Tips on How to Start Correcting Non-Compliance
Businesses both large and small have focused more of their attention toward risk management since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. In doing so, many discovered great vulnerability in the areas of legal and regulatory compliance.
Heavily-regulated industries such as banking, investment, manufacturing, and healthcare have long had their operations and policies molded by laws and regulations such as HIPAA. But many companies outside these industries were largely in the dark when it came to regulatory compliance – that is until they took a closer look as part of their renewed risk management strategy development efforts.
Legal and regulatory non-compliance can carry some serious consequences, ranging from monetary fines and remediation orders to penalties such as exclusions from industry organizations and loss of certifications or endorsements. Correcting non-compliance on a company’s own terms is always preferable since it enables the business to make changes in a way that works with its resources, budget, and timelines. The same cannot be said if a regulatory group discovers the non-compliance and subsequently issues a fine and orders remediation. In that case, everything will happen in their timeframe instead of yours. This leads to the question: How do you start correcting non-compliance?
Correcting Non-Compliance By Identifying Regulatory Burdens
Before you evaluate your company’s regulatory compliance issues and work to correct them, you’ll need to identify any and all regulations that apply to your organization. Each industry is unique in terms of regulatory oversight. Some regulatory bodies are government-based, while other regulators come in the form of private but influential industry groups.
Identifying and monitoring regulatory burdens can be a tremendous challenge, especially in strictly regulated industries. Industry-specific risk management software platforms can be very useful in this area since they allow companies to easily identify and monitor relevant regulations.
How to Start Correcting Non-Compliance With an Evaluation
An evaluation is the second step when it comes to addressing and correcting non-compliance, whatever form it may take. In fact, it is not uncommon to discover multiple situations or conditions that require remediation in order to achieve full regulatory compliance.
A risk management task force is going to be best positioned to oversee this sort of comprehensive evaluation. If a company lacks a group that can address risk management issues and develop both long-term and short-term risk management strategies, then now may be the perfect time to establish a risk management task force. Evaluation of the company’s regulatory compliance (or lack thereof) can be their first project.
Evaluating the company’s regulatory compliance situation should be a collaborative one. The process – and your risk management task force – should involve leaders and supervisors from all departments and divisions. These individuals tend to have valuable insights thanks to their on-the-ground view of issues that will impact compliance.
The actual evaluation process is rather straightforward and this is another point where risk management software can prove quite useful. Regulatory burdens have been identified by this point and the actual measures required to achieve compliance can be listed in detail. From there, you simply evaluate whether your company has the processes or conditions in place to be considered compliant. If you go down the list and find that your business falls short of the requirements, then you will need to take action to address this problem. The necessary remedy should be noted alongside each problem area.
By the end of the evaluation, you should have a list of action items that will need to be addressed in order to get your company back on track and fully compliant.
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Start Correcting Non-Compliance By Planning Remediation Efforts
Once regulatory compliance problem areas have been identified within an organization, it’s time to plan remediation efforts in order to avoid non-compliance fines and penalties. In the prior step, a solution or remedy was noted for each problem area. This should guide your remediation efforts.
Project management software platforms can be useful for this part of the process since you need to assign tasks and track the progress of those tasks. This is yet another area where risk management software platforms can be useful because they usually include project management-type tools for assigning and tracking action items. To be successful, you must effectively track the tasks required to achieve compliance, ensuring that all issues are addressed to a point of completion without falling off the radar.
Re-evaluating Regulatory Compliance
As regulatory compliance issues are addressed and remedied, a company’s risk management task force must re-evaluate to verify that all problems have been adequately resolved. If so, then that particular non-compliance issue can be crossed off the list.
Evaluation and re-evaluation tend to be a continual, ongoing process since regulations evolve over time and new regulations are routinely being rolled out. A risk management software platform is extremely useful for this type of ongoing monitoring, but something as simple as a spreadsheet can also be utilized. The key is to evaluate whether remediation efforts have allowed you to meet the regulatory requirements and achieve compliance. If not, you should be able to easily identify what needs to happen in order to become fully compliant.
Correcting non-compliance on your own terms is always preferable to the alternative of fines, penalties, and remediation orders with strict timeframes that may be difficult to meet. And this says nothing of the cost associated with the remediation orders that are often issued by a regulatory body. The financial burden of correcting non-compliance can be especially significant when those corrective measures happen under the gun.
Efforts to correct regulatory compliance issues and address other risk management-related situations can be furthered with the right technology. Risk management software is one of our specialties here at iTech, where we have developed a wide variety of platforms ranging from innovative enterprise risk management solutions to GRC software platforms that can be used by clients in a variety of industries. We invite you to contact the team at iTech today to discuss your legal and regulatory compliance needs. We’ll collaborate to develop a software solution that will help your company achieve and maintain regulatory compliance in a streamlined, cost-effective way.