The Compliance Industry. What Start-ups Need to Know
Depending on your perspective, the concept of compliance, i.e. adhering to industry standards and other important guidelines, can either be a way to enhance a business’ credentials or a necessary evil to the wider concept of running a company. In and out of work, we’re all beholden to one group or another, whether that’s a regulator, governing body, or something a little more prosaic, such as the Internal Revenue Service.
At its most basic, an organization that has a thorough grounding in compliance will be aware of its legal responsibilities and the risks that come with skirting around these, as well as the day-to-day perils that come from poor public relations. That latter point might not seem to have much of a bearing on a business’ legal standing but upsetting customers and advertising bodies is a famously perilous game, as Charles Schwab found out, regardless of what sector or market is used as an example.
For companies that operate in industries where customers’ data, wellbeing, or money can be at risk, such as in insurance or healthcare, compliance can often come down to seemingly petty things like using the correct wording in an email newsletter. For instance, guaranteeing something where no possibility exists or giving advice without authority, especially financial advice, are both critical errors.
The obvious question to be asked is how do start-ups deal with a lack of experience in compliance? The short answer is that employing a compliance officer or even a compliance department can help keep risks to a minimum. However, there are a number of solutions that aren’t quite as expensive or time-consuming to implement, ranging from a bit of education to using software designed for such a purpose.
In the latter case, tools like the SolarWinds SEM (Security Event Manager) include the functionality to create compliance reports. These include audits for regulatory standards like HIPAA (health information) PCI DSS (credit card security), and SOX (financial records). As many companies handle credit card information, it should become clear just how engrained in business-client relations compliance actually is.
An Advisory Service
As far as education is concerned, one of the first places to start are agencies that offer vocational courses. For a more basic introduction to the concept of compliance, though, consider the wealth of self-propelled learning hubs out there, such as Training Express, Course Central, and Skill Up. These offer short, online-only courses with certification upon completion.
It’s worth noting here that the concept of a compliance start-up isn’t an unusual one. Yes, lots of people dedicate their entire careers to helping businesses stay on the right side of the law. This kind of company does sometimes overlap with those that offer training in the same field but they usually take the form of an advisory service that assists people trying to apply for certain licenses or accreditation.
Overall, compliance isn’t the most glamorous part of modern business but it’s arguably one of the more essential parts of any leader’s toolkit. Fortunately, it can be a very simple thing to deal with.