The level of demand on today’s compliance officer is higher and more pressurised than ever before. With new laws and frequent changes to existing legislation and regulations, it can be extremely overwhelming for companies to ensure compliance in South Africa’s highly regulated legislative landscape.
Recent major legislative updates that could potentially place non-compliant businesses at risk include – but are not limited to – the Employment Equity Act, the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Act, the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act, the Protection of Personal Information Act, the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA), the Competition Act, the Public Finance Management Act, King III Principle 6.2 and the impending King IV Code on Corporate Governance, together with various laws applicable to health and safety and environmental compliance.
Added to the regulatory burden are new areas of regulatory requirement such as sustainability transparency reporting.
It is therefore advisable to have in place a comprehensive compliance management plan which sets out how to proactively respond to legislative and regulatory changes before they affect your business.
Mark Andersen, operations manager for LexisNexis Compliance, says the content and technology solutions provider took into consideration the overwhelming task of compliance during the development of its highly advanced compliance management solution, LexisAssure.
“Corporate leaders and decision-makers must be equipped with the information and necessary resources to remain on the right side of the law. Investing in the right resources can help the business to avoid problems such as business disruption, reduced productivity, fees, penalties and other legal and non-legal settlement costs,” he says.
Andersen outlines some of the most crucial steps in ensuring compliance, which can be simplified with the assistance of an early warning solution such as LexisAssure.
* Understand the facts – Compliance efforts begin with identifying the acts and principles that apply to your industry. Before setting out to interpret the changes, it is vital to identify and understand each relevant law and what it means for your business. Once the Act is clearly understood, review the associated risks of non-compliance and rank them so that those most prone to changes are kept on your radar. Changes with the biggest risk factors should also be prioritised.
* Early detection – It is important to identify upcoming or potential new laws, and determine potential impact and risk to your organisation. This kind of pro-active approach ensures that you are never caught off-guard and ill-prepared. Determine the risks associated with the legislative or regulatory change and pay attention to the specific business channels and/or departments that will be affected so that plans cans be created to incorporate the new law.
* Internal communication – Once a change has been detected, affected departments or channels should be formally notified about the potential changes and how it would affect their day-to-day operations. Getting everyone on board with change may take time but effective communication is the best way to ensure that everyone is aware of their role in the compliance process. This can be achieved with explanations and practical advice, so that it is simplified and easy to implement.
The ability of LexisAssure to assist compliance professionals with these steps is what makes the solution a necessity for every business. With a professional team of experts and its comprehensive database of subject matter, LexisAssure takes the pressure off seeking and interpreting information and helps ensure 100% compliance.
As a customisable solution, LexisAssure is designed to keeps users abreast of regulations to determine their compliance obligations within the context of their own industry. The solution features daily email alerts, meaningful analysis, compliance calendars and practical advice.