Over the last several decades, the role of compliance officer has transitioned from being a helpful addition to a crucial necessity. U.S. corporations first began establishing compliance programs in the 1970s and 1980s due to legislative incentives like the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The 1990s saw the role of compliance officers gain prominence due to high-profile corporate scandals, leading to a demand for greater accountability from both the public and legal systems.
Now compliance officers often report directly to CEOs, ensuring businesses adhere to regulations and manage threats effectively. Their responsibilities include minimizing organizational risks, ensuring regulatory adherence, and detailed reporting. Their work is pivotal in ensuring business consistency during disruptions, thereby contributing to global economic stability.
In honor of compliance officers’ ongoing organizational and cross-industry impacts, SAI360 launched National Compliance Officer Day in 2016. This is a day meant to celebrate compliance officers’ contributions to companies and the broader community.
This September and October, SAI360 celebrated Compliance Officer Day by sharing a number of articles and infographics related to the profession, as well as hosting eight events:
- September 7: ABCs of GRC Software (Watch recording)
- September 14: 5 Tips to Keep Learners Excited for the Long Haul (Watch recording)
- September 20: Integrating your internal controls and compliance programs (Watch recording)
- September 21: Back to Basics: 8 Essential Items to Include in your E&C Program (Watch recording)
- September 26: 5 Lessons About Third-Party Risk You Can Learn from Reality Survival Shows (Watch recording)
- October 2- 5: 22nd Annual Compliance & Ethics Institute
- October 2: Hospitality event for SCCE attendees
- October 5: Building and Evaluating Effective Hotline Programs
Voices from the Field: Compliance Experts Share New Insights
As part of this year’s celebration, SAI360 also launched a survey asking for people’s compliance industry perspectives. Below, we highlight a sampling of responses, lightly edited for clarity:
Q: What’s the biggest compliance challenge you’ve personally encountered? How did you overcome it?
- “Potential Lawsuits. Labor Issues. Working with the right people.”
- “Financial constraints under current economic conditions is the biggest compliance challenge. The only strategy for me is to convince the management through proper Risk Assessment.”
- “I was handed this position in 2005 when there was barely even training available. I am self-taught.”
Q: If you could wave a magic wand to change one aspect of the compliance profession to make it more effective, what would it be?
- “I wish people were more understanding of the importance of compliance.”
- “Comprehensive knowledge about applicable legal framework.”
- “Auditing and monitoring for small companies who have to do this ourselves.”
Q: Throughout your compliance career, what’s one strategic approach or decision that improved your organization’s compliance effectiveness?
- “Utilizing Six Sigma in the work I do. Breaking it down for others to understand.”
- “Conducting comprehensive legal audit/review with external resource personnel.”
- “Making everything plain English, from policies to handbooks to training.”
Q: What emerging regulatory trends do you believe will have the greatest impact on the compliance field in the next 12 to 24 months?
- “DOJ enforcement policies on corporate non-compliance; SEC Risk Assessment and Audit Standards requirements; HHS-OIG CPGs, FCA, FCPA, ESG or sustainability efforts, cybersecurity laws, FTC and HIPAA breach notification rules.”
- “Resource costs to properly manage cyber threats. Burnout and transparency in reporting continue to be a challenge in compliance.”
- “Risk management through the organization, fair lending/UDAAP (Unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts and practices) issues will be a priority.”
Q: In your opinion, what is the primary benefit of a strong compliance culture within an organization?
- “The primary benefit is that it elevates integrity. It sets the value, the tone, and the attitude to guide people to ‘do the right thing when no one is looking’, with integrity as a core value. It simply promotes ethical behavior and commitment to behave with such integrity to meet standards of conduct and adhere to applicable laws and regulations. As the Department of Justice (DOJ) stated once in an old publication dated Sep 2014, ‘Compliance is a culture, not just a policy.’”
- “Risk reduction, enhanced reputation, efficiency, enhanced employee engagement and financial stability.”
- “Proactively discovering risk or regulatory changes to assist leadership in mitigating gaps or initiate improvement to avoid unanticipated loss. “
As part of the survey, SAI360 encouraged participants to identify a compliance officer who was making a difference in their organization and community. SAI360 went on to recognize the following compliance officers on social media.
- Jill Paiva, CPCO ReactDX Health Care Privacy & Compliance. “Despite years in the field, Jill remains passionate about auditing and monitoring and advocating for the importance of compliance to both leadership and front-line staff.”
- Lindsey Brown-Acquaye. “Lindsey has an unwavering commitment to upholding ethical standards and regulatory compliance has had a profound impact on our industry. She has meticulous attention to detail, a proactive approach to risk mitigation, and the ability to navigate complex regulatory landscapes that have not only ensured our organization’s adherence to regulations but have also set a benchmark for excellence in the industry. Lindsey’s work serves as a shining example of the positive impact that a diligent compliance officer can have on the industry as a whole.”
In response to being recognized, Lindsey went on to share on LinkedIn, “I am truly humbled and honored to be recognized by the founding creators of Compliance Officer Day over at SAI360 and my dear friend and industry colleague Nikita Thompson. Thank you SAI360 for your acknowledgment and thank you, Nikita, for your unwavering support and friendship over the last decade-plus, PLUS. The practical application of regulatory compliance and industry best practice standards have always been at the core of my professional journey. It is incredibly fulfilling to see the impact these principles can have within an organization while also boosting the overall culture of compliance. I believe every compliance practitioner has the power to make a positive difference in their role each day and it’s a privilege to be part of such a community. Let’s all continue to champion the values of compliance and integrity in our daily work. Together, we can make a difference that transcends our roles and contributes to the betterment of the industry as a whole.”
Thank you to all our survey respondents for sharing your industry insights and inspirations. And thank you again, to all the compliance officers out there continuing to drive industry transformation in new and exciting ways.
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