A Quick Guide to Business Compliance
Regulations, legislation and compliance arrangements which need to be in place for your company depend on which industry you work in.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) mandates that all law firms have compliance officers in place for legal practice (COLP) and for finance and administration (COFA).
Those working within the Financial Services sector need to meet specific regulatory compliance guidelines from its governing body which is currently the Financial Services Authority (FSA) http://www.fsa.gov.uk.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is tasked to check whether hospitals, care homes, dentists and care services meet national standards.
Additional compliance may be in the form of health and safety, IT security (including data protection and business continuity), electrical, gas and other similar checks.
For many businesses the lines are drawn between what is recommended, what is enforced and what is good business practice. All of this takes time of course, as well as effort, money and advice.
With so much legislation, unless you are an expert in the field of compliance it can be difficult to know what to do, and putting together a health check document can help. Such a document may ultimately list all the things required. However, sourcing the advice will be the challenge as well.
Here are some organisations you can approach for advice:
- The governing body for your industry
- Your insurance company
- An independent compliance advisor (preferably one that specialises in your sector)
- Online forums and support groups
- Your accountant
- Colleagues who work in the same industry
Once you have listed what is required, these can be ticked off as they are implemented and put in place.
Ensuring your company meets with the necessary compliance regulations can be administratively intensive and take you away from the day to day running of your company. It is important however to ensure all systems are correctly in place and that documentation is safely backed up offsite via a service like Depositit.
Once in place, a degree of maintenance is required and consistent monitoring should be part of the plan, similar to fire drills, test restores of computer data and other business continuity checks that are carried out on a frequent and regular basis.
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