have your leaders, employees and also partners sign on your compliance plan to make sure everyone knows what is expected from them. 
 

Ok, and how do I implement it?

If you want something that takes little effort and has a big effect on your company's compliance program, your best bet is a Business Process Management system like Scriptor Server by Viatecla. 

Our software will help you tackle many compliance factors at once. First of all, with it you can create a structure that will be followed by everyone in the company. By this, you will implement templates and a way of doing things that is independent of individuals. This way, it is much easier to guarantee quality standards in the company. 

Second, you can assign tasks to specific people and keep a record of that. This is a very efficient way to have accountability and, at the same time, give your team some autonomy to make decisions within the limits previously established by the corporation. 

Scriptor Server also has a huge advantage when it comes to compliance: it never loses information. It keeps record of all changes made to a process, as well as who did it and when. Also, it is possible to add comments, so that you will always remember the contexts of the decisions that have been taken. This characteristic makes it a lot easier when it is time for auditing your company's activities. 

But maybe the best part of it all is the fact that it is a low code software, which means it is intuitive. As a result, its implementation process is simple and requires only a short training. Your team will be used to it in a very short time. 

Do you like what you hear so far? So tell us your needs and let us help you take this decisive step towards a much more reliable compliance management!

Pedro Seabra
CEO, Partner and Co-founder
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