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Corporate Compliance Trends and Challenges You Should Know

Corporate Compliance Trends and Challenges You Should Know

Auditor or internal revenue service staff, Business women checking annual financial statements of company.

The laws and regulations that shape corporate compliance programs are subject to regular changes, which is why savvy professionals working in this area must be up-to-date on what’s trending to keep their companies in compliance. Current corporate compliance programs are essential to protect against risk—both reputational risk and to protect the interests of employees, shareholders, and the business as a whole.

Learn more about the current state of corporate compliance law and how it affects the day-to-day work of the business professionals responsible for writing, evaluating, and maintaining corporate compliance programs.

What’s Trending in Corporate Compliance

DOJ Updates

In June of 2020, the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced updated guidance on how to effectively evaluate corporate compliance programs, including examining the design, implementation, and effective operation of the program. The guidance provided for evaluating these programs reflected how DOJ prosecutors planned to evaluate whether a company’s corporate compliance policy was effective at the time an offense was committed by the organization.1 The effectiveness of the policy bears great importance on how the company is charged and how the offense is resolved.

In October 2021, the DOJ provided further updates on its corporate enforcement efforts and underscored the importance of corporate compliance as a whole in finding and rooting out misconduct. The revisions to the enforcement efforts were meant to denote corporate crime as a top priority for the DOJ.

These revisions included:2

  • Instructions to DOJ attorneys to consider a corporation's criminal history in its entirety
  • Clarifications on a corporation's duty to provide all information concerning everyone involved in corporate misconduct in order to receive cooperation credit
  • Information on how monitors are to be used in corporate criminal matters

Due Diligence for Third-Party Vendors

Business operations are often bolstered by complex technologies and strategies that call for engagement with third-party vendors or contractors. The U.S. places responsibility on the company engaging the vendor to know whether or not the third-party is on any restricted lists, which governments use to enforce regulatory interests.3

Third-party vendors/contractors can be found in all areas of the business, and the scrutiny of government regulatory agencies extends to all these areas, as well. A focus on due diligence when it comes to evaluating third parties is paramount to staying in compliance.

The Digitization of Data

The big data revolution is not going to fade away. Companies that don’t have a handle on their data are not only missing out on actionable business strategies that can translate to better performance, but they also face compliance risks.

Clearly outlining how data is handled builds trust with clients and stakeholders, and will likewise protect employees from finding themselves responsible for privacy violations. These violations do damage to business outcomes and to a company’s reputation, sometimes irreparably. Companies need to get ahead of this risk by including data privacy policies as part of the overall corporate compliance program.

Impacts of Corporate Compliance Trends on Day-to-Day Work

The latest trends noted above will affect the work of corporate compliance professionals. There is no doubt they are feeling the pressure to keep up with the changes, and not just the regulatory updates. On the human side of things, compliance professionals have also been tasked with engaging a workforce that is still very much remote. How can corporate compliance professionals keep up to keep their organizations on the straight and narrow?

To start, professionals need to put technological solutions to good use where appropriate. Tools for corporate compliance can be used to simplify data collection, automate manual tasks, and to improve the oversight of how compliance policies factor into day-to-day decision making.

Likewise, reaching out to experts as necessary can go a long way in clarifying any ambiguous regulations. Or, even better, getting the legal education to work through these complex laws and regulations will help to position professionals as subject matter experts in their own organizations.

Looking internally, corporate compliance professionals can leverage the resources they already have at their disposal to run more effective compliance programs. Compliance affects everyone in the organization, so professionals responsible for a compliance program should not be shy about asking for assistance from colleagues. Build relationships with people working in key areas of the business. For example, IT professionals do a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to compliance, especially in the last couple of years as work has gone more remote. Even with an uptick in the return to the office, this department will continue to play an important role in compliance.

Fostering healthy working relationships has always been a key to success in business. Through regular conversations with individuals and groups, corporate compliance professionals can glean important information that can go a long way in identifying risk, allowing for early problem mitigation.

Position Yourself as a Corporate Compliance Leader With Pitt Law

The law influences almost every professional decision for employees working in corporate environments, which is why the University of Pittsburgh School of Law decided to design a Master of Studies in Law (MSL) program with a special focus on corporate compliance law. The Online MSL with a Corporate Compliance specialization and the stand-alone Online Corporate Compliance Certificate offer those without a JD degree the opportunity to learn the legal skills needed to get ahead in the world of corporate compliance. Set yourself apart as a leader in business. Small class sizes and individualized attention will set you up for success during your program and beyond.

As you prepare to apply for Pitt Law’s Online Master of Studies in Law (MSL) program or one of our graduate certificate programs (also offered online), know that our admissions advisors are always on standby to answer your questions, clarify admissions requirements, and discuss what this degree can do for you. Schedule a call today.