Best Practices

The Essential Building Blocks of Compliance Automation

As the adoption of compliance automation continues to grow, it has become a best practice for compliance officers to leverage the latest technology within their programs.

However, deciding that automation will be a part of your compliance program is only the first step. Actually implementing the technology and processes around automation workflows is a much greater feat. From selecting the right tools to deciding which processes should be automated (and which shouldn’t) a myriad of important decisions lie ahead.

To help you tackle the critical questions that will arise, we published a new edition of our most popular eBook, A Blueprint for an Automated Compliance Program: Second Edition. (The first edition was titled A Blueprint for an Effective Program.) This updated version reflects the pervasive impact technology has had on the compliance space. While the first edition centered around how to create an efficient program, the latest edition focuses on the fundamental role automation has in creating a cutting-edge compliance program.

The Building Blocks of Compliance Automation

In order to have a detailed discussion about how automation impacts each facet within a compliance program, we must first identify what those components are. That brings us to the six building blocks of compliance automation. The critical elements you should have in mind when reviewing automation functionality within your program are:

  • Risk Management
  • Policy Management, Code of Conduct & Conflicts of Interest
  • Due Diligence
  • Training
  • Whistleblower Hotline & Case Management
  • Reporting & Monitoring

While many compliance programs have some of these building blocks fully optimized, it is rare to find a compliance program that holistically addresses all of these critical elements in a highly strategic and automated way. Below you will find excerpts from the latest eBook. Each of the sections mentioned above has a feature that discusses how automation relates to that building block. However, these are just previews, if you enjoy this information I’d highly suggest downloading the full eBook.

Risk Management

Using an automated risk management solution will allow you to manage your risks on an ongoing basis. As your business changes, new risks will inevitably emerge that need to be addressed. These could be new (types) of third parties, geographical risks, regulatory risks, and so on.

Automating your risk assessment will allow you to track your organization’s overall risk profile and help you to prioritize emerging risks and easily follow-up on the implementation of mitigation measures. Risk management technology can transform your risk assessment from a static document into a real-time, actionable resource. Taking advantage of automation will allow your organization to focus on mitigating risks instead of simply repeating the exercise on performing annual risk assessments.

Policy Management, Code of Conduct & Conflicts of Interest

A good compliance program keeps track of employee engagement with the policies. An automated compliance tool can help you keep track of who read which policy by automating the signature collection process and storing records in a central repository for policy data. Keeping track of signatures centrally helps grow accountability in your organization. Being able to quickly understand which employees signed which policies and at what times, can be immensely valuable information when problems or allegations of misconduct arise. In addition to policy management, download the eBook to learn about how automation can help track exception requests.

Due Diligence

Based on the results of the initial assessment and the database searches, a risk score should automatically be calculated. The risk score of a third party determines the minimum required scope of due diligence that must be conducted. If your initial assessment shows that the third party poses a risk, then an external questionnaire may be in order. The level of detail requested in the external questionnaire for the third party should depend on their risk score. Using an automated compliance tool will simplify this process by automatically determining the right questionnaire to send out and notifying you to continue with the due diligence workflow once the questionnaire has been filled out.

Training

Automated training solutions can help you sort employee groups and training material to effectively assign the right training to the right employees. Employ an integrated platform to track group training results and to send automated notifications to employees that haven’t completed their training. Your training solution should give you an overview of training completion rates in a single glance.

Whistleblower Hotline & Case Management

Complaints need to be categorized into high, medium, or low risks to understand the severity of the allegation, and the urgency of response.

A case management system should help compliance officers parse out the differences quickly and accurately. This process is made much more effective when supported by automated functions such as searching for keywords (e.g. “scam,” “boss knows all about it”) or labeling second complaints from the same source as high-priority. Then reports can be routed to the proper person for follow up.

Reporting & Monitoring

A robust reporting system needs to provide you with a complete picture of activity. A strong advantage of automated compliance programs is that they will capture as much data as possible and subsequently consolidate that information in an accurate, useful way.

An automated compliance solution can provide you with ready-made reports of all compliance activity. Once that reporting material is created, it can easily be forwarded to the appropriate executives for review. When this process of data consolidation is established, broader trends of compliance activity can be monitored, while gaps can be detected and remedied. To understand how automation can make ongoing monitoring seamless, download the eBook now.

Blending Automatic and Human Processes

As helpful as automation is, there are certain elements that are best left to humans. Finding the correct blend of automation and human processes is essential to creating the best compliance program. While repetitive or time-consuming tasks are ideal candidates for automation, reviewing high-level risks and strategic decisions are better handled by compliance officers themselves.

Designing and managing a compliance program is no easy feat, but automation can significantly help by maximizing time and resources. A Blueprint for an Automated Compliance Program will guide you through each of these building blocks and provide you with a step-by-step blueprint for the essential elements that comprise them.

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