The Layers of Successful Compliance Reporting

The 3 must-have components of successful compliance program reporting

How much of your time do you spend putting together compliance reports? With compliance reporting and assessing effectiveness as key components of a successful compliance program, this is a topic dear to the hearts of compliance teams—from the regional mangers trying to spot emerging trends to the CCOs reporting to audit committees and the board of directors. Unfortunately, gathering data about the different parts of a program remains a major pain point that often leaves people frustrated.

The time-consuming element of compliance reporting often comes from a disjointed program relying on siloed software without data integration. These inconsistencies resulted in 15% of respondents having trouble reconciling data, according to OCEG’s 2015 GRC Maturity Survey. (Other issues stemming from scattered and inconsistent data are trouble auditing and proving assurance of compliance and risk management, redundancy resulting in extra program costs and inadequate controls, the survey reported.)

42% [of respondents] don’t have access to real-time, consolidated compliance data on a dashboard or other platform.

In additional to trouble with overall reporting, the current state of program data also leaves teams without immediate insight into their program. A recent study reported on by the Wall Street Journal found that “42% [of respondents] don’t have access to real-time, consolidated compliance data on a dashboard or other platform.” This leaves teams in the bind of having to collate and analyze data before you can spot trends or understand how initiatives are affecting different parts of the program. This time consuming approach means issues can go unnoticed for months or quarters. Or worse, vital program connections and influences may never be surfaced.

As most compliance teams have discovered, this approach isn’t giving them what they want or need. It simply takes too much time and effort and leaves the program open to undetected weaknesses.

You need to know what’s going on in your program, what initiatives are on track and if any new risk areas pop up—right away, not at the end of every quarter or assessment. With that in mind, here are three clear layers of reporting that will help teams get the access to data and ease of reporting they dream of.

At-a-glance Snapshot for Compliance Reporting

Key Elements:

  • Overview information (not so detailed that it takes analysis to understand!)
  • High level impression of health
  • Real time
  • Easy to access

The fact that a recent survey reported that a significant percent of teams don’t have access to real-time data via dashboards means that real-time dashboards are a need. While regulations take time to develop and initiatives aren’t launched in a day, compliance risk can change in a matter of seconds. If a training schedule slips, a policy misses a scheduled update or some critical new whistleblower reports are filed compliance managers need to know right away. Letting issues like this go undetected and unchecked has a ripple effect that teams can’t afford.

The benefit of an at-a-glance snapshot of your initiatives and program health is relatively self-explanatory. It flags your attention to changes and lets you easily track the day-to-day progress and health of the program. The key to this level is that it’s not too detailed. You should be able to understand what you’re seeing and if it represents an issue without having to stop and really analyze the information.  The clarity these charts, graphs and heat maps provide in hover-over text boxes should give you enough initial information.

Having these dashboards on the homepage of your solution or management hub, and at the top of any pertinent initiative pages will keep this information top of mind, making sure you always know what’s happening.

Think: heat maps, pie charts, line graphs and color-coded task lists. Simple, clear, intuitive, helpful.

Detailed Drilldown

Key Elements:

  • Ability to access from overview or dashboards
  • Comprehensive information
  • Logical segmenting (department, location, etc.)
  • Visual connections to other aspects of your program

Real-time dashboards are nice, but they’re only truly effective if you can also easily dig into the issues they surface. Seeing a heightened risk on a heat map doesn’t do you much good if the only thing you know about that risk is that it’s emanating from Brazil. Ease of use should extend from your dashboards into drill down capabilities, allowing you to click on the chart to see more detailed information within the platform. Essentially, you shouldn’t have to export data to drill into and analyze an issue, you should be able to dig deeper right then and there.

This detailed view within the platform should show you all the information you have on the topic—attestation rates and history related to specific policies and training, all the information collected in a hotline report, documents filed as part of a case investigation, everything you have from stats to supporting information. It’s also helpful to be able to segment the data by key groups, such as location, department and even individual employees. If your program is run from a single solution, connecting related data (such as policy versions, attestations and training completions and identified parties in cases) within these drilldowns will help you make connections between seemingly random events and issues.

While this isn’t the area you’d go to for the complete program data used in a formal assessment or to build board reports, it is your day-to-day support center that will allow you to pinpoint issues and help you quickly and truly understand what’s happening within your program.

Think: Fast, detailed, insightful.

Easily accessibly raw data

Key Elements:

  • Complete data from entire program
  • Easy to export
  • Connects to external and existing reports

When it’s time for a formal benchmarking assessment or to build board presentations, you’ll need access to all of your program data. Exporting data into business tools like Excel or Tableau allows you to slice and dice the information in ways that the charts and reports in your platform don’t. This, in turn, allows you to present to your board the exact way you want with the exact information you want.

Once you build your regular board presentation template, this data should be easy to plugin and update every month, quarter or year. Minimizing that step gives you more time to analyze new areas and make a bigger impact. Take a deeper look to see if you notice trends not covered by dashboards or pre-built reports or look at the information in a new way to help you answer questions from the board.

While real-time dashboards and in-solution drilldowns are helpful, easy access to exportable program data is essential. Your data is just that—yours. Raw data shouldn’t be trapped inside the solution or confined to certain pre-described reports. And it shouldn’t take a support call to your solution provider to access and export this information either.

Think: deep analysis on your own terms, outside any solution or platform.

While each of these layers of compliance reporting is helpful on its own, without all three teams lack a clear and complete view into the big picture of program health or will spend an unnecessary—and potentially costly—amount of time, energy and resources trying to dig out meaningful insight. The snapshot brings any issues to your immediate attention, on-demand drill downs allow you to quickly dig into issues to enhanced clarity and access to all your data lets you slice, dice and analyze just the way you want. With all three levels in place, compliance teams are empowered to make short term and long term decisions to increase the effectiveness of their program.