Regardless of your industry, regulatory compliance is an important component of ongoing success. Staying on top of your compliance obligations can be challenging, and a strong compliance management program will require a compliance management system.

What Does ‘Complianc345e Management’ Mean?

Compliance management is the process of adhering to the government guidelines that are set in place for your industry. These requirements can change and shift, so integrating compliance management into your corporate operations is critical. 

Without a robust compliance management program in place, your company may fail to meet government requirements, resulting in fines and loss of income. Non-compliance can often compound and build over time, so it’s crucial to be diligent in your efforts to meet industry standards. 

What Is a Compliance Management System?

A compliance management system (CMS) consists of an integrated system of documents, processes, tools, controls, and functions to make it easier for organizations to comply with legal requirements. A CMS also minimizes harm to consumers because of a violation of the law.

A CMS helps organizations better address risk management by assuring that their policies and procedures adhere to the requirements of applicable laws and regulations, and address training, communication, and monitoring. 

A CMS allows an organization to understand its compliance responsibilities. Specifically, a CMS helps a company make certain that its employees know these responsibilities, and assures that applicable compliance requirements are integrated into its business processes. In addition, an enterprise can use a CMS to review how it operates, check that employees are meeting their responsibilities, and take any necessary corrective action.

The Components of a Compliance Management System

An effective CMS system has three components: oversight from the board of directors and management, the compliance program itself, and a compliance audit.

Board of Directors and Management Oversight

The senior leaders of your company have many responsibilities, and compliance may not be at the front of their minds. Still, creating a system that flows from the top down is key in communicating the importance of compliance to your entire organization. Strong leadership will improve and refine your compliance efforts, and that will make it easier for your company to achieve its compliance requirements long-term. 

Your board should have a clear vision of what’s expected for compliance and communicate that vision not only to the staff, but also to any third-party vendors or contractors. The board may also choose to select a chief compliance officer or compliance manager to lead your efforts. Consistent reporting will keep the board apprised of any changes and allow the company to shift goals and tactics accordingly. 

Compliance Program

Effective compliance is an ongoing process and guidelines must be put in place to assure that all of the requirements will be met. Your compliance program is the central hub of your compliance management system, where all controls and countermeasures will be designed and put into effect. 

Most programs will consist of a set of documents containing policies, compliance standards, and processes that are enforced by leadership and serve as reference tools for all employees. Your compliance department should also assign tasks to appropriate staff members as necessary, and assure that communication and reporting are smooth and transparent. Regular compliance training for your employees is also recommended. 

The goal of the program is not only to keep your company policies in line with current government guidelines; it’s also to protect the data of your customers and maintain your reputation as a reliable business partner. 

Compliance Audit

Audits are necessary for almost every industry. This will entail an independent review that determines whether you are adhering to internal policies and procedures and complying with consumer protection laws. Audits allow leadership to assure ongoing compliance and will help your company manage compliance risks. 

An external audit will provide you with an impartial party (the auditor) who can judge your systems and protocols without bias. It can be difficult to maintain compliance over time, so having a fresh set of eyes and the expertise of a trained professional is invaluable to this process. Audits can be stressful, but by familiarizing yourself with the applicable standards and keeping your records and reports in order, you can help your auditor find the information you need to stay compliant. 

In between external audits, it can also help to perform regular risk assessments and internal audits. This practice lets you monitor your compliance efforts in real-time and allows you to make corrections to your CMS as needed. 

Choosing the Right CMS for Your Needs

Keeping up with compliance regulations is a daunting task for even the smallest of companies. The more staff you have, the more difficult it can be to keep everyone on the same page. A successful CMS requires the proper tools, and compliance software can be instrumental in streamlining your efforts. 

ZenGRC is a single platform that allows you to see your company’s entire security and compliance landscape at a glance. You can pinpoint compliance issues, track risks as they occur, manage incidents as they arise, and have your evidence and reports at your fingertips for your next audit. 

Schedule a demo today and learn how ZenGRC can automate and integrate your company’s compliance management system.