By dint of their senior level, these compliance officers have worked for long periods in their compliance field. For instance, senior-level financial auditors or compliance managers have worked between 5-10 years in their profession. More increasingly, they have master's degrees or other job-boosting certification, such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA) status. They are extremely familiar with their industry's regulation policies and can instantly point out possible violations of those policies in their workplaces. They have sufficient experience to train other compliance workers, lead company-wide compliance seminars, and advise upper-level managers on regulatory procedures that may serve the company best.
These senior-level compliance jobs go by several names, but most often take the name of Chief Compliance Officer. This officer is the chief executive for their firm. If this officer is responsible for financial compliance with government tax regulations, it is his or her job to look over all daily financial transactions and tax reports to point out any indicators of IRS-auditing. This officer is also familiar with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations for corporations. Most of them are additionally familiar with the more recent Sarbanes-Oxley legislation relating to corporate record keeping. They must prove their facility with their job responsibilities; if not, they may face government investigation and steep penalties if any irregularities with record keeping are found by auditors.
Senior-level jobs in compliance often involve heavy documentation. Due to their expertise, compliance managers may draft manuals, policy statements, and employee handbooks that address compliance strategies and objectives. As they do their regular auditing, they may maintain their own records while drafting auditing reports for upper management.
Compliance manager jobs also demand fluency in computers and specialized software. These managers are most often familiar with platforms such as Windows and accounting applications such as Microsoft QuickBooks. They may also run database software such as Microsoft Access and do spreadsheets through Microsoft Excel. Working with IT specialists, they may program computerized controls that implement compliance regulations. These controls automatically point out accounting mistakes, which greatly diminishes the chance that a mistake will bring on into financial disaster.
Accounting serves as only one example of compliance jobs. All trades demand certain regulations and require compliance specialists to enforce them. For example, architecture has a long list of building regulations and restrictions, such as building codes and zoning laws. Compliance officers may inspect building sites and report possible infringements to the architect and contractors. Moreover, large restaurant chains may hire Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) consultants to inspect facilities pending the arrival of an OSHA inspector. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency hires auditors to inspect companies for violation of environmental law. As with OSHA consultants many solution firms hire EPA consultants who can perform mock audits and keep a company informed of EPA regulation. Institutions such as banks also hire compliance officers who are knowledgeable about Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and Know Your Customer (KYC) regulation. These jobs are only a small sampling of compliance jobs.
Whatever their industry, mostly all senior-level compliance officers widely use computer software to record and maintain their compliance database. Moreover, they have sharp communication skills, since they have to interpret regulation policies to other staff members. They also stay involved with business trends and new federal or state regulation as related to their industry. If some of these trends affect their company operations, they consult with other managers and may lead new regulatory projects. Some compliance officers, such as CPA auditors and jurist-doctorate holders, may also have to renew their certificates through professional associations.
It is worth noting that many compliance jobs are senior-level, since compliance legislation is so immense and may take a long time to fully learn. Therefore, there are more jobs for Chief Compliance Officers than there are for non-management compliance officers. In order to get trained, many future Chief Compliance Officers work as auditors or analysts prior to landing management positions. With very few exceptions, Chief Compliance Officers also have bachelor's degrees in their industry and, in many cases, master's degrees. The more education they have, the more appealing they are to recruiters.
As befits their senior-level status, many Chief Compliance Officers make over $100,000 per year. Many corporations hire these officers, though they work equally often for solutions and services firms as contractors. Therefore, many Chief Compliance Officers enjoy fairly strong job security. Employers often realize that they do not have time to memorize regulatory policies, and are glad to hire compliance officers who are skilled in this field. Compliance job opportunities, are slightly in decline now because of recent economic plunges, but will likely resurge after the recession has passed.