Finding a Compliance Job

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Compliance jobs take many forms. Currently jobs in compliance are primarily found in finance, in support of Sarbanes-Oxley regulations, supporting the auditing of internal controls to comply with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, and in healthcare with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The penalties for non-compliance are severe for companies who violate the policies and laws. To avoid the negative consequences, companies have established positions resulting in new careers in compliance.

Larger Healthcare organizations that must follow financial reporting as well as HIPAA requirements have started to consider posting a chief compliance officer or a chief privacy officer to ensure that the organization understands how serious failure to comply could be for the company. Before applying for any of the jobs in compliance, consider the new choices as well as the requirements for each position. Sarbanes-Oxley regulations based on the scandals of the past ten years in corporations, starting with Enron’s collapse for off-balance sheet transactions to the recent credit market failures have created strong support for maintaining rigorous enforcements to improve transparency in financial transactions. Polls conducted by the Wall Street Journal and Harris Online in October 2005 found that compliance and standardization of what is recorded on financial transactions was a top concern of investors. The Securities and Exchange Commission has also implemented new requirements in making executives accountable for any publicly reported financial information.

New Careers Supporting Compliance in Finance

To support the new requirements by the Securities and Exchange Commission, many new finance positions have been created, including the new demand for Certified Public Accountants. The SEC has required that all accounting transactions reported publicly be signed by a CPA and that the Chief Executive Officer take full responsibility for how transactions are reported. Positions in financial auditing and corporate auditing are rapidly growing. Business process audits are now part of compliance for accounting in publicly traded companies. New positions with titles like ''Quality Compliance Auditor'' and ''SOX Auditor'' are mushrooming.

Finance Licensing and Educational Requirements

The Securities and Exchange Commission has required that a licensed Certified Public Accountant sign all reports submitted by public companies. Each state has a licensing board. While there may not be a requirement to possess an undergraduate or graduate degree, most licensing boards require 150 hours of undergraduate coursework with specific hours in accounting and finance, or a bachelor’s degree and graduate coursework in finance and accounting. All licensing boards require that the applicant pass the Uniform Certified Public Accountant exam.

Areas to Emphasize on Resumes and Cover Letters for Finance and Auditing Positions

Auditors are responsible for coordinating and conducting financial, operational, forensic, and compliance audits as assigned by the internal audit management team. A high degree of professionalism and technical expertise is desired by hiring managers. The auditor is also responsible for recommending the scope and objectives of the audit, using the tools and techniques that are most appropriate for the business to track transactions and the writing and presentation of the final report. The auditor also manages multiple financial, forensic, operational, and compliance audit projects at the same time. The auditor also must demonstrate effective presentation and written communications to make recommendations and suggest improvements to the business and financial processes.

HIPAA Compliance Requirements

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) created additional compliance careers in healthcare, especially with clinics, hospitals, and health insurance companies. The HIPAA requirements state that healthcare providers and insurers who electronically store or send patient information retool how they handle health data. Companies are required to address privacy and security regardless of the form in which individually identifiable health information is stored or transmitted. Significant sanctions and penalties could result from the unauthorized disclosure or use of patient identifiable health information.

Supporting HIPAA Compliance Requirements

Compliance jobs supporting HIPAA focus on business processes and internal audits to ensure that patient identifiable information remains confidential. The need to conduct risk analysis, internal audit planning, information systems security, and records storage monitoring has resulted in compliance positions that ensure the healthcare provider and insurer are following the requirements.

Positions include enhancements to the office manager function in clinics, as well as the development of HIPAA compliance coordinators, privacy auditors, and HIPAA security officers. Positions may be found in larger clinics, outpatient surgery centers, hospitals, and insurance organizations.

Areas to Emphasize on Resumes and Cover Letters for HIPAA Compliance Positions

All HIPAA compliance positions require that the applicant be familiar with the health care environment at the clinic, hospital, outpatient facility, or insurance organization. By understanding the flow of patient identified information, including medical records, billing records, insurance forms and pharmacy records, the applicant should be able to emphasize where potential violations of HIPAA are most likely to occur. The applicant also should demonstrate an ability to maintain a strong working knowledge of applicable regulatory guidelines, and be viewed as a subject matter expert. The applicant also should demonstrate an ability to maintain the required knowledge to implement and maintain the HIPAA transaction, security and privacy standards.

For privacy auditing, the applicant should understand the sensitive nature of medical information and the need for patient privacy and confidentiality. The applicant also should understand the tools and techniques for conducting a business process audit. The applicant should also demonstrate superior presentation skills as well as written skills to present the audit findings and recommended process improvements.


Compliance has become a rapidly growing career path. Financial compliance and HIPAA compliance offer excellent career opportunities and growth during the next ten years.
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 Health Insurance Portability  resumes  undergraduates  methods  public companies  Sarbanes-Oxley Act  CPA  accounting  healthcare organizations  careers

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