Best Practices

[Part 2] Four Must-Haves for Program Reporting

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Program management info – for the Chief Compliance Officer (CCO):

The efficient and effective CCO has their “finger on the pulse”: s/he manages the company’s compliance program with real time data. S/he is aware of the status of compliance communications and training campaigns, and can visually track and drill down into the regions where routine activities are on schedule and where activities are falling behind. Emails automatically go out to those who fail to meet deadlines. The CCO can monitor the controls that s/he has put in place in higher compliance risk operations and assess whether current safeguards are sufficient or require tweaking. In short, s/he gets current needed data (while simultaneously eliminating much of the time consuming programmatic administrative ‘busy work’), and can then query or generate electronic or hard copy reports from that data.

“Really?” – Some may be tempted to say. That seems to be a long way from my reality. How?

Compliance management systems that are software as a service (SaaS) – based offer this capability. CCOs can get the day to day program information needed to actually manage (rather than react, after the fact) – because the data is current and accurate. This capability is critical for CCOs – to be able to manage the program, instead of having the administrative demands of an unintegrated and essentially paper-based program manage them.

In the absence of such an automated system, and faced with the same needs for certain information on as timely a basis as possible, the CCO will need to prioritize, plan in advance and get certain third parties (e.g. IT or HR) to generate specified data on a regular schedule. Work back from management and board meeting dates. Determine both what is absolutely needed and what may be needed, and the associated lead times (and allow some “fudge factor” time for delays etc.)  Build in time to analyze the data and place it into presentation format. And keep track of the time spent on these administrative tasks – to better make the case during next budget cycle for a SaaS-based compliance management system!

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