Compliance Week 2016

Education. Realization. Empowerment.

Editor’s Note: Fresh Perspectives is an exclusive series of The Compliance Report that features expertise across Convercent. Each week we will feature a different Convercent expert, capturing their opinion and unique voice. Fresh Perspectives will be published weekly on Fridays.

Compliance is more than just doing the right thing or avoiding fines or penalties or even checking a box – it impacts your life and the lives of those around you in profound and impactful ways.

Watch the video below to hear Jacqueline’s take on Compliance Week.

As I look up at the Happy Anniversary balloon that dons my desk for being with Convercent for one year this week, the one thing that I think about the most is how much I have learned. This, coupled with my recent experience at one of the industry’s most talked about annual conferences, what I jokingly call the Super Bowl of Compliance – and more commonly referred to as Compliance Week – I sit here thinking about the educational aspect of it.

If you had asked me a year ago about bribery or corruption or insider trading, I could probably name a few big names who’ve been in the headlines for such, such as ENRON, Walmart Mexico or Martha Stewart, but the intricacies, the importance, the impact that compliance has on businesses, on individuals and on people’s lives has been eye-opening, to say the least. Compliance goes much deeper than those juicy stories on the evening news, and many people don’t realize that right away. I know I didn’t.

This notion was validated during my experience at my first Compliance Week. In this week’s Fresh Perspectives, I’m going to do a quick recap for those who may have not made it or are looking for a different point of view.

Top trends that are starting to shape the future and focus of compliance:

I’m on the phone a lot. I talk with many people in the industry from small business (less than 3,000 employees) to big multinational companies. Some people I speak with have never been in compliance before, are switching roles from a more legal-based background and into a more compliance and ethics role, or are wearing many hats with multiple titles of GC, IA and compliance.

The notes I took were not only for me to learn more about the industry but also for those who are seeking out this kind of information. I know it’s sometimes intimidating and overwhelming getting into this industry (believe me, I’ve been there), so I hope this high-level overview is worth your time. If at the end of this you still have questions, please contact me so we can nerd out together and maybe learn a thing or two along the way. Find me on LinkedIn.

Things that caught my eye from 2016 the Compliance Trends Report:

  • 29 percent of professionals say the most challenging aspect of an ethics and compliance program is managing third-party risk
  • Almost 50 percent say they wish they can utilize technology for identifying emerging risks in their program
  • Over 30 percent say they don’t currently access culture
  • Half of the people say they have a designated Chief Compliance Officer, while 30 percent report they are also the General Counsel. Sixteen percent say they don’t have a designed CCO at all.

My ears rang when I noticed a large part of these conversations revolved around the use (or lack of) technology. Data is remaining a top challenge for professionals to grapple with and use strategically in their program among the many other responsibilities they have.

Finding the right solution is difficult, one attendee told me and finds the process more laborious than anticipated despite knowing that when it’s all set up the technology will help. The attendee told me they can’t put everything on hold for that long and the options he’s done research with are overwhelming and often require large budget lines or significant IT support along with prior knowledge of using software. My heart sank when I heard this.

This is why we are here, and this one conversation in particular really got me thinking. Solving this professional’s problem –which I know is shared across the industry — with a technology solution is one thing. There are many vendors out there to choose from. However, the bigger challenge is finding the right solution that best fits the unique needs of the organization and individual comfort level. A solution is supposed to make your life with conflicts of interest or metrics or risk assessment easier, not more complicated.

This quote of the week resonated with me, “A key to a successful program – continue to self-improve and self-reflect” still sits close to me. As I have asked myself how to self-improve my style of talking about and educating compliance professionals and self-reflect on the industry, ask yourself the same things; challenge yourself; and know that there are simple solutions to some of your biggest problems, I assure you.

For an industry that was barely an industry two decades ago, it’s maturing quickly. And while compliance is still considered the last member of the C-suite, it is slowly gaining influence on decisions and business strategy. But I know we can do more faster and more efficiently than we have been. I believe in this industry so much that I know at next year’s Compliance Super Bowl the conversation will be different from this – professionals will be more supported and less weight on their shoulders managing so much. It’s only a matter of time before the rocket ship takes off, and I’m excited for the ride ahead. I hope you are, too.