Finance compliance jobs will be tasked with conducting regular internal audits to ensure that the firm's operations are in line with the set regulations. Compliance officers will often be required to provide legal opinions on potential liability for a certain action, give advice on key compliance risks within new projects that the organization may be contemplating, see to it that laws around taxation are followed to the letter and foster a culture of integrity within the institution. That said, the actual job description and tasks of compliance careers will vary from one organization to the next.
Finance compliance jobs can be very demanding and will sometimes be stretched thin in managing the different aspects of compliance especially in large organizations. The pressure is significant in that the institution relies on the word of the compliance team to make ‘go/no-go' decisions that have profound impact not just on the institution's bottom line but also its standing with the regulator. There have been instances where entire firms have found themselves on the receiving end of a regulator's fury sometimes incurring huge penalties as a result, all because a compliance team might have made a major error in judgment.
Therefore, success in finance compliance careers can only be hinged on a good foundational training. At the minimum, a finance compliance professional must possess a relevant 4-year degree such as a degree in finance, economics or accounting. But other than academic knowledge, many recruiters for finance compliance jobs also look for individuals that already have experience working in the financial services industry. Even the best academic course will not be able to cover the day-to-day intricacies that a job in the financial services industry entails.
The sensitivity of finance compliance jobs requires that the jobholder have hands on knowledge if the industry. If you intend to get a job in the compliance team of a financial services institution and yet do not have the experience, you must start to build expertise by taking up internships in a compliance department. If you are already working, look for opportunities where you can participate in the compliance team by volunteering in a project they could be working on. Attend trainings that they conduct where you can so you can shore up your knowledge.
You will be best suited for finance compliance jobs if you can demonstrate knowledge in current trends and changes in legislation that affect the financial services industry. To succeed in finance compliance careers, compliance officer must keep their ear to the ground in order to anticipate shifts in regulation as well as better practices adopted by competitors and that the institution can borrow instead of reinventing the wheel.
There are several other skills that a financial compliance officer must have. Strong numerical ability is one. You must also be prepared to take on a strategic line of thought because you will be often be called upon to provide vital advice to your organization. In addition, a compliance officer will often deal with a broad range of persons ranging from the institution's senior management, regulators, external auditors, third party service providers, department heads and sometimes even clients. In each of these relationships, you will need to be either the leader or an active participant in discussions around legal and regulatory matters that touch on the organization. Strong presentation skills are also vital as you will often be in forums where you will be expected to clearly articulate your position to a well-informed audience.