Compliance – not just red tape

October 28, 2014

Business leaders often deem the burden of regulatory compliance, or “red tape”, to be impractical or unnecessary.  However, if businesses take a positive approach to compliance it is a chance to professionalise the industry.

The majority of compliance measures deliver a benefit, whether that’s ensuring safety, improving quality, protecting consumers or reducing environmental impact, to name just a few. Moreover, a compliant business is usually synonymous with one that is well-run.

Businesses can use the regulatory curve to drive improvement and innovation. The most successful companies will see the opportunity to challenge their current procedures and make changes which will benefit and professionalise the business in the long term. An internal audit, for example, will not only prepare a business for its external audit from the ISO but is likely to embed compliance into business practices and raise standards.

‘Self-regulation’ can also help establish a better understanding of the outcomes each measure is trying to deliver. Compliance is often misunderstood, which could be a factor in the increase in regulatory disciplinary cases as reported by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Ensuring a business is compliant is key to identifying and mitigating risk, as well as protecting the business from fines and safeguarding brand reputation. If handled correctly, it can create a competitive advantage through improving corporate value, transparency and reputation.

The regulatory expectation on firms is unlikely to subside, but should be viewed as a green light to increased professionalism rather than a distraction from business performance.

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