19 Oct Compliance Experts: To Hire Or Not To Hire?
With business regulations changing regularly and new bits of legislation being introduced all the time, it can be complicated and time-consuming for many business owners to keep track of their legal requirements under UK law.
As a result, many businesses turn to compliance experts – either in-house or outsourced – who can use their knowledge, training, and experience to help companies avoid any potential legal cases that relate to issues of compliance and adherence to legislation.
Let’s take a closer look.
What Is A Compliance Expert?
Compliance experts are business professionals who are qualified to interpret UK legislation and apply it to company activities in practical terms.
Delegating these responsibilities to dedicated experts helps to take pressure off managers and other staff members, and also provides a third party who can address any company practices and/or employee behaviours that do not meet the required standards, without appearing confrontational.
A compliance professional will help your team to develop compliance programs, ensure that they are properly executed, and then work to maintain them effectively over time.
Alongside this, they can help to improve the efficiency of your day-to-day business activities, saving you time, money, and energy as a result.
Other roles and responsibilities of a compliance expert include:
- Organising reviews of the communications and information distributed across the company to ensure the compliance of all departments with UK legislation
- Meeting deadlines and satisfying the regulatory reporting guidelines
- Managing accounting reviews and updating current practices
- Conducting and interpreting compliance audits
- Correcting errors identified in audit findings and implementing staff training to prevent future non-compliance
The Costs Of Hiring A Compliance Expert
Is hiring a compliance expert – either in-house or as an outsourced consultant – financially viable for your business? To answer this question properly, we first need to consider the costs and consequences of not being compliant.
These can be serious, and may include fines, disruptions to your business operations, and a loss of productivity and revenue. Plus, the financial costs have grown ever higher in recent years.
For example, in 2016 the Sentencing Council of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) introduced new sentencing guidelines that brought in harsher penalties and bigger fines for organisations that do not manage health and safety matters effectively. The result was that by 2019, the average fine levied for health and safety breaches had risen to £150,000 – the highest it’s ever been.
By contrast, with the average UK full-time salary of a compliance consultant being circa £45k per annum – and with the cost of hiring a freelance expert or agency on a retainer or contract basis usually being far less than this – it’s plain to see that hiring a compliance expert can be a simple way to save your business money and protect yourself against legal repercussions.
More Advantages Of Hiring A Compliance Expert
- Reduce Errors – UK legislation can easily be misinterpreted, meaning inexperienced staff members are liable to make mistakes. Compliance experts, on the other hand, will have extensive experience in navigating the applicable regulations, which means they’re far less likely to make a costly error that harms your business.
- Minimise Stress – Interpreting compliance legislation can be a time-consuming task which adds extra stress to your daily routine. Delegating these responsibilities to a professional will help to keep your workload down, while also reducing pressure on the rest of your team.
- Experience With Regulators – Hiring a compliance expert will mean your business has someone on-hand who understands the relevant legislation and requirements, and who can then communicate them to the rest of your team. Often, compliance experts can also provide advice on how to best deal with the regulatory bodies themselves, should any questions or concerns arise.
- Navigating Complex Issues – Compliance experts will have extensive experience in navigating all kinds of rare and complicated compliance issues. In particular, if your business has a specific niche, or is tackling an unusual compliance-related problem that has left your team feeling stumped, hiring a compliance expert is an easy and effective way to acquire the additional knowledge that you need to resolve your issue.
- Save Time – Compliance experts can use their skills and experience to ensure your business meets the required standards quicker and more effectively than inexperienced staff. This helps you save time and allows you to redirect your manpower to where it can be most productive.
- An Outsider’s Perspective – Using a compliance expert gives you another pair of eyes to look over your business and assess how it is operating. This is particularly valuable, as it can be difficult to identify errors in your own business and ‘see the wood for the trees’ when you are passionate about what you do and are too busy to gain a comprehensive overview of how your company functions on a day-to-day basis.
Conclusion: Compliance Experts Are Crucial!
When considering whether or not to hire a compliance expert, be aware that – in general – the benefits far outweigh the risks, as for many businesses it will prove to be vital to have a compliance expert on their side when navigating complex legal issues and regulatory requirements.
However, as compliance experts can come from a range of backgrounds, where some may be trained in finance and accounting, while others might have experience in areas such as law, real estate, or insurance, it is important to ensure that you pick the right compliance expert for your field so that you can achieve the maximum benefit for your business.