The compliance manager is the person responsible for ensuring the institution they work for conducts its business processes in line with the relevant laws and regulations. The location of the compliance manager's role within the institution's overall organization chart depends on a number of factors. Large organizations often have specialized compliance managers and other persons holding jobs in compliance working in different departments whereas in others, the compliance manager role will be an additional responsibility of another manager within the organization.
One way the compliance manager's role is positioned within the organization is as the head of a compliance department with the manager having dual reporting role to the chief executive and the board. The other approach is to have the compliance manager working in either the legal, internal audit, risk management or a tax team within the finance department. The reason that compliance jobs can fit into either one of these departments is the very similar role these departments play within the organization.
This then brings us to the educational requirements required of anyone pursuing jobs in compliance. One approach is to go for a business degree such as Accounting, Finance and Business Administration. Another method is to go for a law degree. There is merit in both lines of education and in fact, a number of practicing compliance managers opted to pursue both a business degree and a law degree. Further, the education you pursue will depend on the particular industry or the department you intend to work in. For instance, compliance jobs in the financial services sector favor business degrees.
Note though that education, while important as a foundation for compliance jobs, is not the only thing you will need in order to become a compliance manager. For you to be an effective and competent compliance manager, you must take time to understand in detail the core processes within the organization you work in. As a compliance manager, you will be required to provide guidance and leadership on the impact on the business that new laws and regulations will have.
You will also need to hone your interpersonal skills. This position will often involve interaction with management of the institution at the highest level. Polish up your presentation skills as you will often be required to appraise the organizations senior management or board on the business' standing as far as compliance is concerned. People management skills are also key for a compliance manager. You must inspire confidence in your team and hence drive them toward successfully delivering on your departmental targets.