Why do we need Compliance Officers?
In the complex regulatory climate of today’s businesses, it is important that companies follow many rules and regulations governing employee relations, commerce, worker safety, and proper financial accounting methods. A company that is lax in dealing with these rules can find itself exposed to great financial and legal harm as a result. In addition, a company that faces legal issues or bad press from non-compliance can find its name and product brands severely damaged as. Imagine how much trouble a company can run into if its products are ruled unsafe or its business practices labeled fraudulent. It is for this reason that many companies have people operating in full time compliance officer jobs, making sure that all applicable rules and regulations are followed.
Many Roles of Compliance Jobs
There are many areas in which jobs in compliance are important. Compliance auditors track the finances of a company, making sure that proper accounting procedures are followed. Compliance managers are responsible for knowing what rules and regulations will apply to the companies they are working for, as well as determining the best ways to bring the company in line with these rules. Compliance officers are also responsible for making sure that a company is ready for compliance audits; periodic visits from state and federal agencies to make sure that all rules and regulations have been adhered to. The compliance officer also deals with any worker complaints about health, job safety, or business practices in the company.
Compliance officer jobs can also be found in government, working for regulatory agencies such as the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), and National Bureau of Labor, where they are responsible for making sure that all applicable safety and labor rules are followed. These compliance auditors travel to firms all over the country, checking that proper procedures have been followed by the companies under their auspices. For example, OSHA compliance auditors will check to make sure that a workplace has the proper safety protections in place around machinery, and that any important related placards and safety posters are mounted in the workplace. A bad compliance audit can be a serious matter, as failure can mean heavy fines, expensive changes in work/safety procedures, or even the complete shuttering of the business until the failures are rectified.
The Contractor’s role
Compliance contractors fill the need for compliance personnel when a company cannot afford to have a dedicated compliance staff. The contractor may be hired to fulfill certain compliance officer jobs such as making sure the company is up to date for a specific audit, or may fill the compliance slot for a specific length of time (for example, to prepare for an audit for new change in regulations).
As office workers, most compliance managers work 9-5, Monday through Friday in clean, well-lit office environments. If the position oversees a number of facilities, the compliance officer may find that a great deal of travel will be involved. Compliance auditors spend even more time in traveling, as they must hold audits all over their assigned territories.
Training for a compliance career is based very much on the type of area the compliance professional will be dealing in. In all cases, background in risk management, risk assessment, and a strong grounding in the area the prospective candidate wishes to work in is the most important factor. For example, those dealing in financial compliance will need training in accountancy and other business training. Compliance officers dealing with personnel matters will need background in management and human relations.
While salaries vary widely between compliance jobs based on the level of training and location, top end compliance officer makes between $120,000 and $206,800 per year. This, however, is for those managing compliance efforts on a national or global scale. Typically, contract jobs in compliance are paid on contract basis, with a final fee based on length of contract time.
Compliance careers rarely have a great deal of advancement, as the position tends to be out of the typical management chain. Some compliance officers later start their own compliance consulting firms working with clients without in house personnel. Working as a compliance contractor is a good way, however, to gain entry into a particularly desirable position within a company.
With an ongoing need for companies to practice adherence to federal and state laws, more and more firms are electing to hire compliance staff. Growth is expected to stay at about the national average, based on 2006 Bureau of Labor statistics. During this transition period, the role of the compliance contractor will be an important one.